Does your shop have a "living room"?


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I was joking with someone the other day about how for most people the living room is the most expensive room in the house. Most people look for a nice big formal living room when house hunting, but in practice use that room less frequently than any other room in the house. It ends up being a disproportionately expensive room for the amount of use you get from it. So I starting thinking to myself, what is the "living room" of my shop? What tool did I spend quite a bit of money on, but get little commensurate use or value from it? I'm not talking about that weird digital tape measure that your aunt got you, but a tool you feel you need to have in the shop (either because there is no alternative tool, or you feel is a necessary element of any well equipped shop).

For me, I've decided it's the router table. All in, I think I spend close to $1000 for the entire setup including the cabinet, top, fence, and router. Yet it's probably the least used of any of my bigger stationary tools. I certainly wouldn't get rid of it, but in a pinch I could probably get by using either a handheld router or hand tools to do many of its operations. That might be less convenient, but is it $1000 less convenient? I'm not sure.

So what's the "living room" in your shop?

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Thanks for reinforcing the voice in my head telling me not to build the ultimate router table cause i wont use it enough. Currently I think the most unused is the dedicated morticer. Im kinda wishing i would have just kept the attachment for the drill press, it only takes 5 to 10 min to set up and worked well.

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So far my most under utilized tool is probably my scroll saw. It was also one of the cheapest. I bought it on craigslist for $50. It is the Delta 18" VS.

As for formal living rooms, no way is any room in my house formal. I consider every room livable. We are even taking the wall out between our kitchen and "formal" dining room to make an over sized kitchen.

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Thanks for reinforcing the voice in my head telling me not to build the ultimate router table cause i wont use it enough. Currently I think the most unused is the dedicated morticer. Im kinda wishing i would have just kept the attachment for the drill press, it only takes 5 to 10 min to set up and worked well.

I disagree with the thumbs down on the router table. A router table is an asset to the shop. The dedicated mortiser could be replaced by the drill press.

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Sorry Rob, I'll have to disagree with the router table. I use mine quite frequently. In fact, I find myself wishing I could be better using the router outside the router table because I use it in the router table so much.

Although it's not nearly in the expensive category, I kind of don't use my DVD player like I thought I would. I bought one that could play DivX files. I converted alot of the podcasts (especially Marc's!) and saved them on DVD at first so I could watch them in the shop while working but then I realized that I can't really watch them while "working" in the shop. Believe or not, I have to stop working to watch them (and pay attention because its about woodworking!). That's a waste of time for me to stop working since I don't get an over-abundance of shop time so I don't really use my DVD player now at all. Now, I just turn on a hockey game or something else on the TV and work while listening and an occasional glance.

Tim

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The tool that takes up way too much space for its use is.... my cabinet saw. Unlike many other woodworkers, for me the tool is the saw of last resort. The bandsaw, Festool track saw and jig saw... and even hand saws get used before the cabinet saw.

That said, this is probably because I've fallen into the woodturning vortex and do very little 'flatwork'.

I'm looking forward to using the cabinet saw with an Incra sliding miter table to cut lots of precision small pieces for segmented turnings.

On the other hand, the table saw makes a fine "table" for photographing our work <s>

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I guess I'm in the minority on the router table, but again this is about mileage. I probably use my router table for one operation on every third project, and it saves me maybe 15 minutes over using an alternate tool. Is that really worth my $1K investment? Now if I'd gone cheap on the router table it would probably be a very different story. At the opposite end of the spectrum for me would be the band saw. I spent a bit less money on that than the router table, and I use it in every phase of every project. I'm also thinking there's a good reason my jointer and drum sander are two of the most expensive tools in my shop - they save me enormous amounts of time, energy, and effort.

And for the record, I don't have a living room. But I do have a dining room that's prime real estate and only gets used about twice a year. Maybe I should start moving some power tools in there...

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I disagree with the thumbs down on the router table. A router table is an asset to the shop. The dedicated mortiser could be replaced by the drill press.

I use the router quite a bit just not the table. Thats my personal experience. My shop space is so tight i just cant afford to have stuff unused taking up space. Again thats just my personal experience.

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Mile per mile is the router table in my case. Although ... lately I started using it more. I set the table height to match my Festool tables and everything started to make more sense. I am about to create a torsion box to host my Bosch table saw plus the router table using an Incra fence for both.

For the most I use my Festool system of track saws plus guide rails so is not so important for me to have a huge table saw that can handle a whole sheet of plywood.

Like I said lately .... I am thinking of building some drawers with a pinned lock rabbet joint and the router table will be ideal for that. Also for small boxes I will copy Bois setup for box joints so ... the router table so far was not used ... may be not anymore.

If the question is until today ... the Router table.

I like using overhead routers for the most part. Lately my OF 2200 whenever I can because I have a lot of control with that puppy.

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I use the router quite a bit just not the table. Thats my personal experience. My shop space is so tight i just cant afford to have stuff unused taking up space. Again thats just my personal experience.

Understood. That's why I said I disagree...not that you're wrong. It's based on a lot of variables.

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I'd have to say my silly Jet jointer/planer combo. The planer part works fine, but the jointer doesn't work at all. Since I'm using hand planes to flatten the first face and edges, I probably won't buy another jointer (no space), but a helix head planer would sure be a nice thing to have some day.

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The 24" bed planer gets almost no use, as it's a pain in the ass, and doesn't do a better job than a 24" jointer handplane.

The combo 4" belt sander/6" disc sander got less use than it would have as well; the 6" disc was uselessly small. Gave it to the neighbor, and now it's his problem.

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This is one is pretty easy for me, I'm surprised no one else has said this yet: Radial Arm Saw. It was a gift from my father-in-law, I have yet to convince the wife that it really belongs on Craigs List.

I'm selling mine!

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What's taking up most real estate for this Neanderthal is the crate of old and rusty tools I have acquired to restore where I already have one (& often several) of the same in good condition already! But I will need another 6 panel saws some day, won't I? :) :)

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I'd say the tool that gets the least use in my shop is the table saw. It's not mine, it came with the house (and landlord/occupant of the house), but it's in a decent place. No power to it unless I run the extension cord, and I don't have a lot of hand saw options, but I'm more likely to use the circular saw or the Stanley back saw to rough cut wood before I destroy it, er, work it with other tools.

As for living room, I knew of one house that had a living room, a family room, and a den. Everybody spent time in the Rec Room in the basement, where the flatscreen TV was.

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