In the second part of our I Can Do That Workbench series, we build the torsion box top. It features a replaceable hardboard top surface and an affordable quick-action face vice. The bench’s design also allows for storage on both sides of the center beam and for good measure, we’ve added flip down casters and made sure we had clamp storage and power access.

Maple comes in two varieties: hard and soft. Both varieties are harder than a vast majority of other woods and are moderately priced. Because of their fine, straight grain, both varieties are more stable than many other woods and perfect for tabletops. Exotic varieties of Maple exist – such as Curly, Tiger and Birds-Eye Maple – which are used in fine woodworking for an unparalleled finish, with grain patterns that are extremely unique and distinct but come at a higher cost.


The level of sophistication in a $250 shop is significantly less than a $2,500 shop.  But keep in mind even a $2,500 budget is entry level.  Acquiring a shop full of the perfect tools for each and every job takes a life time.  But that doesn't mean that producing quality work takes a lifetime.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby is the constant need to solve problems in order to produce good work.
These basics are going to set you back about $180, leaving you with $320 left to work with.  We are going to be leaving behind two hand powered tools from the $250 shop and upgrading to powered alternatives.  This should lead to more consistent results, more enjoyable builds, and increased efficiency.  These are all goods things that only the biggest fans of The Woodwright's Shop would argue with.
When I built my shop I opted to buy a much higher quality miter saw and table saw than I truly needed at the time.  It ate up a ton of my budget and forced me to put off adding the tools that would allow me to buy cheaper stock for 2-3 years.  During that time my savings buying rough cut lumber would have probably paid for the upgraded equipment I started out with.  
This is the one tool in the shop that provides the greatest opportunity to save money, if you are willing to purchase a well made, light duty machine, and take lighter cuts. In the past I have used General 14" planers that can hog off seri­ous cuts all day long. The problem is that these professional units cost over $5000, and they would crush my buddy as we haul them down the stairs (note: don’t be the guy on the bot­tom). After doing a fair amount of research, I purchased the Dewalt DW735 13" thick­ness planer. The unit came with a good manual, and was in a good state of tune. It is light enough for me to carry around the shop with­out excessive grunting, so that made it very simple to install. The planer has a sig­nificant internal fan-assisted chip ejection system. The chips are catapulted out of this planer, so have your dust collector running before you run stock through it. I now have to make more cuts at a lighter cut depth, but I saved about $4500, which makes my budget happy. The planer makes clean cuts, and has two speeds. I don’t see a reason for the two speeds for my type of work, but there is a faster feed rate should you choose to use it. Knife changing is simple and quick.

That's it. That's all you really need to begin woodworking. Over time you will add more tools to your collection, like chisels, drill bits, a sander and, more clamps; but for right now you should be able to get started on most beginner projects. Don't be afraid to look online for second- hand tools. Old drills and circular saws work well when given proper care. With some ingenuity you can figure out how to adapt most plans to the tools you have available. People have been making wooden items throughout human history, and they didn't need expensive planers, biscuit joiners or fancy jigs. Start learning the craft, see if you like it, and have fun.
Matthias Wandel comes out with some amazing modifications for tools and techniques. This one however is incredibly simple and only requires a few scraps of wood and a pair of clamps to turn a simple circular saw into a custom width dado maker. You can spend a lot on special dado blades for table saws or router with a straight bit and some guides, but this method is simpler and the results are very close to the same. Very little is sacrificed by using this frugal dado making method.

Hi, I'm Jessi! Welcome to Practically Functional, a DIY and crafts blog for everyone! I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. Whether you're looking for simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, or just practical organization solutions, you'll find them here! Make sure to sign up for the email newsletter to get tutorials and project ideas delivered right to your inbox twice a week for free!

If you’ve been reading my regular blog, unbrokenfurniture.com, then you already know that I’m a novice furniture upcycler. Up until now I’ve been repairing and refinishing existing furniture. Lately I’ve been picking up more and more reclaimed wood and other raw materials, so I’ve decided to learn to build some furniture from scratch. Because building furniture from scratch doesn’t really fit with the theme of unbrokenfurniture.com, I’ve decided to keep these projects on a separate space, hence woodworkingwednesdays.com was born. I’m planning to post one new project each week (hopefully Wednesday).
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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