Author Topic: Getting started - little experience  (Read 2456 times)

PeachFuzzStacher

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Getting started - little experience
« on: August 14, 2013, 09:01:36 AM »
Hey everyone,
I'm really impressed with some of the projects I've been lurking around and seeing.  I have recently just joined the ranks of the negative net worth with some property control (home "owner").  I'd really like to start making some improvements, but am unsure how to get started or what are some easy projects to build up skills with.  I honestly am terrible at this stuff, simply because I have no experience in it.

I was thinking of starting off by building a shed.  Would it be worth it, or should I just go for the Costco plastic 8x10?  I work 9-6, so pretty much am stuck to the weekends.  Any particular tools that you find you use over and over again?  I currently have a nice drill (Milwaukee), hammer.  I guess some kind of saw?

These future projects are much more complicated, so I'd be curious what I could do in between to get some more chops together while I save up money for materials and possible help labor.

Other projects eventually planned -
1) Expand driveway via retaining wall - i live on a large rocky hill in Morris County, NJ
2) Add a garage with carriage house for rentals

Greg

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 09:27:47 AM »
Kudos for wanting to start learning.

A plastic shed will only last so long and then you can't repair it.  And, it's plastic.  Build it with wood etc. and you can fix it, build it how you want, and at the end of it's life it can be used as fuel or composted.

Hammer yes, small nail puller, nail set set, utility knife, speed square, $4 tape measure with scratch-pad stuck to the side (can be moved to next one).  2' level.  Folding sawhorses.

Power tools:  circular saw to start, jig saw, chop saw to follow.  A smallish compressor to run a nail gun (a framing gun will come in handy for the garage) is a good investment.

PeachFuzzStacher

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 09:43:37 AM »
Greg,
Thanks for the tools advice.  I guess I should probably start with the nail gun and compressor and circ saw. 
Would there be any reason to advise against going used?

I guess the easiest first project could be a wooden saw horse, even though not as practical as a folding plastic one.

zarfus

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 10:30:04 AM »
Definitely the basics already mentioned: speed square, good tape measure, etc.

My favorite saw is a miter saw, and depending on what you need to cut, can be super cheap (< 100).  If you need to cut 4x4's, do a little research, as most 10" miters can't handle it.  Miters are also called chop saws, and are just that...they cut your wood to size, and are very fast at doing so.

One more thing to think about is wood type.  If it's outdoors, definitely go with either pressure treated pine (normal pine is horrible for outdoors), or a rot-resistant type of wood like cedar.

Good luck!

trammatic

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 10:41:23 AM »
I think a shed is a good first project.  It'll probably take a few weekends for you to do.  If the ground is flat, use some ground contact certified pressure-treated wood to lay floor joists, find some OSB to lay a cheap floor, then frame some walls, perhaps a reclaimed window or 2 if you're inclined.  Put some outdoor paneling on the outside and paint it, pop a single-slope roof draining off of the back, and you'll be set.

aj_yooper

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 10:48:26 AM »
Make sure the shed sits on higher ground; you might want to put some hard pack gravel as a good base to get the proper elevation.  Wood is definitely better; when you have the roof up, cover it with tar paper right away or you sheets will warp.  Have fun. 

Greg

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Re: Getting started - little experience
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 11:16:23 AM »
Trammatic mentions used windows... a visit to your local salvage building materials center (if there is one, like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore) is a great way to save a lot on windows and doors, and get some ideas.  Do this before designing/building so you can adapt your plans to what you can obtain.  They also sometimes have remnants of tar paper, roofing, siding, etc.

As for used tools, the only reason I don't frequently buy used is that I have no way of knowing if the tool has been abused, left in the rain etc.  I prefer new tools so I know their history.  As a design/builder I use them heavily and make repairs as needed.  If you want to go used, check craigslist, thriftstores and pawnshops.  Be careful that you don't buy tools that are obviously stolen (serial #'s erased). 

Best is probably to borrow from a handy friend who's already invested, and they can show you tips/tricks and safety cautions.