About Youtuber Have you ever considered woodworking as a hobby but didn't where to begin? Tune in for this video series from the editors of Fine Woodworking magazine, and we'll guide you through the process. From choosing your first tools to setting up a workspace to completing your first woodworking projects, you'll discover just how easy it is to get started in woodworking.
After years of digging down under router tables, lifting the entire unit up to change bits, and then fighting to get the plate flush again in the table, I chose to spend the money to purchase a router table, fence, and lift system. I did a thorough review of these systems, and chose the Canadian made Jessem Rout-R-Lift II kit. The system comes with a solid steel stand, a phenolic table, an adjustable extruded aluminum fence, and their base model lift system. For budget reasons, I did not choose the hefty Mast-R-Lift, but I am quite happy with the lighter Rout-R-Lift II. It will last me a couple of lifetimes, so it is the right system at the right price for me in my one-man shop. Hats off to Jessem for making a great lift at a very reasonable price in the middle of a tough economy. The table is durable, and flat. The direct drive lift is smooth and precise. I mated the lift system to a mid-sized model 690 Porter Cable router, which has a fixed speed, and enough power to do anything I need. The Jessem system uses a bayonet type mount for the table inserts, a nice touch that makes swapping the table insert quick and simple. As with all my machines, the router table is connected with the supplied dust port to my shop dust collection system with automated switching.
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This is sequential to step one, but with a little difference. You choose simple and easy woodcrafts to make. Ones that do not require investment in expensive tools. Nor do they require a lot of wood and raw materials. There are plenty of examples of such projects to be found. We have written about a few of them here. Small and popular wood projects can be made in large numbers and sold with ease, for a high profit.
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.
One tool that I’ve used over and over when my clamps were too small, is ratchet straps. They come in handy when trying to glue several pieces together, like when making a table top out of 4 x 4’s. One problem though, is that when using ratchet straps on smaller pieces of wood, or longer boards, it’s possible to warp the piece you’re trying to make. However, if you’re careful, a ratchet strap can stand in for a clamp or two.
Not only is having a full time job is hard to do woodworking, if you have a family as well, then that is another thing that you are going to have to juggle as well. For me its a no brainer. I always choose my family over my hobby of woodworking. But when my family or job does not need my presence, that’s when I am free to let my brain just run loose on new ideas of what to build next.
However, sometimes I am able to make extra purchases. On rare occasions she'll approve me spending some extra money to make a special purchase, especially if it's something for a project for her or our home or a gift for family. I have had to pass on some really good deals on tools and wood that I've seen simply because I either didn't have enough free spend saved up or she wouldn't approve extra spending. It's tough to hear her say "No", but I've also come to the realization recently that if she never said "No", I'd probably spend just about everything I make on wood and tools, and that wouldn't be good.
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.
That just reminded me of a FWW piece many years ago that had me rolling on the floor. Craftsman had built a large piece being delivered to an apartment on the top floor. Couldn't get it on the elevator so they got controll of the elevator and ran the top of it to be even with the floor, loaded the piece on the top of the car and rode with it inside the shaft while balancing it and keeping it from hitting the shaft walls. At some point in the trip up they lost control of the elevator and it started making trips up and down to other floors. I'll see if I can find it.
Turn leftover wood or old pieces of furniture into DIY reclaimed wood projects! Wood is one of my favorite materials to work with. The possibilities are endless and they give such a homey and cozy feel to any rustic home. My husband, Dave, and I sometimes even go the extra mile and carve our initials on a little spot. It’s our own way of making our DIY project even more personal! Here’s a list of some of our favorite DIY reclaimed wood projects!
You can create a beautiful coffee table by simple stacking logs together. Line the logs end up and create a circle whatever size you need. Then just tie them all together with rope or twine to keep your coffee table secure. You do need to make sure that the logs are the same height and you may want to sand the tops down just a bit to make them smooth.
One purchase that did work out in my favor this year was a bandsaw. I found an old, built in 1946, 14" Delta bandsaw w/ riser block in good condition for a steal at $150. I had a couple months of free spend saved up, and my wife threw in the rest of the money and considered it my birthday gift. Attached to the saw's base was an old Stanley 77 dowel maker the seller gave me with the saw since it was attached to the base when he got the saw. I was able to sell it on ebay for just shy of $300. I actually made money on that deal, and the money from the sale has allowed me to buy blades and upgrades for the bandsaw, as well as the parts and materials I need to build the router table I'm in the process of building. Was nice to get that - otherwise it would be months before I'd be able to purchase some of those things!
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.
Teak is an excellent choice, the “crème de la crème”, for fine outdoor furniture. Teak is highly weather-resistant by nature, which means that it does not have to be weatherproofed when used outdoors – although it often is finished and stained for aesthetic purposes. Teak is one of the most expensive exotic hardwoods there are, but it will look absolutely beautiful and maintain its integrity over time.
Not many YouTube woodworking channels are run by guys who also happen to have PhD’s in medicinal chemistry, but this one is. Brian Grella’s channel offers a mix between more atmospheric videos that aren’t heavy on explanations (as the one shown above), and ones that are firmly in how-to territory, like this one for making a beautiful wooden bowl using nothing but a router and a drill press (no lathe required):
I went out and bought a dovetail pull saw for some of the finer cuts that I needed to make. I’m sure I’ve used this a few times on previous blog posts. It is great for the smaller cuts, and I’ve even used it to cut some larger pieces when my bigger saw didn’t fit. The combination of the dovetail pull saw and the push saw works fine, and isn’t too terribly expensive, but I’ve found something even cheaper that works just as well.
What tools are needed to start woodworking? Well, this list can vary greatly depending on your budget. The best beginner woodworking tools are subjective but can vary largely depending on how much money you are willing or able to invest to start out in woodworking. It can also vary depending on if you are wanting to start out woodworking just as a hobby or as a side-hustle business. Most of the best beginner woodworking tools on this list are either tools I own, have owned, or at least have used in the past.
Just how small? Will you have an extra bedroom for your shop or will you be doing woodworking in your living room? Do you have to put the projects and tools away every time you want to entertain or will you leave everything set up all the time? A while back FWW had a video tour of a shop in Japan that was smaller than small. I'll try to find it and get back. Found it... shows what can be done in a small space but this shop was not on a small budget so no help there.