On the 100/300 grit combo stone: absolutely, positively NO – and I’m a woodworker by training who sees sharpening of tools as a means to an end and not as a religion. DMT bench stones are soooo cheap in the US (they cost as much as 3 times as much in ROW) that you should not waste (expensive) time with Chinese carborundum stones or EZ-Lap …err … junk.
When I was just getting started with woodworking, I didn’t know anything about saws. The standard push saw was the only hand saw that I had any experience with. So naturally this was the type of saw I bought. It works fine for making cross cuts, and can even be used to rip, if you don’t have a table saw or circular saw. However, I quickly realized that I needed something for more precision cuts.
Rob Cosman and Paul Sellers. Rob is damn near a genius when it comes to woodworking. He routinely comes up with methods and tools that sort of change the way we all do things in the shop. The guy is also an amazing instructor. Paul Sellers is also an amazing instructor. These are the kinds of guys that all the rest on your list learned how to woodwork from!
This style of saw will provide more power than a contractor-type saw and have the high-quality rip fence you need to do good work. However, because they are favored by professionals and serious amateurs, cabinet saws are harder to find on the used market. Scour the classifieds and online sales (be sure to check industrial auction sites as well), and do some networking. Check the bulletin board at your hardwood supplier and ask the proprietors if they know of anyone selling a saw. Also call local cabinet shops. They sometimes have a surplus tool sitting idle that they’d be willing to sell. Take your time in this step. A careful investment will pay dividends in the long run, but a well-intentioned compromise can cause long-term frustration.
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I ONLY use water as a lubricant on all my stones. When they get clogged I take a nail brush and hand dish detergent to them to clean them. When a carborundum stone gets worn I do figure 8s on a flat piece of concrete with lots of water to reflatten it. I don’t like oil because it gums up over time and is then harder to clean. I keep a carborundum and a Quachita stone by the kitchen sink for knives. I probably haven’t used the carborundum stone in several years. I scrub the Quachita stone at roughly 18-24 month intervals. It’s white, so it’s easy to see the steel accumulating. I can feel a noticeable difference after scrubbing the stone. This has been my standard practice for almost 50 years, so I’m not inclined to change it.
Just how small? Will you have an extra bedroom for your shop or will you be doing woodworking in your living room? Do you have to put the projects and tools away every time you want to entertain or will you leave everything set up all the time? A while back FWW had a video tour of a shop in Japan that was smaller than small. I'll try to find it and get back. Found it... shows what can be done in a small space but this shop was not on a small budget so no help there.