Tool Addicts

Tool Addicts

Calling all benchtop warriors

comments (88) May 11th, 2009 in blogs

AsaC AsaC, Contributor
thumbs up 71 users recommend

A drill press is one of many tools available in a benchtop model. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

A drill press is one of many tools available in a benchtop model.

Not everyone has a large, dedicated space for woodworking, though we'd all love to. Many people share elbow room with a car or a small mountain of basement clutter, with their woodworking confined to a few benchtops and the space between them. In that situation benchtop tools make a lot of sense, either actually sitting on a tabletop, or rolled out when needed on some sort of stand.

Most of us have a benchtop planer, and many have a benchtop sanding station, but I'm talking more about benchtop bandsaws, drill presses, jointers, and router tables, as well as portable tablesaws. Lower in cost, these tools also appeal to beginners. To help us with a future article on benchtop shops, I'd like to find how many of you have benchtop tools, and get a conversation going about how to make the most of them.

Take our quick poll here:

But if you have a few extra minutes, use the comment box below to tell us which ones you like best, which ones you hate, and how you handle the shortcomings of some of them, such as infeed and outfeed support, capacity, and power. Do you use multi-tool or rolling stands for some of them? Are those shop-made or purchased? Do you avoid using rough lumber so you can do without a jointer or planer? Is there any limitation in the size or type of furniture you can build?

Some of your tips and tricks might end up in a future article (with your approval). Don't worry: If you are embarrassed about the state of your shop, we'll just draw your tip and make your corner of the basement look like a million bucks.

posted in: blogs, workshop, tool

Comments (88)

pchast pchast writes: Sold the bench top 10" saw. I found a full sized tool on casters to replace it. I wanted the larger table for stability. I bought a 6" jointer to replace the 4" bench top for the same reason. The other tools are in permanent use due to space limitations and are more than adequate to my needs. (Too many stacked up repair projects too move around easily.)
Posted: 5:15 pm on December 3rd

jfalcsw jfalcsw writes: I'm considering benchtop tools with a wheelchair-accessible work surface,possibly mounting tools below-levelwith hydraulic lift to bring them to working height. Any thoughts/experience?
Posted: 12:00 am on November 8th

dczh dczh writes: Bandsaw is new in box, use table saw, and drill press. Use drill press more.
Posted: 4:36 pm on October 8th

bricofleur bricofleur writes: I own several benchtop tools. Except for the benchtop drill press, which is obviously bolted on a the top surface of a wall workbench, all my benchtop tools are mounted on a piece of plywood which makes them easy to carry around. The plywood base is a little bigger that the tools themselves. Beside that, the plywood is the perfect base to clamp each tool anywhere I want or need them. And third, this plywood base is a great temporary or permanent storage area for any accessories. The plywood base of my benchtop tablesaw has a large hole in the middle of it providing a chute for the saw dust to escape when clamped on a hollow surface. And last, because of those plywood base, I can sit any tool almost anywhere like on a benchtop, sawhorses, even outside on a 45 gal. baril, trailer bed, picnic table, etc. And I almost forgot on my old and trusty 30 years old Workmate!


Posted: 10:09 am on May 26th

bluemaxx bluemaxx writes: between my DeWalt contractors table saw , the antique craftsman drill press and my delta sander i own and use my bench top models very effectivly , only once in a great while do i need the use of a 16 in or wider rip or the need to drill deeper than my drill press will allow, even though i have a very large shop i still enjoy the size and convience of the tools i own.
Posted: 12:51 am on May 21st

cbrazik cbrazik writes: I owned a contractor saw (ridged) with portable stand and had an opportunity to build a larger shop in my new walk out basement. I chose to build it into on of the plans with the router table at the end and the biesemeyer fence. Did it in 2004 and couldn't locate the plan. Since that time and building a lot of outfeed tables, workbench, etc. to handle the sheet goods and glue ups, I moved to Florida with a two car girl garage. That saw/router on wheels works great in a small garage even though I do have to set everything up and tear it down often. It also has become my portable work bench. That has been wonderful as well since I built it for my own working height and as age gets to my back is not as good as it used to be. My planner works on it, just wish I had a portable transmission jack to lift it to height to slide it on the bench.

Hope this helps your article. I have also enjoyed the basics woodworking videos that Asa has produced and recommended them to family members wanting to start woodworking as a hobby.
Posted: 9:44 am on May 17th

Bloggs Bloggs writes: I have been able to mount my bandsaw and table saw on stands, so giving me more free bench space. The disc-belt sander and router table still have to be lugged about,this is not so bad as they are fairly light.The one item I would like to have permanently available is my thicknesser, although portable, is a bit of a beast,and as time marches on, gets heavier with each passing year.My workshop is a double garage with three benches two lathes tablesaw,bandsaw,drill press and cabinets for hand and power tools.There is a rolling cabinet which lives under the large bench,and the thicknesser is put on this when needed.More space would be heaven,but at the moment I manage as I can work an 8 ft length of timber,so things are not too bad.
Posted: 4:19 am on May 17th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Asa,

I also heavily use my Festool TS-55 at my Adirondack Summer Shop, and am bringing up an MFT to there next week as well.

I do use sheet goods up there as well as the 5/4 cedar and pine - and the Festool makes it possible for one person to handle them easily. Plus - you will not believe the edge cut quality you get with that thing.

Yes, horribly overpriced - but perhaps the one Festool product that is actually worth the money paid.

A great 'benchtop tool' you might consider adding to your set.
Posted: 2:32 am on May 16th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: The inexpensive Hitachi benchtop bandsaw is great. The saw tilts rather than the table - making it perfect for cutting stuff like the beveled top back support of an Adirondack chair.

I also have the Hitachi benchtop sander and drillpress. Plus Ryobi (Home Depot) BTS10 table saw, and Ryobi 10" miter Saw.

Finally a Sunhill 12" benchtop planer and Router mounted in a Workmate.

All At my Adirondack camp as my 'Summer Workshop'

I'm not sure I'd want to build an Oak Morris Chair with this stuff, but they all work just fine with the 5/4 Western Red Cedar decking and 1" White Pine I use for Summer projects.
Posted: 1:55 am on May 16th

fwarrensr fwarrensr writes: I have a table top 12 inch drill press, a 12 inch delta band saw, a miter saw and one 1 inch belt sander that is bench mounted. I still have a 10 inch craftsman that I replaced with a Royobi 10 inch saw that has a built in router section on the right side. My additional stuff is an 18" band saw, a multi speed floor mounted drill press, a 10 inch drum sander as well as 6 inch belt sander and an oscillating sander. The sanders are mounted on separate stands. I also have a DeWalt /788 scroll saw. I have been using a very small shop to start and expanded out into my wifes porch which also has got to be a hassle due to space again. On May 28th I am having a 24 X 16 shop built however separate from the house, and will enjoy the extra space and bench space also. Wife is also happier as she will get her porch back and my old small shop off the porch will be her sewing room. Only other things I would enjoy picking up is a planer and possibly a jointer. That will come later however. My small band saw I use for things that the scroll saw is to small for and the 18 inch band saw is to big for.
Posted: 5:02 pm on May 15th

MS_Mirage MS_Mirage writes: I have found it much more economically feasible to start out in woodworking by beginning with benchtop tools. Portable tablesaws are great in most instances, but due to their precision limitations and small table, I have recently upgraded to a Rigid 10" granite-topped tablesaw for more precise cabinet work. I mount my bench-top power tools on plywood sheet bases and clamp them to shop-built work tables by clamping the plywood bases to the edges of the table. This aloows me to store them on the lower shelf out of the way when I need to use the tabletop for assembly or I need to switch to another benchtop tool. This leaves me more space to work in my shop. I have a bench-top table-saw, a bench-top sander, a bench-top scroll-saw, and a vise, mounted this way. I also have a bench-top planer (12 1/2") and a bench-top drill press mounted on dedicated tables. Along with my full-size tablesaw I feel I have a gfairly adequate shop now. I am currently saving for a bench-top jointer however to complete my shop.
Posted: 11:57 am on May 15th

PennyCreekWoods PennyCreekWoods writes: Restricted space is the best description of my so-called "shop"! I have one small bench that is fixed, and just one tool on a dedicated and fixed stand. That one is my Dewalt 788 Scroll Saw, my main tool for almost all my work. However, there's still a lot to do, prepping stock, sanding, drilling and routing scrollsawn pieces. A Ridgid oscilating drum/belt sander takes care of most of the sanding, backed up with several random orbitals. BTW, the new low profile Porter Cable RO is AWESOME.HIGHLY recommend it for your first and last RO sander! My Dewalts (Plural) are lonely, on the shelf! Also have a 1" strip sander with a small disc on the side. Recently purchased a used Delta benchtop drill press, which I love except for the relativley short stroke.

Everything else is on wheels! At the heart of the shop is a Shopsmith with a bunch of upgrades. I quickly tired of stepping over all the add-ons, so I built a cabinet, on wheels of course, to house all the stuff. In it now resides the 12" planer, 4" jointer, bandsaw, 6x48 belt sander, and my 24" Leigh dovetail jig. The whole thing is topped by an old Government Issue MDF tabletop, which proved to be almost dead flat, really heavy, and covered on both sides with Formica. As it happened, when I built the cabinet, there was a large recess in one side, which I turned into a place to hang a router. Adding a router insert, a miter slot and a fence completed the picture. Now the thing serves as just about everything, with fence and/or router removed as required.

Another smaller bench with a woodworking vise at the end is also on wheels. My latest acquisition is a Ridgid 14" bandsaw, also on a mobile base. Built into the stand is storage for the Kreg fence and resaw attachments.

Essentially, working on any project reqiures moving at least one of the wheeled devices, and it's not unusual to move them all, sometimes many times, in the course of a 4 or 5 hour shop session! I hope to be building a new house soon, and will grab most of the basement for a real, dedicated shop! My old Craftsman 10' tablesaw, which has not seen the light of day for many years, will be at the center!

Anybody wanna see pix? It's ugly and it's WAY too time consuming, but with a little thought and planning, it's not too bad. You can get used to almost anything, I guess!
Posted: 12:20 am on May 15th

RexJ RexJ writes: My bench-top tools are the drill press, router table, and belt/disk sander. I do all of my work from a wheelchair so shop stool. I have the router table on a lower portable cart which works well, but the rest of my shop, except a 6" jointer are set up based on the height of the table saw so I can easily slide large pieces from table saw, to woodworking bench, to radial arm saw and miter saw which are set into permanent benches along the wall. I have a good sturdy roll-around shop stool that I move from work station to work station to get up to the correct working height. It's a bit of a hassle, but saves me a lot of lifting.

Right now the drill press is setting on top of the bench, (where it has been for 10 years) but at some point I intend to lower it into a recess so I'm working at bench top level like I have the radial arm saw and miter saw setting. I'm very happy with the performance of the drill press and the sander. The router table is a cheap Craftsman model which is generally more frustration than its worth but is getting the job done. I intend to incorporate the router into the extension table of my table saw at some point in the future so that everything will be at a common height.
Posted: 3:15 pm on May 14th

plugger410 plugger410 writes: I've spent the last few years trying to make my shop as mobile as possible. My wife is insistent on being able to park the car in our garage, which is basically an oversize one car garage (about 18 x 20, from wall to wall, but the actual garage door is smaller). So the dilemma is how to be able to park the car in my shop without sacrificing the tools and space that are necessary/convenient for making furniture. So here is my setup. I built a couple of cabinets along one wall with one continuous top that houses my radial arm saw. In the cabinet, I store my hvlp sprayer, some sharpening equipment, chisels, and whatever else I can fit in there. In between the two cabinets is a small cart for cutoffs from the radial arm saw. I also have a Dewalt chop saw that I will be incorporating into that bench, as well, but for now is on it's own fold-up mobile base. My lumber and sheet good storage goes behind this bench, and I also have a benchtop mortiser (the General tilting model) that is attached to that cabinet system, that allows me to pass long boards up to a foot wide behind the mortiser for crosscutting, or I can just unbolt it and take it off if i need more counter space. The bench top has been drilled for dog holes, since I don't have the room for an actual woodworking bench. I have attached a quick release metal vise on one end, and for actual handplaning, I either use a planing stop, or I have the Veritas bench dogs with the little adjustable clamp for holding work down to the table.

On my back wall is my other bench, which I use for tool storage, and it also holds a pancake compressor with a line that extends across the ceiling to a ceiling mounted reel, so I can easily reach any part of my shop without moving the compressor, and then the hose easily reels up out of sight. I also have a ceiling mounted cord reel to keep messy cords off the ground. This bench has my bench grinder on there, as well as a removeable antique hand crank grinder for grinding Krenov style. Behind the bench is a pegboard with many tools for easy reach. I have a set of shelves on this same wall, for tool storage, books, sandpaper storage, jigs, finishing supplies etc... In the corner is my Jet 14” bandsaw with a riser block which allows me more resaw capacity. I have modified it for better dust collection, as well as with the Kreg fence system. It sits on a mobile base, so I can wheel it over to my dust collector. I have some Ridgid flip top infeed/outfeed stands, that I use with this to handle larger stock.

On the other wall are my larger tools. I have a contractors table saw (the General that got great reviews a few years ago). I have fitted it with a 54" ripfence and sidefeed table, so I can easily handle large sheet goods. I also have an extra side feed table on the left side which houses my router table. Its the cast iron Bench Dog model, so I have a large cast iron surface on my table saw, and the part that isn't cast iron, on the right side, is melamine that holds my Delta benchtop drill press. This can be lifted out, if needed, for extra room for cutting sheet goods. This tablesaw lies against the wall, but is on a mobile base and is rolled out into the middle of the garage for normal use. I have set some sawhorses to the correct height and have a large 4x4 peice of hardwood-trimmed melamine that doubles as my outfeed table or an assembly table, depending on my needs. When not in use, the melamine sits against the wall behind my planer and jointer, and the sawhorses fold up and out of the way. Next to the table saw is my Dewalt planer, which also got great reviews from Fine Woodworking. It is on a mobile cart which also houses my Ridgid oscillating spindle sander (again, best reviews), my old antique lion miter trimmer, and my coping sled. Next to that is my jet 6" jointer, also on a hand made mobile base. In the corner is my 1-1/2 hp dust collector, which has a hose permanently connected to my tablesaw, and another hose that I switch back and forth between my jointer and planer, all controlled by blast gates. On the wall behind these tools are all of my clamps, more sandpaper and steel wool storage, as well as jigs for the tablesaw, some files and handsaws.

In addition to the lumber storage behind the radial arm saw bench, I have overhead shelving which extends down the sidewalls of the shop for much more horizontal lumber storage. The ceiling also houses some of my longer Bessey k body clamps and pipe clamps. I have installed extra fluorescent lighting in the ceiling, and there is task lighting at the benches and other necessary spots. Then the final touches are speakers in the four corners, and a TV mounted to the wall, with wiring that passes through the wall into a closet inside the house, which houses the stereo and DVD/VCR combo to keep dust away from them. That way I can listen to music or watch a how-to video while I'm working. Various other antique tools and old saw blades adorn some of the free space on the walls, in addition to the Studdley tool chest poster, which is part of the inspiration behind my shop.

Posted: 11:30 am on May 14th

velbloud velbloud writes: One corretion: I have fixed the website so that it's only in English now.
Posted: 10:18 am on May 14th

velbloud velbloud writes: Hi guys, first I have to say that most of you are lucky that you are on the ground. What that means if that you have a garage, basement or a shed with solid ground so that evethough you have portable tools, you can afford to build sturdy bases and cabinets for them.

I have my small shop (20x20 max) up in the ATTIC of our condo. It's not insulated, the floor joists are 2x8s, I have to share the space with heat exchanger and some plumbing and the only access is a pull down ladder. But I love it. However, I really need to watch the weight of what I put up there. So I have no option of stationary power tools. So what I make do with is the following:

TS: Bosch 4000
Jointer: 4" craftsman bought from Ebay (cast iron)
Drill press: Ryobi 12" benchtop
Planer: Dewalt 734
Bandsaw: 3-wheeler from unknown manuf. (probably AMT), similar to the Enco model)-missing front cover
Compound miter saw: Delta

Those are the major ones, bunch or otehr tools like circular saw, routers, portable belt sander with a stand to make sanding curved parts easier etc.
One of the really stationary tools I added recently is a Clearvue cyclone (with a ShopFox blower on top). Again, it was chosen for it's light weight.

My biggest gripe with portable tools is that most of the time it means lower quality.
Drill press: bought for about $40, had a wobbly quil, with a machinist friend we redrilled the casting and put a bronze bushing to eliminate it.
Jointer: needed the tables reground, thanks to my machinist friend again
TS: table and fence nopt completely flat, regrinding the table helped. (Yes, thanks to my machinist friend again).
Bandsaw: made a new table, trued up the wheels but still marginal quality.

Anyways, I did make lot of stuff up there including about 17 ft of builtins for a friend woth 9ft ceilings.
If you're interested, you can see some of it at:

Sorry, the captions are in Czech but I'll make an English site in the future.
Scroll down to "Ruzne projekty:", you can see some of the home improvement stuff that's originated up in the attic.
Even lower when you look at "Puda 1, 2, 3" that's my shop about 3 years ago.

Posted: 9:58 am on May 14th

winchesterp winchesterp writes: I have dedicated they last bay of my 3 car garage to be my woodworking area. I bought a Ridgid 2400 about 8 years ago. I lived with the stand (using my bench as a outfeed table) until last year. I built a work table/saw stand. However, I aimed the saw at the bench instead of to the right, so the table acts as an outfeed table. The 2400 also has a large open area when the saw table/fence is extended all the way. So I took my Craftsman benchtop professional router table, and sawed it to fit into the openings and flush with the tabletop of the saw! It gives me a very large work surface, and I have my choice of using the ridgid fence or the fence that came with the router table. In the cabinet, I have storage for a Craftsman bench top router and a Delta benchtop drill press (with moritiser attachment), drawers for router bits, attachments, drill bits, etc.

This large cabinet absorbs all of the vibration of the saw, has a bench vise and dog holes on it, and has a Kreg bench top clamp situated on it right in the middle. It is has white melamine on the top and and sides, cleans easily, and reflects the light, so I don't seem to need as much as light as I used to.

I have a bench top belt disc sander on a stand tha works pretty well, and a I have a 14" band saw. I use a an old shop vac and a cyclone chip separator for dust collection. My garage also has an attic fan in it, so I can turn it on when I am sanding to help remove the sawdust. I also run it when I am spraying lacquer. Nothing like have a spray booth! Eventually, I get the shop built, but for now the portable system is the way to go (at home, anywy!).
Posted: 7:04 am on May 14th

Stew_wood Stew_wood writes: I have a Bosch 10" tabletop saw. You call it a series 4000 but it has a different identifier here (in Australia). I have made a number of cabinets with it and it has performed above expectations except that the blade angle has to be set with a square to have it at 90 degrees. The pointer does point to 90. I have re-sawn up to 6" wide timber (by reversing the board) good results. I don't use it for cross cuts, I use a Makita 12" sliding compound mitre saw for that and get good results with it also. I have a 12" drill press that does OK, too.
Posted: 2:17 am on May 14th

John_Carlo John_Carlo writes: My shop is 24x44 and started with a Shopsmith and just grew from there. I have a 22" planer, three shapers, an 8" jointer, a 22-44 drum sander, a 108 " oscillation edge sander, 2 floor model drill presses, a 12" RAS, 10" TS, and a 9" Oscillating spindle sander. The list goes on from there and the best part is the many friends who come over to use and share these machines.

Now, the girls are grown with homes of their own and they have lots of on site projects for me to tackle. I find myself needing to add to my collection of bench top tools. Some jobs are best done on site. The Festool TS 55 is one thing I would never be without.
Posted: 1:25 am on May 14th

BillHall BillHall writes: i have a 12x 14 steel shed with benchs on three sides 95 0/0
of my shop is bench top my router stand is mounted on an old rca tv cabnet which gutted added pegg boards and a pullout shelf for bits
Posted: 9:23 pm on May 13th

toolfool33 toolfool33 writes: Am I the only one using Proxon tools to make small things, like jewelry boxes, cigar boxes, silver chests, silverware chests with trays, etc. I now have 3 Proxxon bench top tools: their large table saw, their shaper/router, and their mini plunge router. I had previously used equipment in a senior citizen's woodworking shop, all professional woodworking level equipment, with a few bench type machines thrown in (router table, miter saw, etc.)

When this shop closed due to the recession and lack of funding, I was set adrift until I found these mini tools, which suit my needs admirably. I can cut, rout, shape, make dovetails, finger joints, rabbets and about anything else you can do on the big machines, and with much more precision.

Fine Woodworking had a review some time back on the company's equipment, look it up. If you make small things, or models or doll house stuff or model boats, these could be just the ticket for you. I rate them a 10 out of 10.
Posted: 8:04 pm on May 13th

RobbyW RobbyW writes: I have a benchtop disk sander and oscillating spindle sander. The disk sander is bolted to a cabinet and is one of my most used tools. The oscillating spindle sander is mounted on a stand and a mobile base. It gets chased all over the shop as my space needs require. It doesn't get used as much as the disk sander.

I have a cabinet with a rotating table top that has my grinders and buffers mounted on it. One 6" grinder has two aluminum oxide grinding wheels for sharpening. One 6" grinder has been turned around on its base and fitted with two hard felt buffing wheels for touching up edges. An 8" grinder has a wire wheel and grey grinding wheel for rough work and cleaning off metal. I just spin the top around to the grinder I need and away I go. Someday, I am going to add a 1" belt sander to it, which will fill the spaces on the top.

I also have an older Delta 13" planer that is officially "benchtop" but it weighs more than 100 lbs and is definitely a grunt to lift. It is on a mobile stand and gets moved around when needed. I have thought about building a stand that has the spindle sander on one side and the planer on the other, but it would be pretty lopsided. If that much weight got away from me, it would hurt. Cast iron doesn't bounce very well either.

The rest of my tools are all stationary types: Rockwell contractor's saw with 52" Biesemeyer fence and table, Rockwell drill press that I have had forever, Jet 14" lathe and a Jet 14" enclosed base bandsaw. None of these are on mobile bases, but all of my new cabinets are.

Posted: 6:43 pm on May 13th

Roy_Harding Roy_Harding writes: Although I have a well equipped and large shop, I still keep a few of my old benchtop tools around for a variety of reasons.

I love the little 9" bandsaw for small jobs - my 20" monster is set up for re-sawing, having the little one around means that I don't need to change out the 1" blade on the big one for a single cut.

Although I have a big edge sander, I still use my little benchtop belt/disc sander for small jobs that are just too dangerous on the big machine.

I have a few other "miniatures" of my larger floor machines around as well - they are very handy when I have a set-up dialled in on the main machine and need to make a quick "one off" cut/bore/whatever.

It needs to be said that I started building furniture 25 years ago with nothing more than a benchtop Mastercraft "table saw", a jig saw, a bunch of hand tools I didn't know how to use properly, and a lot of enthusiasm. Some of those original pieces are still in use and look remarkable when I think of what I had to build them with.

Like most folks, I started with what I could afford and went on from there. There's nothing wrong with bench top tools - they are an excellent and affordable introduction to woodworking for the budget strapped enthusiast. As one's aspirations (and projects) become more detailed, you'll add the required machines as the budget allows - or, as in the case of some of my friends you'll discover the joys of powerless woodworking. Either way - benchtop tools remain useful in any shop.
Posted: 6:07 pm on May 13th

ScruffyShoppe ScruffyShoppe writes: I retired on disability after 30 years accounting & 6 years of running a ripsaw for a furniture mill. Love working with wood, but can no longer work for more than a few hours at a time, and can't sit or stand for more than an hour or so at a time. So I can rest when needed, I refurbished an 8x12 storage area attached to my home, integrating it with an added 8x12 shed on a slightly lower level. I built a work bench between them, 4' wide and 7' long. I store my trike [Sun recumbant] under the shed side and my router, router table, sliding/bevel/miter saw and other tools under the shop side. My 8 1/2" ShopFox drill press is mounted on a tool cabinet on the opposite wall, next to my B & D 10" Table Saw. Next to that is my 16" Scroll Saw. The Table Saw and Miter Saw can be readily moved to the carport for cutting down sheets of plywood and long stock. The upper level shop with its 3+' wide door opens onto the carport deck. The lower level shop/shed 4' door opens on the carport level. There is a stepped walkthrough inside between the upper & lower levels. This actually helps me get from my home to the carport gradually - osteoarthritis in knees and ankles. Since I have a 25# lifting limit, most of my work is small items: stools, shelves, intarsia artwork, signs & lettering. I don't need a lathe in my work and if I my tools are inadequate for the task, my local Senior Center has a full-scale Wood Shop that has the higher capacity equipment - 15" drill press, full size table saw with sled & jigs, jointer, 24" planer/sander as well as the full range of drills, sanders, screw drivers, clamps, etc. When I built the shop, 3 walls are pegboard on the upper 2/3. Set between the ScrollSaw and the intershop doorway, I have a design table with book shelves set on 2 2-drawer file cabinets, which is my main work area for designing, carving, woodburning, dremel tool shaping, acrylic painting. Finish staining & painting is done in the carport, which has a nice breeze most of the time. A ShopVac air cleaner and a Shop Vac Wet-Dry (8 gal/3HP)adapted as a 2 1/2" dust collecter, supplement the canvas sawdust collecters attached to many of the tools. I also have a portable small vise and a Gripmaster vise with attachments. A Ryobi Biscuit Cutter, a B & D 14v hand drill, a Makita 7.4 hand drill, a Skil Jigsaw, a Skil Plunge Router, and B&D Sandstorm & Mouse detail sanders and a Makita square hand sander, round out my joining & shaping needs. The lower shop is my husbands mechanic & bullet press area. He has two worktables along the walls with storage for tools and supplies on shelves & cabinets above and below. On the workbench near the intershop doorway is an 8" Bench Grinder we got from WoodCraft. The drill press and miter saw are angled so long stock can extend thru the open doorway. I am surprised at how versatile I could make an 8x12 area. Most of the workspace is open with tools stored or hanging on the pegboard. The corner between my scrollsaw and design table is where I put my wood stock - up to 3' long. longer wood, dowels, moulding, coving, etc is hanging from the ceiling cradled in 3 rubber bungies on large cuphooks - in the lower shop/shed. Christi B
Posted: 5:35 pm on May 13th

AsaC AsaC writes: Thanks, everybody. The response has been overwhelming. There are lots of good ideas and questions here. The upshot seems to be: how to get a small shop to work. Stay tuned. We may well be contacting some of you for your tips.
By the way, I'm always grateful, and a littled awed, when people come out of the woodwork (so to speak) to offer comments and info and a piece of their lives. We put projects and techniques out there--like the workbench in the Getting Started in Woodworking video series--and then sit back and hope people will find them and try them. I can't tell you how rewarding it is when they do (see the post from "Blackwill").
Posted: 5:15 pm on May 13th

mjm52 mjm52 writes: I have a benchtop router table, but soon plan to build a sturdy outfeed/workbench at the end of my cabinet table saw and place it in the center of my 9.5' x 18' shop, removing the sidewall work bench, allowing me to work in the center of my shop, working on three sides of the bench instead of just two. I have a table top router bench, but plan to build one into the workbench top, along with other interchangeable units in the same space (sanding box, etc) Also, my 4x12" Bosch belt sander is usually clamped upside down to my workbench and works very well as a sanding machine, allowing me to handle the wood in my hands instead of the machine. And, yes I also have a 13" benchtop planer. My drill press and bandsaw are floor models. A small but efficient shop, smaller than many, but larger than some.
Posted: 5:09 pm on May 13th

mjm52 mjm52 writes: I have a benchtop router table, but soon plan to build a sturdy outfeed/workbench at the end of my cabinet table saw and place it in the center of my 9.5' x 18' shop, removing the sidewall work bench, allowing me to work in the center of my shop, working on three sides of the bench instead of just two. I have a table top router bench, but plan to build one into the workbench top, along with other interchangeable units in the same space (sanding box, etc) Also, my 4x12" Bosch belt sander is usually clamped upside down to my workbench and works very well as a sanding machine, allowing me to handle the wood in my hands instead of the machine. And, yes I also have a 13" benchtop planer. My drill press and bandsaw are floor models. A small but efficient shop, smaller than many, but larger than some.
Posted: 5:08 pm on May 13th

bbdesign bbdesign writes: I have had a 10" Delta benchtop table saw for 10yrs I love it. My only regret is that delta does not offer a big enough extension to the table.
Posted: 4:24 pm on May 13th

rschillacies rschillacies writes: I hate my Dewalt planer. The disposable blades are extremely bad. Dewalt Spain do not carry replacements, so I must order from USA.
The Ridgid tablesaw I got from The Home Depot (about U$S 500)
is superb. I'm delighted. I'm a professional carpenter and when other carpenters here see my saw they are surprised too.

Posted: 3:37 pm on May 13th

gblitle gblitle writes: I have a benchtop orbital sander from Ridgid and so far it has been a convenience since I take it outside to use it most of the time. The dust collection on this machine is useless as most of the dust is generated in the front, whereas the dust port is in the back. Other than this tool all of the others are stationary now since building a larger shop.
Posted: 3:05 pm on May 13th

nurseboy9999 nurseboy9999 writes: My shop is a mess and I don`t know how to fix it .Most tools are portable and I have to pick them up to move them onto my table saw which is my table top. Any suggestions would be helpful.One area is my lathe area where I make pens ,it is on a small table , when I want to scroll I have to move the lathe to a shelf , my 3 grinders for sharpening my carving tools are lined up on that same table opposite side , my carving area has a big comfy desk chair with all the tools hanging on the wall below the window,so not to be seen by peekers ,but my trouble is the large tool area .
My shop is 14x22 with a 7 foot garage door on the side as well as a 32 inch door on the same side .
Posted: 2:50 pm on May 13th

netserv666 netserv666 writes: Getting by ..... Unfortunately I cannot afford the tools I would prefer so I find myself getting by with a number of lesser bench top models ..... Most of them are woefully inadequate. However by subscribing to the hobbies major publications I get an awful lot of good advise on how to cope with the inadequacies by using tricks , techniques, jigs, and work arounds. You asked specifically about milling stock , interestingly these same publications have articles about using routes and jigs to overcome a lack of those tools. My next powered tool purchase will be a planer most likely the Dewalt 13 " and then a joiner ( undecided about which to buy ). Aside from the obvious Fine Woodworking articles I find Shopsmith and Shop Notes very helpful ...

Posted: 1:55 pm on May 13th

Bookbins Bookbins writes: My first bandsaw was a Delta benchtop unit. I could not keep the band from coming off in use, despite repeated tuning attempts. I finally replaced it with the good old Delta 14" stationary machine which is a joy to use.
Posted: 1:53 pm on May 13th

tommy_60 tommy_60 writes: I have an old Jet benchtop drill press, I think it was from a machine shop because its huge and very heavy. Also have a Jointer. The jointer is the worst of the two because of its short infeed and outfeed and I have problems with the cutter heads not cutting accuratly. I thought it was my technique but I had a friend watch me and he said everything looked fine to him I also verified that I was setting the height of my blads properly. very frustrating at times. As for the drill press its ok but would like to get a newer model someday.
Posted: 1:45 pm on May 13th

Bookbins Bookbins writes: I've owned a couple of DeWalt benchtop planers. Both feature the same atrocious dust colletor setup. The vacuum hose goes directly over the outfeed. Every time I use it, I need to jury-rig baling wire to hold the hose up out of the way. Why in the world can't DeWalt make the duct so the hose connects off to the side? I spent a lot of money for this irritation.
Posted: 1:39 pm on May 13th

McKay McKay writes: I use a benchtop planer in my shop and formerly a benchtop router table. The router table proved to be insufficient, so I built a larger roll-about cabinet. Lifting the planer in and out of its staorage drawer is a hassle, so I am in the process of designing a roll-aroud stand that will fit underneathe one of my cabinets.
Posted: 1:26 pm on May 13th

Seajay Seajay writes: I have half of a 2-car garage to work with so my tools must both be mobile and efficient. Many years ago (about 24 years ago), I opted to purchase a very effective multi-tool called the SHOPSMITH. My shopsmith not only provides me with my table saw, drill press, horizontal boring, and lathe, it also enables me to have a band saw, jointer, belt sander, and scroll saw, all in a very small footprint. Also, I have obtained replacement parts easily - how many others can say that about their older tools. It works for me and thousands of others.

I'm not sure that I should categorize the tools as bench top or not because of size but on the other hand, they utilize the same motor and variable speed mechanism to provide a tremendous amount of versatility and mobility. I've enjoyed the ability to switch modes quickly and easily, even though I often read reviews about how long it takes to make changeovers or how inconvenient the process it. The accuracy of the tools is excellent and when properly tuned, will rival any tool out there.

For those of us who don't have the space, money, or inclination to "upgrade", the mobility of the shopsmith and its "special purpose tools" provides us the ability to have a shop in a small area, perform our woodworking using good quality power tools, and enjoy ourselves. Sorry if this seems like I’m either preaching or “selling” but I believe people need to hear more about a great tool that doesn’t require them to compromise quality and still be able to work in smaller spaces.
Posted: 11:45 am on May 13th

jflang jflang writes: I built a shop building that is 16' by 24' but have all my tools on casters including the table saw and woorkbench. The other tools; planer, drill press router, and cutoff saw; are on moveable stands I built myself. This gives me the ability to keep the tools I am not using along a wall and to pull them out toward the center of the shop when using them. So far this works great and it gives me room to add a band saw and a sander.
Posted: 11:42 am on May 13th

champaign_ed champaign_ed writes: I'm not quite sure where I fit into this. I have an old (1953) Shopsmith as my principle tool system. It is a 10ER and the owner had to build its bench. And while it is definitely too heavy to be called a bench-top tool, it is very portable because of the casters. So it's a little like a floor model machine that has the portability of a bench-top.
Posted: 11:19 am on May 13th

Mortimor Mortimor writes: I love my Dewalt 13 in planer (#735), the Jet 10/20 drum sander, and numerous Festool tools. My woodshop is completely portable, all on mobile shop tables that allow me flexibility.
Posted: 11:10 am on May 13th

TerryLanning TerryLanning writes: Hi
My work shop is 12x16ft starting from left to right I have a 6 ft work bench .I also have a bench top drill press on a stand beside the work bench. then I have a router on a router table beside the drill press, then my planer which is on a portable stand. My dust collector is in the corner.On the other side of the room I have scroll saw in the corner with my mini lathe on a table beside that, and then my table top band saw on a stand,then my built in sink that is 4 ft long then shelves on the other side of the sink.My table saw is in the center of the room with a work table extended from that, and my sander is under the work table along with my grinder that I set on the table when i need them.The end wall is used up be having a door in the middle of the wall.
I realy didnt know how to set this work shop up as i am a rookie at woodworking.
My intrest is turning pens.
Any comments on how to make a better working work shop would be interesting to hear.

Posted: 11:03 am on May 13th

rkh2 rkh2 writes: The only bench top tools I have are a De Walt Planner, a De Walt double compound 10" miter saw mounted to a Rigid portable stand with wheels which folds up when not in use and very easy to wheel around, a Dremal Scroll Saw and a router table and I guess you could count a slow speed bench grinder mounted on a stand. All my other stand alone power tools consist of a Shopsmith 520 which is a 10" table saw, drill press, disk sander, horizontal boring tool and lathe with the add-ons of a band saw, belt sander, and jointer. Because I have a small shop(12 x 28), it is ideal as it only takes up a small footprint and is a very accurate and well built machine. Changing from one tool to another is very quick. These along with many portable power tools and hand tools pretty much makes me quite content in my woodworking world. Lets make sawdust!!
Posted: 10:57 am on May 13th

tkluck tkluck writes: I own a bench top drill press, lathe, sander, jointer, and table saw. Aside from the Ridgid oscillating belt/spindle sander, I would generally rather have full size machines. It boils down to cost, period.
The little lathe, with a bed extension really does do every thing I want to do. The small bench top drill press however is totally inadequate and the only way I get away with the tiny table saw is because I also have radial arm saw.
The 12 in. band saw falls flat when it comes to up stock for turning (raiding my brother in laws wood pile...). I have to use a chain saw.
The little jointer? Well I have a Stanley #8 and I need the exercise.
The main reason I built a router table was so that it could double as an out feed table for the dinky table saw. Not much of a table saw, but it sure beats ripping on a radial saw (!) and, having the radial saw, that's all I use it for. With a bigger band saw, one that would accommodate a wider blade, I would doubtless make a large auxiliary table and do my ripping there.
Posted: 10:54 am on May 13th

JohnRyan JohnRyan writes: Like many, my garage is my workshop. I got a bunch of table-top tools, drill-press, bandsaw, portable table saw, mitre-saw, jointer, planer. I have a router table, but I can easily pick it up to move it with my router in it. I built and mounted all my tools on their own tables with wheels so I can move them around as I need them. As some had mentioned, I'm new to woodworking so tool progression is typical. Currently, if there is one thing I'd like to swap out it would be my bandsaw. My current one 9', is just too small to do many things with only about 3.5 inches of clearance for wood. Plus, being a somewhat cheap model, cutting straight and preventing drift is a pain. I find myself pulling out my handsaw for work I wished my bandsaw could do.
Posted: 10:51 am on May 13th

cajunbeat cajunbeat writes: I have a benchtop planer, drill press and router table. Asa could be a fly on the wall when he sees me rolling out my tablesaaw and jointer. I work in a single car garage that I share with not only garage tools and things but are you ready, an 1874 Steinway Piano that I need to refinish at some point. If any of your readers have any tips, please let me know. I'd have to say that my favorite and the one I use the most right now is my Jet JDP-15M Drill Press in which I bought after doing research and reading reviews from the Fine Woodworking Staff and readers alike. Also, very quickly, I built all of my benches from Cecil Braeden's plan that uses Plywood and MDF from Fine Woodworking magazine.
Posted: 10:50 am on May 13th

Emeralds Emeralds writes: My garage based shop which houses a number of bench and cabinet style tools is 25% smaller than I require, a condition which I believe is common to and remains the same for everyone regardless of any expansions their shops might undergo. At the end of the day, even if only in hindsight, we’re all 25% shy of what we just know we really need!

This is a universal formula which applies to not only the size of our shops, but equally well to our tools and even our time. Anyone using a 4” bench jointer would likely love to have a 6” floor model to accommodate those slightly larger projects he/she has been thinking about. The same is true for that cabinet shop worker whose 25” drum sander is just a bit too small to handle those 28” panels he’s designed for his latest entertainment center. And how many of us have never endured an annoyed stare from a spouse that called us to the table twenty minutes ago? And so it goes. These limitations are not in the tools but inherent to the nature of the artisan. Once understood and obviously in opposition to the “less is more concept” this universal truth completely justifies the adage “Too much is never enough!”

Posted: 9:46 am on May 13th

RetiredAndHappy RetiredAndHappy writes: The only benchtop tool I own is the Ridgid EB44241 oscillating edge belt/spindle sander. Weighs 40 lbs and switching back and forth between oscillating & spindle modes couldn't be easier. It is a fabulous sander for $199.
Posted: 9:11 am on May 13th

eanewton eanewton writes: More on Festool 75 drop saw: The saw handles sheet goods
with no problem; cuts straight & true using the guide rails.
Guide rails can be joined together lengthwise for longer cuts.
I anchor my workpiece to the MFT3 sacrificial top, set the
depth to 1/32 or 1/16 below the workpiece, and make very clean cuts without tearout. This system virtually eliminates danger of kickback encountered with a table saw. The blade produces
glue ready joints. I can cut rough stock to 6" size, resaw
on my stationary Delta 16" bandsaw (using a low tension blade),
joint it on my Ridgid jointer on wheels, parallel the surfaces
on my DeWalt planer, and true the edges and ends as described earlier. I still have a big learning curve on using the power jointer. I've discovered that all power tools can turn into a WMD when used wrong.

Most recent purchase: a Makita electric chainsaw. I use this for cutting long, heavy rough stock to manageable lengths. It's less than 10 percent of the cost of a portable bandsaw mill. I use it with a $90 attachable jig
I bought at the WoodCraft Store in Birmingham AL to make
long rip cuts. You set the saw & jig on a 2x6 nailed to the rough stock lengthwise, then make your cut using the straight
edge of the 2x6 for reference. Beware cheap imitation electric chainsaws with plastic gears.

I'm a beginner, having built a shaker table with a drawer at Kelly Mehler's school in Berea KY a year ago. That was my introduction to woodworking and it was excellent. Then took several classes with Mike Gray in Selmer TN at his Old English Fine Furniture shop. I've built another shaker table, a tabletop desk, a dozen doors with raised panels, and a bench.

Posted: 8:56 am on May 13th

Cormudgeon Cormudgeon writes: I have too many tools for my shop which is not that big. As a result, most of my tools are on wheels, only five items are stationary, my lathe which is bolted to the floor, my workbench which is home made and very heavy, my drill press which while being a bench top tool sits on a stationary stand, my radial arm saw and my small 14" bandsaw.

All of my other tools are on wheels. My 6" jointer sits on its stand but is also on wheels. My planer is a table top but is mounted on a stand which rolls around and on which are built infeed and outfeed tables.

I keep most of my tools against the walls of my shop so as to increase the open space in the middle. Tools are moved into position when they are needed and moved out of the way when not in use. I have even built a movable stand for my lathe accessories and tools. This allow me to move them into position near my lathe when turning and out of the way when not in use.
Posted: 8:55 am on May 13th

bowyer bowyer writes: Currently only my Drill press has it's own shop made stand. My other tools are stored in a cabnit on sliding shelves that allow me to lift them with proper form( I have two bulging discs in lower back) I use the same movable stand for all of them. I haven't done any profects yet that required milling long stock but that will change so I'm working on redesigning my work bench to allow me to place the planer and joiner in the middle and use the bench yop as infeed/outfeed support. So far its in early stages of design(Meaning just scribbled notes and crooked lined on scrap paper)
Posted: 8:26 am on May 13th

eanewton eanewton writes: My Festool model 75 drop saw & guide rails eliminate the need for a miter saw. My two Festool MFT3 tables joined lengthwise offer broad flexibility in securing workpieces for jointing, planing, layout, gluing, clamping, etc. A few examples: I anchor a workpiece on top of a true piece of scrap, turn my Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane on its side, and can quickly square an edge. For squaring ends, I use a shooting board. Using a MFT3 top secured vertically to the legs of my MFT3 table, I can use my Festool 75 saw to raise panels. I anchor my guide rail to the horizontal surface
and angle my blade in 17.5 degrees and make my cuts.

My benchtop router table is very handy, temporarily anchored to my MFT3 table. I have a Ridgid contractor's table saw on wheels. I roll it out of my 17x22' shop onto the covered porch, turn on a 42" fan for dust control, and make my cuts outdoors.

I have a Delta mortiser (great price-$150 worth of bits come with the machine) clamped onto a stationary router table.

My DeWalt 13" planer rolls easily out onto the porch on a
$50 tool cart I bought at Home Depot. Beware: buy your DeWalt planer at Lowes for $100 more than Home Depot. Reason why: You absolutely must have the infeed & outfeed tables + dust control hose. If you do not have the tables you will destroy your workpieces with snipe. The package of the accessories costs exactly $100 from Amazon, which is what I had to do. The planer works extremely well with those attachments. Without them it is a weapon of mass destruction.

Posted: 8:23 am on May 13th

rocker46 rocker46 writes: rscec......I have a solution to the planer problem but I do not think I can post a picture on this comment section. If anyone is interested you can send me an email and I will email you back a picture. I sold my Delta and bought a Ridgid planer and that sucker is heavy. I do most of my planing outside the shop so I have to roll it down a ramp to set it up. My email is
Posted: 8:21 am on May 13th

uwwoodworker uwwoodworker writes: I also own a benchtop planer (Dewalt). I had a couple of rolling two drawer file cabinets I salvaged from a defunct business. The Drill press sits on one, the planer on another. The drawers are used for store ancillary parts, user manuals, and accessories. They work great.
Posted: 8:16 am on May 13th

rcsec rcsec writes: I'm still a little new to woodworking and like so many others, space is at a premium. My first goals are to organize my garage and add portability to my bench top tools.
I've mounted my Delta bench saw (& stand) on wheels plus added drawer on one side and blade storage on the other.
I'm working on a caddy, also with drawers, for my (older) drill press. Next will be a caddy for the Ryobi planner I picked up. Last summer I built a work bench a finally mounted the vises on it. When I need to use the bench grinder,mounted on a small piece of plywood + a cleat, I clamp it up; when done it stores nicely on a shelf.
Since I was a kid I wanted one of those Black & Decker Workmates! I broke down and picked up one of the early models. I use that for the Sears router & table, Delta sander, scroll saw and anything else that comes to mind. I have plans to build a roll around cart and tall roll around unit that holds 4 tools (miter saw, scroll saw, sander, etc) that are mounted on a base - which fits onto the shorter, roll around cart. The tools not in use are stored in the taller unit. I'll finally have a proper stand for my miter saw!
The Craftsman 12" band saw is on a stand without wheels. I have my eyes peeled for a set of casters for it. What I haven't figured out yet is how I'll make a stand (on wheels?) for the older 6" joiner.
Posted: 7:53 am on May 13th

Blackwill Blackwill writes: First of all, let me start by saying I am VERY new to woodworking. I had been a Professional Chef for the past 20+ years, and now that I have "retired", I am pursuing those hobbies I had long neglected due to intense workloads.

So, to the point:

My first piece of equipment was (and still is) the Skil 10" Compound Mitre Saw. It's a benchtop model, and I built the Workbench from "Getting Started In Woodworking" from this site to support it (amongst other things). GREAT bench, by the way!! Anyway, I have pre-drilled holes in the benchtop to accommodate the Mitre Saw, so that I can bolt it down for the big projects, and remove it to the corner when I need the full table top.. I did attach a surge suppressing power supply on the back bench leg, so that I can plug it in, along with various other pieces of equipment I use regularly. I'm pretty pleased with the saw, but I do wish it had a laser alignment feature. A seperate table for the Mitre Saw is forthcoming.

My next benchtop tool was the Skil Router Table (yes...I went pretty much all Skil for my first forays into woodworking). I used the original workbench as a height guide when building a stand for the router table, so I could use the workbench as an outfeed table. It works great, and I can use the router on pretty much any length of material. My only complaint with the Skil table is the's a little difficult to get accurate measurements from the pre-printed guides.

My third piece...and this comes after trying (and failing) to drill the various holes for the workbench by hand and dead reckoning, is the Skil 15" Drill press with laser alignment guide. While I am currently using the workbench as a table for the drill press, I have the materials to build a stand-alone table (again, using the original workbench height as a guide so I can use it for support/outfeed when needed).

And that's pretty much it for the moment, though I will be picking up several other pieces over the next few weeks, such as a Planer, Bench Grinder, Scroll Saw, Table Saw and...if I can find one which won't break the bank (too late??), a Wood Lathe.
Posted: 5:00 am on May 13th

grpphoto grpphoto writes: The benchtop drill press from Harbor Freight has been the best deal, followed closely by the Ryobi 9" bandsaw.

The drill press has performed better and held up much better than I expected it to. It sits on a small dedicated shelf. I've had it for over 5 years, and there's no visible runout or other problems. The main problem I have with it is that the shelf forms the top of the dog's bedroom on the other side of the wall. He gets a bit irritated when I work at night.

The bandsaw stays tucked in a corner on the floor until I need it, when it gets placed on either my table saw or my workbench. Of course, resawing material is out of the question, and finding enhancements (like "coolblocks") for a machine this small is a challenge. So far, there have been only one or two cases in which I wanted to saw something that was too large for this saw to handle. I found a small table at a yard sale and cut it down for a perfect extension table.

My father bought the lathe as Government surplus in the early '50s, and I have mounted it on a prefab bench. That is less than satisfactory, and I intend to build a dedicated stand for it soon. Unless a "honey-do" comes along, I will pick up the lumber Saturday. One thing that the bench allowed me to do was screw on a board to use as a full-length tool rest for turning something that otherwise would have been too large for the lathe. I intend to incorporate that feature in my new stand. I'm still trying to figure out how to put this one on wheels without making it too tippy.

The one I hate is the planer. It's too heavy to easily lift onto a bench, and I don't have room for a dedicated stand. The lack of infeed and outfeed tables makes for a lot of snipe with most boards. I'm hoping that putting the lathe on a stand and getting rid of the prefab bench will free up enough space for a planer stand. I'll figure something out.
Posted: 11:19 pm on May 12th

cowtown cowtown writes: With the exception of the main table saw and a 3x4 assembly table, almost everything else is on wheels.

Actually, the outfeed table of the table saw is essentially 8'long, and will let me x-cut at 48", so it takes up a masive amount of real-estate. I had a bracket fabricated so that my scm chop-saw is suspended about 8" above the table,

Makita 2040 (16") planer is also on wheels, and had another bracket fabricated so that the 16-32 performax thickness sander is above it.

Again, real-estate savings was the motivation.

The second shop ts, the one that's used for rabbets, well that's on wheels and rolls under the outfeed table.

But two machines on one platform wasn't enuf for me, so I used some 3/4" pipe flanges to go up "another story" and made a shelf to hold a box or two for shims etc. That's three levels of unility, all on wheels.

After moving shop several times, and after many years of work, There is to my mind no "perfect" solution to shop layout. Whatever equipment layout might work with the average workflow might be really kludgy on the next job. "things" may have to be moved.

For example, many shop layout utilities assume that maximum sheet stock size is 8', but when you have to rip 5x12 shhet stock, well you might have to move something- and it's so much easier when it's on wheels.


Posted: 10:24 pm on May 12th

cowtown cowtown writes: With the exception of the main table saw and a 3x4 assembly table, almost everything else is on wheels.

Actually, the outfeed table of the table saw is essentially 8'long, and will let me x-cut at 48", so it takes up a masive amount of real-estate. I had a bracket fabricated so that my scm chop-saw is suspended about 8" above the table,

Makita 2040 (16") planer is also on wheels, and had another bracket fabricated so that the 16-32 performax thickness sander is above it.

Again, real-estate savings was the motivation.

But two machines on one platform wasn't enuf for me, so I used some 3/4" pipe flanges to go up "another story"

The second shop ts, the one that's used for rabbets, well that's on wheels and rolls under the outfeed table.
Posted: 10:12 pm on May 12th

Irontruck2 Irontruck2 writes: I don't know where to start. My main piece of equipment is a 50+ year old Craftsman table saw, that I have been using for 50 years! I just recrntly muilt a Besmier(sp) style fence afor it after fighting the old pot metal original fence. I have a Lathe that I bought for $20 from a friend, it was sold by Fingerhut! It looks to be about a 6" swing with a 36 + bed. I have a Rigid 13 inch planer, a combination saw 4 or 5 routers which I build my own extra large tables to do door panels etc. I have a 4' Ryobi bandsaw a 6inch table mtd belt sander. Several cordless drills a hammer drill several hand sanders, electric skill saw a mortising machine a 6" rockwell jointer salvaged from a friends throw away stuff, a Ryobi grinder and a couple of dovetail devices. Now what is, I think, is situated in a RV shelter with a galvanized roof but no walls except the side fastened to the house the rest is covered with trailer skirting The shop is behind a 5
foot wooden fence with a steel security gate in frontof the shop itself. I build furniture made from waterbed frames when I can find them so far I have built a 6ft wide hutch that is 7 ft tall a cabinet for my aquarium a 5ft wide TV cabinet for my LCD tv my next project is replcing the inside doors with Shaker style rail and stile construction. I realy didn't get serious about furniture building until after I retired and need something more to do besides regular house maintenance.
Posted: 8:31 pm on May 12th

finch finch writes: I have built dedicated stands for my "bench top" tools so they are at the right height and are solid. I miss the old (very old) Delta that I inherited from my uncle. It's a 1040's industrial version that I have at home. The bench top is in my vacation house where I'm doing most of my work now.
My midi lathe is OK but I miss the power and flexibility of the full size versions. I still need to build a heavier stand to control vibration as I turn a lot of green wood with the bark still on and the blanks not well balanced.
Posted: 7:21 pm on May 12th

woodchips96 woodchips96 writes: I own typical bench-top tools such as grinders, scroll saw, and planer. I also own bench-top sanding station,drill press, band saw, and jointer. I sometimes have to make allowances because of the band saw capacity, but it has not drastically affected my work. I am still able to resaw wood, just a little slower than if I had a more powerful saw. I haven't used the jointer enough to master it, much less find its limitations. For my limited space and tool budget, I love my bench-top tools. My projects include small jewelry boxes to large dressers and desks.
Posted: 6:22 pm on May 12th

Wood-Chuck Wood-Chuck writes: I am one of the fortunate ones. I moved from a single car garage to a 24x36 shop that I build about 4 years ago. The majority of my equipment is stationary: however I still use a few of my benchtop tools. Even though all of my benchtop equipment is secured in place and the dust collection is hooked up all of the time they are still benchtop tools. I have a General Mortiser, a 14" Delta Drill press, Ryobi disk/belt sander, small Mastercraft scroll saw and a portable Turncrafter Pro lathe. I take the lathe to craft shows and turn pens at the show. I find it doesn't matter what tools you have if they are properly maintained and have sharp blades they all work well. Happy woodworking!
Posted: 5:46 pm on May 12th

Mwoodpecker Mwoodpecker writes: I used to have a

- Delta 8 1/4 Sidekick contractor saw. Fantastic saw.
but I outgrew it, and upgraded to a Rigid 3650 which is Super Fantastic. If I had the space I would have kept the Delta.

- Sears 11" 3 wheel bandsaw - traded up to a 14"
It lived on a board that it was bolted to, so it was easy to move it to various locations / even sawhorses outside

- Canadian Tire 36" Radial Arm Drill Press
This does everything that I think I might need.
While it is called "Bench top" it is heavy like a well fed pig, needs to be bolted down clamping just doesn't seem to do it.

- LeeValley steel Router table. It is ontop of a mobile stand I built, but hasn't needed to move for years.

I have not had the need for a planer as most of my bigger projects are ply or use wood of standard dimensions

Sanding machines are orbital or belt hand held machines.

Posted: 5:15 pm on May 12th

Makadad Makadad writes: My shop is limited to a 14x12 room in the basement, so table top machines are all I can afford floor space for.

I have room on my worktable for 2 of them, and put whatever I need up, and switch when I need to. I have a drill press, a bandsaw (which I am seriously considering turning in for a larger floor model) a disc/band sander, a dual grinding wheel and the Veritas router table.

I bought the Ridgid TS2400 portable saw and stand when it beat the Bosch and the Dewalt portables in two seperate tool reviews that I saw. I've never regretted it. Dust collection is fantastic, the fence is solid, it's been as accurate as I can make it for 2 years now. My only regrets are that the top is not steel, so it's not magnetic (whic can be very handy for jigs) and the stock miter gauge was poor (though that's true of many/most saws, portable or not).

My TS400 doubles as a work surface, especially for the router table and small assembly.

The only limitation I've found with this setup is that I am restricted to no larger than a quarter-sheet of plywood. There's no room for outfeed of anything larger. I have to rip anything bigger with a skilsaw outside.

The only full-size floor model tool I have is a General dual bag dust collector, which was also worth every penny and every square inch for a basement shop. I also have a hanging General air cleaner which, combined with the collector, keep the rest of the house dust-free.
Posted: 4:45 pm on May 12th

AxlMyk AxlMyk writes: You show a picture of the Dewalt planer, but did not add a benchtop planer to the voting.
As my shop is 1/2 of a 2 car garage, space is at a premium. I made a fliptop stand to hold my Dewalt 735 planer and Ridgid oscillating sander to save space in the shop. A router cabinet designed by myself gives me the ability to create many projects.
Posted: 4:44 pm on May 12th

pjpryor pjpryor writes: My current collection of benchtop tools include a 6-1/8" jointer and (by your definition) a 12" bandsaw which is really a stand alone machine. I received the jointer as a gift from my wife (so I'm stuck, you know what I mean)which suited my needs when my shop consisted of one half of a double garage. It has been the tool of most of my frustration over the last few years. The power is dynamite but I find myself very limited due to the size of the infeed & outfeed tables which are 12" respectively. I have tried using my roller stands to help the problem but an unlevel floor makes that challenging as well. It is time consuming registering a flat face or square edge on a board of any length over 4' long. I have thought about having some bed extensions built for it to extend the beds and see if that helped. I have since made a sled for my planer to help with the issues of face jointing a board, works great. My bandsaw is a "craftsman" 12" which is really a nice machine except for the trunnion assembly and I really have no complaints about it. It has plenty of power to resaw 7" of maple, walnut, oak, and cherry and it does an equally fine job on thinner material as well. Any suggestions for my jointer problem would be appreciated.
Posted: 3:51 pm on May 12th

stanton stanton writes: I have a Ryobi 13" planer with a locking bar on a rolling cart. Also, a Ridgid oscillating belt sander on shelf and a Ryobi, customized, router table I built the fence and it is mounted on top of and old kitchen cabinet which is on top of a wheeled cart I made. Further, I have a General benchtop mortising machine mounting on a rolling work cart. And then there is the Worksharp 3000 that has found a place in the corner of a backup workbench. For the planer, router table and mortiser I use floor standing roller supports (I have two) one for infeed and one for outfeed. Where the roller support is not tall enough I built two box supports to raise them up higher. I also use the roller supports with my table saw.
Posted: 3:42 pm on May 12th

vmartens vmartens writes: I started out with a three wheel bench top bandsaw. I could never get it tuned well enough to keep the blade on the saw. I've got a Jet stationary now and love it. My bench top drill press is OK but the throat is some what small, if I had room I'd get a larger one. I started with an AMT benchtop saw. It is a whimpy 7 1/4". I built a rolling cabinet for it but it is a real bear to set up. Bought a house brand 10" saw at Menards a few years ago. It is noisy but cuts fairly well. The only down sides are the extremely small table,non-standard slideways, and inabilty to mount a zero clearance insert. I would like to have a cabinet or hybrid table saw but can't afford one or really have room in the garage.
Posted: 2:50 pm on May 12th

Blue_Rocco Blue_Rocco writes: I have both a bench top and stand alone band saw. I like the bench top for small stuff, I keep a 1/8" blade on it and a re-saw blade on the 14" w/ riser block. Both work great for what I have them set up for. I had a bench top router table, but it wasn't stable enough for me, so I built my router into my table. It works great like that, doesn't wiggle when I use it. I do have sort of a bench top jointer ... it's on my shop smith, so it's a different animal altogether. I'm looking to get a combo jointer/planer. 12" sounds much better than 4" for a jointer. :)
Posted: 2:21 pm on May 12th

isawitall isawitall writes: Does my Dewalt 13" planer count as a bench top machine? Other than my 6" belt sander and 6" grinder, and floor model drill press, everything in my 10' x 10' shop is on wheels: 14" Rikon band saw, 10" Inca table saw, 6" jointer, Jet vacuum. I feel as thought I need to be on wheels sometimes too.
Posted: 2:15 pm on May 12th

moorebuilder moorebuilder writes: My shop space is rather narrow (8') and long, with doors on both ends. I have made rolling stations for many of the tools so I can move them out onto the concrete patio to work. I have a floor model bandsaw that stays put and have built a work shelf that the drill press rests on permanently. Other than that, everything is portable. I would love a permanent, large shop space but that is not in the cards in the near future. What I do now works well.
Posted: 1:03 pm on May 12th

Eric_C Eric_C writes: I work in the basement and don't have room or $$ for large 220v tools all around. I have a benchtop table saw, which is a real problem. I need to check the fence for squarness everytime I set it; it is underpowered, noisy, and vibrates too much to make a clean cut. I hope to replace it this summer with a high end contractors or hybrid saw. Router is mounted on a shopmade table with drawers to hold bits and jigs. Plan came from a taunton book. The benchtop drill press is mounted on a shopmade table with drawers that contain all the bits, jigs, and the hand-held drill. This is a wonderful setup. The plans are cut-down and modified from the router table plans. BAnd saw is 14" Delta closed cabinet from Craigslist. Works very well. After the table saw, I'd like to get a dust collector because the shopvac needs to be cleaned out way too often when abused as a dust collector, then a planer (13" benchtop)and jointer (6" floor standing). I think the benchtop jointers would be too small for furniture building.
Posted: 12:54 pm on May 12th

Blackhorsewoodworks Blackhorsewoodworks writes: Like everyone else who has posted here I have a small shop (approximately 10'x12' and must be shared with my wife's Saturn Sky). Everything must fold up and rest against a wall. I build doors, boxes and pens. The fold up Rigid contractor's saw with a Woodworker II blade is sufficient for most of my projects. The Jet table top lathe is a terrific machine for small projects. The Delta bench top drill press is as good as the floor model except on very large projects. The Delta 9" bandsaw is a very imprecise machine but is okay for my small projects.

The Delta bench top joiner is surprisingly good as is the low end bench top planer.

The Rigid bench top ocillaing sander was also a really good buy.

I have been really pleased with the bench top machines.
Posted: 11:06 am on May 12th

sk2tobin sk2tobin writes: ooops hit the wrong button so here is the rest:
My table saw also does double duty as a workbench for handtools and glue ups. I use a variety of clamps to hold pieces to the top for hand planing, sawing, resawing, drilling etc. It is a bit wobbly but it gets the job done.

As for limitations on what I can build there are a few. The jobsite table saw lacks power so it can be hard to cut through thick stock. I usually just take it in about four or five passes and that seems to do the trick. there is also no outfeed table so cutting long or wide pieces (sheet goods) can be a problem. As for the jointer it is only 6" but I have just started to teach myself to use handplanes and my current project requires me to do some jointing on a face that is over six inches and it seems to be going pretty good. So I guess there are really no limitations there. Well I guess that is it for now.

Posted: 10:25 am on May 12th

sk2tobin sk2tobin writes: My shop consists of a shed in the backyard. Now we're talking about a shed that is about 5' x 8' so no work gets done in there it is just a place for the tools to spend the night and stay out of the rain. When I want to work I pull all of them out onto the cement patio and get busy. Since I have to pull all of them out they are all either portable (i.e. jobsite table saw, benchtop joiner, planer and a jobsite chopsaw) or hand tools.

Posted: 10:19 am on May 12th

MonkeyWrench MonkeyWrench writes: Although my shop has evolved over time, I did purchase several inexpensive bench-top tools to get up and running. I only regret purchasing two of these machine -- a small bandsaw and tablesaw. Neither functioned well enough to be of any pratical use and were soon replaced with floor standing machines. On the other hand, my drill press, mortising machine, planer, sanders, and miter saw all remain in frequent use and fit my needs, even on larger projects.
Posted: 9:03 am on May 12th

ulfreq ulfreq writes: I've owned a Bosch 4009 series table saw on the gravity rise stand. It had plenty of power for what I was doing, had great portability, and coupled with a shop vac, had decent dust collection. I started doing more with sheet goods and for accuracy and safety, I sold the Bosch and upgraded to a rail saw (1/3 the cost of a panel saw) and a contractor saw with a T-square fence.

Current benchtop tools include a mortiser, an oscilating spindle sander, a benchtop sharpening system, and a 12" miter saw on a Delta rolling stand. I clamp the mortiser to my work bench because it's so heavy. I clamp the sander to a lower portable work bench for a comfortable work height. I bolted the sharpening system to a 3/4" plywood base that I clamp to my workbench for stability and mass. I move the tools around the shop as they are needed. I'll probably build dedicated stands at some point, particularly for the mortiser as hefting that beast around is not how I want to spend my shop time.

More recently, I've been buying stationary tools after saving up for them, but these particular benchtop models have proven to be good values and accurate enough when combined with careful measurements, good techniques, and some strong clamps.
Posted: 11:52 pm on May 11th

SPWoods SPWoods writes: I use a hydralic lift cart as a table for my lathe and for my planer. I store the bench top machines in cabinets in my 3 car garage shop at the lowest height of the cart, slide them over onto the cart, then raise them to height and into working position and where I can connect to my dust collection system.
Posted: 11:35 pm on May 11th

chuck66 chuck66 writes: In my experience woodworking is an evolving process, with each project demanding the purchase of a new tool. To accomodate the small space available (a utility room. yes, a utility room. Everytime I begin work, I have to drag everything outside to the deck) I'll often purchase hand tools. No room for a jointer or planer? Get a hand plane. The second strategy is to make guides or jigs. At this time I have no table saw (play the violin), so I've been making use of a circular saw and guide. And finally, to answer the question, I use a benchtop router (yay Benchdog) and a sliding compound miter saw. But here is the caveat: whatever you buy, make sure its of high quality. This makes the difference between having to "re-purchase" new and better stuff later on, or having tools that will last forever and will compliment the big tools.
Posted: 9:17 pm on May 11th

stephanc stephanc writes: The drill press is an older model and will be the first item to be replaced I can bog it down with very little effort. I also have a portable tablesaw a Bosch that is on the folding stand but when cutting sheet goods moves where using a crosscut sled after the sheet goods becomes a chore. The rest I can wait to replace as money and space is freed up. the shop I have althought not tiny (560 sq ft) shares space with a riding lawn mower and another toy '96 Mustang Cobra.
Posted: 6:52 pm on May 11th

dstellajr dstellajr writes: You forgot the benchtop planer and mortiser, the benchtop tools I use most often. Other bench top tools include Radial drill press, miter saw and router table. This all saves me space, allows me to put additional storage underneath and are all indespensible to type of work I do (mostly furniture.
Posted: 6:08 pm on May 11th

tnitz tnitz writes: The benchtop tools I own were purchased for one of two reasons, related. Without a large shop I need to be able to work outside, often dodging rain. Also, I like being able to set up multiple setups enabled because I didn't pay as much as larger tools. In some cases price was the factor. For example I needed a bandsaw but didn't have space or money to buy the large one I wanted so bought a "temporary" benchtop model. It's turned out that I've been able to do everything I needed with it so was able to buy other tools instead. Doesn't mean I won't eventually own the larger machine, it just means that the little one has served me quite well.

In general, unless you want to build a bunch of jigs to make benchtop tools work somewhat like floor machines (which I don't really believe in) you have to be prepared to be alot more careful in machining and be prepared to cope with some slop.

Also, if the reason for the benchtop models is portability, I've found dedicated stands to make a huge difference. Rousseau, for example, sells tablesaw stands that make a world of difference. The additional cost is not insignificant and buying a contractor saw is a better value, but for moving machines to a jobsite it really makes a huge difference.
Posted: 5:06 pm on May 11th

oz9ny oz9ny writes: I have lots of benchtop tools because most of my woodworking is in 1:12 or 1:24 scale :-)
Posted: 4:47 pm on May 11th

JLYoung JLYoung writes: I have a benchtop drill press, jointer and planer.
I'm fairly happy with the 12" drill press and honestly haven't needed anything bigger despite having made some large furniture projects. The model(Mastercraft)I have is pretty cheap and has a lot of runout though.
The 12-1/2" Dewalt DW734 lunchbox planer is awesome. I works great and fulfills all my needs.
I have a small Delta benchtop jointer. I think it's called the JT160. This was a purchase made because I went through the classic what to buy first, planer or jointer scenario. My wife solved that issue by buying me both at the same time but I've outgrown the jointer. Though it works very well for waht it is, the beds are really too short for making furniture parts. It would be perfect if someone was just into small box making but it's just not long enough to properly flatten long boards. I've needed to break out the handplanes on several occasions due to the limitations of the jointer. It'll do until I can buy a large 8" unit.
Posted: 12:05 pm on May 11th

GEide GEide writes: Phew! I think the multiple-vote problem is fixed. So please, vote away and please post comments with your feedback on benchtop tools. -Gina,
Posted: 10:35 am on May 11th

MBerger MBerger writes: I don't have much of a home shop to speak of but I do own a benchtop tablesaw, bandsaw and lathe. Along with a miter saw, circular saw, and small router table I can accomplish most home improvement projects...
Posted: 10:18 am on May 11th

GEide GEide writes: Hi GT64... good point about the multiple selection problem. We're trying out some new software but will try to get a fix shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience, Gina
Posted: 9:51 am on May 11th

GT64 GT64 writes: First - unfortunately the poll only allows one selection.

My bench-top tools include jointer, planer, small router table with router, and scroll saw all mounted in a rolling cabinet with a second smaller rolling cabinet on which they mount when in use. A second miter table attaches to my simple workbench. A compound miter saw, disc-belt sander which are both mounted on their own dedicated stands. And finally a nice contractor table saw and a 14" drill press. All of this is contained in a non-oversized two car garage. As my skills are increasing, I have been able to to adapt them to my needs. As my need for accuracy increases, things are challenging but still doable. My next project is as upgrade on my workbench which is all planned and will be accomplished soon.
Posted: 9:33 am on May 11th

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