Woodworking Tool Substitution
I don’t have space for every woodworking tool, what are the most important tools to have for my garage workshop?
If your lack of space prevents you from having a full compliment of tools, you’ll just have to deal with less. Fortunately, most woodworking tools are very versatile.
If you look up what the most important woodworking tools are, you probably get a list similar to this:
Random Orbital Sander
Compound Mitre Saw
Besides the tablesaw, none of these will take up much floor space. You’ll need a router table for the router which will take up some more space, but the compound mitre saw can be put onto your workbench possibly.
But what about the planer and jointer? I think these are essential tools for a true woodworker. Unless you are into hand tools, and won’t be using these two power tools, you will also need floor space for them.
Lastly, another tool that you do not see commonly listed is the grinder. You will need to keep those tools sharp, and a good bench grinder is essential.
So how do we save space? It might seem strange, but the power tool that you can forgo is the tablesaw, if you can believe. The tablesaw is basically used for doing straight cuts, but you can achieve this by using a combination of others listed above.
Now another option would be to get a contractor’s tablesaw, which is smaller portable tablesaw. You can store it under your workbench. But sometimes accuracy it not the defining attribute of a contractor saw.
So, how can you makes nice straight cuts without a dedicated cabinet saw? You can use a straight edge clamped down to the workpiece and make the cut with a circular saw. It takes only a few extra minutes of setup time. The only drawback is that the piece needs to be of a certain size.
When you need to do repetitive cuts or need to cut a piece that is smaller in size than is safe with a circular saw, or if you are worried about the cut edge when using a circular saw, you can use the jigsaw to cut close to the line and then use the router to finish the edge. With multiples, the router, once setup will also do great.
So overall, it might seem strange, but if you really do not have enough space in your garage, skip the tablesaw! It will take a few extra minutes of setup to make a cut when needed but the point here is that if you need space, then you can achieve almost everything you can by using other, smaller, tools that you already most probably have in your shop.