Top 4 Woodworking Machines, Rob Cosman's Opinion
Top 4 Woodworking Machines, Rob Cosman's Opinion
Rob takes you through his opinion on stationary power tools. Which ones are most important and what to look for when buying. Check out our video on improving dust collection on a band saw here
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Hey Rob-you can put a trailer jack upside down on the General and raise and lower it by cranking
Nice workshop. I am getting close. Just bought and am in process of overhauling an older tablesaw, have a nice drillpress and a jointer.
Not bad thinking that i started the hobby six years ago with a homemade tablesaw made of a used skillsaw and some handtools.
If anyone’s really into speed changes on a drill press [more for those finicky machinist types] you just can’t beat a VFD.
I am not a big fan of the red link belts that you are running. I went through that phase of trialing them because they were "the answer". Although they are certainly a good belt, I have found as good or better results (certainly at a far lower price) by using the notched v-belts. The main reason people start using link belts is to eliminate machine vibration. The root cause of most vibration is the memory kink left in conventional v-belts after they remain in a static position. This kinking is usually most pronounced at the smallest pulley. The notched v-belts eliminate this memory kink and resulting vibration — at a substantially lower cost. I would suggest trying them on one of your machines. I think you will be pleased.
Very informative and helpful. Thank you.
I cannot tell you how good it makes me feel to see a woodworker of Rob Cosman’s stature with a shop that doesn’t look like you could make microchips in it. #woodworkingismessy
Pretty much agree with everything you said. I have a unisaw and I have never
had that tilt limitation you mentioned. Bit surprised you don’t have a drum
sander. They come in pretty handy when you have a large panel to sand.
Like to hear you thoughts on the Jet 22/44.
I am loving your Youtube. But I bet many like me, have only a small single car garage as a workshop with single-phase and have small DIY power tools. I even tried to fabricate a flip table for my table saw and planer thicknesser to save space. (not happy with it) I know there are also plenty of videos out there for DIY accessories out there. I also like the fact you use a lot of hand tools. Do you ever use a router for dovetails or a mortiser for mortises?
My rockwell bandsaw is very similar but it is a little older so it doesn’t have that kill switch but it does have cast iron wheels. We put a digital three phase variable speed panel on it because we use it for wood and metal.
I’d add a good dust control system. Essential, especially if you’re working with materials like MDF.
Great video, thanks.
I have been living in China for the past 20 years. Before we moved there, I had a small wood workshop, But all my tools are long gone. I am retiring soon and want to begin woodworking again during my retirement years. I like the machines you recommended on this video. However, my budget is limited. What table saw would you recommend?
you have way too many machines that take up too much space. Should consider a combo machine like a Felder or SCMI
Hi Rob, I discovered your videos by chance, and absolutely love your teaching style, and advice.
I noticed your miter saw in the background, and it has what looks like a dome flexible style housing as a dust collection. Is this the best style of dust collection available for a miter saw?
I’m trying to improve my miter saw dust collection, and have considered your style.
1. Table Saw (only really for rip cuts. you can do that on the bandsaw too, but i find it’ll stall the bandsaw slightly)
2. Band Saw (for resawing capabilities and for curves you can’t achieve with basic hand tools)
3. Drill press (having a perpendicular hole in contrary to the wood is essential. You can also drill precise angled holes for different purposes)
4. Thickness Planer (you can use the bandsaw to resaw, saving less waste, but if youre working with cheaper stock like pine, waste isnt really too much of an issue)
Out of all powertools, i dislike the router the most. Its annoyingly loud, even with hearing protection, and is used the least actually around my shop.
Where does one buy these older machines?
My pick on the 4 woodworking machines, for hobby and small professional shops with a single person working in it.
1 European style combination machine, you have table saw, shaper, jointer, planer and can do mortises (that have to be squared if you don’t round the tenons). It can be the only machie you need and good models come with carriages that allow things that most table saws don’t allow.
if properly positioned in the shop eats less space then 4 or 5 single function dedicated machines. I, working in a very little one have it on wheels so i can orient it depending on the particular function used, as it needs space on all 4 sides, or even move it in a shop corner when i need the space for other uses.
The trade off is that you need to configure the machine for every function so you need more planning and is more time consuming if you have to do a single cut or plane a single edge.
2 Drill press, it is possible to live without it and still drill holes perpendicular to the surface, using jigs or in some other ways, but is very useful.
3 Band saw, curved cuts and cuts in wood that exceeds the thickness you circular saw allows, but can be used also for tenons, producing veneers on your own and so on. IMHO a little band saw is a waste of money for everyone that is willing to produce larger things then doll houses or very little pieces of furniture, you need power and strength, the blade should not have any problem when it meets hard or thick wood.
4 You don’t really need a 4rth machine, but some CNC or stationary sander if you have the space and money can be useful. it really depends on the kind of works you do. Also a planer that can plane larger can be an option, the planer built in the combination machine is larger as the jointer, usually from 8 to 12 inches, so good to plane the single boards but not a larger item obtained gluing together the boards like a table top. Also a chisel mortiser that can produce squared corners mortises is an option.
I would say that, being able to use traditional hand tools, a good traditional work bench is more useful then the 4rth stationary machine.
For those that know how to use the router and traditional hand tools probably the most useful stationary machine is the band saw. Most of the joinery can be done in traditional ways or with the router, an hand held electric plane can replace the scrub plane, used in the same way, not along the grain, and with the help of a straight edge it is quite fast to bring the boards to a point where it is fast to make them perfectly straight with traditional planes, scrub planes are very efficient but if you have to plane many boards cause a lot of fatigue. long ripping cuts are the other work that needs a lot of your energy and the band saw can be the solution. With a hand held electric plane and a band saw or a hand held circular saw with huge power and depth of cut you can have all the sweet aspects of traditional wood working almost skipping what puts strain to your body and depletes your energy. And the super useful router can do a lot of things if/when you don’t feel to do it in the traditional way, joinery, planing board edges, even plane very large boards and on and over.
For who works wood as hobby and is willing to learn to use traditional tools, building stuff using real wood and not panels the band saw can really be the only stationary machine needed.
It sounds like there’s no more manufacturing of top quality machinery.
I looked at Sawstop and the price seemed very high for the level of quality
hI ROB – i APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTARY S – i GET A GREAT MATE-SHIP FROM THEM EVEN WHEN i MIGHT HAVE A LOW INTEREST (RARELY) IN THE SUBJECT MATTER = A GREAT WAY OF OVERCOMING DISTANCE WAY OUT WEST NSW HERE IN UPSIDE-DOWN LAND. . i ENJOYED YOUR SHOP VISIT TODAY – NOT SO SURE i CAN EVER HOPE FOR A SURE STOP SAW – ALREADY CHANGED FROM 10 TO 11 AND BACK TO 10 FINGERS TOO !
I did it too. This is what I used Woodprix designs for
Back in the Golden age of furniture making, woodworkers would be proud and love to show showroom furniture they’ve made and talk about wood. Today they love talking about big top of the line machines and yet have no portfolio of furniture to show their greatness. In fact the better equipped their wood shop is the more obsessed they become with machines, instead of actually furniture.
This video although useful is an example of that. He loves the machines but what does he have to show in terms of furnitures style he’s invented and manifactured with them ? Somebody with only hand tools who designed a single new chair is more deserving than a guy with a hundred thousands of dollar equipped shop. It’s like a painter with the most expensive dyes and colors who never painted a work of art.
Rob, I realize that this Video is over a year old, but I just got around to watching as my shop was consumed in a fire on February 9th, and now I am faced with rebuilding. Because of my situation, I have not been able to personally review the condition of equipment. The pictures show that the General 350 table saw, Jos Poitras Jointer and Oneway Lathe look to be "standing". Have you ever had the opportunity or need to restore any tool that has been through a fire? If so, any advice of what to look out for? Functionality is one thing, but safety is a bigger concern. I wouldn’t want something to fly apart once I have restored and repaired it because of stresses induced by the fire. Anything you could share would be appreciated. Thanks
Hey Rob. I’ve got one of your DT saws. Love it. I have 4 Generals in my shop. I also love tuning up older tools (all the Generals were projects). A 650 TS (way before SawStop came out), a 480 jointer and a 130 planer (both with Byrd heads), and a 100-5 sander like I saw in your shop (I drove 8 hours round trip to score that bad boy). I always wanted their mortiser and shaper (well and their DP and BS), but that may never happen. My PM 3520b has been great for years. I’ve got a Delta 17-968 drill press that has been flawless. Like you said, I don’t know how I managed before I had a drill press 20 years ago. That said, my dream DP was a PM 1200. I got close once, but it got away from me. While I’d love to have an all Americas (all my hand planes are LV or Stanley) and/or German shop, the few offshore machines I have have been very reliable. Please don’t tell OWWM I said that…
I really love the Janet Jackson headset mic.
But what about a lathe?!
What are your thoughts on dw735 thickness planer?
I worked in a large shop briefly and they had 3 SawStops. That "block vision overhead guard" is disturbing plus the fact that the SS saw is a 1955 design with a sensor for stopping the blade; otherwise you are talking out of turn saying it (SS) is the best when you have not included a Euro sliding table in the mix of machines. The Euro slider is king. The SS saw attachment sliding table is a joke: like driving a car using the space saver spare tire. Glad my wife did not see your review when I purchased the machines I use everyday. I buy the cheapest cars and vans and take care of them but with woodworking machines I always try to get the best the industry has to offer. The higher cost of well designed machines pays for itself in production and when you sell it later. thanks for the vid. I would like to see the expression on your face when you get a sliding table saw.
I agree with your appraisal about buying new modern machines. The new stuff they sell today is no where near as robust as many older used machines that are in decent shape… Casting quality, accuracy, and over all fit and finish will be cheap in comparison to a vast majority of Old North American made machines.
Rob, I have the Hammer A3-31 12" planer thicknesser, it’s the "hobby" brand that Felder produce. I chose their helical "Silent Power" cutterhead, and on the basis of how well it performs, I can only back up your comment that this is a real advance in woodworking machine technology. In my opinion, it’s a much better design than the retrofit ones including the one you have on your General, but that is partly because they had the opportunity to do a full redesign of the head with no constraints. Probably the best planer cutterhead available, bar none. It’s a lot quieter, and it makes small chips that are easily extracted. I can plane awful stuff like yew with horrible knotty grain – almost impossible wood. Your recommendation of this type is spot on, but maybe if you tried the Felder cutterhead I think you’d abandon the others.
The rest of it is also very satisfactory, with the sole exception of the fence, which has pressed steel supports not cast iron – but this is the ‘affordable’ machine (about £3000 including the helical head), and all the really critical parts are top notch in my view – nice cast iron tables, for example. The thicknesser table runs on a massive centre column with a "digital" handwheel (just clockwork, but works perfectly) that allows me to dial in thickness to 0.1mm and it really is accurate once calibrated. Table adjustment is on a very nice parallel bar linkage, no shims and sliding ways. This is a really great machine, and if anyone is thinking about an old iron one (Wadkin, General etc) vs a new one, I do think it’s worth serious consideration. I’m not against old machines – I have a 1960s Wadkin BGS sliding table saw that I have restored – heavy and all that but adjusting that slider was a real PITA and dust collection was for wimps in those days.
It’s nice to hear about this other side of your activity, and yes there are some lovely machines out there. A fabulous Canuck whose channel is "Jack English Machines" has the most beautiful Wadkin PK anywhere in the world (probably), you might like to look at some of his machine videos.
I hope this info is useful to someone, as an echo of what you are putting out. It is good that there is some decent modern machinery available – we are not yet completely lost!
cheers from England, Miles
my 1023z grizzly had a left tilt blade got it beforthe sawstop came out.
drill press lot of dc powered machines now with speed slection ditigtal
but aside from all this stuff Just buy a full size cnc router like a cut ready system and skip about 1’2 the tools you have in the shop, or Hammer by Feilder a sliding table saw 12" jointer 12" planer with spindil shaper all in one machine. it also has a better saw stoppingsystem now you do not wreck the blade and or cartrage system.
When I bought a contractor style 10" table saw about 15 years ago; one that was made in Taiwan, I suppose I was fortunate because the blade angles away from the fence for bevel cuts. Of course, if the blade angles toward the fence, you could just put the fence on the other side of the blade( that is if the fence can be moved like that ). I am retired and do wood working to make crafts that I sell at the local farmer’s markets and craft events. I really enjoy all of it; making different crafts and the laid-back atmosphere of the events and enjoying talking with people. It sure is a lot more fun that punching a time card that I did for over 40 years…!!
That’s a great video Rob, however when you are talking about other tools quit going back to your sawstop.
Love my 1939 Unisw. 4 foot version also my favorite 16" crescent jointer.
General drill press, they had an optional wind the table up and down piece.
Hermoso son unos artistas les felicito por su obra
What is the price of the late
i have 2 Delta 3hp shapers
because at one time i needed 2 setups at the same time for a wall system i would frequently build, i no longer build that wall system and decided because i have the router bit spindle one would make a good router table ,then after speaking to a few people i was swayed not to because the rpms aren’t high enough for such use .
your thoughts ?
I have an 8 inch jointer and I only use it the day I bought it 10 years ago. Anyone want to buy it?
Good stuff Rob
Good Day Rob. I just bought an old Minimax (Italian) bandsaw that runs on three phase. I need it on single phase. Which option is best – change the motor or an invertor with variable speed.
Back in the middle 90’s I wanted to upgrade from my 10” RD open grid contractors saws to a Unisaw. The family of a deceased gentleman wanted to sell his shop but not piecemeal so I ponied up $5K and bought the entire shootin’ match…Unisaw, 8” RD jointer, 14” RD bandsaw, 18” RD planer with knife grinding attachment, small Delta spindle shaper, a giant air compressor, a lathe, a mess of other tooling and jigs such as a cast iron tenoning jig and a huge stack of unfinished Adirondack chair parts and jigs. After selling off duplicate machines or upgrading (like from a 6” jointer to the 8”), I ended up with the Unisaw and planer basically for free. Yeah, I know not FREE free bc I’d spent money for the other stuff over the years but in my head…it was FREE! 🤪 l love my cast iron machines!
Rob what is your opinion/experience on radial arm saws? They seem to be a controversial item. I inherited a craftsman from my father and seems to run well despite being a pain to calibrate
Hi Rob during this excellent video I noted the dust extraction hood on the chop saw behind the band saws. It would be interesting to see this more closely. Indecently lovely workshop.
I have a drill press with no adjustment so I bought a 2 ton hydraulic jack and use it to raise the table when I need to
Rob, I’ve been a long time subscriber and I think I’ve watched and enjoyed every video you have on youtube. You have mad skills and appreciate you sharing them. I also appreciate everything your doing for veterans. Clearly, they deserve more than they get.
However, am I the only one that is a little put-off by you wearing military badges that you did not earn? I know, they are not on a uniform and you’re not presenting them as "earned". I guess I just have a profound reverence for blood, sweat and tears that go into each one of those badges on your apron and believe the right to wear them belongs to those who’ve earned them.
I too became a Tool Collector
This man has the most expensive table/storage space I have ever seen
Never used, or even seen, a table saw that tilted the blade towards the fence.