Help out a new woodworker

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Blog entry by mptap posted 03-08-2014 01:27 AM 1633 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello to all lumberjocks!

As the title says, I am pretty new to woodworking. I have a lot of questions about techniques, tools, and ideas for projects. It seems as one question gets answered another one peaks my interest. Right now I am interested in getting and learning how to use hand tools for joinery, planing, and the like. I don’t have a planer or really any good hand tools yet (I borrow my grandfather’s tools, but even his are limited in the hand tool department). My first question, or request rather, from my more experienced lumberjocks who may be reading this is to direct me to where I can find good, cheap, not necessarily new hand tools since I want to learn how to restore/sharpen/clean them etc. anyway. I live in the Dallas, Tx area so any of y’all who know that area can help me out with where you may get some of your tools for a good price.

Another little problem I would like some help with is where I can get some good cheap lumber of nice hardwoods, like walnut, maple or any other y’all may have run across. I have access to the equipment to mill them so they don’t have to be project ready boards or anything. I would prefer a place where I can get quite a bit for a cheap price and you know keep the leftover wood for more projects. If there are any tips and tricks y’all have for finding cut-offs or even salvaged wood would be greatly appreciated. Also, I want to attempt to build my own workbench over time with some reused wood or whatever I can get really. Is douglas fir an okay wood to use for a workbench? I ask because I have access to a lot of fir 2×4’s for free. I also don’t have any money to buy a good vice, also I would like to make my own vice just for the satisfaction of doing it, so any plans or recommendations or ideas with how to make one would be much appreciated!

Thank You for reading and helping me out,


10 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30609 posts in 3392 days

#1 posted 03-08-2014 01:36 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks

search Craigslist and pawnshops. As far as lumber, Craigslist and look for private sawmills in your area.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 3414 days

#2 posted 03-08-2014 01:50 AM

Another great resource for relatively inexpensive GREAT hand tools is DonW on this site. He refurbs hand tools and resells them at very reasonable prices. My block plane came sharp, clean and ready to rock from Don.

If you want to get a good user, or 5, right out of the gate, that’s where I would go.

-- Steve

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 03-08-2014 02:45 AM

Can’t help with sources in your area, but fir would be fine for your workbench. You can find good tool deals on ebay sometimes, but it takes a lot of time hunting. I second the recommendation to ask DonW what he has and there are a few other LJ’s that sell good stuff.

Here’s a blog series on building a bench with wedge powered vices:

Here’s another slick idea for building a leg vice:

View oklahomaben's profile


43 posts in 2629 days

#4 posted 03-08-2014 03:14 AM

I’m just starting out as well and I’ve bought 3 decent hand planes from garage sales!!!! I didn’t pay over 20$ for any of them and I restored them myself!!! You can find a good video on on how to tune them up. I bought a piece of granite tile to flaten mine with. And as far as lumber….no clue man I’ve just been on Craigslist and Google hardwood dealers in my town and then surrounding towns. I actually stumbled across the wholesale dealer for my area when calling around and he didn’t sell to the general public b it he did give me a list of dealers he sold to!!! That helped a lot. Good luck man!!!

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2630 days

#5 posted 03-08-2014 03:36 AM

flea markets…I been buying and refurbing them for a while….selling them to make a couple buck to put my set together..ebay is ok but the shipping is more than you can get them for at a flea market…..feel free to email me

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2630 days

#6 posted 03-08-2014 03:41 AM

you tube has a ton of videos on hand plane refurb…paul sellars or chris Schwartz are probably the best

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 03-08-2014 05:21 AM

I sent you a message I’m right outside Dallas. Give me a call and I will direct you to some resources I may also have some wood for you to start working with.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3858 days

#8 posted 03-08-2014 01:49 PM

Welcome and good luck. The above already said what I was thinking. This is a gr8 hobby/pastime, even a living for some. No. 1,2, & 3: Safety (eye, ear, lung protection). Remember, you gotta crawl before you can walk. One step at a time. You will find any and all info on this site. Lotsa gr8 folks, fine projects, tips, techniques about every avenue of woodworking. Work/Play safe. Keep makin dust is what I always say.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View mptap's profile


5 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 03-09-2014 05:02 PM

Thank you to all for the good tips! I’ll have to look out for garage sales in my area and any flea markets that are near by. I am at school most of the year so I don’t have much time to look around but I will definitely keep all of that in mind. jordanp I appreciate the generosity, I will probably be in touch in the future.

View Lazy_K's profile


131 posts in 3244 days

#10 posted 03-13-2014 01:08 PM

E-Bay,, Craig’s list and Antique shops for pre owned tools.
MJD Tools sells used/antique tools, only the best, they know exactly what they have and how much it is worth so you will find no bargains there but you can find very good tools.
EBay, Craig’s list and Antique shops don’t necessarily know what they have or what it’s worth…sometimes junk gets overpriced, sometimes treasure is sold at junk prices. you could find a bargain, you could buy something and get boned. be careful!
books about antique/used tools like “Stanley Tools Guide to Identity and Value” by John Walter can be invaluable when it comes to deciding how much to pay for a used tool.
In the north east there are also “junk shops”, stores that stock their shelves with second hand stuff they pick up cheaply at the estate auctions. all of those boxes full of stuff that the auctioneers just tossed a pile of things (from the kitchen basement and sheds,) in to make up a box that might sell for $5. bargains can be found, they are often open to a little polite haggling. but you have to keep going back and sorting through the stuff that doesn’t sell to find anything.

For wood you can’t beat the prices at the smaller local sawmills. finding them is frequently the hard part! they tend not to advertise, and have no telephone directory listing because the proprietor is using his personal phone for business. most of the ones I have bought from I “found” while driving around to collect honey bee swarms.
Have fun

-- Kai SaerPren

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