Looking to save some money on your next tool purchase? Consider reconditioned or re-manufactured. These tools, for whatever reason, were returned to the manufacturer for repair, with some type of defect or missing part(s) or maybe it didn’t perform like the customer expected. They can not be resold as new. These tools differ from those being sold as used because they have been checked over, fixed and brought back to manufacturers standards. Used tools are just that, used. You really don’t know what your getting when you buy used. You’ll be taking a much greater risk that it will not perform as expected or it won’t last. Also, used tools typically don’t include any type of warranty. However, if you’re at a yard sale some Sunday afternoon and you see a power tool that looks in pretty good condition, try it out right there if you can. Never pass up a good deal! Especially if the price is dirt cheap. You may also be tempted to buy tools at your local pawn shop. Don’t! Most of those tools have been abused. I would never recommend buying from pawn shops.
Refurbished,re-manufactured or reconditioned tools can be bought at substantial savings through reputable companies like CPO Tools, Tool King, or even on Amazon. When deciding on your tool, find out as much about it as you can. Best thing to do is read reviews and customers comments of those who have purchased the tool in question. Next, get a first hand look and feel by going to your local big box store or hardware outlet. Take note of the price and then compare the same item on one of the above companies website. If you find the same item, at reasonable discount ( 20%-40% less then retail ) then it would be a good choice to go with the refurbished/remanufactured source. Don’t forget to include all shipping and handling charges as well!
I think that you will find buying reconditioned, re-manufactured, or refurbished tools will allow you to get a better, higher quality grade of tool for a much lower price then if you bought it new. As a professional cabinet maker, I know that the tools I buy and use for cabinet making must be built to withstand daily use, be of high quality, and perform as expected.
Here’s one example comparison for the Bostitch U/CPACK300 3-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit.
Shapers, molders, planers and routers are the tools used in cabinet making for taking raw lumber and turning it into cabinet grade hardwood face frames, trim moldings and solid wood components. A common stationary tool used for making moldings and profiling is the shaper. The shaper is a costly piece of equipment and I think it’s over rated. I have a 3 hp shaper in my shop and for the most part it sits idol. The reason, I have a 3 hp variable speed router mounted under a large table with a quality fence system that I use to do most jobs. It’s more versatile, easier to set up for long runs, and the bits are much cheaper. The BenchDog ProMaxRT Router is a good example of a router table system that will perform most shaping duties and replace the more expensive shaper. In m shop the router is by far the most used and important piece of equipment that we have. In cabinet shops it is very common to have several with varying horse power to do specific jobs.
What tools would I need if I wanted to start building cabinets? (Part 1)
I asked that question to myself about 40 years ago and I realized then, as I do now, it’s not a question with a simple answer. Practically all woodworking tools can be used in cabinetmaking to one degree or another. The problem lies in choosing the right tools that will help you produce a well built cabinet easier and as accurately as possible. To that end, I have comprised a short list of categories that I believe you need to look at before you consider buying any tool for the purposes of cabinet making. You will need several tools from each to even begin to feel capable of doing quality cabinetmaking.
All the tools listed in the categories below are what I consider essential for producing custom cabinets. But, the question is: “What type of cabinets do you plan to make?” Are you building as a hobby or do you plan on making it a living? Are you just looking to buy a gift or just want to add to your tool inventory? If your going to get serious about it (Read On…)
Perfect Tracking and Quiet too!
The Makita 9903 Belt Sander is a perfect belt sander for any woodworking shop. Makita has been around for along time and makes all types woodworking tools of the highest quality.
One of our Porter-cable sanders went down the other day ( bearings were shot and it started to make that “grinding noise” as it slowed down ) so we took a look at a reasonably priced replacement. After reading reviews on amazon we elected to give the Makita 9903 Belt Sander with variable speed a try.
Tim Dean, the cabinet tech whose Porter-cable went bad, got the surprise when it came in ( quickly I might add from Amazon.com ) as we brought it over to his work area. Tim was indeed surprised and very thankful that we got him a new belt sander, but, a Makita? “give it a try” I said, “you just might like it!” (Read On…)
What makes a great gift for a cabinet maker? You would think that any quality woodworking tool makes a good gift, but how do you choose from all the thousands of products available? Here’s two of my top picks for a perfect gift to give.
There is no more important piece of equipment in a cabinet shop then clamps! It’s a safe bet that the cabinetmaker your buying a gift for has clamps. The thing here is it’s never enough! Cabinetmakers never have enough clamps and can always use more, always! The best and most common sizes that are used routinely are the 6″, 12″, and 24″. The Bessey company produces a top quality clamp in a variety of sizes, styles, and functionality. This is the only brand I use or recommend. Watch video or read my post on these clamps.
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
This may seem redundant because I’ve already posted on the Kreg Jig but I believe this tool should be a gift to consider. Not that expensive, it will add many more options to the cabinetmaker when considering assembly of cabinets. It allows face frame joinery without the use of bar clamps. Also, this type of construction can be applied to many situations and help the cabinetmaker in a variety of areas. See video and more comments in my post on the Kreg Jig.
Read my posts on other tools for cabinetmaking. Any one of them would make a great gift for the cabinet maker in your life.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.
Williams & Hussey Molder-Planer
This molder or moulder, however you spell it, is a tremendous asset to any cabinetmaking shop. I’ve been using this machine to mill complicated moldings and trim for cabinetry for many years and have found that there is no replacement for its ability to produce architectural millwork, and cabinet trim components accurately and cost effectively. If you build just box’s then you don’t need a molder, but, if you like or need to add decorative molding accents to your cabinetry then this powerful, yet small machine can transform your box into a uniquely designed piece of furniture.
Cabinet Moldings – When we meet with customers and show them what we can do for them ( thanks to the William & Hussey Molder ) they often choose (Read On…)
If you don’t already know, one of the best methods to assemble face frames is by using pocket hole joinery. In my cabinet shop we build mostly traditional style cabinetry having hardwood face frames. We have several Kreg pocket hole jigs as well as a pneumatic pocket hole machine. Before we purchased our first Kreg system we used biscuit joinery and lots of pipe clamps. This method was not very efficient, required lots of clamps, and we had to wait for the glue to setup. When we switched to pocket hole joinery it was immediately recognized how much faster it was to complete our face frames. It no longer required any pipe clamps, no waiting for glue to dry, joints where stronger, and the frames could be applied to the casework right away. I highly recommend this system of construction.
More Uses then You Can Imagine
We’ve increased the use of pocket hole joinery much further then cabinet face frames. The products our shop produces include (Read On…)
Put down the brush and start spraying on your finishes! Here’s my take on HVLP spray systems. There are many well known and reputable companies that produce high quality HVLP Spray Equipment that will produce a fine cabinet grade finish on your projects.
One of the tools for cabinetmaking I realized was essential, if I wanted my projects to standout, was a quality finish that looked professional. Back in the mid ninety’s when High Volume Low Pressure systems were starting to be used more regularly by small cabinet shops I decided to make the switch from high pressure conventional spray to HVLP. At the same time, I also chose to switch to waterborne
lacquers, stains, and paints. Today I have both HVLP and Air-Assisted-Airless spray systems. I use the HVLP primarily to apply paints and stains and the Air Assist for my clear waterborne top coats. However, the HVLP system can be used for all finishing applications provided you use the proper fluid, needle, and tip combination’s.
The HVLP systems, because of their reduced waste and softer spray, are becoming the most popular spray system on the market for small cabinet shops. Choosing your HVLP spray system is pretty straight forward. Basically you have three choices: (1) Suction Feed, (2)Gravity Feed, or (3) Pressure Pot. Your decision will come down to cost and if you need portability. Turbine supplied guns are easily portable because the whole unit is small and fairly light. This would be an ideal setup if you need to spray on the job or have limited space available. The system costs a little less then a compressor and gun.
If you already have an air compressor a combination compressor/HVLP gun may be the way to go. For larger volume output I would suggest (Read On…)
One of the Tools For Cabinetmaking you should consider is a well made, accurate, and reliable router table. A good router table with a solid cast-iron table and sturdy base can be a a great asset in your cabinet making tools inventory. The ProMaxRT Router Table with base is an affordable substitute for the more expensive shapers available today. Mounting a variable speed 3hp router and attaching a standalone dust collector will give you the capability of performing a multitude of wood routing operations.
This is a top-of-the-line system featuring a 8 1/4″ x 11 3/4″ ProPlate router plate, with Bench Dog’s 32″ Pro-Fence and ProCabinet Baltic birch base. The cast-iron top is over 5 square-feet, no seams, and machined T-slot and miter
slot. At almost 100 lbs it’s actually bigger than most shaper tables. The ProPlate excepts (Read On…)
An essential part of any good cabinetmakers tool inventory should be an installation kit. When you think of tools for cabinetmaking you must consider what tools you will need to install them on the job site. I highly recommend that you invest in a tool bucket that contains the most needed tools to help complete the task.
When your on the job it’s much more efficient to have an array of usefull installation tools in close reach. These tool buckets allow you to bring those items and the provide a way for you to organize those items to be easily accessed. I do not recommend that every time you go out to install cabinets that you collect tools from your shop, hoping you didn’t forget something needed, and take the chance of not being able to complete the job. Put a installer’s tool buck together using a five gallon
container like a drywall bucket and purchase one of those bucket liners from Lowes or HomeDepot. All those little things like nail sets, drill bits, measuring tape, hammer, cordless drill wit h battery charger, level, touch-up kit, sandpaper, countersinks, hand saw, files, screw drivers, etc. Add tools as needed. Keep this tool bucket separate from you shop tools. This bucket is for “grab and go” and should be kept ready for use at all times. Having a bucket like this will prevent you from forgetting something and will save you lots of time.