Must have tool?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mattin, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Mattin

    Mattin Auditioning

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    Hi everyone,
    I am in the process of finishing up my first DIY project, a pair of small monitors using TB tweeters and the MCM 1855. My powertools were limited to a circular saw, a miter saw, and a dremel.
    Needless to say, my speakers dont look very good! I am planning on building more speakers as I had a good time doing it and was wondering what powertool I should buy next? What's your most useful powertool? Router or table saw?

    TIA!

    matt ingrassia
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Personally, a router is going to be my next investment before a table saw. Mostly because I've invested in a cutting guide that gives my circular saw cuts table-saw-accuracy. So, a tablesaw for me would be merely a convenience.

    But, I need a router to do any flushmounting or rounding of edges.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    A router is a very flexible tool, and I've used it in more creative ways than I'd like to admit. The table saw need can be replaced by finding a friend or place with such wood cutting capabilities.
     
  4. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Router by far. Get a flush cut trim bit and do the following (vs. using an accurate table saw):

    - Cut each piece separately. Use an $8 straight edge clamped to the workpiece and a quality saw blade (carbide) for the cutting (you could even use a router to cut the board). Cut the pieces slightly oversize.
    - After glueing, use the flush cut bit to remove the overhang before adding the next piece. This will result in a perfectly flat side.

    Another tool I use a lot when building boxes (speakers) is a biscuit joiner. This allows me to create a joint on each side of the box (perfectly aligning the two parts). Consider this tools after you get your router...
     
  5. Jonathan M

    Jonathan M Second Unit

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    Without a doubt, get a Router.

    The only (power) tools I use to build speakers is the Router, the drill, and a sander (My speakers are finished in recycled timber that needs a LOT of sanding!)

    I cut everything with a handsaw, and then run along the cut edge with the router (Straight bit) along a straight-edge to square it up and finish it up - gives a better edge than a table saw.

    Without the router, I'd have never built most of the stuff I've done.

    Hopefully someday I'll take some photos of speakers, rather than just furniture!!
     
  6. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    I love my router! Get a plunge router.

    Like Dave said, a clamp-on cutting guide can give you tablesaw accuracy without a tablesaw. It's just more time-consuming with all of the clamping, unclamping, measuring, and squaring-up needed for each cut.
     
  7. Dave Goff

    Dave Goff Agent

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    Table saws are a great tool if you have the money and the space. I agree with all that a router is probably the best second tool.
    Jonathan, good looking dog, and the furniture is real nice too.
     
  8. Dave Goff

    Dave Goff Agent

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    I had a second thought, the router is best next tool just for building speaker cabinets. A rechargable electric drill is the tool I personally use the most often around the house or on craft projects.
     
  9. Jonathan M

    Jonathan M Second Unit

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    Dave,

    The dog (Jet) is in it's 2nd favourite spot... (The favourite is on the bed - which is NOT allowed, thus more desirable!)

    Agreed on the electric drill for around the house - mine has had extreme amounts of use. In fact, I just bought a cheap ($25) 2nd one to use purely as a screwdriver - saves me having to swap bits out all the time!!
     
  10. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Routers are indispensible.. I have to borrow one half the
    time (I have my friends craftsman router downstairs as I
    type this...)

    But I tell ya what I find insidpensible is my Ryobi 6 Pack.

    It's a storage cabinent on wheels with 2 drawers and 6
    tools all are 18.0V Cordless. You get a compound miter
    saw,Rocipricating Saw,1/2 Impact Drill,Hand Circular Saw,
    Rotary Tool (like a RotoZip) And an 18V Xenon Light, 3
    batteries and a charger all for like $499.00 And I love
    the thing! The Miter Saw will cut up to 4x4's with ease
    I never thought cordless tools had these much "balls".

    I used them to build my first sub box and they did so with
    ease. I am using a table saw to cut all the pannels on my
    next box but everything else will be done with the 6 pack.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mattin

    Mattin Auditioning

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    Wow, thanks for all the replys. Looks like a router is in my future. Now I just need to figure out how to use it.
    I was looking at the Porter-Cable 693, comes with two bases and a guide for about 200 bucks. The Dewalt looks nice, too, and has dust collection.
    Just to note, I already have a drill, I think that's the very first tool I have ever purchased.
    Any online router use guides?

    Thanks again, I was convinced the table saw would be more useful and am glad I asked.
    I'll post some pics of the monitors, they look awful and sound terrible. Time to start reading about crossovers.

    -matt
     
  12. Aaron_Smith

    Aaron_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    The importance of the tools is secondary to the importance of your ability with them. Hacks like myself need to buy a new tool for every new project-- true craftsmen are able to get very nice results with a very few tools and a lot of creativity. I bet if you were to re-make your enclosures with the same tools you used the first time, the new ones would be much nicer.

    That being said, I've found it's usually better to get one nice tool than 2 cheap ones- you'll find yourself replacing the cheap ones anyways. A plunge router is a very versatile tool; I bought a ryobi which has done everything that I've wanted it to; however, if I were to do it over I would have gone with a porter cable because of all the add-on fixtures/ jigs that are available for them.

    The same goes double for table saws. If you plan to do any more serious woodworking beyond speakers, the table saw may become the most important tool in your shop. However, the cuts you get with a cheapo table saw won't be any better than those you would get with a circular saw and a clamping saw guide.

    Of all the money I've spent in my shop, I think the best purchases have been on quality measuring tools. No matter what tool you're using, your accuracy is only as good as what you can measure. It's just as easy to make out-of-square cuts with a nice cabinet saw as it is with a circular saw and guide, if you can't measure them properly.

    My father's favorite saying is "buy quality, cry once. buy cheap, cry for a lifetime." It is more appropriate for tools than anything I can think of. I think you could make some killer speaker cabinets with nothing but a circular saw, a clamping saw guide, a quality combination square, a plunge router with a few bits, some creativity, and three or four tries. [​IMG]
     
  13. Aaron_Smith

    Aaron_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh yeah- in my opinion, the table saw is extremely useful for doing high quality work, and is a tremendous time saver. Jonathan M's website is evidence that you can make some beautiful things without one.
     
  14. Mike Keith

    Mike Keith Second Unit

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    I would start with a good workbench and as many clamps as you can get.

    But overall as far as power tools are concerned the Table Saw is the most productive if you are building enclosures that go beyond the standard Box, no straight edge or hand held saw will give you a compound tapered cut or perfect fitted lap or rabbit joints that a good Table Saw can.

    Next would be a good compound miter saw (at least 10") and of course a good Router with a Plunge Base and last but not least, a good random orbital palm sander.


    If your serious about DIY speakers then I would build your shop around the best Table Saw you can afford.
     

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