You’re perhaps familiar with the “I Can Do That” column in Popular Woodworking, wherein we design and build a simple yet handsome piece using mostly dimensional lumber (though we’ve ripped a short piece a time or two with a jigsaw) and a simple (but good) set of tools.
There’s a free PDF manual on the web page that shows and tells how to use all the tools in the ICDT kit. And, most of the plans and instructions we’ve published in the ICDT column are also free on the site. The goal is to help beginning woodworkers make something they’ll be proud to show off for years to come , not something that will be kicked to the curb (as were the many L-bracket bookshelves I built lo these many years ago) once their skills and toolkits grow.
Currently in the toolkit we have a sliding compound miter saw, a circular saw and a jigsaw among the power saw selections. We’re thinking of adding a benchtop table saw so that longer rip cuts are possible. That would allow us to expand the types of projects we offer , without breaking the wood budget. Six 1″ x 1″ x 36″ pieces aren’t cheap , but a 1×8 that can be ripped quickly on the table saw into six pieces is far more affordable.
We reviewed benchtop table saws for the October 2009 issue (which will be arriving in subscriber mailboxes in a couple weeks), and we think the new saws are pretty darn good , especially for a beginner, or someone with a small shop (not to mention hand-tool users who need a table saw occasionally).
So what do you think? Does a benchtop table saw belong in the I Can Do That shop? Please cast your vote in our poll below.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.