I’m going to find a different piece of metal, and I’ll post a video of the working track when it’s done. I bet some of you are coming to expect failure from this blog. I warned you in the beginning that I’m new to this. I’m trying to share my experience from both my successes and my failures. It just so happens that I have a lot more failures so far.
I am working hard (or hardly working) on our master bathroom vanity! I spent the whole day in the garage on Monday, but it was such a mess from all the other projects I have been working on, so I spent the day cleaning and organizing instead of building. Now I have a place to build the vanity and this coming week there is nothing going on so I will also have time. I can almost smell the progress!
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.
Assume that there aren’t any decent tools on craigslist or at garage sales, and keep in mind that I have absolutely no tools, dust collection, shop-vac, clamps, sanding & painting accessories, tables, materials to build my own tables/stands/jigs, or anything else—not even safety gear (you’re such a good buddy that you even let me borrow your extra set of goggles and your earmuffs when I used to come over).

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!).

All you need to get an edge on your hand tools and pocket knives is a 100/300 grit combo stone from your local hardware, even horrible fright. This shouldn't cost more than $10. Then go to the natural slate section of the home center or flooring store & find 3-4" natural slate tile that you can barely see the grains in. This should cost another $1 or so. This tile is roughly 800 grit. If you can't find natural tile in your area, you should be able to find an 'Arkansas' stone for <$5. If you can scare up some Chrome Oxide and a piece of leather (piece of cardboard or block of MDF also work) all the better. These three things will cost you $15 and get your edged tools sharp enough to take hair off your arm and chips of your lumber.


Low-tech tools are high on value A basic set of handplanes lets you true edges, flatten panels or wide boards, and achieve finish-ready surfaces. Start with a small cluster of handplanes—low-angle and standard block planes, a No. 4 or 4-1/2 bench plane, and a jointer plane. A set of inexpensive chisels is essential for chopping, paring, and trimming.

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.


The thickness planer—A thickness planer will significantly expand the creativity and craftsmanship of your work by allowing you to buy roughsawn stock and use wood of any thickness in your designs. Nowadays, a new planer often represents a better value than a used model. In recent years, DeWalt and Ridgid have introduced portable planers with chip-ejection fans, which work as a built-in dust collector. Dust collection is important for all tools, but essential for thickness planers. This feature can help delay the expense of a dust collector and thus reduce the overall cost of a planer. Speaking of dust collection, I should mention that I don’t use a dedicated dust collector in my shop. I use a shop vac with a small hose for my sanders and a larger-diameter hose for the tablesaw and router table, and I depend on the built-in chipejection fan for my thickness planer.
I’m going to find a different piece of metal, and I’ll post a video of the working track when it’s done. I bet some of you are coming to expect failure from this blog. I warned you in the beginning that I’m new to this. I’m trying to share my experience from both my successes and my failures. It just so happens that I have a lot more failures so far.
We've written about routers on the site before and my favorite is the Bosch 1617​.  It is light enough that you can control it when using it handheld, yet powerful enough that it won't have any problems when you mount it under a table.  On top of that, it comes with a plunge base which makes it significantly easier to use handheld.  The package clocks in at ~$190.
There are and they are considerably cheaper. I found a pair of glue brushes on Amazon for less than half the price of a singles dedicated glue brush. I tested them out on a recent gluing and they work well for spreading glue and getting it into dovetails and mortises. When you are done you can either run the brush underwater to clean it or wait until the glue dries the pluck it off the bristles with a few easy pulls. The glue comes right off the silicone bristles.
Of course she was probably going easy on the driver.  Wouldn't have been pretty if my little angel had got her delicate little hammer wielding, ( that was pretty much before nail guns ), wrench turning, Judo throwing fallangies on him.  Did I mention my surfer girl's best girl friend was a black belt (and raced bicycles on an international olympic level )?

Perhaps the most satisfying move I made was to automate the dust collection system. I used the iVACPro system to link all machines to the dust collector. When I turn on any machine in the shop, the dust collector fires up and whisks the dust into the bin. The system also has a programmable delay to allow the dust to make it to the bin before the dust collector shuts down. I set my system for a five-second delay. The system works flawlessly for my band saw, planer, and router table at 115 volts, and also my table saw and jointer at 240 volts. 

Even the backside grinding shown in the single frame of the video shows the effects of hand held sharpening. There is a curve on the flat side of the blade! Starting to look like a spoon. It’s impossible to get a flat surface when using bones and tendons. This effect was exploited to make the first lens when done in glass. Telescope mirror grinders do it too using two different hardness of glass, if machine done it would be flat. If those “slate” tiles are flat they must be ground flat not baked. No need to check.
I have a stable income like a said earlier, but when it comes to having extra cash to just blow on a hobby, well I was never always that fortunate.  So when I wanted a new tool or even to just purchase lumber, I would have to save up until I could purchase it.  I know that sounds like most people, but it has taken me several years to just even get the basic tools of woodworking.
Frank’s work is visually arresting. This is not necessarily a channel you’re going to learn from, if you’re a novice woodworker or just getting into the field. The main reason to subscribe to Frank’s channel is how gorgeous his work is. The pieces he makes are always artfully conceived, even if it’s just a simple bookcase or a bench. Add to that his killer stop-motion and filmmaking skills, and you get a YouTube channel you can share with anyone, even if they think they’re not remotely interested in the craft.
Man, do I ever know about the "pre-buyers remorse"! My fiancé is a self proclaimed "cheapskate"(her language is a bit more coarse), but when it comes to my shop, she's all for me spending. I always end up being the one to pump the brakes, as I have a history of being TERRIBLE with money(@ 21, I was making close to 6 figures with no post-secondary education, and at 31, I still have less than $5,000 in the bank), while she pushes me to get "whatever I need". Of course, we all know that the line between want and need is pretty blurry. I agree with some of the other posts; I keep all of my expenses logged, and try to churn out money-makers to chip away at the red, always hoping to reach the black. So far, I'm still seeing red, but as my shop continues to flesh-out and my skill set grows, profit begins to sound more and more feasible all the time. Of course, I'm not really trying to make money. I just want to buy bigger and better equipment and supplies!
I, too, would pass on the Jawhorse, and agree with the suggestion of a solid bench. (Remember, it can double as a desk if space is limited.)  A used solid-core door can be a starting point, but there are better options, such as laminating your own from scrounged 2x4s. Spending time at flea markets looking for old tools that can be reconditioned is a good suggestion, too.

I Like to Make Stuff is the perfect channel for beginners who want comprehensive teaching on woodworking. It has a show called Maker 101 that goes into the basic skills you need to start making stuff. I Like to Make Stuff is not intimidating to the beginner because it isn’t afraid of showing woodworkers making mistakes on their project rather than always doing everything perfectly.


Every woodworker needs a couple of levels. You probably won’t need one of the 6-foot levels used in construction, but 48” is a good length for many of the woodworking projects you’ll do. Usually, you’ll also need an 8” level too, usually known as a torpedo level. You’ll check the level and plum of your construction. Level means horizontal, and plumb is vertical.
​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.
Even if you don’t live in a rustic log cabin, you can give your home a great cabin look by simply planking one or more walls. This is a relatively easy project that will add beauty and value to any home. Just choose the wall that you want to change, and add wooden planks which you can pick up at most home improvement stores for very little. Then stain if you want and you have a lovely cabin type wall
Well there it is, my top 5 list of the best beginner woodworking tools. Let me know your thoughts or some of your favorite tools for each category. Of course this isn’t an all-encompassing list, there are all of the little extras like tape measure, square, clamps, glue, etc. To see what I use for all of these options check out the complete list of tools from my shop.
Being able to create and build a masterpiece from pieces of wood is more than a hobby -it’s a craft. Buying all the tools and supplies you need can start to add up to some serious money. But there are ways to enjoy building with wood without breaking your budget. Here’s a few woodworking tips that may get you started saving money and still being creative.

About Youtuber Chop With Chris YouTube channel is focused on educational and entertaining "How To" woodworking videos using just hand tools. My DIY content covers a wide range of projects and plans from tables and chairs to foot powered machines, bows, arrows, crossbows and other related bushcraft videos as well as tool eduction. I am a maker and have a passion to share my knowledge with others.
All in all, for whatever reason it is that you enjoy woodworking, then you always need to follow that passion.  There is always going to be obstacles to overcome, whether that be not enough money to buy your tools, or space to put those tools, or time to enjoy woodworking.  That is something that every person has to overcome.  Everybody has there own unique obstacles.

The directions that you'll find for making this Jack-o-lantern are found at HGTV, and they suggest using a battery operated votive to light up the lantern. I believe I'd try to figure out a way to add the "light" part of an inexpensive solar yard light instead. That way the jack-o-lantern would light as soon as it got dark. I wonder if that would work?

If you’re looking to setup a shop equipped mainly with stationary power tools, I’d focus the bulk of your budget on the primary big tools. It’s easier to come up with $10 for a couple of clamps as an impulse purchase, than it is $1000 for a good table saw (TS). Most shops feature the TS, and that’s where I’d focus the bulk of my research and budget, unless you’ll primarily be using a band saw (BS). The biggies for me would be a good full size stationary table saw, planer, jointer, router and router table, and maybe a modest DC (like the HF unit for $150). With those main tools, you can build just alot using dimensional lumber or sheetgoods. A BS and DP are nice, but can be added down the road…in the meantime, a modest jigsaw and handheld power drill worked fine for early on. You’ll want a reasonable work surface, whether it’s a nice bench, or an old door. I’d add a good tape measure, squares, a chisel or two, sandpaper, and some basic clamps, then would add more clamps, block plane, and other extras as you go. (Ask family members for gift cards to Rockler, Woodcraft, Amazon, Lowes, HD, etc….). $3k is doable if you’re selective….the used market can be your friend if the right deals come along.
The trick is to use sandpaper. It’s a good quality abrasive material and is readily available. You’ll want a selection of different grits – low grits to get started, higher grits when finishing. The reason this is cheaper is that you can get a selection of 5-10 different sandpapers for under $20. Getting even a couple of decent sharpening stones wouldn’t be possible at that price. In the long run, they’ll last longer but this is a budget option we’re talking about.
Poplar is one of the less expensive hardwoods. It’s also fairly soft, considering it is a hardwood, which makes it easy to work with. Poplar is very light in color (almost “white”) with some green or brown streaks in the heartwood (the wood that comes from the center of the tree). Because poplar is not the most beautifully grained wood, it’s almost always painted as it does take to paint very nicely for a uniform finish. Poplar makes for great table bases (often painted, with a stained tabletop of a different wood), drawers, cabinets, hutches and more. Poplar is a very common wood that is versatile and cost efficient.
Check with Habitat for Humanity.  If they have a store you may find several good items such as a bench, bandsaw or etc.  When I retired and moved I donated  a complete shop full of woodworking power tools and hand tools to Habitat.  They sold them, I deducted them from my income tax.  Unfortunately I could not retire my desire to woodwork and at age 78 I built a shop and use only hand tools and a bandsaw.  Good exercise pushing  a LN #7.   Build yourself a solid bench with some southern pine with a moxon vise that can be built by hand.  Get some holddowns!

An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.

If you’re woodworking as a hobby, you already know that it can get very expensive. Saving money by not buying redundant tools is one way to keep it slightly more affordable. If you’re doing this as a business like I am, then every dollar saved is another dollar you can invest in your business. If you have other money saving tips, please feel free to share them!
Frank’s work is visually arresting. This is not necessarily a channel you’re going to learn from, if you’re a novice woodworker or just getting into the field. The main reason to subscribe to Frank’s channel is how gorgeous his work is. The pieces he makes are always artfully conceived, even if it’s just a simple bookcase or a bench. Add to that his killer stop-motion and filmmaking skills, and you get a YouTube channel you can share with anyone, even if they think they’re not remotely interested in the craft.
Low-tech tools are high on value A basic set of handplanes lets you true edges, flatten panels or wide boards, and achieve finish-ready surfaces. Start with a small cluster of handplanes—low-angle and standard block planes, a No. 4 or 4-1/2 bench plane, and a jointer plane. A set of inexpensive chisels is essential for chopping, paring, and trimming. 

​In order to excel you are going to need to read up on jig building so that you can produce consistent repeatable cuts.  Ideas for jigs are a dime a dozen online and you could easily lose a couple of hours browsing the hundreds of ideas people think up.  A more economical approach would be to build your jigs as your projects demand them.  After you go through that exercise 4-5 times, you'll find you've accumulated quite the collection of jigs without even trying.
Second, it is easier to learn to use hand tools on a solid bench than on a Workmate or some other modern clamping sawhorse.  The bench doesn't have to be expensive or large.  A 20" by 5' top will get you started.  Look at Chris Schwarz's second book on Workbenches "The Workbench Design Book" for ideas.  If you are a good scrounger you can recycle framing lumber from building teardowns to build a good bench for next to nothing.  A vise screw to make a leg vise is less than $60.
While you have a decent starter shop, it's important to keep in mind the projects that your tools can handle.  You are going to want to focus on projects that don't require your stock to be ripped to a different dimensions than what you purchased it at.  You are currently only set up to do crosscuts with your miter saw.  So while you can turn an 8' 2x4 into two 4' 2x4s, your not going to be able to turn that same board into two 2x2s.    
​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 most common type of cedar used today is the Western Red variety. Western Red Cedar, as its name implies, has a reddish color to it. This type of wood is relatively soft, has a straight grain, and has wonderful aromatics. Western Red cedar is mostly used for outdoor projects such as furniture, decks, signs and exterior siding because it is naturally resistant to moisture and water corrosion. Cedar also makes for a great closet or chest for storing clothes and other fabrics because of its resistance to moisture. Cedar is moderately priced and can be stained to a variety of tones.

All in all, for whatever reason it is that you enjoy woodworking, then you always need to follow that passion.  There is always going to be obstacles to overcome, whether that be not enough money to buy your tools, or space to put those tools, or time to enjoy woodworking.  That is something that every person has to overcome.  Everybody has there own unique obstacles.
The most commonly purchased claw hammer is the 20 oz. size. It’s heavy enough to easily drive nails but easily manipulated when pulling nails. While wooden handles are picturesque, they may not stand up to the strain if you have to pull a lot of nails. Hammers with a steel handle, or even fiberglass, will be stronger. However, these won’t absorb the vibrations from driving nails the way a hickory handle will. You’ll also need to make sure the fiberglass and metal handles have a rubberized grip for control and comfort. If you’re going to be driving a lot of nails, the wooden handled hammer will be better for reducing stress on your hand, and wrist, too.
The thickness planer can joint a board's face. On this simple jig, the stock is supported by twin rows of wood screws driven into a platform and adjusted to meet the varying clearances on the underside of the board. The stock rides the sled cup side up. Slide the board slightly sideways to adjust the screws, then seat it firmly on the screw heads for planing.
We think you’re going to find our newsletter and blogs useful and entertaining to read. Because we’re all woodworkers here at Popular Woodworking, we generate a huge amount of valuable woodworking information that we cannot possibly cram into the printed magazine. So the newsletter and community are both great places for us to share what we know with you.
Ron Paulk is an extremely likeable mystery and I think he deserves 10x more subscribers than he has. I'm convinced he's a secret millionaire - he has a workshop in what seems to be the 20-car garage of a multi-million dollar mansion - which he claims belongs to a friend and he's only using it temporarily while they sell the house.  I think it's been five years now that he's been there.  But anyway, Ron is mainly a finish carpentry contractor - that's things like baseboard, fireplaces, kitchen cabinets etc.  He is a master craftsman.  What makes him unique is his approach to working - he is all about being portable, mobile and lightweight.  Every year he seems to fit out a new van or trailer as a mobile woodshop.  I've built Ultimate Workbench, Chop Saw station and fitted out a van following his designs.  He introduced me to Festool, which was a costly mistake for me!  I've built a lot of his projects, and I learned a whole lot along the way.
Cherry is a very popular and an all-around great wood. Cherry stains and finishes beautifully, bringing out the natural figure in the grain of the wood. Cherry also ages beautifully, giving you a consistent look year after year. Cherry’s heartwood has a reddish-brown color to it, while the sapwood is almost white (we prefer to utilize mostly heartwood in our workshop). This is an excellent choice for almost any woodworking project, as Cherry is a solid wood choice all around.
I added an accessory mitre gauge to the saw for accurate cut-off work. The Incra Miter1000 showed up under the Christmas tree after the Lee Valley flyer photo with part number mysteri­ously ended up on the fridge door with a circle around it last December. A great addition, the Incra is light, accurate, and provides adjustable stops for cutting multiple parts to precise length. I will also make a plywood cut-off sled for the saw for squaring larger panels.
I place the band saw first in my order of purchases, because I consider it the heart of the shop. Band saws are very safe tools for ripping, re-sawing, cutting curves and more because all of the force is downward, virtually eliminating any chance of unexpected kickbacks. I wanted a saw that had a strong back, dynamically balanced cast iron wheels for smooth operation and flywheel effect, 12" depth of cut, good dust extraction design, a large table and a solid fence. After shopping around, I settled on the General International Model 90-170 14" saw. It is very smooth, comes with an Excalibur fence, and it is light enough (133kg) to move into your basement without crushing someone.
These YouTube videos provide great woodworking information that contains both traditional and modern methods. Each instructional video contains woodworking how to techniques to improve a woodworkers’ skills and also methods for how to work safe in the shop. If you want entertainment, then watch the video once. If you want learn, watch the again. If you want to master techniques and improve your woodworking skills, watch and study the videos repeatedly.
The solution to potentially wedged boards on a jointer is to add a planer to the mix.  A planer has a flat surface with a cutting edge that is exactly 180 degrees to the surface.  This allows you to position the jointed edge flat on the planers surface and make a cut to the opposite side of the board that is perfectly square.  As an added bonus, the planer allows you incredible control over the thickness of the boards you're planing.  ​
Man, do I ever know about the "pre-buyers remorse"! My fiancé is a self proclaimed "cheapskate"(her language is a bit more coarse), but when it comes to my shop, she's all for me spending. I always end up being the one to pump the brakes, as I have a history of being TERRIBLE with money(@ 21, I was making close to 6 figures with no post-secondary education, and at 31, I still have less than $5,000 in the bank), while she pushes me to get "whatever I need". Of course, we all know that the line between want and need is pretty blurry. I agree with some of the other posts; I keep all of my expenses logged, and try to churn out money-makers to chip away at the red, always hoping to reach the black. So far, I'm still seeing red, but as my shop continues to flesh-out and my skill set grows, profit begins to sound more and more feasible all the time. Of course, I'm not really trying to make money. I just want to buy bigger and better equipment and supplies!
These YouTube videos provide great woodworking information that contains both traditional and modern methods. Each instructional video contains woodworking how to techniques to improve a woodworkers’ skills and also methods for how to work safe in the shop. If you want entertainment, then watch the video once. If you want learn, watch the again. If you want to master techniques and improve your woodworking skills, watch and study the videos repeatedly.
Every woodworker needs a couple of levels. You probably won’t need one of the 6-foot levels used in construction, but 48” is a good length for many of the woodworking projects you’ll do. Usually, you’ll also need an 8” level too, usually known as a torpedo level. You’ll check the level and plum of your construction. Level means horizontal, and plumb is vertical.
Mitre Block/Box for Cutting Coving Skirting Boards Polypropylene mitre box for accurate cutting of mitres and butt joints. Colours may vary from image shown. Stock No: 633731 EAN: 5055058172877 External Size: LxWxD = 300x140x75mm Internal Size : LxWxD = 300x105x58mm Colour: May Vary: Image is for illustration purposes only. Manufacturer: Silverline.
Just like a hammer and tape measure, a drill is something a lot of people already keep on hand for small household projects. Danny and I started out on a SUPER cheap drill when we first got married and quickly learned that this was not something to cheap out on.  If you plan to do much woodworking, invest in a quality drill.  It doesn’t have to be the best of the best, but do at least get a mid-grade drill.
Once you have the four aforementioned handheld power tools in your arsenal and you've had time to get comfortable with using them, its time to make your first (and likely most important) major tool purchase. The table saw is the heart and soul of every woodworking shop, the centerpiece around which all of the other tools are used and organized, so you'll want to buy the best table saw that your budget can comfortably afford. Take the time to learn which features you really want and the table saw that best fits your budget and your needs. This article will show you the most common features, and how to determine what features you need and how to know if those features are really well built, or simply added on to the saw because they are selling features.
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