Compact tools for efficiency and cost

I was reading an online review of a compact router a while ago. An otherwise well-regarded model was getting trounced. To paraphrase: ” I was routing two-inch green, live oak. After forty feet, the AceyDoucy 400 seized up on me. Don’t buy this router. Oh, and AcyDoucy customer service was terrible too. My next router will be the Totem 124XlR; it has excellent reviews!”

You see this sort of thing with compact tools often enough to make you think twice before buying. Of course the compact will not stand up to the punishment you can dish out to the full sized pro tool. They were never designed to. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be good reasons and circumstances to use a compact. Here are three that are important to me:

Space – they are compact and tend to take up less space than full size.

Cost – they cost less than their full-size siblings.

Capability– Since first introduced, there have been many improvements in their capacity. If you are respectful of the machine’s capabilities, you can expect excellent service.

In my basement shop, I have a full-sized bandsaw, jointer and router table and all the doodads which belong in that shop. But ninety percent of the time, I am working in my greenhouse carving shop and don’t want to run into the house and downstairs to do some tiny job. For those small jobs, I have compact versions that add utility to the carving shop and save a lot of time. I am not going to process 200 feet of teak on my small router table, nor am I about to resaw lots of cherry on the 10-inch bandsaw. But if all I’m doing is cutting some small project wood or trimming some boards, my compact tools do the job.

If you have a small workspace, do think about compact tools. They fit in small spaces, have a lower cost, and will do the job.

For my greenhouse shop, I chose a Rikon 305 10 inch bandsaw (the 306 was not on the market yet), and a Lee Valley compact router table. I equipped the router table with a smaller DeWalt router. But there are several good machines from which to choose. Just for clarity: I am not associated with Rikon, Lee Valley, or Dewalt. As with any purchase, the available tools will include the good, bad, and ugly. Take your time comparison shopping. One last tip: be wary of those review articles which rate “The ten best ——– of 2022.” They don’t always get it right.

Lots of us have small shops either through design or necessity. In my case, I deliberately downsized as I shifted from doing larger maritime work like quarterboards and transoms and started focusing on ship and boat portraits. Whatever reason you have for smaller quarters, I encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom that large is always best.

5 Replies to “Compact tools for efficiency and cost”

  1. My husband would so agree with this post. He is into digital music and, like you with your tools, he does his research before he makes a purchase. It always confounds him that someone will give a negative review to something that is not meant to do what they are trying to do with it. Keep an open mind and review the review!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

Selkie

Selkie is a Kadey Krogen 39 owned by Tad and Libbie Sheldon

My Vivid Blog

."Vivid" is my handy, all-purpose word, and this is my handy, all-purpose blog.

claytoonz

Nationally Syndicated Editorial Cartoonist

By Shreyas

Photographs, Films and Stories

Babsje Heron

Great Blue Herons: A study in patience and grace

Under the mask..

..all this.

Gargoyles and Grotesques

Don't Look Up! Something May Be Watching You...

Paul's Wonderful World of Color

The Color Photography of Paul Szlosek

The Renaissance Mathematicus

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Sammi Cox

Author Aspiring

Stephen Fielding Images

Views of the natural environment & climate change

Family Matters

I'm Victoria Stuart, a poet committed to love's transmission.

Charlie Sheldon's STORIES MADE US HUMAN

STORIES ABOUT THE MOUNTAINS, THE SEA, AND ANCIENT TRUTH

My Two Bits

My thoughts and ideas about life, cats, and whatever else I think about

WEGGIEBOY'S BLOG

Andy and I miss Dougy

Jalsails's Blog

Spontaneous Connections During Tidal Times

....on pets and prisoners.....

food for the body; food for the soul

%d bloggers like this: