The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Recommend a list of tools for a workshop? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
motivationalmagic
View Profile
Regular user
Pennsylvania
179 Posts

Profile of motivationalmagic
I'm looking to learn how to build my own illusions for my shows.
I was wondering if you gents might tell me what bigger power tools I will
need?

I took a basic class in wood working at the local vocational school. It wasn't
great, but did give a decent overview of very basic skills.

I'm trying to find a class in cabinet making, but haven't found any
schools that actually offer it.

Tools I'm looking into:

table saw
jointer
planer
router and router table
miter saw
scrolling saw
drill press

With the table saw, should I try to get one with the largest
possible platform?

I'm also going to sign up for welding classes in September at
the votech.

Thanks for any suggestions you might offer.

Richard
Motivational Magic
"The Magician on a Mission to Motivate"
www.MotivationalMagic.com
remote guy
View Profile
Special user
Maryland
539 Posts

Profile of remote guy
Hi Richard,

The two workhorses in my shop are my table saw and router table. I would also suggest that you purchase good quality saw blades and router bits. I started out with a small benchtop table saw but soon after purchased a full size contractors saw.

One other suggestion is to check Craigslist for the tools on your list. You can save a lot of money buying second hand.


Nick
Magic Researcher
View Profile
Elite user
406 Posts

Profile of Magic Researcher
Get some safety glasses.
MR
Repeating a falsehood often and loudly does not make it true.
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
The illusions you build will dictate the need. A table saw is the most often tool used in my workshop, but you can't cut curves with it. A drill press is good for drilling nice perpendicular holes, but you can't pick it up to drill into the side of a half built prop, if you need to drill pilot holes for attaching some hardware.

Start with your project plans first, then determine what tools you'll need to do the job.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
motivationalmagic
View Profile
Regular user
Pennsylvania
179 Posts

Profile of motivationalmagic
Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your ideas and suggestions. Appreciate your help!

I guess in my original post to open the thread, I should have asked for suggestions on prioritizing which I might need more than others. For example, it seems the table saw is probably the number one power tool to invest in.

In that wood working class at the local votech, we used a jointer for just about every aspect of our projects. Seems like another priority power tool to get. But what about a planer?

Remote Guy -- A wonderful idea. I'll start checking Craig's List on a regular basis to see what I can find. Probably save a lot of money going that route, right? What I'd like to do is prioritize the list, and then go hunting for used equipment. Any input on prioritizing the list?

Magic Researcher -- Good idea! Just got a pair of safety glasses from Lowe's.

Michael -- Looks like a good way to approach the situation. I probably don't know enough at my stage to know what tools I would need for any particular project. I saw a Café link to a thread by illusionman building his version of Modern Art. Wondering if that project might be within my reach, and might give that one a try. I'm sure there are several easier projects for a novice, but I'd really like to sink my teeth into that one.

I searched on the internet for plans on that, but didn't find any. Only Jim Steinmeyer's book. Does the book seem a little pricey for containing only three illusions? Do I need to invest in the book in order to have rights to build it and perform it?

Thanks again for your help everyone!
Motivational Magic
"The Magician on a Mission to Motivate"
www.MotivationalMagic.com
motivationalmagic
View Profile
Regular user
Pennsylvania
179 Posts

Profile of motivationalmagic
Michael, let's say I'll tackle the MA first. I was thinking this should be my list sorted by priority of which items I should purchase first...

Most important
1. table saw
2. jointer
3. miter saw

Secondary
4. router and router table
5. scrolling saw

Optional for later on
6. planer
7. drill press

Any thoughts? Thanks again for helping me out with your ideas and suggestions!
Motivational Magic
"The Magician on a Mission to Motivate"
www.MotivationalMagic.com
ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
With a high-quality table saw, such as a Delta, and a Freud glue line blade, you can probably postpone the purchase of a jointer for a while. I seldom use my jointer and planer for illusion construction, simply because most everything is built of plywood and dimensional lumber. Read some of the illusion building books by Gustafson or Osborne for suggestions.

To start, I suggest:

1. Table saw
2. Drill press
3. Router
4. Saber saw
5. Sander(s)

Add later:

5. Miter saw
6. Other stuff
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
MikeHolbrook
View Profile
Regular user
USA, Angier, NC
112 Posts

Profile of MikeHolbrook
I would also put the table saw first. I try to keep a piece of cheap masonite around that I can put on top of my tablesaw once my cut list is finished. If your saw extensions are setup properly this gives you a flat surface for assembly work. Don't leave the masonite on the saw when you don't need it or the saw will become one of those horizontal surfaces that accumulate stuff and it will take at least an hour to clean it off when you need to use the saw. I also replaced one of the cast iron wings on my saw with a router table.

Mike
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Hi Richard,

I've never built a MA, so I'd be of little help. Of those I have seen, some had a long sweeping curve on the front of the left side "table". This would require a hand saber saw, as most scroll saws would not have a large enough throat to accept a piece that big.

As an aside, I think there is also some sheet metal work involved which you'd need to be prepared and sourced for, although some designs may avoid this somehow. I'm showing my ignorance on this particular illusion, so hopefully someone else can chime in on some of those aspects. The point from me is, that many illusions require toolings for more than just woodworking, which is another good reason to study the plans first.

A hand electric drill is a must, even well before a drill press. Buying bits according to the sizes you need is perhaps a bit less costly, but buying a drill bit set will save you time, as you'll automatically have a wide range of sizes on hand all the time.

I have a jointer, but rarely use it, unless I need to true one edge of hardwood boards prior to other machining. Most woods that you will use for illusion projects will either consist of plywood, or S4S boards (surfaced 4 sides). Standard thickness is approx. 3/4", which is considered a 1" x whatever various width. Some home stores like Lowes, Home Depot, etc. have an assortment of some pre-dimensioned woods like poplar, oak, and sometimes clear pine in other thicknesses... usually 1/2", 1/4", and sometimes 3/8".

These are a bit more expensive than the standard fare, if pricing per board foot, but may be sufficient to complete your tasks, and certainly less expensive initially than a good planer. Truthfully, about the only time I use my planer is to dimension hardwoods like Walnut, Cherry, etc. These woods are rarely used in illusion building. They are too heavy for the average performer to want to lug around. 75 years ago, you might find some illusions built from Oak, but thank goodness, times have changed. My illusion building days prior to committing to what I do now, were entirely without owning a planer. I never once felt the need for one, although other builders here may have other reasons why they have their's.

As well, I found little use for a router when building illusions, but for the box joinery that I do now, it is indispensable. I would imagine though that some tasks could be simplified with a router. I recently replaced mine with a Bosch that I bought on sale at Lowes. It is a great set with both fixed and plunge bases, and I am considering the additional purchase of a table mount base, so I'll never need to un mount the base from the table. The motor is easily transferred from one base to another, but the satndard kit would require the entire unmounting if I wanted to use the fixed base in a freehand mode.

The router table I have was given to me by a friend. It is a benchtop kit version, and very nice for my needs. An illusion builder however, may want a more formidible table.

A finishing sander is another must, although the old-fashioned way is certainly still available! Smile I would avoid hand held belt sanders initially, as they have a habit of quickly destroying projects.

A chop saw (miter saw) is a good investment, as some angled cuts are easier done there than on a table saw, which generally requires some jigs to accomplish the same task.

Some projects require clamps, and they will vary in type and quantity based on the project. Clamps because of the variety sometimes needed can be costly, but are essential to many projects.

Hand tools are often used, and again will vary by project. A good collection of screw drivers, wrenches, sockets, files, hammers, etc. can all find their place in your shop.

A shop vac is also to be considered an essential shop tool. In addition to the typical uses, it can be put to work as a basic dust collection device. This can be very important, depending upon where you set up shop. And don't overlook a good work bench, and probably a set of saw horses, too.

I could go on and on, but I hope this helps.

~michael

EDIT: ClintonMagus and Mike Holbrook both posted while I was typing, and both with great thoughts.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MikeHolbrook
View Profile
Regular user
USA, Angier, NC
112 Posts

Profile of MikeHolbrook
Michael Baker brought up a good point about a hand saber saw as compared to a scroll saw. I have a scroll saw that is used a lot for cutting Christmas ornaments and other small stuff. I also have a band saw with a 12 inch throat but when I'm working with large panels like for lawn decorations, I reach for the saber saw. I can set up a couple of saw horses in the yard and work without having to figure if I have enough room to feed a panel through the band saw. There is a wide assortment of blades available for matching the material and type of cut you want to do.

Mike
Made to Measure Magic
View Profile
New user
22 Posts

Profile of Made to Measure Magic
I have two Shopsmith machines in my workshop. These are multi purpose machines which as standard have a table saw, Drill press, horizontal borer, Lathe and a superb 12 inch disc sander. There are many attachments available. I have the bandsaw, jointer, biscuit jointer. There is a thicknesser and other available.

In reality I very rarely use the jointer or thicknesser when building magic props so I think they can go well down your list.

David.

http://www.madetomeasuremagic.co.uk
ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
I also have a Shopsmith, but the table saw is really not much good for anything but small projects and square cuts. The tilting table has always felt dangerous to me. The rest of the built-in stuff and the add-on tools are all very high quality.

As for the Modern Art, the metal parts will take some cutting and fitting, but it's not that difficult. I started out using a two large sheets of fairly stiff cardboard, and I cut and trimmed until they fit together. Once that was done, I cut the sheet metal, using the cardboard as a guide, and trimmed and filed until it fit properly. Once this was completed and fastened in place, I had a friend weld the seams.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
EsnRedshirt
View Profile
Special user
Newark, CA
895 Posts

Profile of EsnRedshirt
Safety first. You want safety glasses -and- a face shield, plus proper hearing protection, and some filter masks. (If you don't, you'll know why you should have, once you blow your nose after coming in from the shop.) You will also want to have a shop vac high on your priority list. Get one you can plug into your power tools to control sawdust.

You are also absolutely going to need clamps of all shapes and sizes- C-clamps, strap clamps, pipe clamps, spring clamps. You will always need more than you think, and can never have enough. And don't forget some sawhorses, too. Preferably adjustable ones that you can set to the same height as your table saw and router table.

In my workshop, the table saw is my workhorse. After that, the primary tool depends on the project- might be a miter saw, router (used without the table more often than with), or my drill press (this is essential, along with 3-in-1 oil and a cobalt-tipped bit, if you need steel tubes for structural support), or, more likely, two drills- one for screws, one for pilot holes. The random orbital sander comes in handy incredibly often, as well.

I don't have a band saw, but some of the people here prefer it to a table saw- though each has their uses.

If you can search for older threads about "workshops", you'll probably find a ton of advice here (including one or two threads specifically on safety which are essential reads.)
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
EsnRedshirt
View Profile
Special user
Newark, CA
895 Posts

Profile of EsnRedshirt
Oh, by the way, illusions tend to use a lot of different materials. A well stocked shop will have both woodworking and metalworking tools, plus glass cutting tools, a sewing machine, painting tools (airbrush/compressor), and probably a bunch of other things. It all depends on what's needed for the project.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
gimpy2
View Profile
Special user
947 Posts

Profile of gimpy2
I would also agree that the scroll saw should be off the list. I had always wanted one and bought one several years ago at a yard sale. I have never even pluged it in. I don't use a jointer much either. Good saw blades on a table saw can give a smooth enough cut to make a glue joint.

Heres what large tools I use most in order of most used.

Table saw - Grizzly contractor

copound miter saw - 12" Bosch

Thicknes planer - Grizzly portable

Band saw - Grizzly 14"

Hope this helps,
George Ledo
View Profile
Magic Café Columnist
SF Bay Area
2884 Posts

Profile of George Ledo
You've gotten some really good advice here, but one of the items that hasn't come up is how much space you have. If you're sharing your shop with your car(s), you'll have less space for large power tools than if you had a dedicated shop. My shop shares the garage with two cars and other stuff and works really well because most tools are on wheels.

There are a number of really good books on how to set up a workshop, and the woodworking magazines often have articles and photos on shops people have built, plus lots of tips and ideas. My suggestion would be to look at some of these before you spend any money. You can find them at Woodcraft, Rockler, Grizzly, and similar places, and of course Amazon and the good ol' public library. You can also occasionally find woodworking mags at Home Depot and Lowe's.

I would also suggest starting with something small before you try to tackle an illusion. Smile

Have fun and keep us posted!
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Made to Measure Magic
View Profile
New user
22 Posts

Profile of Made to Measure Magic
ClintonMagus wrote that he had a shop smith but it was only good for small projects.

I can easily handle an 8 x 4 ply sheet on my Shopsmith. What size do you want to handle.

Dave.

http://www.madetomeasuremagic.co.uk
ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
Quote:
On 2011-06-22 17:31, Made to Measure Magic wrote:
ClintonMagus wrote that he had a shop smith but it was only good for small projects.

I can easily handle an 8 x 4 ply sheet on my Shopsmith. What size do you want to handle.

Dave.

http://www.madetomeasuremagic.co.uk


You can rip a 4x8 sheet on a Shopsmith, but I disagree about the "easily" part, unless you are making a square cut and you have a friend assisting you or you have a a large outfeed table. Where I have an issue is when you need to rip a bevel on a sheet wider than about 14 inches. It is simply not suited for this type of operation.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Made to Measure Magic
View Profile
New user
22 Posts

Profile of Made to Measure Magic
I agree that it is only straight cuts you can do on larger pieces of timber. Bevels are very tricky on anything but small pieces. Sorry if I misunderstood.

Dave.

http://www.madetomeasuremagic.co.uk
motivationalmagic
View Profile
Regular user
Pennsylvania
179 Posts

Profile of motivationalmagic
Hi everyone!

A million thank you's to all of you for helping me out on this. I am delighted with such a response of helpful information to someone like me, just a lay person with an eagerness to get involved in this work. You gents are all a terrific group of men for being so interested in assisting a newby builder like myself who is just getting started in building props. Thank you so very, very much!

ClintonMagus, thank you for your recommended prioritized list. I’ve ordered books by Dick Gustafson and the Big Black Book by Paul Osborne. I also have Paul’s Illusionworks videos.

I'm under the impression that the entire success of my venture into building illusions is going to rest squarely on my ability to get the most accurate cuts when building illusions. Failing to do this will create headaches and snowballing problems, and make my work look sloppy.

I looked up the Delta table saws. Whew, they are pricey. Right now I have a Sears Craftsman table saw. Not the greatest, I guess. What is it about the Delta table saws that make them so much more accurate than a lower end hobbyist table saw? May I inquire if the accuracy of such cuts is more in the fence system of the deltas? If so, perhaps in the meantime I can purchase some kind of add-on fence for my current table saw? Would that give me more accurate cuts? If so, any recommendations?

Or do I need to eventually scrap my craftsman table saw and invest in a higher end table saw?

---

MikeHolbrook, thank you for your suggestions regarding the masonite. That sounds like a great tip! Thank you, too, for your insights regarding saber saws and scroll saws.

---

Michael Baker, thank you for your many ideas! I purchased a hand drill and a large set of assorted drill bits. I’ll have to review the MA regarding metal work. I don’t have MA plans, but found pictures and such on another thread, by illusionman who was journaling his progress in building the MA. I didn’t see indication of that in my first review of it, except for the drawer tracks. But I’m not sure either way.

Prior to this thread, I have never heard of the term “ pre-dimensioned woods”. I googled it, but could not quite figure out what it really meant? Same with the term “S4S”, or “Surfaced on 4 Sides”. When I googled that, it seems to mean that a finish has been applied to wood panels?

When you mentioned that “some home stores like Lowes, Home Depot, etc. have an assortment of some pre-dimensioned woods”, does that mean the smaller cuts of panels that I’ve seen when browsing at Home Depot and Lowes? Of those, what is a good type of wood to use for illusions, such as my upcoming MA project?

Also, I read in another thread another builder inquiring about Tuff Coat. Is that typically what I would want to apply to the illusion? Instead of painting it?

Michael, thank you for the list of additional power tools. I picked up several clamps of various sizes. Also have the usual set of home tools, such as screw drivers, wrenches, saber saw, etc.

Just to clarify, do you think that I probably wouldn’t be using the router table for bujilding illusinos, except for smaller box type projects?

---

Made to Measure Magic, thank you for the information on the Shopsmith machines. I googled that. Very interesting machines! Thanks too for your feedback on the jointer.

---

ClintonMagus, thank you for the information regarding the Shopsmith.

Maybe I can PM you regarding the metal work you referenced for the MA? I’m not sure where that work comes up.

---

EsnRedshirt, thank you for your much overlooked emphasis on safety and protective gear. I had goggles, but had not thought of a filter or ear protection.

Great idea regarding the clamps. Sounds like a good investment to gather together sets of clamps of various types and sizes. I picked up some clamps of the type that we used in that wood working class. I’ll have to hunt around for the other types.

Thank you for list of recommended tools. I was surprised that the router is used more often without the table. Glad you mentioned that. Does a router typically dismount from a table easy enough, or should I just figure on having two separate routers, one for hand use and one built into the table?

Glad you mentioned the special drill bits for steel tubes. May I ask where I would purchase such steel tubes for structural support?

Bought two drills, one for screws and one for pilot holes. Ran into that yesterday while building a large bookshelf (10’ x 8’).

I’ll look for the other threads and use the searchword “workshop”.

Thank you for the mention of other tools, such as the sewing machine, metalworking tools, etc. You mentioned the painting tools (airbrush/compressor), is there a model or manufacturer at Lowes or Home Depot that might be good for me at my current level? I’ve never done air brushing and am unfamiliar with operating the equipment.

---

gimpy2, thank you for your feedback regarding the jointer question and scroll saw. Thank you for your recommendation list, too!

---

George Ledo, thank you for your ideas regarding researching magazines and books on the initial setup of a wood shop. I picked up a few woodworking mags while at Lowes. I have not heard of Woodcraft, Rockler, and Grizzly. I’m assuming those are stores dedicated to wood workers? We don’t have them here where I live, but I’ll have to find out where the closest ones are located. Sounds like a great trip and I’ll bet the sales people are very helpful with information in getting set up.

---

Everyone, thank you so much for all of help in taking the time to share all of these wonderful ideas! I am very, very grateful and will keep you updated on my progress. It is such a terrific thing having this forum to post such queries, and then getting so many insights from seasoned pros who have many years of experience in such work. I am very grateful for your time, your kindness and your assistance!!!!

Rich
Motivational Magic
"The Magician on a Mission to Motivate"
www.MotivationalMagic.com
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Recommend a list of tools for a workshop? (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.29 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL