A power tool that’s fixed in place and is not handheld or portable is classified as a stationary power tool. These types of tools tend to work quickly and accurately and usually operate via an electric motor. The most popular stationary power tools are explained here.
- What it does: This default stationary power saw makes straight and curved cuts with a narrow blade that runs through a tilting table.
- What to buy: For the greatest versatility at a reasonable price, buy a 1- to 1 1/2-hp machine with a 14″ depth of cut and built-in light.
- Common accessories: Various blades ranging from coarse- to fine-cutting.
- What it does: This tool combines a stationary belt sander on top with a stationary disc sander on the side to sand and shape wood boards and parts.
- What to buy: A 1-hp model with a 6″ × 48″ belt and a 12″ disc.
- Common accessories: Replacement belts and discs in grits ranging from coarse to fine.
1” Belt Sander
- What it does: On this machine, a vertically mounted abrasive belt moves through a tilting table, and a vertically mounted 4–8″ disc spins on the side. This tool removes stock from wood parts and sharpens metal edges on tools such as chisels, axes, shovels, and pruning shears.
- What to buy: A 1/2-hp tool with a 1″ × 30″ belt, a 4–8″ disc, tilting tables, and a dust collection port.
- Common accessories: Abrasive belts and discs in grits ranging from coarse to fine.
- What it does: Sharpens tools ranging from chisels to lawn mower blades.
- What to buy: A 1/2-hp model with two 6″ diameter wheels, clear plastic spark shields, and a built-in light.
- Common accessories: Various replacement wheels with grits ranging from coarse to fine.
- What it does: Also called a power miter box, this table-mounted, up-and-down-pivoting saw makes square and angled cuts in wood boards. It’s used primarily for cutting boards to length and cutting miters on molding boards.
- What to buy: A model with a 10-amp motor, 10″ blade, automatic blade brake, and dust collection bag.
- Common accessories: Various replacement blades and auxiliary fence parts that make supporting and holding stock easier.
- What it does: This tool is nothing more than a drill head that moves up and down against a heavy-duty table. It’s used to bore accurate holes in wood and metal and to sand curved edges onto wood parts.
- What to buy: A unit with a variable-speed 1-hp motor, a 5/8″ chuck, and a tilting table.
- Common accessories: Various drill and spade bits and sanding drums.
- What it does: Also called a scroll saw, this tool has a short, narrow blade that moves up and down through a tilting table. It makes fine, curved cuts in wood, metal, and plastic.
- What to buy: A unit with a 2-amp, variable-speed motor that produces 400–1,600 strokes per minute; a tilting table; and a built-in light.
- Common accessories: Various replacement blades.
- What it does: This stationary machine has two heavy tables—one in-feed and one out-feed—with a horizontal rotary cutter mounted between them. It removes stock to flatten the edges and surfaces of solid wood boards before they’re joined.
- What to buy: A 2-hp model with a 6″-wide cutter, a tilting fence, and a dust collection port.
- What it does: Holds wood parts horizontally between a headstock and a tailstock. Its motor turns wood blanks and cuts them with chisels to form round parts, such as stair spindles, lamp bodies, and wooden bowls.
- What to buy: A 1- to 2-hp, variable speed motor with 5″ clearance between the headstock and the table and 36″ between the headstock and the tailstock.
- Common accessories: Various replacement stocks, drill chucks, and faceplates for mounting larger wood blanks.
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- What it does: This tool has a horizontally aligned rotary cutting head mounted above a sturdy table. When a wood board is passed between the cutter and the table, the machine removes stock from the full width of the surface in one continuous pass, leaving a smooth board of uniform thickness.
- What to buy: A 12″-wide machine with a 15-amp motor, a 1/8″ depth of cut, and a dust collection port for attaching a vacuum.
- Common accessories: None
Radial Arm Saw
- What it does: Essentially a portable circular saw mounted on a moveable arm over a stationary table, it makes crosscuts, rip cuts, and angled and mitered cuts by moving the arm and saw into different positions.
- What to buy: A unit with a 10″ saw blade, a 1 1/2–hp motor, a blade brake, and a sawdust vacuum port.
- Common accessories: Various replacement blades for cutting a wide range of wood and manufactured panels.
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- What it does: This tool has a tilting blade that’s mounted in a large table, outfitted with an alignment fence. It cuts boards and panels across their width and length and at any angle.
- What to buy: A unit with a 1 1/2–hp motor and a 10″ blade that can tilt to at least 45°. The attached table should measure at least 2′ square.
- Common accessories: Various blades for cutting different woods and manufactured panels.