Author Topic: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?  (Read 6846 times)

ender

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Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:11:44 AM »
We bought a house earlier this year, but "unfortunately" it's finished and not in need of much real DIY work.  I'm sick of feeling fairly incompetent at anything DIY due to lack of experience and am wanting to do something with woodworking. Long term I would love to make my own couch/recliners.

This sort of feels lame, but hoping to get some ideas about what types of projects would be good for a beginner as well as some of the staple tools for this sort of thing.

I'm thinking about starting on some bookshelves, since we were talking about getting some for our basement and the ones at stores are either junk or really expensive..

Thoughts/ideas?

Fishindude

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 07:41:10 AM »
Do you have a workshop area, or garage you can pull cars out of and use?
Something like shelves is a good idea, furniture is advanced stuff.  I would start off working with plywood and pine (cheap stuff) and learn the basics, before trying anything with expensive hardwoods.

Some tools you will need:
A good 10" table saw
Extension cords
Safety glasses
Tape measure
Framing square
Carpenters combination square
A good variable speed drill
Full set of drill bits & screw driver tips
Multiple types of clamps
Hammer

Lots of good books and youtubes out there that will show you how to build various projects, tools & materials needed.




ooeei

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 07:51:23 AM »
Paul Sellers has some good Youtube videos and a blog if you're interested in using hand tools.  Note, he does make it look much easier than it was for me, he's a pro after all.  For me it's a hobby, but I haven't done much with it yet.  If I was really trying to be productive, power tools are the way to go.  Then again, if I was doing it to save money, power tools can get expensive quickly, and require a lot of space. 

From the research I've done, the best balance seems to be use power tools for the big "coarse" stuff (ripping long boards, cutting thick pieces to size), and use hand tools for the more detailed stuff (mortise/tenons, finish planing, dovetails).  Buying used is a no brainer for woodworking tools, but PLEASE research safety heavily. 

Sellers has a workbench project that's all using hand tools.  It takes him a few days, probably took me 1-2 weeks of full time hours (took much longer, as I didn't work on it full time and was doing it in a 1 bedroom apartment using the floor as my workbench).  It requires probably $200 in tools and $150 in wood/hardware.  It's a pretty good intro to decide if you like hand tools.  If you buy your tools used you can resell them if you decide it's not for you without much trouble.

nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 08:21:16 AM »

Thoughts/ideas?
You are probably where I was three years ago... I wanted to make some furniture but had never done much woodworking other than a shop class in junior-high.
Two sites that I found particularly helpful for beginner-type projects:
http://www.ana-white.com/ - lots of projects and very good instructions with sketchup diagrams
http://woodworking.formeremortals.net/ - Ramsey does a lot more 'functional carpentry' projects... stuff with pallet wood, cheap lumber, etc.  He's got a ton of projects that you can knock out in a single afternoon but will help build skills.

Equipment I'd consider buying if starting from scratch
Table-saw
Kreg-jig
Router with a set of bits.
Cordless Drill
Clamps.  Oh how you'll use them...
Sand paper with a good (but cheap) sanding block.

With just those tools you can do so many woodworking projects.

andy85

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 09:12:14 AM »
also, check out jay bates on youtube...he has some good 2x4 projects to get started

my recommendations:
circular saw - cheap
jig saw - cheap
miter saw - not cheap
table saw - not cheap
couple of drills
router
kreg jig
random orbital sander
various straight edges/squares
clamps*infinity

Uturn

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 10:10:57 AM »
Woodworking is a rabbet hole if you let it be.  Best advice, USED TOOLS!  I've spent a ton on new tools, when used would have been better.  You are not running a production shop, you are a hobbyist. 

My journey went like this:
* watch a bunch of woodworking shows and thought that I too can build great furniture in a day or so.  Those videos are edited for time
* bought a cheap tablesaw, cheap router, cheap clamps, only to replace them because they broke or did not give good results.  Bought new everything after that.  Got better results, but wasted all that money on the cheap stuff
* started out buying cheap softwoods (construction grade lumber), got poor results because power tools don't really like softwoods
* Slowly started getting into hand tools because you have to make a bunch of jigs to make your power tools work well, which means a lot of hand finessing
* Eventually sold off power tools because I enjoy the hand work more. 

Although I started with power tools, I was never comfortable with a table saw, I cannot stand the sound of a router, chop saws are not all that accurate, power jointers only allow for 6" or 8" boards, unless you drop many $thousands.  So now my only power tools are a bandsaw and planer.  I can 6 side mill lumber, but that's just extra work. 

Unless you are using 100% plywood, step 1 is milling your stock.  No matter how flat and straight lumber looks, it's not.  Even if you project is going to have curves and round parts, it all starts with straight and square stock.  Every project!  You will need a jointer, planer, and squares.  Construction squares are usually not accurate enough for furniture. 

Step 2 is cutting your pieces to size.  Handtools don't really like plywood, but it can be done.  Power tools make quick work of this, especially multiple straight cuts.  However, I found handtools to be more accurate and easier to finesse the final fit.  Saws.  Table saw, track saw, bandsaw, chopsaw, crosscut and rip handsaw.  I like hand tools, but if you want power, I would start with a track saw.  Table saws are nice, but you still don't know how much you are going to like or dislike woodworking.  Track saws can be stored on the shelf until you have a home improvement project that needs a saw.

Step 3 is fitting the pieces together, joinery.  Butt joints with pocket screws are very easy and a one handed half-blind guy can do it.  Mortise and tenon is very traditional and can be done by hand or power tools.  Domino is fastest, but damn they are proud of those tools.  Power mortisers are nice, but fussy to set up.  I've cut tons of mortises with Irwin brand bench chisels from Lowes.  "Pig sticker" mortise chisels are sweet.

Step 4 is finishing.  Sanders and various grits of paper.  General Finishes Arm-A-Seal is a great finish and pretty forgiving

If you are afraid that you might mess up and run through a lot of stock, let me put your mind at ease.  No need to be afraid that this might happen, accept that it will.  Unless you are some freaky prodigy, buy extra stock.  I have made some damn expensive firewood. 

Used tools
Don't discount hand tools as old, slow and outdated.  I'm often faster with hand tools than I ever was with power tools.  Remember, you are mostly going to be making on-off items, not 15 of the same thing for resale.
Simple projects first
Accept your beginner level skills
Don't over think it

Entropedia

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 03:03:36 PM »
Look for a book called "The Anarchists Tool Chest" by Christopher Schwarz or just check out his blog. Most of his writing reminds us we don't need a huge shop with ten thousand  dollars worth of tools to do good functional work.

As far as tools go, I would recommend a table saw as the primary power tool. Ripping (cutting a board lengthwise along the grain) by hand could quickly turn a person away from woodworking and even a cheap table saw will make that go way easier. Everything else can come later as your projects and skills change. Hand tools generally have a steeper learning curve than power tools but can do anything the power tools can and usually be found cheapish used. Look for used stuff in the usual places, ebay, craigslist.

Some bookshelves would be a great starter project you can do with minimal tools. You'll figure out what tools you need as you go. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking you NEED some new tool because a book or some random person on the internet like me says so. Like a previous poster said, it can be a rabbit hole.

Depending on your situation wood can come from lots of places. Home depot will most likely have  the highest prices but may be the only easy source for surfaced (smooth) wood. Old pallets can be free source for smallish pieces. Hardwood dealers may be cheapest but aren't always set up to deal with small purchasers.

Have fun with it.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 04:10:18 PM by Entropedia »

ender

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 05:30:11 PM »
This is a lot of really great advice!

Thanks folks. I will try to remember to update this, I think I'm going to spend some time reading through this and figuring out what I want to do as there is so much great information.

Uturn

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 11:42:12 PM »
Feel free to ask all the questions you want, PM me if you don't want them open to the world.  I obviously lean hand tools, but I have plenty of experience with power tools too.

Tables are great beginner projects.  Maybe not you dream dining table, but end tables and night stands.   Good way to learn how to mill straight, square and flat, design hasn't changed much in the last few hundred years. 

birdman2003

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2016, 06:24:49 AM »
Get the Kreg Jig and a Kreg face clamp (total around $150 if new).  They will make joining your shelves and sides a breeze.  You will also need a cordless drill (get an 18 Volt Hitachi or Dewalt) and some drill bits.

You will also need a 10" table saw and a 10" mitre saw.

Somebody said lots of clamps.  This is true.  I like Jorgensen "F" style clamps.  Get them in 24" and 36" lengths (at least 4 of whatever size you pick).

birdman2003

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2016, 06:26:37 AM »
Start by looking up plans to build yourself a workbench out of 2x4 material with a MDF or plywood top.  Having a nice flat work surface will make it comfortable and accurate to build your future projects.

ooeei

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2016, 06:29:32 AM »
Woodworking is a rabbet hole if you let it be.


Took me a sec, but I saw what you did there.

GreenEggs

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2016, 08:00:28 AM »
Good topic.

There's been a lot of good advice given. 

I have a decent variety of tools.  I have found it's nice to shop Harbor Freight for some cheap versions of tools that you probably won't need often, but "might" come in very handy sometime.

I've bought a lot of things there that fit in that category.  One thing that comes to mind is a hand held power planer.  It's often used for shaving doors down, but I've had a few instances where it's been very useful.  I paid about $30 for it.  They also sell angle grinders really cheap, like $10-15. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 08:39:08 AM »
Woodworking is a rabbet hole if you let it be.


Took me a sec, but I saw what you did there.
I was wondering if anyone else was going to pick up on that :)

GreenEggs

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2016, 10:26:58 AM »
I live in a rural area & am lucky to have a good sawmill nearby.  The wood is air dried slowly.  It's rough, so I had to buy a thickness planer.  The planer paid for itself quickly since I can get hardwoods for $1-2 a board foot, but it's noisy & the shavings make a big mess.

Making cutting boards is good practice & they make nice gifts.  They also make good use of your scraps.


nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2016, 10:46:38 AM »
I live in a rural area & am lucky to have a good sawmill nearby.  The wood is air dried slowly.  It's rough, so I had to buy a thickness planer.  The planer paid for itself quickly since I can get hardwoods for $1-2 a board foot, but it's noisy & the shavings make a big mess.

What kind of planer did you go with?  If you did it again would you get the same one? (curious because I seem to be going down that route... found a few sawyers who sell rough-cut wood cheap.)

GreenEggs

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2016, 11:13:39 AM »
I live in a rural area & am lucky to have a good sawmill nearby.  The wood is air dried slowly.  It's rough, so I had to buy a thickness planer.  The planer paid for itself quickly since I can get hardwoods for $1-2 a board foot, but it's noisy & the shavings make a big mess.

What kind of planer did you go with?  If you did it again would you get the same one? (curious because I seem to be going down that route... found a few sawyers who sell rough-cut wood cheap.)

I have the older original DeWalt 2 blade model.  It's okay (good enough for me), but I'm sure there are better options now.  I've had to replace the belt & grease the bearing blocks that the infeed drum rolls on.  I can get the knives (blades) resharpened, which is a nice feature. 
I'm not current on planers, but I know some have knives that are double sided so you can just flip them over for a new sharp edge.  I think those might be disposable knives though.  Also some planers have 3 knives instead of only 2, which would be superior, but more expensive.



Dee18

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2016, 07:55:38 PM »
My city recently got a cool place where you can take an introductory class and then work on your own projects using the tools there at the large workshop.  This sounds like a great way to try out the equipment and see what you like before purchasing....or never purchase.

Uturn

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2016, 08:28:14 PM »
I would LOVE to have access to air dried rough lumber, but it's hard to come by around here. 

All the benchtop planers are loud and messy.  The Dewalt 735 has a really good chip extractor, but performance wise, most of them are about the same.  The Harbor Freight dust collector is a good deal for the money.   

Many cities have maker spaces where they have community tools and shops.  Great place to use some equipment and see what you like, also talk to other woodworkers.  The downside is, it's a community space, so you have to make sure you take all your project pieces and any tools you brought.  The luxury of having your own bench that you can leave a project out and work on it at your leisure is nice, but that also means you need to lay out a bunch of cash to get a tool set built first.   

Goldielocks

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2016, 07:09:21 AM »
Start by looking up plans to build yourself a workbench out of 2x4 material with a MDF or plywood top.  Having a nice flat work surface will make it comfortable and accurate to build your future projects.

Next, build storage shelves, sawhorse, birdhouse,  and move on to outdoor ( chunky) furniture.
Don't start with hardwoods until you are pretty sure you will finish it and not make errors ( ie a bookshelf for your living room can cost a lot in Material).

Along the way, raised beds, decks, and window trim may arise.

Outdoor furniture is a great skill start for a couch.

nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2016, 07:17:43 AM »

Next, build storage shelves, sawhorse, birdhouse,  and move on to outdoor ( chunky) furniture.
...
lol - as I get more and more into this hobby I've realized that a good deal of the projects out there are simply tool-storage  and shop-organization projects.  Currently I"m making some slot-screwdriver holders out of framing lumber to keep the set of screwdrivers organized I got for my birthday.

GreenEggs

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2016, 07:36:33 AM »

I would LOVE to have access to air dried rough lumber, but it's hard to come by around here. 


Might be worthwhile to take a road trip to the Ozarks with a trailer if you could locate a sawmill up there.  You'd have a "story" to go along with your woodworking too. 

Btw,
I have a buddy, here in the NC mtns, who logs using draft horses.  It's more costly than using machines, but it doesn't tear up the land.  Rich folks get a nice story about the lumber coming from their land for their flooring, trim, cabinets, etc. & photos of the horses pulling their logs. 

nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2016, 07:45:55 AM »

I would LOVE to have access to air dried rough lumber, but it's hard to come by around here. 


Might be worthwhile to take a road trip to the Ozarks with a trailer if you could locate a sawmill up there.  You'd have a "story" to go along with your woodworking too. 
...or Canada.  I'm learning that here the cost of rough lumber isn't much more than cost of transporting it. It's one of the very few things that's much cheaper here than in the US.  Not that it should be surprising... population density is fairly low and there's a slow trend of depopulation, particularly in the townships.  There's a nice mix of pine, cedar and hardwoods all over the place and plenty of wood that's free for the taking if you've the means to cart it away and saw it yourself.

Spork

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2016, 12:34:13 PM »
nothing to see here... mostly following...

dkaid

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2016, 01:08:23 PM »
Just chiming in to say that from a similar thread here some months ago I decided I'd take the plunge and just try something easy- a display shelf.  I used plans from the Ana White site as they were very detailed (one of them had a video).  I've since made storage shelves, side tables, ottoman frame and an outdoor table and chair set. 
It's so empowering to create something!  I'm a big fan of the miter saw.... it feels "safest" for me. 

nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2016, 01:24:43 PM »
Just chiming in to say that from a similar thread here some months ago I decided I'd take the plunge and just try something easy- a display shelf.  I used plans from the Ana White site as they were very detailed (one of them had a video).  I've since made storage shelves, side tables, ottoman frame and an outdoor table and chair set. 
It's so empowering to create something!  I'm a big fan of the miter saw.... it feels "safest" for me.

I agree that a miter saw feels "safest" and is the most straightfoward to use for the novice woodworker.  However, I'm now realizing the potential of my table saw and I'd recommend to any budding woodworker to first learn how to properly use a table saw.

Making a cross-cut sled for my table saw was a revelation for me. I can do 90 cuts with my table saw with as much accuracy and speed as I can with my miter saw. Plus, I can cross-cut much larger stock (e.g. 2x10s, which I did extensively to replace the treads on my staircase recently)

a good, fast, useful and cheap cross-cut table-saw sled:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UQaEpTZG-o

Uturn

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2016, 02:13:05 PM »
I have found that a cross cut or miter sled on a table saw is more accurate.  I see a miter as more of a rough cutting tool than finished cut.  If you are lopping off more than about 6" at the table saw, I can see where a miter saw would feel better, especially to a beginner. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2016, 02:31:16 PM »
Miter saws are also easier to use if you're cutting off near the end of a long piece.  If you're lopping off 6" of a 2x4, all the leverage of the other 7'6" gets hard to counteract...

Spork

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2016, 04:51:05 PM »
Miter saws are also easier to use if you're cutting off near the end of a long piece.  If you're lopping off 6" of a 2x4, all the leverage of the other 7'6" gets hard to counteract...

You can either build a miter saw table... or be like lazy me:  Put miter on floor, stack a bunch of scraps under the long end.  No leverage required.

nereo

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2016, 05:06:52 PM »
Miter saws are also easier to use if you're cutting off near the end of a long piece.  If you're lopping off 6" of a 2x4, all the leverage of the other 7'6" gets hard to counteract...

You can either build a miter saw table... or be like lazy me:  Put miter on floor, stack a bunch of scraps under the long end.  No leverage required.

Hey!! you and I use the same technique!
FWIW, almost all miter saws have the deck 3.5" high.  So... you can make some cheap "support blocks" by screwing two pieces of scrap 2x4 together with a piece of 1/2" plywood for a shim (which will make them 3.5" high).  I made two that are each ~15" long, and they work great supporting long stock when you just want to lop off the last foot or so.

why the 2x4s screwed together with a plywood shim instead of just stacking a 2x4 on end? that way it doesn't 'flip over' when you need to shift the wood 1/2", and it doesn't matter what orientation the board is. 
Of course one could always buy those fancy rolling stock stands.... too rich for my blood though.  One day...

GreenEggs

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2016, 05:28:47 PM »
If you're shopping for a miter saw I'd recommend a sliding saw.  A 10" sliding miter will cut much wider boards than a 12" fixed miter saw will, plus the blades are a lot less expensive.

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2016, 05:43:02 PM »
If you're shopping for a miter saw I'd recommend a sliding saw.  A 10" sliding miter will cut much wider boards than a 12" fixed miter saw will, plus the blades are a lot less expensive.

Yes!   I didn't.  Sad face.

jacksonvasey

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Re: Basic woodworking tools and ideas?
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2016, 02:27:30 PM »
I have some cheapo machines I've accumulated over the years and they work okay.  The harbor freight 10" table saw can be a good deal; it's precise enough for most beginner stuff.

I'll second the Paul Sellers suggestion though; just watching the videos is very relaxing, and I personally did well watching a lot of videos before trying things.  The fact of the matter is, using the methods he shows, you can get much better quality out of inexpensive hand tools vs inexpensive machine tools.  I got a couple of nice, vintage hand saws for $3 a piece at the Habitat Re-Store, as well as some 50 cent files for sharpening them.  Aldi periodically sells a decent set of chisels, and harbor freight has decent-enough hand tools available (nylon hammer, mortise gage).
I was fortunate enough to get a set of hand planes from my dad.

My quality level has gotten a lot better since I went to hand work primarily.  The outdoor couches I did had all the joinery done by hand, with the repetitive cuts done on an electric miter saw and a few long rips on a table saw.