kpfirrm

Equipping a New Shop

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Ok. I'm retired and finally have the time and money to pursue my love of woodworking. Trouble is so many choices. I've stated down the road with Festool Kapex and CMS Router table and router. I have an old contractor table saw that will eventually be replaced with probably a Saw Stop. But right now I want to move forward with the purchase of a band saw (probably 17") and a combo jointer/planer. Grizzly makes some nice machines from what can see but Laguna does as well. I've read some no so nice things about Laguna and some real positive things about Grizzly. Question is, am I reading just planted marketing hype or is one better than the other? Are there other better models out there that I should consider? Sure could use some guidance from the community.

Thanks,

Karl

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Laguna makes a better saw but you get more bang for your buck with Grizzly and they have better customer service.  I'll go out on a limb and say if you throw a Laguna blade on a Grizzly saw and tune it up right, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

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Ill throw my imput in. I started buying grizzly for the price. Jointer, cabinet saw and dust collector. My first big tool however was my laguna 14suv. Although i love shop uniformity, i have absolutely no intentions of replacing my bandsaw. Love it. Ultimately, you are going to buy what works for you whether it be proposed level of "quality" or your comfortable price range. Either way, you will be happy and able to perform your work.

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I don't have Laguna kit, but from the vendors that I regularly interact with, it's the best bang-for-buck TS at the moment.  The new PM 15" bandsaw is worth looking at.  If the have the funds, then the PM 18" is an awesome machine.  Don't have much experience with J/P combos -- I've had the 5-station combos, but not J/P.  The issue is a lot of the J/P combos have short in-feed/out-feed tables -- avoid those.

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First Post...Welcome Karl....good place to hang out.  I own some Griz but it's because of price. I don't have any complaints though.  I can say their customer service is great.  The people who own Laguna seem to be sold on their purchase but I'll say this...I saw my first Powermatic 14" band saw up close this weekend.....It was NIIIIIIICE....

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From what I read Karl, the customer service that you receive with Laguna maybe influenced by region. Some posts have indicated that if you are in California, you receive good care, while the further away you get, you may end up on your own.

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I can only speak for specific Laguna tools

 

Some of their tools are mfg to their spec -- like much of jet/pm/etc.

Some are relabeled euro tools wired for NA voltages/cycles.

Some are quite frankly of indeterminate origin.

 

Some of Laguna's tools that I've worked with are top-shelf, some are strictly second-tier.  

 

Laguna sources from multiple suppliers within a single tool category -- e.x. some Laguna jointers are top-shelf relabels some are not.

 

I can say that there new TS has a lot of favorable buzz..

 

Some of Laguna's combo J/Ps have good buzz... You may be able to get a package deal...

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Ive owned a bandsaw, slot mortiser, construction line boring machine and about 10K in shaper cutters all from laguna. Service has always been as good anyone else.  I got one defect which was a birds mouth bit damaged in shipping, they did not pack it tight enough with the slot mortiser. If I had a complaint it would be poor documentation but on the other hand an owners manual is not designed to teach people how to use a machine. They provide only the needed documentation for those that already have operational knowledge.

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==> They provide only the needed documentation for those that already have operational knowledge.

 

I think that's fairly universal -- I've yet to receive a machine manual beyond safety, setup, basic maintenance, wiring and parts-explosion.  I'm sure that they are out there, but I've yet to see them.  I actually have some PM kit where the crate had parts/accessories that appear no where in the manual nor have any instructions for use --- go figure (turned-out to be the plenum extraction jig)...

 

One Griggio machine that I got was wired exclusivity for export to the NA market with NA controls/etc and included the instruction manual in Italian only.  Now that was special...

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==> They provide only the needed documentation for those that already have operational knowledge.

 

I think that's fairly universal -- I've yet to receive a machine manual beyond safety, setup, basic maintenance, wiring and parts-explosion.  I'm sure that they are out there, but I've yet to see them.  I actually have some PM kit where the crate had parts/accessories that appear no where in the manual nor have any instructions for use --- go figure (turned-out to be the plenum extraction jig)...

 

One Griggio machine that I got was wired exclusivity for export to the NA market with NA controls/etc and included the instruction manual in Italian only.  Now that was special...

 

I only mention it because you see so many that expect the owners manual to be a teacher. 

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==> I only mention it because you see so many that expect the owners manual to be a teacher. 

 

that's a good point.  I seem to remember my father's eqpt manuals from his purchases in the 50s and 60s -- weren't much better.  I wonder where hobbyist woodworking would be if YouTube, DVDs and the internet hadn't been invented -- I bet far fewer hobbyists... Many school systems are closing-up shops, lot's of small cabinet guys are going away, etc.  If it weren't for these new technologies, the average hobbyist would have a real problem.

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==> Don't overlook the Minimax line of bandsaws

 

Much(if not all) of MM kit is NA-wired and labeled versions of SCM kit.  In general, SCM is pretty good -- not top-shelf Euro (Felder, Griggio, et al), but high-er end Tier-2 product.  They are generally better then the solid Tier-2 players.

 

You need to be a bit careful with MM -- depending on which bandsaw you get, they are sourced from two different lines (well there were at some time, but maybe not now)...  I know there has been some purging as SCM re-organizes.  Like all things Euro-tool, you get what you pay for...  There will be a reason for a price step-jump when comparing models...

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I have a 17" Laguna Italian Bandsaw, purchased after watching Paul-Marcel's review.  Very nice saw.  I kept my 14" Grizzly for cutting tight curves with a 1/8 to 1/4 blade, and do ripping and resawing on the big saw with a Resaw King blade.  Very much a luxury to have two bandsaws, not required at all.

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Thanks to all who have relied thus far. I live in Pennsylvania so I am a bit far from California and frankly I've heard that the west coast experience with Laguna is different from that we see out East. Maybe it's just the way we're wired. I have now learned that Laguna (and perhaps others) source product from different plants with likely different fit and finish. Griz is located here near home so that combined with price point has me leaning that way. Final decision will come with a trip to their outlet in mid-state where I can put my hands on the equipment. Fortunately I don't have any expectation that the manuals will do any instruction regarding woodworking techniques. Thanks again.

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Since you live near grizzly, you have the option to go into the warehouse and personally inspect the machine you are purchasing to ensure it meets your personal expectations. If you find a flaw, they will pull another machine out for you to inspect. Pretty straight forward. This luxury plus the good prices, how can you beat that for a "regular guy" trying to outfit a home shop. I jumped on it!

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It's tough to beat the Grizzly Band Saws for value. I've been considering a 19" Grizzly for a while now. However, I'm not too far from their Springfield distribution center and they have a scratch and dent sale there every summer, so I've been waiting at least to check that out. If you go to Grizzly's website you can check out when the Grizzly in your neck of the woods has their scratch and dent sale. Might save some green on the machine.

 

Of course if price were no object, I'd suggest you run out and buy the Powermatic Bandsaw. Trouble is you can buy 4 Grizzly's of the same size for the price of the PM. It's hard for me to justify that expense, even though I fully believe the PM is a better saw.... I'm not sure its 4 times better?

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First off, welcome and congrats on retirement.

 

I'll probably catch some heat for this, but here goes anyway: 

 

If you can spend approx 3,000 USD (or probably more) for your miter saw + router table, then do not get a grizzly bandsaw.  You obviously have the money to buy nice tools.  I've been to the Grizzly showroom in Bellingham... their bandsaws are ok.  Lots of people have them and use them.  But, if you wanted "ok" or "pretty good", then you could have bought a Dewalt DW717 for less then $500 USD - or gone a bit more and got a top-tier Bosch.  And you sure can get a very nice router table for a lot less than $1,600 USD.  If money is no object (and judging by your current purchases it appears not to be a issue for you), get the Powermatic PM1500 or PM1800.  Just watch a few videos on them.  They are incredible machines.

 

Someone once told me, buy the best tools you can afford and you will never be disappointed.  Every time I've ignored that advice, I've ended up sorry I did.  Again, if I hit the lottery, I would get the PM1500 or PM1800.

 

I have no advice on a combo machine.  Conventional wisdom seems to be that neither function performs as well as a dedicated machine.  But, I realize space can be an issue.  And truthfully, IMHO, using a jointer and planer should really be just for milling.  You never really take a piece straight from the planner and start applying finish.  So, a combo is probably fine.

 

Oh.  One last little bit of advice, before I went out an bought a new SawStop, I would get myself a Festool MFT/3 and a TS55.  I find that I probably use that more often now then my table saw.

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Free Ballard,

No, Heat for what you said.

I think your advice is solid, but you always have to consider what kind of woodworker you are going to be. I had a track saw for a long time and eventually sold it. I'm a huge build everything on the table saw kind of guy. I'm still old school and the table saw is the center-piece of my shop. For me the Table Saw is critical to what I do. One day they will pull my SawStop from my cold dead hands. Everyone builds different things and does it in different ways. For me, the most important power tools in my shop are (in order) Table Saw, Router, Planer, CSM saw, Band Saw, Jointer, Drill Press, if I still had a track saw it would be next.

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Since you live near grizzly, you have the option to go into the warehouse and personally inspect the machine you are purchasing to ensure it meets your personal expectations. If you find a flaw, they will pull another machine out for you to inspect. Pretty straight forward. This luxury plus the good prices, how can you beat that for a "regular guy" trying to outfit a home shop. I jumped on it!

This exact method would have been my first choice, given the situation. Seems like a win-win.

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Free Ballard,

No, Heat for what you said.

I think your advice is solid, but you always have to consider what kind of woodworker you are going to be. I had a track saw for a long time and eventually sold it. I'm a huge build everything on the table saw kind of guy. I'm still old school and the table saw is the center-piece of my shop. For me the Table Saw is critical to what I do. One day they will pull my SawStop from my cold dead hands. Everyone builds different things and does it in different ways. For me, the most important power tools in my shop are (in order) Table Saw, Router, Planer, CSM saw, Band Saw, Jointer, Drill Press, if I still had a track saw it would be next.

 

Excellent point(s).  I find myself using a lot of sheet goods.  And since I'm by myself most of the time, breaking them down with my TS55 is way easier and feels a lot safer to me than trying to do it on my table saw.  For most of my projects, I find this very, very useful.  

 

Here is my order.  But, YMMV.

 

Track saw

table saw,

Festool OF1400 router (with track on MFT/3)

Bandsaw

Drill press

miter saw

Router table

Jointer
Planer
 
But, as you can tell, I'm doing a lot more with sheet goods.  For people that use solid wood a lot more, then the jointer and planer would be way higher on the list. 
 
All of that said, it seems like the OP is just getting started.  If that's the case, and the fact that he seems to be a Festool fan (and that he does already have a table saw), I still stand by the advice to consider getting an MFT/3 with a TS55 before replacing his current table saw.
 
And of course, just one guys opinion.  It's worth exactly what the OP is paying for it!  :)

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I think Chet's on it....you buy the best tools that you can afford, that fit the kind of work you'll be doing.  I've never used a track saw but many of you really like them and Festool seems to make a great one - Marc's review was excellent.  For me, I break down the sheet goods with my circular saw on saw horses with a quarter inch over and take my exact cut on the table saw.  At the risk of angering the lovers of all things green, couldn't you just clamp a straight piece of angle iron to the ply (for example) and get the same results with a circular saw sporting a really good blade? (Sorry, the elephant was just too large)

 

One of my insurance customers builds custom cabinets and entertainment centers in homes. He said, "You have all this expensive equipment to build small stuff like keep sake boxes and humidors??" I said, "You pay $800 a month for a LEASED BMW to drive to Wal Mart????"  It just depends on what you like.  For me, I think my TS is the heart of the shop, then a funny thing.....my out feed table/workbench.  I'm not sure if the table/bench is not #1 because I spend so much time sitting and working on projects there.....anyway. then the planer, drill press, band saw, and the jointer/planer. I know that sounds a little crazy but for me it's not all about the end result that I produce....the result is just part of the journey...nothing spooky here....it's just that my shop is an escape from the world of crazy - a place to spool down.  It's homey and comfortable and if I produce something, great, and if I just tinker, ponder, pray, and straighten up some....it's all good. Some of you make your living in your shop...You have to approach things differently.  So for you, maybe you get out of the shop a little more and fish or hunt.  ;) What ever lowers the blood pressure and recharges your battery. Groovy?

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At the risk of angering the lovers of all things green, couldn't you just clamp a straight piece of angle iron to the ply (for example) and get the same results with a circular saw sporting a really good blade? (Sorry, the elephant was just too large)

 

 

Honestly, the answer is "no".  Or maybe I should say, that *I* can't.  And I have done a fair amount of that.  For me, the tear out was always bad, and accuracy was "iffy".  So, as you pointed out, I would end up cutting them oversized and then trying to cut them to final dimensions with a contractor's table saw.  That was hard and frankly a little dangerous at times (I cringe at some of the things I cut in the past).  The answer *for me* was a track saw.  I almost went with Dewalt, because the reviews are really good and I could save a few bucks, but I probably just bought into the Festool idea and marketing.  People seemed very passionate about them.  And I like the idea that a lot of things seemed to work together as a system.  And I liked the idea that most of the tools/accessories were made in Europe (and not china).  When I got my TS55, I was just amazed with the cut quality.  And I could cut to the final dimension with confidence and accuracy, and I felt safe doing it.  So for me, it was faster, safer, more accurate and better cut quality.  It just removed a lot of frustration for me and made my time in the workshop more enjoyable.

 

I should say now I have a Delta Unisaw with a 52 inch table.  And I love it.  I use it often.  I'm sure I would feel the same about a SawStop (excellent tool).  But, I still prefer to break down my sheet goods with my track saw.  That's just me.

 

Before I go, let me just add this to people that might read it in the future.  Probably the 4 toughest purchases for me since I've started this very expensive hobby, have all be Festool.  They are (in order of purchase):

 

TS55

CT26 Dust Extractor

MTF/3

OF 1400 router

 

Add it all up and it's over $2K - that's getting to be serious money (at least for me).  But I don't regret a single purchase.  They are excellent tools, and they help me (as a weekend hobbiest) do better work - and do it more easily and more safely.  My advice is that if you have the money, get them.  I think you will be happy with them.  I know I am.

 

All of this is just my opinions...  Others will differ, and I'm sure other can get great results with less expensive tools.  And everyone is right to say that you should buy the tools that fit your workspace and projects.

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