Some moisture meters have pins that penetrate the surface of the wood. This can leave tiny holes that mar the surface and require filling. Others are pin-less. They have sensing plates that scan the wood beneath. However, not all pinless moisture meters are the same – look for one that uses technology that is not affected by the surface moisture in the wood, such as Wagner Meters IntelliSense™ Technology Moisture Meters.
You really don’t have to do anything to get a great set of coffee tables. Well, you do have to gather a few tree trunks or stumps. Just sand them down a bit, and cut them off to make them flat. You can have a collection of different sizes sitting around the room and in different shapes. Stain them if you want but you can leave them natural for a really rustic look.
Let's talk about a few strategies for building out your shop below retail price. There are the obvious ones like yard sales, craigslist, estate sales, and thrift stores, however, these can be hit or miss. First of all, not everyone lives in an area where these avenues exist. Second, when your brand new to woodworking, it can be hard to evaluate a tool that your buying second hand. Because of this, I'm not going to focus on these channels in this post, but I will say, if your willing to do some hunting for second hand tools, you can easily save 50% to 75% on some perfectly fine equipment.
That headline struck me as discouraging. As an entry fee, $5,000 seems high enough to exclude a number of potential woodworkers, myself included. Christiana softened the blow by saying that used tools could cut the cost roughly in half. That figure seemed much closer to my experience, which involved buying a mix of new and used tools. Having said that, buying the right used tools is much more difficult than buying from a catalog or dealer who stocks everything needed to build a great shop. It requires a bit of guile and a good plan, but the payoff is worth it. Through careful choices and good fortune, I was able to outfit my shop with a blend of new and used tools for around $2,000.
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.
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.
By the way, before you yell at me about the fact that the price on the links for the nail gun is more than $200, listen up I have a handy tip: There are sales throughout the year on this exact package for $200. That’s how I bought mine. Just keep checking back. And be sure to follow me on social media. I keep checking it, too and if I see it’s on sale, I will post it to let you all know!
Saws (I'm not a fan of Japanese saws, but you can buy good new ones pretty cheap. ) - 1 crosscut handsaw (can be a Stanley "Sharktooth" toolbox saw from Home Depot or Lowes $15). 1 rip handsaw (used ones can be found at Antique stores for $20 or less. Try to find one that is fairly sharp to start with). Dovetail saw (Crown has a decent gent's saw for around $25 or get the Lee Valley Veritas Dovetail saw for around $70, Highland Woodworking carries both). A crosscut backsaw and small miterbox is also handy to have, I can't give you a recoomendation for inexpensive ones though.
If you’d like to read some more about SketchUp, check out Ryan’s article on how to plan a home DIY project with SketchUp 3D Design for Daily Life: How to Plan a Home DIY Project With Sketchup 3D Design for Daily Life: How to Plan a Home DIY Project With Sketchup Doing a home improvement project on your own isn't always a simple matter. Sometimes it seems simple enough when you get started, but before you know it, you realize that if you had just taken... Read More . And if the idea of 3D design in general captivates your imagination, you should read our interview with world-class 3D artist Rafael Grassetti How A Dream Job Comes True: Interviewing World-Class 3D Artist Rafael Grassetti How A Dream Job Comes True: Interviewing World-Class 3D Artist Rafael Grassetti It's not every day that I get to pick the brain of a world-leading 3D artist -- but that's exactly what I got to do with Rafael Grassetti. You may not recognize Rafael's name, but... Read More .
While I am admittedly still new to the wonderful world of woodworking, I can't help but feel that one of the contributing issues/factors responsible for my prolonged progress in starting/finishing projects is how I've become accustomed (more like "trained") - fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you look at it - to work within a financial budget.
YouTube is a great place to watch DIY woodworking tutorials that give you visual walkthroughs on how to do woodworking projects from start to finish. YouTube videos can inspire you to experiment with new ideas and try out projects you had never dreamed of yourself. With 20 channels dedicated to bringing you new project ideas and even showing you how to do them, you will have plenty of projects to ponder. So it's time to open your scrap wood cabinet and get started on something new.
If you have an old cabinet or dresser that you can redo, consider taking out the drawers and just adding rustic wooden planks. This gives the entire cabinet a great rustic look and it is really easy to do. This is a great project for those old dressers that have broken or missing drawers. You can attach the wood pieces together and fix them so that they pull out for easy access to the dresser contents.
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.
Birch comes in two varieties: yellow and white. Yellow birch is a pale yellow-to-white wood with reddish-brown heartwood, whereas white birch has a whiter color that resembles maple. Birch is readily available and less expensive than many other hardwoods. Birch is stable and easy to work with. However, it’s hard to stain because it can get blotchy, so it is generally preferred to paint Birch.
These how to videos and articles of information are dedicated to my woodworking instructor who trained me during my apprenticeship. This body of work is also in honor of the journeyman who were generous in sharing their woodworking knowledge and skills with me throughout my long career. All of you have helped me to make a wonderful living in a great craft. My hat is off to all of you.
The majority of books I read are lost to my memory since I had originally read them in high school when I was very active in scouting. I fell out of focus and didn't really get interested again in woodworking specifically until the last few years as my desire for learning self-sufficient skills has grown beyond just survivalism. I've read the first five Foxfire books and paid great attention to the various non-electric projects and old fashioned woodworking skills. I have also begun to watch episodes of the Woodwright's Shop (my father used to watch it heavily, but at the time I paid very little attention) and wish the first season was online since he does a lot of the basics in that first season. Most of my other reading has been online or watching videos such as the construction of a woodworking bench and the like. I do get smanterings from other books such as the Back to Basics by Abigail Gehring.