10 Woodworking Stationary Power Tools
With this collection of stationary power tools you could complete just about any woodworking project and get pro-quality results.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Anatoli Igolkin/Getty Images
Woodworking Stationary Power Tools
Heavy and robust, woodworking stationary power tools are engineered to work all day long. Sure, each of these machines has a lightweight benchtop version (I’ve included a couple below). But the cast iron tables, large motors and superior dust collection means these stationary tools will last for decades.
Consult an electrician, because these woodworking tools may require 220-volt electrical service (like your dryer) and draw significantly more amperage than their benchtop analog. But the power, mass, fit and finish of these machines make them a joy to use. Don’t know how to store them? We’ve got you covered with these power tools storage ideas.
The cornerstone of most furniture and cabinet woodshops, the tablesaw excels at making precise, straight cuts.
Beginning woodworkers might use a hybrid saw like the Ridgid 13A 10-in. Tablesaw. It’s a lightweight full-size tablesaw with great accuracy and dust collection that still plugs into a conventional 15-amp garage outlet. Tablesaws have cast metal table tops with machined grooves aligned with the blade for crosscutting with a miter gauge or aftermarket sled.
If curves are your thing, the bandsaw is your tool. Spinning a long thin blade between two wheels vertically from top to bottom, it snakes through wood.
Common blade widths are 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-inch, but they come as thin as 1/8-inch and as wide as one inch or more. Thinner blades cut small radii but are prone to breaking. The Grizzly 555 comes with a 14- x 14-in. cast iron top and can cut wood as thick as six inches.
A planer is used for smoothing and achieving a consistent thickness in a piece of wood. Planers are shaped like a box, with open sides, a flat table on the bottom and a cutter with adjustable height on top.
The planer pulls the board through the slot with the flat side down, and the cutter shaves off the top of the wood until it is flat and reaches the desired thickness. Lunchbox planers like the DeWalt DW-735 have two speeds and accommodate 13-in. boards. Dust collection is necessary because planers exhaust huge amounts of thick chips.
If you need to get twists and warps out of boards, a jointer flattens the face or wide part of a board and the edge. Wood jointers come as narrow as four inches or as wide as 20 inches.
The Grizzly 6 x 48 is a great entry level machine with a small footprint. Jointers are never used on the end grain of a board because it usually splinters. A jointer has two large, co-planar tables, along with an adjustable infeed table and fixed outfeed table. A cutterhead sits between the two beds.
The infeed table is lowered by fractions of an inch, and a twisted or warped board pushed across it with sticks and blocks. The board feeds across the infeed table into the cutter and onto the outfield table. Through a multi-pass process, the board ultimately becomes flat.
Stationary power tools create copious amounts of dust. Besides being dangerous to breathe, all that dust turns slippery on the floor. It also can create inaccuracies if allowed to build up on a table bed or against the fence.
Outperforming shop vacuums by a mile, dedicated dust collectors feature a 4- to 6-in. hose that removes large amounts of dust with 1.5-horsepower or more of suction power. Most have two ports for collecting dust from multiple machines, and many feature wheels for portability.
Simple versions like the Shop Fox W1666 2-hp use a cloth filter and empty into a clear disposable plastic bag. The Jet JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector separates the large dust particles that drop into a metal canister for rapid disposal; its pleated filter is easy to clean. Be aware: Dust collectors draw large amounts of amperage upon startup, so you’ll need the correct electrical service.
Shapers spin an array of bits at more than 12,000 revolution per minute, carving and sculpting wood to an assortment of profiles. The arbor, or spindle, raises and lowers depending on the desired shape.
Tools like the G1035 1-1/2-hp Shaper include a fence with an adjustable mouth and hold down for safety. Cast iron tables provide a heavy, flat surface to support the wood. While routers only spin in one direction, shaper motors are reversible, allowing the user to feed safely from either side of the spindle while managing wood grain tear-out. Motors range from 3/4- to 3-hp.
If you can name a shape, there’s probably a sander designed for it. Edge, belt, disc, flap, spindle and wide-belt are some of the different sanders you might find in a woodshop.
Many woodworkers start with a tool like the Rikon 50-122 combination sander, with a 10-in. disc and a 6-in. wide belt. This combo tool utilizes a single motor. When powered-up, both the belt and disc spin. Each has an adjustable table for rapid smoothing at precise angles.
Abrasives are available in a variety of grits. Discs attach with a strong adhesive and belts slide on from the side and tighten with a lever. Dust collection is a must as harmful microscopic dust scatters everywhere.
Boring? On the contrary! Nothing bores holes more accurately than a drill press.
Stationary drill presses feature a head that holds a drill bit, a powerful motor that drives the drill head with a belt, and a table that’s adjustable for drilling at an angle. The user rotates the quill or feed lever, bringing the spinning bit into the workpiece.
The Grizzly 14-in. Heavy-Duty Drill Press comes with a 3/4-hp motor. It features a slotted cast-iron table for attaching a fence, or a sacrificial table to manage wood grain tear-out on the bottom of a workpiece.
Hollow Chisel Mortiser
Imagine a tool that can drill square holes. Enter: the mortiser.
Similar to a drill press but utilizing a special drill bit that operates within a hollow square chisel, the mortiser excels at creating precise mortises. Hollow chisels come in exact sizes from 1/4-inch up to one inch and include a matching bit.
The Jet JBM-5 is a great starter machine with a fence that adjusts in and out. Its cast iron hold-down secures parts and allows the user to make identical mortises, like in each leg of a table. The hollow chisel and drill bit need to be sharpened regularly for clean cutting.
Nothing creates cylindrical objects out of wood like a lathe. Akin to a potter’s wheel in ceramics but in a horizontal orientation, the lathe spins a piece of wood along a central axis, mounted on one end or between two points.
Lathe chisels are held on a tool rest and engaged to carve shapes out of the spinning wood. Bowls and spindles naturally come to mind, but with some creativity, the sky’s the limit. Central Machinery’s 12-in. x 33-3/8-in. Lathe is a sturdy machine with a 3/4-hp motor and the capacity to turn 12-in.-dia. objects.