View Full Version : A BEGINNER has some questions
11-26-2001, 05:12 PM
Hi I just started getting into wordworking. I would love to start making shelves, and other wood things for around the house and outside the house. I am getting a scroll saw (tradesman) for christmas and already have a circular saw (craftsman), jig saw (craftsman) and sander(craftsman).
I was wondering what other tools I should get that will come in handy for a beginner in woodworking for the things I want to make? I get all my tools through sears and am not looking to spend a fortune.
Also any good book ideas for a beginner woodworking?
Where can I get patterns for making shelves and other wood decor?
Where is a good place to get wood for wordworking projects?
What are good woodworking magazines for beginners?
Carol the Router Lady
11-26-2001, 07:06 PM
Welcome! You've come to the right place. There are lots of folks who will suggest you put a table saw on your wish list. Right now your projects will be limited by the wood you can buy. Ripping (making boards narrower) will be hard to do with what you have. Cross cutting (making boards shorter) can be done with the circular saw and a straight edge. But that can leave a pretty rough edge unless you have a real quality blade (costs more than the saw!).
And, of course, I would suggest a router because it is the most versatile tool you can own. I would hestitate, however, to recommend Craftsman. It has been my experience with my students that the machine is hard to adjust and more difficult to make jigs for. Part of the reason is the plastic housing binds and the base mounting holes are blind and thus difficult to accurately transfer their location to a jig. My students usually end up taking it back (if they can) or getting another machine. If you want more thoughts on this, let me know. I'd be happy to email directly, or post on this forum if more of you want my humble opinions.
Books for beginners. Hmmmmm. It would be helpful for you to be more specific. There are some terrific books available but they are more subject specific. There are books specific to machines. There are techniques books (I am writing one now for Lark Publishing on router joinery). There are project books. What would you like?
Patterns are available everywhere. Try the host of this site, Rockler Woodworking. They have lots of plans.
Wood. Look in the yellow pages under lumber. Check out the likely suspects. While you are there ask if there are any woodworking guilds in the area. They can be your best help. Not that we won't try, but you will get your best local information from them.
Good woodworking magazine? Back to the host of this site. Woodworkers' Journal is the name of the magazine. Good stuff for woodworkers of all skill levels.
There is more, but this will get you started. Others will offer you more information. You will probably be inundated!
11-27-2001, 09:22 AM
I would second Carol's remark about Craftsman. I have returned/discarded every Craftsman power tool I ever bought. Their hand tools are ususally very good, but their power tools tend to be of poor quality.
If you look at previous posts from people asking for assistance getting started, you will see over and over again two recommendations: 1) Try to find a local woodworking group, vocational college course in woodwooding, or a mentor; and 2) buy good tools from the start -- it is more economical than buying a poor one and later replacing it with a good one!
There may be some good books in your local library -- that would be a good way to look over the field. "Woodworking" is a wide field -- it includes everything from simple toymaking to complex furniture. Even if you just want to build a bookcase there is a wide range of skill levels. A recent article in Fine Woodworking magazine presented three bookcases: one to build in a day, one to build in a weekend, and one that took a week or two! They were all the same size, they just varied in complexity.
11-28-2001, 02:30 AM
You are only as good as the tools you have. Make the right discussions (as far as tools go) for the long term... of your woodworking endeavors. You need to know what you enjoy doing the most, and buy the tools needed for that application.
If home improvement is your thing...may the force be with you.
Welcome to the forum. Your are headed down a slippery slope. If the woodworking bug has bit get ready because you will always need/want that tool to make that project. The other piece of information, you can not build it cheaper. Unless of course someone has willed you 1500 sq ft workshop full loaded with all the tools you can dream of.
What has already been posted is fantastic guide lines. Don't get discuraged and feel your wallet being squeezed. You just have to start. Safety is first though, as Norm says "read and understand all your tools"
Some of the other tools you may want to consider is a good straight edge, framing square and a machinest square. If your cuts are not square it doesn't matter how many tools you have.
Practice. This is the other piece that sometimes is not mentioned. I know i will take on a project and then relize that they get better as I go. This is something I should know but I get anxious and excited and disregaurd this step. The more you do the better you get. If you have never done it, it is really hard to cut a straight line with a circular saw.
Have fun and drop back you can learn alot.
11-28-2001, 11:35 AM
(hmmm....how should one pronounce "cjebiii"????......is your "nom-de-internet" that of a science-fiction character???)
there must be literally hundreds of thousands of books and magazine articles about hobby woodworking......are there any used book stores/flea markets/rummage sale shops in your area???.....if so, you should be able to find any number of books on woodworking and carpentry, and endless old magazines with articles on hobby woodworking projects.....
these range from the simplest of "home handyman" projects, to the exquisite furniture and art pieces built by amateur woodworking hobbyists that are written up every month in "fine woodworking" and similar magazines.....
if you've the interest and motivation, there's no reason at all why you couldn't do the same level of fine woodworking that you'll see in those magazines.......after a good bit of practise, of course.......
tools are only an extension of your will and purpose.....you can do good work with a bare minimum of tools, with, of course, somewhat of a trade-off of comfort and convenience.....everyone finds their "point of balance", as it were, after awhile....
some people choose to invest in a shopful of sophisticated power tools, others prefer to arrange their projects around a relatively few tools, but learn to use those tools very well....
this all is a matter of purely personal preference, and each person's tastes and preferences will be different, of course.....having said that, my own recommendation to you would be that you consider investing in a good basic minimum kit of equipment, but first learn how to select the very best....for your purpose... of tools and equipment.....
the reality of project work is hand-fitting....yes, a great deal of time and effort is saved by using power tools......but the fitting-up of any nice work is all hand work.......with fine-toothed saws, planes, chisels, spoke-shaves, scrapers, and such.....
one of the very most important tools is a good sturdy workbench, with a good vice, and some clamps or other work-holding devices....
a good workbench won't be cheap, but you don't really need one of the ultra-fancy ones, either....a surplus industrial bench, or even an old desk, covered with some plywood, could be amply serviceable.....what matters is that your bench is strong and sturdy enough to hold your work steady whilst you plane, saw, chisel, glue-up, etc.......if you are trying to chisel out a mortice, for example, or plane down an edge, and your work is bouncing, shaking, and vibrating under your tool, you'll quickly become frustrated......a serviceable bench must have sufficient weight and mass, and/or be secured to the floor/wall, to be rock-steady.....
your bench is also the "reference flat", as it were, for assembling and gluing-up work, to align your work square and level......adjusting your bench so that its surface is level allows you to check parallelism easily with a short bench level. or the level vial of a combination square.....
a really good vice is a necessity........its a shame that the "patternmakers" style of vice as built years ago by the "emmert", "oliver", and "yost" companies is not now in production.......there are oriental copies, but those are too poorly made to be practical.....and the demand for existing old emmert and similar vices has run prices up to a level that makes them unreasonably expensive for all but wealthy hobbyists..
look for a standard type of woodworking bench vice in the "wilton", "columbian" "richards-wilcox" or other best quality makes, in the 10" jaw width by 12" or so opening size....avoid cheap imitations, of which there are many.....
a good vice is your best friend, at the bench, and makes your work ever so much easier.....a poor one is your enemy, and will make you ever so frustrated when you are trying to concentrate on doing good work.....
you can do a lot of good work with a relatively few tool
11-29-2001, 10:25 AM
In preparation for our womeninwoodworking booth, I asked our host Rockler's Phoenix store assistant manager, Sheila, to compile a list of books for show attendees. She put together a list of books for all skill levels and interests. It's a starting point and forum members please feel free to add your favorites (but maybe we should start a new topic/thread). I have listed those titles here in no particular order.
89319 Setting Up Your Own Woodworking Shop
94699 The Small Woodshop
23898 Methods of Work
88444 Dust Collection Basics
31117 Woodworking Techniques
31218 Router Workshop Bench Reference
12079 Bandsaw Workshop Bench Reference
55152 Woodshop Jigs & Fixtures
13297 Table Saw Magic
42552 Scrollsaw Workbook
90609 Weekend Projects Plus
35414 25 Essential Projects For Your Workshop
44124 Woodworking for Kids
11918 Space Saving Furniture Projects
If you are interested in any of these you can go to our host, Rockler's site, and order by the item number listed.
Also be sure to check out Barb's, a forum member's column, on the home page of this site. Her column is called Starting Points and has many useful tips for beginning woodworkers.
Another place for beginning information is Woodworking 101 also on the home page of this site. Woodworking 101 is a compilation of forum members (woodworking.com) tips on getting started/set up for woodworking.
Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
12-01-2001, 11:57 AM
Just out of curiosity, could we have a first name to call you biiiii? Sorry, couldn't resist. Welcome to the forum. You've received lots of good advice here, and I want to throw in my two cents. I'm fearing you might feel overwhelmed. I think the key thing in just starting out in woodworking is Not to feel like you have to have it all at once. Those of us with well-equipped shops have usually started out with only a very few tools, then taken on a project and purchased what was necessary to do that particular thing.
From your list, I'd say the next things you'd need would be some kind of drill or drill press, and a router (this concerning machines, of course. I've no idea what you have in the way of hand tools.) I was given for Christmas, several years ago, a Sears Craftsman router and metal table/stand by my family, and my heart sank, knowing the reputation of Sears routers. All four kids and my mother went in together to buy this thing because I loved working wood and had no router. What do ya' do? My point is, I've used it ever since. The inserts don't sit properly in the tabletop, the height adjustment slips, I've read the bearings will go on it one day, BUT it has served me well anchored in that table. I've learned a Lot with it, and I'm glad I have it. This year I bought a Porter Cable 690 kit for $200, which has a standard base and a plunge base, interchangable, and it is the one I reach for the most and depend on. In fact, I'm still learning to use all its features and possibilities, but I expect that to go on for several years! (I'm slow.)
As for books, there are dozens. Check out your local library. One for beginners I'd recommend is 'The Woodworker's Visual Handbook' by Jon Arno (Readers Digest Books, hb, 435 pp. $29.95). Cambium Books carries it, or you could do a search for a used copy on abebooks.com, a useful resource for books of all types. The reason I like Arno's book is that it describes in detail, most of the woodworking tools beginners don't even know are out there, and illustrates their use with tips and safety considerations. He has a gallery of wood types, advises on joinery and finishing, and it's really the most complete beginner's book I've seen. And I've seen many.
Have you heard the old cliche' about the professional swordsman thinking he was so great no one could defeat him, and then some newbie yayhoo walks in and does something Completely against the rules and surprises him, because the beginner didn't know he couldn't do it? (Sorry, I don't have the exact quote.) That's how a beginning woodworker is. If you read up on safely using your tools, there are no rules. You'll make mistakes, you'll break weak wood joints, you'll tear out end grain, you'll cut on the wrong side of a line (over and over) but you will be learning in the best way you can learn, by your own experience. Wood is a forgiving material; your shelves can always be a half-inch shorter, and if need be, you can always start over.
Find a picture of what you want. Read about how to do it. Then jump in. My first jewelry box was a disaster; it was thick and clunky and the hinged lid didn't close properly. My friend George looked at me in despair and said, "Wait a minute. How many boxes have you made?" "This one," I said, planning to throw it out. "Well then, it's not such a bad box, is it? The corners are tight, it isn't skewed, you've got a nice little divider in there. What you see wrong now, you'll change next time." And that's exactly right, bless him. Besides, my daughter loved it.
Sorry to be so long-winded. I've been out in the garage for weeks now, cutting and fitting my very first double through, wedged mortise and tenons on a blanket chest with floating panels, absolutely all new to me, and it's working great. I'm a beginner too; I'm just a couple years ahead of you. So don't get overwhelmed. As the advertising mavens put it, Just
02-05-2002, 11:27 AM
Welcome if you are looking for some things to make around the house try a cherry bookself to get the plans go to www.freeplans.com (http://www.freeplans.com) and they can send you free plans to your email box and take the information from there.:)