As far as advice goes, I'm like a lot of the other folks on this thread; make a shop budget that fits into your existing budget and stick to it. Whenever you can foresee a larger expense, skrimp and save, cut costs in other areas of non-essential spending, and accept that sometimes, you NEED to go outside of your budget. In my experience, if it means enough to you, you can make it work. Good luck!
For many tasks you may not gain much benefit from going above 4-500 grit but polishing your axe to 0.33 micron certainly won’t affect edge retention. For finishing work, you certainly do want as well polished of an edge as possible since that means less scraping or sanding. A well honed plane can leave a surface that’s actually too smooth for painting.
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First, let's dump that hand powered saw/miter box.  It gets the job done, but it takes forever.  We're still on a lean budget, but shelling out ~$110 for a 10 inch electric miter saw makes a lot of sense.  This won't be your forever saw, but it should do fine for most projects.  It can handle up to a 4x6 stock which will cover 99% of what a beginning wood worker will throw at it.  

Do you enjoy woodworking?  Do you have a budget that you have set aside just for your woodworking?  If you are not a millionaire, than more than likely you will have some sort of a budget.  Let me give you a little insight into why you are here and what you will find on this site.  Do you enjoy woodworking as a hobby, part-time job or side job, or a full time job?  Or maybe you are wanting to turn your hobby into a full time job.  If that sounds like you than  your in the right place.
To get the most out of your router, you are going to want a router table.  You may find yourself asking if you really need one - if you do, check this post out.​  It's one of those purchases that you won't truly understand how valuable it is until you have one.  Given the budget of $2,500, I'd suggest looking at the Bosch RA1171 ($150).  If you want to see our favorite tables along with write-ups, check them out here.
Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
Pocket holes may get a bad rap from “fine” woodworkers, but they are the most accessible and versatile form of joinery for any woodworker. You will find tons of pocket holes in the highest end custom cabinetry kitchens, so I don’t hesitate to use them when needed. They are great for quick DIY furniture projects like my pub table here. I actually own bow the low and medium budget options below because they both have their place in my shop and I can choose which to use depending on the application. If you’re not sure what size pocket hole screws you will need to start out with, here is the variety pack that I first purchased.
Thinking about starting a crafts or DIY business? Take a look at these creative ideas using pallets, which have become very popular. One of the reasons many enjoy creating DIY ideas into DIY projects with pallets is there are so many different type of items and decorations that can be made from this rustic wood. Pallets are simply leftover wood and using them is a very eco-friendly and green thing to do. If you choose to make these crafts to sell, you’ll be pleased to discover that many pallet crafts can be created over a weekend. So give DIY pallet projects a try, there are so many here to enjoy! Happy Building and Selling!
I wouldn’t give up on Craigslist or garage sales.. For around $1K or less, you can pretty easily find the four big ticket items (TS, BS, Jointer and Planer) and have the extra $2K to spend on accessories, material, DC, other goodies, etc. The key is patience and persistence, and if applied correctly, you can have a fantastic setup for very little compared to purchasing new. If you are setting up a business, you don’t usually have the time to scour for good deals, but for a personal shop, there is no pressing need other than that itch to get something done.
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.
​Buying rough cut lumber saves a ton of money.  Buying lumber that has had all four sides surfaced (s4s) will cost roughly 4 times as much as buying rough cut lumber.  Let's look at an example: I'm going to build a table that will require 50 board feet of oak.  If I buy finished oak it will cost around $5.5 / bf or $275.  Alternatively, I can buy rough cut oak at $1.25/bf or ~$65.  In this one project I've saved $210.  That's enough for a new power tool.
The variety of colors and tones, textures, and grain patterns seen in most hardwoods create some of the most beautiful and unique furniture in the world. Hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwoods, but the finished look can be well worth the additional cost. Hardwoods are often more durable and are therefore generally recommended for tabletops and countertops. Many hardwoods do not need to be stained, but rather hand-finished with natural oils to enhance their beautiful grain and texture.
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Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.

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When I bought my miter saw, I didn’t buy the cheapest, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I started out with a small Hitachi.  I LOVE my saw and it does a great job—I have no complaints.  However, I do kind of wish I had gotten a larger one.  Here’s the thing.  I can cut up to a 1×6 board in one pass on my miter saw.  But if I cut any larger than that, I have to flip the board over and cut again from the other side.  That means if I’m making something from 1x8s or wider, I have to make twice as many cuts.  Sometimes this is a pain.  But it’s obviously not a big enough pain for me to spend the extra money to go buy a bigger one haha.  Just something to consider. Either way, a miter saw of any size is guaranteed to be a good investment.  Also, watch out for sales on this saw…it’s often listed on sale for $100 (that’s how I got mine!).

Raw material is a concept. A concept that we describe as any material that has yet to find its final home. It is a material that is en route to becoming something interesting, creative and more permanent in the world. If it has yet to be worked and transformed to create a unique piece of woodworking or artisan craftsmanship, then it is still raw to us.


Finally, at the beginning you'll do just fine with a basic set of router bits that run ~$40.  A starter set will typically include straight bits for edge matching material, a selection of edge finishing bits, and some joinery bits.  As you work on a few projects you may find that more specialized bits are needed.   But specialized bits are expensive - so purchasing them as you have a specific need makes more sense than buying in anticipation of a need.

Steve Ramsey makes woodworking fun. His YouTube Channel, Woodworking For Mere Mortals Building, shows Steve making cool stuff in his garage in Marin County, California. From games and toys to special holiday projects during his 12 days of "Craftmas" (wooden snowflakes!), Steve consistently puts out new DIY woodworking videos and projects every Friday.
I set an initial budget of $10,000 to build the shop – everything from studs and drywall to hand tools and machinery. The final number was over by $1,000, but I’m still very happy with the result. The shop is now my haven, with a good sound sys­tem and good lighting. Every time I go back into the shop, it is exactly the way I left it, because it is my shop!
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