In the world of power tools, stationary tools are known as the most
accurate, most heavy-duty tools around. While portable tools may be
handy, some jobs require the performance, speed, and accuracy of a
How do you know which stationary power tools to buy? It is best to
make a list of your projects and maintenance needs, and then buy versatile
tools that will suit the majority of your needs. Popular stationary
power tools include table saws, radial arm saws, miter saws, band saws,
drill presses, jointers, benchtop planers, sanders, and lathes.
Table saws: Often considered the workshop's most important
tool, table saws are able to rip, crosscut, miter-cut, bevel-cut, dado,
rabbet, taper, and trim with unparalleled speed and accuracy.
They come in three styles: benchtop saws, contractor's saws, and
cabinet saws. The benchtop saw is the smallest and least expensive
of the group, while a cabinet saw is smaller, but offers more accuracy
and power, as well as less vibration, than a contractor's saw.
For table saw reviews, visit these
Consumer Search and
Fine Woodworking table saws pages.
For table saw safety information and manufacturer links, please visit TableSaws.us.
Radial arm saws: A radial arm saw is similar to a portable
circular saw, but it is attached to an overhead trolley. A radial
arm saw is used to accurately crosscut and trim to length, rip wood to
width, cut dadoes, rabbets, and grooves, and cut angles and bevels.
A radial arm saw can be outfitted with accessories to complete tasks such
as sanding. For more detailed radial arm saw information and reviews, visit this
Wikipedia radial arm saws page.
Miter saws: Miter saws are similar to radial arm saws, but they
are safer and easier to work with, as well as more accurate. A
miter saw is designed to square board ends, cut angles, miters, and
compound miters, and crosscut small and medium-size stock. There
are basically three kinds of miter saws. A standard miter saw
makes crosscuts and miter cuts, while a compound miter saw can cut
bevels. Finally, a sliding compound miter saw cuts wider stock
than other saws. For miter saw information and reviews, visit these
Fine Woodworking miter saws pages.
Band saws: Band saws do the same job as a hand-held jigsaw,
but its blade has been welded into a continuous loop. Band saws
are best used for cutting curves and circles, making angled and beveled
cuts, cutting thick pieces of material into thinner pieces, and making
templates. Two sets of guides, above and below the table, keep the
band saw blade in place. A band saw's depth of cut is the distance
from the table to the upper blade guides; its throat is the distance
from the blade to the rigid, vertical frame at the back of the saw.
Stationary band saws are large, starting at 12 inch throat sizes and
ranging up to 36 inch throat sizes. A 14-inch band saw should meet
most home workshop requirements. For band saw information and reviews, visit these
Fine Woodworking band saws pages.
Drill presses: A drill press is a necessary stationary tool
for anyone who makes cabinetry or other fine furniture and needs evenly
spaced holes. Unlike a hand-held portable drill, a drill press can
drill holes at precise angles, and can also drill hard metals. A
well-accessorized drill press can double as a drum sander, planer,
router, and mortiser. For drill press reviews, visit these
Popular Mechanics and
Fine Woodworking drill presses pages.
Jointers: Jointers plane board edges smooth and straight, but
they can also be used to take out saw marks, remove slight warps and
twists from boards, taper, bevel, or chamfer stock, or cut rabbets.
For jointer information and reviews, visit these
Fine Woodworking jointers pages.
Benchtop planers: A benchtop planer is the perfect tool for any
carpenter who needs to plane boards to an exact thickness or surface the
faces of rough stock. Planers are sized by the width of their
cutterheads, not by the maximum thickness they can handle. For
stationary planer information and reviews, visit these
Fine Woodworking planers pages.
Lathes: If you are a carpenter doing projects in which wood
turning is involved, you will need a lathe. A lathe can turn table
legs, spindles, candlesticks, and other decorative objects, and can also
be used to make bowls, platters, and other vessels. Lathes come
with a variety of different power ratings and speed ranges, depending
upon your needs. For stationary lathe information and reviews, visit these
Fine Woodworking lathes pages.
Sanders: Stationary belt and disk sanders are perfect for final
finishing jobs, as well as for sanding edges and surfaces, rounding
corners, and smoothing curves. While you can buy separate disk and
belt sanders, one of today's popular choices is a combination sander.