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Thread: Suggestion(s) for a beginner

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    A table like this?
    IMG_2596 (640x480).jpg
    Made this one a few years ago..
    IMG_2597 (640x480).jpg
    Just Pine. ( I am over in Logan County, OH....stop in anytime)

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cherry View Post
    I'd suggest looking into the Marc Adams school, it's practically in your back yard and the easiest way to learn is from experienced teachers.
    Oh, I have. I've gotten their catalog for a few years. It gives me an afternoon of fantasy and pestering the wife. Price is really the core issue. Especially for something I don't even know yet if I'd enjoy. My hope is to find a project or 2 that I can do with a low cost of entry, and then decide if this is something I want to do, or if will end up with the golf clubs and canoe!

    Last edited by Dave Lemen; 12-07-2017 at 8:10 AM.

  3. #18
    I had subscriptions to Wood Magazine and even Family Handyman for a few years. These gave me a lot of great ideas.

    What I liked about FH is that most of the projects are utility and storage and used minimal tools, plywood, and home center-available wood.

    My advice is to build your tool arsenal slowly.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    Here is a table build you can watch ...

    Regards from Perth

    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 12-07-2017 at 9:19 AM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    When I lived in St Louis, the Woodcraft store offered weekend and evening classes. I got my start by building a couple of small boxes in their class. It was all power tool use, but I was hooked and then migrated to the hand tool side. They also did classes on tuning, sharpening and using hand planes. I don't know if the Woodcraft in Indianapolis offers similar classes, but it would e worth checking out.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Dave, besides your location, knowing what set up you have to start would also help to point you in the right direction.

    What are you using for a workbench? Do you have a saw, plane or chisel and if so, which ones?

    Tapering a leg isn't difficult with a bench plane like a #5.

    The table you show is a fairly simple design to start. Instead of a drawer a shelf could be included. That is kind of a lesson to learn before putting a drawer in the "shelf" at a later time.


    Jim, I'm starting off pretty raw. I have a set of plain chisels. It was a 4 pack of various sizes I picked up at a box hardware store at some point. Probably 1/4 thru 1". Nothing fancy. I have a back saw. Just got it and, to be honest, I didn't realize there were different kinds of saws. I have an old coping saw. And a rather cheap plastic miter box. I do not have any planes. I have an assortment of other 'normal' tools (hammer, screwdrivers, etc.) and a few power tools (drill, old circular saw, inexpensive little table saw, etc.).

    As for my workbench, I have a steel frame bench with 1x4 slats. Think warehouse shelving and that is pretty much exactly what it is. It is about 20' long and 3.5' wide. There are no holes (well no deliberate holes like the ones in the woodworking shows have), no vices, etc. Just a mostly flat top. I have a couple of clamps as well, but not many.

    I can get a plane, and a few other tools if need be. I just can't outfit the garage before even trying to start. My goal is to find a real project, that I can do with a low cost and high probability of success.

    I had thought about a shelf. I just want to be sure I don't make it too complicated.



  7. #22

    sent you a PM. You can visit my shop to get a feel for the different hand tools you might want to start out. Iím likely within 45 minutes from you if you are around Indianapolis.
    Making furniture teaches us new ways to remove splinters.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2004
    N Illinois
    Paul Sellers is an Excellent source..

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I'm going to suggest that you buy a jig and drill bit from Rockler to do pocket hole joinery (either generic or Kreg versions if you want) and then use that method as the basis for your table assembly. That way you can focus on cutting parts to length and squareness of cut and not worry about joinery and special planes and tools needed to make mortises and tenons. Of course, this means you would buy lumber from BORG or other source that is already dimensioned to required thickness (maybe even width). This won't be a method anyone here would recommended for an heirloom but for a first project it will get you started with minimal expenditure and whet your appetite for the future. Obviously, pick a simple style (craftsman or maybe shaker) and you will be successful. Note - to make a table top you don't necessarily have to even glue boards together.

  10. #25
    If you don't know if you will like woodworking, but you want to build something of quality, it probably will frustrate you because your not equipped to
    deal with varius things.
    I suggest you get a heavy fire door from the dump, you will need to affix this to the bench you have, but not too tightly down as to make it deflect.
    Fire doors are precision composite materials, that wont have the movment issues that timber has .. they're stable (no warping), rigid (quite stout)
    flat (very important) and if you secure your bench down it will prove to be a valuable tool.
    I suggest you get a Stanley no.5 1/2 with a nice thick sole (not flattened by an oaf)
    get a DMD 400g and a 1000grit diamond stone from eBay or the likes, togther for 5 quid
    Get a 1800 or finer stone that is bonded to a precision plate like Ultex ...
    Get a cheap honing guide for a bit over 5 quid
    I bought a nice making guage like the has two lock screws also and only cost 20 quid...I love these
    Find a nice flat precision granite or marble tile/slab from ... a stove place ..or similar ...I've even seen granite plate mats these days...
    Thats pretty much all you need to decide if you want to persue this craft ...who doesn't love takin some shavings.
    I often cringe at the thought of trying to learn using some of Paul Sellers methods ...
    My opinion is that would be very frustrating for me and I'd have a fit, during those operations
    His methods are far from foolproof, and I like the sureity of other peoples methods ..
    Mainly I like a flat bench that I don't hack up with saw cuts ..I use the bench as a reference and treat it as such.
    Thats my 2 cents

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio, USA

    I noticed a recommendation for a Kreg Jig. OK, I think he said "Pocket Hole Screws". Well, I LOVE them in that I can build a carcass very fast with one. For some things, I do hand cut dovetails, even cases, but, especially when I am using plywood for the case, boy are those pocket hole screws fast. This assumes, of course, that you will be building things that will benefit from pocket hole screws.

    So, first, decide what you want to build. And you want to build a table.

    What wood will you use and how will you prepare it? Currently, I buy wood that has not been nicely prepared. It has been cut and dried. I need to:

    1. make the bottom flat (most people use a Jointer for this, but, you can use a hand plane). I use a planer and a sled.
    2. Make the top parallel to the bottom and the correct thickness (surface planer or hand plane)
    3. Make an edge flat and 90 degrees to the main surface (planer or hand plane)
    4. Cut to width (table saw or hand saw). If you use a hand saw, you may need to clean that up with a hand plane.

    This process is difficult to master and daunting, especially as a first timer. I intended to do it entirely with hand tools. Boy was that a tough learning curve. One that I never finished, especially starting out. So, I would go to wood craft and buy my wood. I then paid them do steps 1 - 3 above. More expensive, but, you can (for the most part) just get to work with minimal effort.

    You do not own a table saw, so, how will you cut that wood? You can build a saw guide for your circular saw. Not as precise, but it uses what you have.

    You bought some chisels. Are they sharp? Are you sufficiently experienced to know if they are sharp enough? My chisels are sharper today than they were when I first started; I am much better at it than I used to be, but I don't consider myself an expert sharpener. If you just bought them, then they are, in my opinion, not likely sharp enough for my tastes.

    How do you intend to sharpen them and keep them sharp? I won't start a sharpening thread here, but, you need some sharpening medium. The cheapest way to get started is to use "scary sharp" (sand paper on a flat surface, and you probably need a guide of some sort). I use an expensive Tormek to place a hollow grind on my chisels and then I can do it by hand. Them old timers did it by hand, and you can learn it too, but, I prefer a jig in general except for touch up to keep it sharp after I have my hollow grind from the Tormek.

    There might be someone in your area who can help you get started. I do not get in your area often (I am in Columbus Ohio).

    You do not have a hand plane? If you PM me, I will send you a working hand plane. I was going to sell it, but if you do not own one, it seems like a worthy cause. It aint a great plane, but it works. I think that I own three #4 planes. One is new in the box, and I think that it is a #4. Just have not gotten around to opening it and tuning it up. I would send you a tuned up plane, but I would need to sharpen the blade. It aint great, but I have been using it.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Orange, CA
    Just found this:

    Hopefully, like me, you find it informative in getting started on a 'basic' project.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Midcoast Maine
    If you like The Woodwright's Shop and the hand tool approach, you might try 'The Tiny Tool Kit' episode, it shows some of the capabilities of a very small number of tools.

    I haven't read the book referenced in the programme but it sounds like a fun read.

    There are a number of books by Mr Underhill with projects and explanatory text, your library will be able to get them for you.

    Good luck, be patient, learn to sharpen (whichever way works for you) and have fun.

    Last edited by Caspar Hauser; 12-15-2017 at 5:08 PM. Reason: grammar

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Sebastopol, California
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    One of the best places to start is in a library.

    Yes, yes, yes. You're already paying for all the books in your local library through your taxes; might as well use them. Go to the nearest branch and check out every book that looks like it might be interesting; see if they have DVDs, too. But books will have plans, to get you over that first hump. All the beginner's books will have lists of The Basic Tools; every book will have a different list, which reflects, I suspect, the author's memories of his/her first experiences and his/her preferences in work (e.g., if s/he likes curves, a spokeshave will appear early in the list of basic tools).

    Certain tools are, indeed, basic - a saw or two, a chisel or two, a plane or two. But you can find substitutes for others. For instance, if the plan you want to try has a curve along the grain, and you don't have a spokeshave, do the rough cutting by laying out your curve, kerfing along the length of it like this:
    cutting curves with the kerfed block method.jpg
    then knocking out the wood between kerfs. Clean up with your chisel and, finally, with sandpaper wrapped around a large dowel.

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