Steve Ramsey. He's an energetic, fast-talking eccentric whose built his channel based on projects that can be done without investing in fancy tools. He trudges out a banged-up table saw from his garage, chops stuff up on the bed of his truck, and generally produces well-structured projects - even if I can't agree with his design aesthetic and color choices. Lots of good stuff to learn and a great channel for someone starting out.
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).
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Ready for fall? Fall is one of my favorite seasons (hello cute boots and cozy sweaters!), plus I love watching the leaves turn gorgeous colors. You can bring a bit of that colorful nature indoors this fall with some simple fall wood crafts. Just grab a few scraps of wood, some fallen branches, or some wood slices, and whip up these adorable fall crafts in no time!
Sadly, that’s most of my power tools and shop accessories, but it’s a growing collection. Compared to all the money I’ve wasted on small electronics and computer junk in the past, I’d say this has been, and will continue to be, a much better investment. I just wish I had come to that realization back in college, when I was probably spending $500-$1000+ a year upgrading my computer.
Many beginners trying to get started in woodworking take one look at their budget and worry how they can afford to buy a whole shop full of power tools to get started. Fortunately, one doesn't have to spend a fortune to get started. There are really only seven woodworking tools that I would recommend any beginning woodworker have on hand from the start, and most are relatively inexpensive. However, with these seven tools, a beginner can tackle quite a number of projects.
Before I give you my list, I am assuming (and yes, I know what assuming does) that you already have a tape measure, screwdriver and a hammer. These are common household items that most people (woodworkers or not) keep around the house. If you don’t have one, they are a few bucks each and WELL worth the investment. AND they are my favorite types of stocking stuffers—even if it is just July, it’s already on my mind 🙂
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.
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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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.
Eastern Hemlock, the state tree of Pennsylvania, is a softwood that has a naturally light-reddish-brown color. Although Western Hemlock (sourced from the Pacific Northwest) is often used in furniture building due to its straight grain and finer texture, which sands to a silky, reflective smooth surface. Hemlock gives some hardwoods a run for their money in terms of durability and strength, but at a more approachable price point. Reclaimed Hemlock has made its way into local salvage yards in recent years, and is being utilized in all aspects of woodworking and furniture building.
I looked around at many versions of Taiwanese drill presses. I ended up purchasing the Ridgid DP15501 15" drill press because I liked the way the quill stop was made, the work light, key storage, and the easy access to the belt change system. This machine was also on sale when I needed it, so that made it a slam dunk. Choose the one that suits you, as they’re all very similar. The table is large enough, and the distance to the column is large enough to allow you to do most anything a small shop needs.
If you have wood pallets just lying around the yard, put them to use by turning them into a great mud room bench. This bench would look fabulous on the deck or just inside the door, wherever you want to put it. When you finish putting it all together, just sand and stain it whatever color you want and you have a beautiful bench that cost you very little to create.
Whatever your dream for a rustic look, you are sure to find something in this collection that will help you along. Many of these projects are so easy to do and you can complete them in less than a day. Some make wonderful gifts as well so if you know someone else who just loves the country, rustic look, make them something to brighten their own décor. The projects use all sorts of materials, many of which are really inexpensive or even cheap in some cases.
If you are an advanced woodworker then you might want to check out the Wood Whisperer channel. It has advanced projects broken down to the details in multi-part series and also technique videos. Mark Spagnuolo has been creating DIY woodworking videos on the channel since 2006, so there is a lot of content to scratch the itch of any woodworking enthusiast.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
About Youtuber My hope is to (in my own crazy way) add to the already great woodworking community here on YouTube. Broadcasting for me was a true passion, but I've always been doing some sort of woodworking since I was a kid. I have now put my broadcasting career in the rear view mirror so, my current focus is on woodworking for fun, relaxation and whatever my wife say's needs to be done.
John Heisz is a Canadian woodworker who makes many of his own tools to help him with his projects. His YouTube channel shows you how to also make your own tools. He has a video series on how to make homemade clamps, whether you're making hand screw clamps, wooden bar clamps or a deep c clamp. Another one of his video series takes you through the making of your own homemade vise.
This style of saw will provide more power than a contractor-type saw and have the high-quality rip fence you need to do good work. However, because they are favored by professionals and serious amateurs, cabinet saws are harder to find on the used market. Scour the classifieds and online sales (be sure to check industrial auction sites as well), and do some networking. Check the bulletin board at your hardwood supplier and ask the proprietors if they know of anyone selling a saw. Also call local cabinet shops. They sometimes have a surplus tool sitting idle that they’d be willing to sell. Take your time in this step. A careful investment will pay dividends in the long run, but a well-intentioned compromise can cause long-term frustration.
At $300, the saw is expensive, but it is one of the more affordable saws that offer a 12 inch blade and a double bevel. The double bevel allows you to adjust both the angle at which the blade cuts into the wood and the tilt of the blade relative to the workpiece. Having control over both angles allows much easier cuts of trims and moldings. It's one of those features that you won't use with every project - but when you do need it, you'll be glad you have it
Another option is to use two small clamps to hold two boards in place, and then wedge the wood pieces, that you’re trying to glue, in between them. I’ve found that this works better than the ratchet straps when trying to glue up thinner lumber, like boards from old pallets. When using this method, you should have the wood on a completely flat surface, and often it helps to put some weight on top to keep it from bowing.
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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!
In fact when I first met her she had walked away from a construction job building three story apartment housing. One day they were working on the third floor with a fairly high wind , and speaking of plywood, there were stacks of plywood up there and she tried to tell the guys they needed to secure the plywood or they would start to take off like playing cards.
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.