I've been playing 1.6 for a few weeks and am still wearing iron armour. I do have a couple of machines, some TiCo tools and an automatic chicken farm, so not completely vanilla, but I haven't gone all out on the mods yet.
I'm in 1.6.4, and as in past I always stay 'vanilla' till I have the basic farms established and a decent looking base built. This usually takes a week or so. Since using TiC I then proceed to go mental tearing up my mine and stocking up on resources, before TiC I'd jump to a quarry and a basic automated processing setup, macerator/pulverisor to furnace to chest. After about a week or so of stocking I clean it all out and jump as far up the tech tree as I can. So about 2 weeks.
Here is what I do:
1. Get Trees
2. Make vanilla tools
3. Go mining
4. Make machines or get a tier 7 upgrade tome
5. Make AE system
6. Make smeltery
7. Make mass fab and quarry
8. Get enough power for a gravity suite.