As the biggest and most expensive tools in my shop, these machines get top billing. Some of these are the only tools of their type that I have owned while others are "upgrades". I give my opinion of each here, but you may want to visit Amazon.com since many of my tools are reviewed by me (and many others) on that site.
DeWalt DW746X Table Saw:
I bought this saw to replace my Delta 36-600 contractor saw. With my needs and space limitations, this is the perfect saw for me. I upgraded it with a DeWalt cast iron wing on the right side and the Bench Dog cast iron router table wing on the left. When I bought this saw from Amazon they included the DeWalt mobile base. Read my full review of this saw here.
Grizzly G0555 14" Band Saw:
A bandsaw was the last major shop tool that I didn't own and I shopped forever before deciding on this model. I bought this saw in May 2006 in an EBAY auction - Grizzly sells new stuff on EBAY for a few dollars less than Amazon or the Grizzly Industrial site. I got this saw for $15 less than the going price and the 6" riser block for $5 less and only paid shipping on the saw (not the riser block). So far I am very pleased with this tool. I put it on the Delta mobile base kit and move it all over the shop as the need arises. Read my full review of this saw here.
Jet 6" Shopline Jointer:
I bought this jointer at Lowe’s in 1997 for $399. It’s not the greatest jointer in the world, but it has served me well through many projects. I put it on the Delta mobile base kit and have not had any issues with mobility. Knife changing is a nightmare, but then that seems to be true of all jointers. I get by with the 6” width, but occasionally wish I had 8”. Since I work with a lot of quarter sawn white oak, I do see some tear out from this tool in highly figured boards. To alleviate this I have been eyeing the Grizzly GO526 6” spiral cutter head jointer with the indexable carbide inserts, but its price tag keeps me in the “just looking” category. I am also considering buying one of Sunhill machinery's aftermarket spiral cutterheads to retrofit onto this jointer.
I picked this saw up at a garage sale for $130. It has a 1.5 hp motor that is not overly powerful, but it handles all of the crosscuts I throw at it. The original base was cumbersome and poorly designed, so I simply mounted the saw to the top of a long steel storage cabinet. I probably never would have bought a radial arm saw if I hadn’t found this deal, but now that I have it I couldn’t do without it. I find myself using it all the time for initial sizing of stock, forming tenons on the ends of long stock, etc.
I bought this drill press in 1999 and consider it the most underappreciated tool in a wood shop. I use it in some way on nearly every project, from drum sanding, to cutting mortises, to drilling perfect holes. The only issue I have ever had with it was a burned out power switch. I ordered a new one for $16.99 and was back on track in no time. I recently outfitted my press with a set of extension arms/rollers from Grizzly (as pictured).
I was with my father the day that he picked up this scroll saw at a garage sale for $35. After I inherited this saw from him, I learned that it was manufactured by Duro (in Chicago, IL). It is featured in the 1941 Duro catalog, so needless to say, it is quite old. This saw has a 24” throat and a dust blower. I never would have learned all that I did about this saw if it weren't for the website Old Woodworking Machines.
Delta 22-580 13" Planer:
I had wanted to replace my aging Delta 22-540 planer for a long time, but the planers I was most interested in were just too expensive. I looked seriously at this model, the big DeWalt planer and the Ridgid TP1300. Eventually Amazon ran a very short, very unannounced sale on this 13" Delta and I picked it up for $319 (that includes delivery!). I am happy with this planer's power and performance (see my separate review here).
Ridgid 1065LZ 10” Compound Miter Saw:
I bought this saw online from Home Depot to replace my aging Delta. It’s got a tremendous amount of power and the laser is great. I really like the fence and the work clamp on this saw is easy enough to use that I actually do use it. Overall this is a good quality, accurate saw that I picked up with the Ridgid finish nailer for just $200 (these were being sold together as a "finish carpenters" kit).
Jet DC-650 - 1 HP Dust Collector:
I had wanted a dust collector for a long time and considered several models, including the Delta AP400 Shopmaster. I ended up going with this model for three simple reasons: it got decent reviews, it was on sale, and it has an inlet port that points straight up (I wanted to connect it to overhead ducts). Overall I am pleased with this choice and was lucky enough to grab this baby while it was on sale at Amazon for $187 shipped (see my separate review here).
Fein Turbo II Vacuum:
This was probably my first "top quality" tool. I bought this at a woodworking show in Indianapolis back in 1998 for $220. It was worth every penny. This vacuum is quiet and powerful. I suffered for a few years until finally spending the money for the accessory kit (about $70). These days, since I now have a dust collector I use this vac primarily with my sanders and for general shop clean-up.
I bought this vacuum so I could stop lugging the Fein Turbo II all over the house for small clean-up jobs. In this capacity it has performed wonderfully. I also use it on the cars and as a blower to sweep the grass clipping off the patio!
Grizzly GO547 Combination Belt/ Disc Sander
A small unit without a lot of power. Received it as a gift ($70 on Amazon) and have used it to sand a lot of small furniture parts. I have used it on many projects to shape and size smaller parts. The miter gauge that came with it is a joke though.
Delta GR250 6" grinder
This grinder, with its variable speed feature, has served me well for grinding chisels and planer blades prior to fine honing (I use the Scary Sharp method to get a razor edge on my tools). I picked this up on sale at Farm and Fleet for $65.
Coleman "Pro Force" Air Compressor
I picked this compressor up at Menards on sale for $83. It has been very reliable and plenty powerful enough to run my nailers and blow the dust off of everything in the shop!