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!
But until then, I’ve been thinking of other ways to use my hands and create things. (Even though many of our saws and tools have been stolen.) But I’m feeling a little antsy to make some quick projects, because creating makes me extremely happy…..so we’re calling this surge in me to create something simple, THERAPY. In fact, I need to call up a few friends and have them make some with me because friends and creating is a favorite combo of mine! (Any out of town-ers want to fly in?! ;) )
On the money issue one`thing I did is find something that is fairly easy to make and easy to sell. I made kaleidoscopes to begin with and still whip up a batch if I need to buy wood or a new tool. A neighbor WW makes wooden condiment holders for restaurants. A good friends son worked his way thru college by making a certain bearing that they needed on his tiny lathe. Spend a month or so on $$$ stuff before doing the better stuff.
Frank’s work is visually arresting. This is not necessarily a channel you’re going to learn from, if you’re a novice woodworker or just getting into the field. The main reason to subscribe to Frank’s channel is how gorgeous his work is. The pieces he makes are always artfully conceived, even if it’s just a simple bookcase or a bench. Add to that his killer stop-motion and filmmaking skills, and you get a YouTube channel you can share with anyone, even if they think they’re not remotely interested in the craft.
For me, I watch Craigslist, and hit auctions. My g/f scored me a huge load of pallets (free wood is good wood, especially when projects made from it generate $$$), and I work in a high end window & door company, so the scrap bin gets raided quite often. I made a deal with myself to only buy what I can pay for from what the shop makes. This includes (at times) going without a needed tool as I was waiting for a better one because I had sold what I once had for more than I paid for it. Just like flipping houses, on a much smaller scale. Right place, right time.
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.
An old piece of wood and a few hooks will help you to create a beautiful hanger for your favorite coffee cups. Just add the hangers, stain the wood and then hang it on the wall. This is a project that takes little time and will cost very little if you already have the wood on hand. You just have to purchase the hangers which are relatively inexpensive.
Oak is one of the most widely used and respected hardwoods in furniture making. Available in two varieties — red and white — oak is very strong and also quite heavy. White oak is sometimes preferred for furniture making because it has a slightly more attractive figure than red oak, but either variety can give you a beautiful finish that stains very well. Oak can be used for almost any woodworking purpose, and is an excellent choice for pieces that will last a lifetime – literally! As they say, it is “solid as oak”!
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.
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 my shop I use a large number of Jorgenson F-clamps. I use many of the small clamps, the most useful being the 12" version. Large F-clamps are essential for cinching down parts on bending forms. I also like aluminum bar clamps because they are much lighter than steel clamps, and therefore less likely to damage a carcase should you bang into the wood during a glue-up.
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.
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.
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.
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.