I work at Lowe's and I found out that we actually lose money on each one of these that we sell. I can't remember that exact number, but it is somewhere between -10% to -15% on the margin. Sign up for a mylowe's card and Lowe's will usually send you a 10% coupon!
Here's my advice for beginners: Any experienced woodworker can tell you the cheap tools are worth less than nothing. Thing is, lumber is more expensive than tools these days. Say if you buy a router that's not very precise, you will have to go through test cuts and waste a lot of lumber for a project, or ending up having very unstable/dangerous joints. I have two excellent routers, a Festool and a Makita. I rarely use them. A lot of time, it's easier to use a plane or sander to make adjustments after a cut - not frequently because my saw is precise.
Realistically, I think a lot of people are like my father: he bought the tools and started imagining projects, and never touched the tools - which I'm sure saved him a few fingers. Not a bad thing to buy cheap tools in this case.
IMHO, the cheapest ways to get some useful furniture or home improvement projects done is probably a high quality plunge saw (Festool, Dewalt, Makita) and a Kreg pocket hole jig and hand drill, which will total about $500 new, assuming you're all cheap like me. Plus, you aren't likely to lose a finger doing it. Extra money goes to jointer and planer. The jointer might slice a piece of your finger off, but that's better than chopping off.
I still have all ten fingers because I mainly use hand tools. A few stitches on my thumb due to a dull chisel, that's it!
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