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If you knew then what you know now...

by Brian_M
posted 01-20-2018 02:04 PM


48 replies so far

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

541 posts in 561 days


#1 posted 01-20-2018 02:43 PM

I learned the trade from two of the best carpenters i knew. and as they said i would, i’d eventually find new ways and methods to get the same result as them, but easier direction for me.

after the time with them, and on my own, i just dove in, one project after another, learning, and making lots of fire wood along the way, learned patience, as in my hurry to prove to myself i was an awesome carpenter, made quite a few costly mistakes, and embarrassing ones, so taught me to evaluate my skill set, and direction.
But will say not one mistake caused me to rethink my desire to learn wood working, only strengthened my drive to learn all i could and now at almost 70 am still learning from forums similar to this and a few youngsters i’ve met in the last few years being in construction. Good to see the young’uns, making inroads to new methods and tricks.

dive in, make some dust, expect challenges, and mistakes, learn from them, and go forth, become a master of the wood making, and being a master is not being called one by your piers, but the satisfaction of a job well done, with the best skil set you have at the time, and time will if not a total idiot, make you better each successful project.
jmo

Rj in az

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5366 posts in 2710 days


#2 posted 01-20-2018 03:07 PM

For starters, make something. A simple box, a step stool, a tool tote, saw horses, saw bench; anything but get started. You will find that your tools will be critical, if the chisels are dull, then learn to sharpen them. Sharpening tools is a foundation skill, nothing can happen with dull tools. Clean up that handsaw and get it sharpened or learn how to do it yourself. You’ll quickly find out whether it is rip or crosscut. The main thing is to pick a project, put your tools in working order get started. Things will progress from there.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View dbeck's profile

dbeck

65 posts in 717 days


#3 posted 01-20-2018 03:31 PM

First learn to sharpen and sharpen well(takes a LONG time) then pick something you would like to redo of build, plan it out in steps that teach at each step a new skill. I would pick something that i practiced handsaw skills first(like a simple lap joint) but you will need to choose how to get dimension lumber, buy or do it yourself. Slowly build your skills and aquire more tools as needed. Popular first projects would be things like a bench or tool box etc..

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1262 posts in 1267 days


#4 posted 01-20-2018 03:36 PM

I would recommend acquiring the best quality tools you can afford the first time around. The “cheap” tools, as you call them, that you have now may prove frustrating to work with, especially if you don’t have the room for power tools in you arsenal. If you’ll be cutting, planing, beveling, mitering, etc. all by hand, you’ll end up frustrated if you can’t keep a sharp edge or cut a straight line because your tools aren’t up to the task.

That’s not to say that you need to fill your shop with nothing but Festool and Lie Nielsen. In fact, craigslist and other such outlets are great places to search for bargains on used tools. A good, used Stanley plane, even if it’s 60 years old, will perform much better than any new plane you can buy off the shelf at Home Depot.

I agree with bondo. Decide to make something and have at it. Boxes and stuff like that are great. I’d suggest a project that will carry you further. Maybe a jig like a shooting board that will help you along with other projects. You’ll need a work bench soon enough. Start planning.

Pick a project, figure out what tools you’ll need, and get them. Eventually, you’ll have a shop that’s outfitted with the tools you’ll need to continue making more stuff. Just source what you need now and later on you’ll look back and see a shop full of tools. Beware, though. You’ll always find that there’s something you need or want that you don’t have. That’s kinda the beauty of it.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1006 days


#5 posted 01-20-2018 04:04 PM


... I’m interested in getting into woodworking … I’ve not the room for things like table saws, jointers, planers and the like (at least the powered variety). I also find that I enjoy the idea of doing things a little more slowly, by hand … part of what I liked about being a mechanic … Right now the tools I have are a set of 3 cheap chisels, a cheap box plane and some sort of panel saw my dad gave me decades ago (no idea if it s rip or cross cut or if it s even sharp, it IS rusty though :/ ). Oh, and a couple stones & jig for sharpening the chisels/plane blade.

Cheers!

- Brian_M

A brother from another mother! Welcome aboard, Brian. Sounds like you have the same arsenal of tools I started with. Good for you! Do yourself a favor and seek out Paul Sellers on YouTube and watch until your eyes bleed. I agree with Bondo … make something! Personally, I would start with a saw bench and then corresponding saw horses. Progress very slowly when it comes to acquiring tools. Think about what it is you are trying to achieve, and if you can not do it with what you have on hand … then buy the tool! Oh yeah … buy used! That way you can hone your sharpening skills and knowledge of the tool itself … not to mention save a ton of money!

Perhaps down the road you will find your niche. What type of woodworking is your passion? Sounds like you have already decided to go the unplugged route, and I applaud you for that. I have built a variety of things over the years, but I believe Prie Dieux have become my specialty, so to speak. I derive a great deal of pleasure from designing and building these.

Go slow, have fun, and if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask!

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12772 posts in 2739 days


#6 posted 01-20-2018 06:26 PM

1. I’ve never regretted buying a quality tool. It’s the cheap ones I regret.

2. Build a bigger shop.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

467 posts in 1449 days


#7 posted 01-20-2018 08:01 PM


seek out Paul Sellers on YouTube and watch until your eyes bleed.

- Ron Aylor

I second this idea—one of the highest and best uses of the internet, so far as hand tool woodworking is concerned.

View AxkMan's profile

AxkMan

65 posts in 485 days


#8 posted 01-20-2018 09:18 PM

I don’t know much what to share in wisdom on this right away. Most people have troubles they encounter and the wood working can be an ongoing experience. You have to find your style in it all. Some like shakers, some contemporary, some precision, some just do it and its great. The types of wood workers you find vary greatly and the types you get advise from will also vary in detail you need.

My advise is to build on it. Start with the tools you know and have come to learn. Most tools don’t take years to master, but may cost you a few trial and errors to respect them. It can be exciting I found, but there goes your brand new power tool because of excitement… On the other hand, too much careful planning is actually laziness and you need to get more involved instead of thinking too much about it. If I act like I work at a lumber mill and I’ll get to the storage area when I get to it I found that it gets too messed up in the end.

Sketches are a great place, but then so is architecture to me. I like them, but sometimes I’d rather just live in the free world of wood. Its nomadic for me sometimes but at the same time can be an intellectual challenge of how they do it.

I use the ladder method and work from stage to stage. I mostly deal in cabinetry myself, but I’m not afraid to dive into construction like projects either. It can be challenging finding an exact spot, but never be afraid of the joy of wood despite mistakes. I always enjoy the experience even if it is just wood!

I like IT too.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2239 posts in 2348 days


#9 posted 01-20-2018 09:29 PM

Admitting that you know little to nothing is a great 1st step. As such, I see nothing wrong with starting at the beginning. This is the book, copyrighted in the ‘60’s, my son had in HS in ‘07-‘09. Technical Woodworking Groneman & Glazer McGraw-Hill Pub. Find it or something similar at the library or somewhere. It covers a lot you wont need with power tools, but covers hand tools too. Provides explanations of tool types and intended use, and covers safety without overdoing it. What I like about it is that as an old textbook, it’s teaching vs marketing a brand, which too many of the current “experts” do (I realize they are trying to make a living).

My favorite current expert for hand tools is Paul Sellers, no contest. He focuses on the tool type and how and why to use it. He mentions some brands, but they tend to be high value not high cost. As many stated, sharpening hand tools is important. Lot of ways to do it. I detail my process and why in my blog.

One other thing – study and practice finishing along with other skills. I find far to many people focused on ww methods and tools, wood types, etc , put in $ and a lot of time into a project, and then its like “oh sh*t I need to finish this”. Finish should be part of the design process, and in mind during the build. Too many folks really limit themselves when it comes to finishes. Again, start with books. My pics:

Great Wood Finishes Jeff Jewitt Taunton Press 2000
Understanding Wood Finishing Bob Flexner Reader’s Digest 2005

Some will argue they are dated. While water based finishes have continued to improve, the basic chemistry and knowledgebase has not, and the newer info isnt in a book. You get from the mfr and from testing. Flexner goes into more chemistry, which I like, and it isnt real technical. There are some differences or additions between them, which is why I recommend both. A ww project is no different than writing a program, just different knowledge and skills.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19160 posts in 2926 days


#10 posted 01-21-2018 12:14 AM

There are so many variables here. Pick something and build it.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Just_Iain's profile

Just_Iain

300 posts in 775 days


#11 posted 01-21-2018 12:57 AM

I read an interesting story from I believe Chris Schwarz. To paraphrase, he was just getting started at Popular Woodworking Magazine and he was at either a class or woodworking show. Anyway, he got to use a very high end plane and remarked how great it was. The owner said no, it was just properly sharpened.

So finding out how great it can be, try to track down a local woodworker and take some lessons. Maybe buy a used ‘older’ Stanley #4 plane and take it along. You want to learn how to sharpen and what sharp is in a tool so also learn what a sharp chisel is like to work with and learn to sharpen your own (again a buy 1 used chisel). Don’t buy a lot until you take some lessons. And buy one at time until you learn your sharpen and maintain. Too many options and too many distractions will keep your nose to the computer and away from the bench.

Best of luck,
Iain

P.S. I bought a lot of used tools last year and so many to clean and sharpen and time is tight for me… Hence why I’m saying to start slow.

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

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GR8HUNTER

5956 posts in 1071 days


#12 posted 01-21-2018 03:42 AM

HTL said it best ….there are 100 ways to do things ….all depends on your tools and experience :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View pottz's profile

pottz

4996 posts in 1343 days


#13 posted 01-21-2018 04:03 AM

all I can say is if woodworking is your passion and you love it youll find a way to build things from the crapiest tools there are.forget about buying expensive tools now,first discover if you have the fire and passion to create something from nothing.if you don’t the best tools there are wont help.some of the best woodworkers ive ever seen work in shops that are shacks and use primitive tools,but create works of art.as some have said pick a simple project and see if you have the fire!if not don’t waste the money on tools you wont even know how to properly use.i wish you a lifetime of enjoyment.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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woodbutcherbynight

5964 posts in 2767 days


#14 posted 01-21-2018 05:43 AM

Well if I had to do it all over again I would have bought 15 acres of land, got a 2nd hand trailer, built a 10,000 square foot shop and never got married to my ex wife.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View pottz's profile

pottz

4996 posts in 1343 days


#15 posted 01-21-2018 05:46 AM



Well if I had to do it all over again I would have bought 15 acres of land, got a 2nd hand trailer, built a 10,000 square foot shop and never got married to my ex wife.

LOL

- woodbutcherbynight

AMEN BROTHER!!!!YOU AND ME BOTH.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4391 posts in 948 days


#16 posted 01-21-2018 06:19 AM

Well if I had to do it all over again I would have bought 15 acres of land, got a 2nd hand trailer, built a 10,000 square foot shop and never got married to my ex wife.

LOL

- woodbutcherbynight

AMEN BROTHER!!!!YOU AND ME BOTH.

- pottz

Besides the land and shop, I’d have bought Apple stock at $0.50, a few thousand bit coins, 10,000 BF of bubinga… And lots of other things only hindsight can give you.

If I were to advise new woodworkers, I’d tell them to read, understand and follow all of the safety rules that come with their power tools. And remember this, there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30321 posts in 2697 days


#17 posted 01-21-2018 10:46 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. Decide what you want to focus on for projects. The accumulate tools for that purpose.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6010 posts in 2563 days


#18 posted 01-21-2018 10:53 AM

No need to rub it in you pair!!

as for bitcoins, no (but keep watching them just the same) apple shares, yes

Brian … home page please!.. and welcome too

-- Regards Rob

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1221 posts in 1853 days


#19 posted 01-21-2018 12:36 PM

“getting into woodworking” :)

Everyone else has already provided great advice:
= Buy best quality tools you can afford as you need them, and do not be afraid buy used tools.
= Yes, there is way too much information about woodworking on internet, because there are many ways to work wood successfully.
= Make something…..

I suggest a different approach:
Making stuff from wood is done for one of 3 rudimentary reasons:

#1 – WANT to make something from wood you like to look at, or can be proud of.
(IE – you have free time, and your hidden artist is trying to get out)

#2 – NEED to make something to simplify or improve our life out of wood.
(shelves, cabinets, boxes, tools, structures, etc)

#3 – SHARING our enjoyment for wood with others.
(Posting pics in LJ, gifts, retail sales, creating how-to documents, becoming a sawyer, etc)

What is your reason? What your passion?

IMHO – The hardest challenge for the “never done it before” plunge into woodworking is finding your passion. Most times, you have make a couple of items before you learn what parts of the wood working process you enjoy the most, and those activities that will feed your passion so you enjoy and continue wood working.

So best advice you can follow is:
Get off the forums, and MAKE SOMETHING, MAKE ANYTHING YOU WANT!

There really is no perfect way to start making stuff from wood. :)
The only absolutes are safety, as wood is forgiving medium where you can cut, glue, sand wood to fix any mistakes.

Now before master craftsmen in forum get upset:

To be a wood worker, you will need to learn many skills:
- SAFETY: safely using sharp objects, dangers of exposure to fine wood dust, and finishing chemicals
- sharpening tools to make cutting wood easier
- understanding wood (temp/humidity movement, grain direction, best uses, etc)
- different types of wood working tools, and what works best for your skills, facilities, and projects

There are methods/projects that make learning how to work wood easier, but the key to good woodworking is doing something you enjoy. With every project you pick, you will learn more, and improve your skills. :)

Last but not least: Learning wood working can be much more fun, and skills collected faster if you can find a local wood working friend, or take some basic classes. Find a Woodcraft, Rockler, and/or any other local purveyor of wood working supplies and go ask them about introductory classes or finding others that might help you. Wood workers are hiding everywhere!

Enjoy your new wood working hobby!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1401 posts in 3119 days


#20 posted 01-21-2018 03:48 PM

In a nutshell, after 60 years of wood and metal working as a hobby, I would say this. (1) Ditto on “First learn to sharpen and sharpen well” mentioned above. Learn to sharpen to a razor edge and test tools by shaving the hair off your forearm with ease. (2) Save money and get better equipment by buying good older used light industrial machines and refurbishing them. These are usually built like tanks and never really wear out. The ones made after the 1930s pretty much all use ball bearings which can easily be found and replaced (note: I have never had to do this on any of my machines). Just clean up and repainting will bring them to almost like new.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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simoncpj

23 posts in 871 days


#21 posted 01-21-2018 03:58 PM

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the importance of measuring precisely. I started about 18 months ago and would think things like, “oh that’s within a 32nd, should be close enough” only to find that in a four sided box that error gets multiplied four times (and compounded if you make others).

So learn to measure and mark precisely. Both lengths and angles (square really should be square). Where you can, learn to measure directly off another piece so if there were initial error, it is corrected. Paul Sellers is a good resource for some tips in this area though his 50 years experience makes it look easier than it is.

View OleGrump's profile

OleGrump

246 posts in 703 days


#22 posted 01-22-2018 02:00 PM

I’ll throw in a couple of “Amens” and add a comment or two of my own. First Amen: Watch the Paul Sellers series on YouTube. Hands down the BEST series on hand tool woodworking. A lot of what ones learns about hand tools will apply to power tools. (If one goes with the power tool route) Second Amen: BUILD SOMETHING. As Roy Underhill says, “Build one, figure out what you did wrong, then build a second one the right way. (Use wood from discarded pallets or in the dumpster, so you don’t waste good money or material.
Suggestion one: Build Roy Underhill’s “Folding Workbench” from his book “The Woodwright’s Apprentice”. (Examples and plans are available here on the LF site) This will give you good experience in making something and a workbench to use for future projects until you decide to build your “dream bench”. Suggestion Two: Spring is coming. Hit yard sales, estate sales, tag sales, flea markets in your area. You can very often find decent, usable tools at minimal cost. For example, I bought a Black and Decker sander for $5, a Wen saber saw (which accepts reciprocating saw blades) for $15, A B&D 1/2 inch drill for $15,and bar clamps of various sizes for $2 each. I even bought an entire leg vise for $15. And there were plenty of other tools available, like a Craftsman circular saw for $10, but I didn’t need it. Check their overall condition. If it looks good, ask the seller if you can plug it in to see if it works. Most will let you. A lot of good hand tools out there cheaply as well. Suggestion Three: Not seen elsewhere in this thread: HAVE FUN with your projects.

-- OleGrump

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OleGrump

246 posts in 703 days


#23 posted 01-22-2018 02:08 PM

OOPS: Third Amen: Once you decide on a project, figure out which tools you will need to make it, and acquire those tools first. Carry on with this procedure from project to project. Unless you run across some great finds at the above mentioned sales…..then buy as you will with reasonable prudent caution of course.

-- OleGrump

View Rich's profile

Rich

4391 posts in 948 days


#24 posted 01-22-2018 03:31 PM


One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the importance of measuring precisely. I started about 18 months ago and would think things like, “oh that’s within a 32nd, should be close enough” only to find that in a four sided box that error gets multiplied four times (and compounded if you make others).

So learn to measure and mark precisely. Both lengths and angles (square really should be square). Where you can, learn to measure directly off another piece so if there were initial error, it is corrected. Paul Sellers is a good resource for some tips in this area though his 50 years experience makes it look easier than it is.

- simoncpj

That’s what stop blocks are for.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2573 days


#25 posted 01-22-2018 05:59 PM

I’ll just reinforce the ‘buy what you need when you need it’ mentality.

I’ve bought many things that I thought I would be able to use later only to find out that I didn’t really need them or they didn’t really fit the way I like to work. Had I been a little more diligent in following the above advice I would have saved some money and more importantly had more free space in my shop.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 2988 days


#26 posted 01-22-2018 07:11 PM

I think you need to watch/read many woodworker’s content but kind of squint (don’t suck up too much detail) until you find someone you think you can stand. Only then dive deep into that person’s stuff. Bouncing around a bunch of different styles is a good way to get so bogged down with “information” that you cannot do anything. Almost anything can work and get the job done, but trying to reconcile a myriad of different styles and techniques will drive you nuts.

If you are interested in hand tool woodworking, take a look at the Renaissance Woodworker. Shannon does a good job of keeping woodworking operations down to earth.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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jerkylips

495 posts in 2929 days


#27 posted 01-22-2018 08:14 PM

really focus on learning joinery techniques. for most projects, there’s an easy way to do it & a hard way to do it. Do it the easy way & you get your finished product. Do it the hard way & you get an education.

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

282 posts in 486 days


#28 posted 01-22-2018 08:22 PM

I would be slower in making choices concerning what tools to buy. I would also build storage into my shop before I really start working in it, that way I have more floor space for larger tools. As it is, I didn’t start building adequate storage for things like paint, stains, paint brushes, small power tools, screws, etc. until after I committed myself to projects.

Oh, I would also make sure I start off with a top-notch tablesaw fence, it makes things much easier further down the road. Best wishes on your new endeavor.

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View Tim's profile

Tim

3812 posts in 2320 days


#29 posted 01-23-2018 02:02 PM

You have enough tools to pick a simple project and make it. Learn how to sharpen your tools, that’s step one. Maybe make something simple and useful for the shop or house.

After that I agree with the idea of buy what you want when you need it. People will often suggest to buy the best you can afford. That advice is best for someone that has been in the hobby or business for a long time because then those tools will have been worth it to them. But life changes or your interests change then you may waste a lot of money. There are two ways to avoid that as much as possible. One is buy higher end stuff like Lie Nielsen and LV and take very good care of them. They will hold a lot of their value that way, say 80-90%. The other way is to hunt for high quality old tools and get good deals on them and clean them up and tune them. If in good shape, those can often sell for a profit. The second option takes a lot of time and is not a good option if you don’t enjoy hunting for and restoring tools, but is your best option if you don’t have the cash for high end tools.

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PPK

1367 posts in 1168 days


#30 posted 01-23-2018 02:07 PM

seek out Paul Sellers on YouTube and watch until your eyes bleed.

- Ron Aylor

I third this.

Welcome to Lumberjocks!
And, just build something! Overwelmed yet??

-- Pete

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MrRon

5430 posts in 3602 days


#31 posted 01-23-2018 07:44 PM

If I could start over, I would have liked to be a machinist. I enjoy working with precision. Woodworking is a secondary interest behind metal working. It may be interesting to note that when I was 18/20 years old, the interests I had didn’t pay much money, so I like many others chose to take the road to riches rather than interests.

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MrRon

5430 posts in 3602 days


#32 posted 01-23-2018 07:52 PM



Admitting that you know little to nothing is a great 1st step. As such, I see nothing wrong with starting at the beginning. This is the book, copyrighted in the ‘60’s, my son had in HS in ‘07-‘09. Technical Woodworking Groneman & Glazer McGraw-Hill Pub. Find it or something similar at the library or somewhere. It covers a lot you wont need with power tools, but covers hand tools too. Provides explanations of tool types and intended use, and covers safety without overdoing it. What I like about it is that as an old textbook, it’s teaching vs marketing a brand, which too many of the current “experts” do (I realize they are trying to make a living).


I can agree with you about books. Way back when, before internet, knowledge had to be culled from books. The public library was my home 70+ years ago and I still pursue knowledge from books. The good thing about books is the old books would explain the basics, which in today’s books is often skipped over in favor of the “latest and greatest” information. Learning the basics is the foundation of what you will learn in the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16104 posts in 2977 days


#33 posted 01-23-2018 08:11 PM

I would not have: – Bought a Stanley No. 75. Most worthless plane ever. – Bought a Stanley No. 6 bench plane – Bought a Stanley No. 5 1/2 bench plane – Bought a Stanley No. 7 bench plane – Bought a plane of any kind on eBay until I knew more about what I was looking at – Fretted over accumulating power tools (none of them are ‘the heartbeat of your shop’) – Bought a dovetail cutter for a 1/2” router when I don’t own a 1/2” router

I would have: – Learned about sprayers / sprayed on finishes (still need to do this) – Read “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” earlier (not possible, but it is now), to better understand the virtues of small tool kits – Learned to sharpen hand saws (still need to do this)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2176 posts in 2997 days


#34 posted 01-23-2018 09:32 PM

Don’t get balled up in unfinished projects. Pick something. Start it. Finish it. Don’t start another until it’s done.

Don’t fill your shop with things you (or somebody else) thinks you’re going to need “eventually”. Just get the things you need to finish your current project.

Don’t become a tool collector if you really want to be a woodworker.

Don’t let your shop become a storage unit. :)

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2573 days


#35 posted 01-23-2018 09:36 PM

Though generally I agree with Ocelot, I would also say don’t be scared to put an overly ambitious project aside temporarily. You don’t want to make a habit of not finishing projects and end up with a shop full of half done work, but you also don’t want to get stuck on a project that might be a little advanced for you and just do nothing for long periods of time.

So generally, be kind to yourself and don’t expect everything to work out perfectly immediately.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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gargey

1013 posts in 1134 days


#36 posted 01-23-2018 09:48 PM

This doesn’t really fit the title of the thread, but this is something I kind of recommend. It has worked out well for me, after starting from ZERO two years ago (no tools, no shop, no instruction).

Alternate building 1 project for the sake of the project (such as a dovetailed box, or a table), and 1 project that improves your workshop (such as a shooting board, english layout square, assembly table, wood rack, shelves…)

That way you grow your skills, and you improve your workshop as you go.

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

401 posts in 2358 days


#37 posted 01-23-2018 10:06 PM

Bit the bullet and spent a concerted effort practicing and experimenting with sharpening tools. Some people go way overboard and treat a beater chisel like a surgical tool, but I have the opposite problem I find sharpening boring and time consuming a takes away from working the wood, and hence I irritate myself fighting tools sharp enough to work, but not sharp enough to work very well.

If you want to do the hand tool route, I would buy all three or four of Roy Underhill books. Old high school woodshop text books are also good resources for basic and organized and concise (You Tubes problem) instructions on wood, tools, joints etc. Keep in mind both these resources will be in the western tradition of woodworking, there is also an eastern tradition, the tools and techniques vary a bit, it’s a personal preference and you can certainly mix the two. You can jump right in if you want, but if the goal is to learn from other peoples mistakes start by learning about the tree. grain, interlocked grain, heartwood sapwood, flatsawn, quartersawn, green, dry, how wood shrinks and expands why and how.

A hour or two of reading a couple well organized books aimed at beginner woodworking, or maybe even taking a beginning woodworking class at a community college could save you from learning a lot of things the hard way.

-- Ted

View OleGrump's profile

OleGrump

246 posts in 703 days


#38 posted 01-24-2018 01:03 PM

Get a pair of 12 inch bar clamps with removable heads. You can either buy them or drill out the pin securing the head, and replace it with a carriage bolt and wingnut. The 12 inch length will be good for clamping a LOT of stuff on place while you work. The detachable head allows you to use these clamps for SO many more uses, like spreader clamps, holdfasts and improvised vises. I wish I’d done this about 30 years ago !

-- OleGrump

View Sparks500's profile

Sparks500

253 posts in 689 days


#39 posted 01-24-2018 01:44 PM

As the old saying goes: There’s more than one way to skin that cat.

Skill and experience can overcome substandard tools, although great tools can make things more efficient.

-- A good day is any day that you're alive....

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1006 days


#40 posted 01-24-2018 01:48 PM



As the old saying goes: There s more than one way to skin that cat.

Skill and experience can overcome substandard tools, although great tools can make things more efficient.

- Sparks500

IF one knows how to use them!

View Just_Iain's profile

Just_Iain

300 posts in 775 days


#41 posted 01-24-2018 03:22 PM

Don’t buy a new Plane if you haven’t sharpened the last one you bought!!!

Feel free to substitute Saw, Chisel etc as you see fit.

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View Robert's profile

Robert

3367 posts in 1839 days


#42 posted 01-24-2018 03:23 PM

The biggest mistake I made was starting out with cheap tools and not concentrating enough on sharpening skills. I’m not saying you need to start with premium tools, but take some time to learn about the brands and read some reviews.

I would start with educating yourself about wood (understanding wood movement, grain patterns, characteristics, etc). How to select and prepare stock.

I would first establish a foundation with hand tools skills. Then get some decent soft wood and practice some basic joinery techniques (mortise/tenon, dovetails, etc). Basic projects like a step stool or tote would incorporate these techniques.

UY (University of YouTube) is an extremely valuable source of information. Fine Woodworking also has a good library of information and videos that is well worth the membership IMO. I also learn a lot from Paul Sellers.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1221 posts in 1853 days


#43 posted 01-24-2018 04:19 PM

MrRon adds a great point – What I know now, and wished I knew earlier:

Wood working is not an precise science like metal working.
You can not be a wood working perfectionist, without driving yourself crazy.

Wood changes to much due temp/humidity for anyone to provide more than ~1/16 overall precision. No one cares if your wood panels are 3/4” or 13/16” thick. Only a master craftsmen or machinist touching the wood will notice if there is few thousands difference across surface of a board. As long as edges met, parts all line up, it works as intended, and looks good when you are done; you did a “perfect” job.
Making matters worse; most wood things are meant to be used by humans. This means finishes get scratched, corners get dinged, all more easily than a perfectionist enjoys.
Do not try to be perfectionist, you will lose some enjoyment of working the wood and sharing your work with others.
:)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

433 posts in 4327 days


#44 posted 01-26-2018 01:10 PM


First post, I ll just toss out the “sorry” here and now for, well, anything I may do wrong (without intent or understanding).

So, I m interested in getting into woodworking. It s interested me on some level or another for a long while (decades?). I m retired from IT, with a side career in motorcycle mechanics, more or less to a slow spot with rejuvenating/rescuing my 1930 s house and want to scratch this itch. I d also like to shortcut some of the learning process by maybe, for once in my life, learning from the mistakes of others. I ve real trouble with that, but I m going to try. Oh, and I m posting this in the hand-tool forum because I ve not the room for things like table saws, jointers, planers and the like (at least the powered variety). I also find that I enjoy the idea of doing things a little more slowly, by hand…. part of what I liked about being a mechanic.

So, if you could go back to the beginning when you had nothing and advise yourself, how would you start? A certain project? Doing something that developed skills? Find a mentor?

I m stuck in the muck of too much info. I swear that things like Youtube are a negative sometimes, despite the endless entertainment and information available.

Right now the tools I have are a set of 3 cheap chisels, a cheap box plane and some sort of panel saw my dad gave me decades ago (no idea if it s rip or cross cut or if it s even sharp, it IS rusty though :/ ). Oh, and a couple stones & jig for sharpening the chisels/plane blade.

Cheers!

- Brian_M

Brian

Let me ask a question rather than give you an answer …

Why do you now wish to do woodworking?

You are retired, spent your life in IT or repairing motorcycles. Why wood and why now?

I read posts from many who say they are retiring and are looking to start woodworking. Then they get everyone to tell them what tools to purchase, and the debate goes on for days, and then they start up a similar thread a few months later, and so on.

Woodworking is a passion. Many here have been woodworking all their lives. Some discovered it later, but also caught the fever. Do you have the fever, or are you just looking around, bored?

No one can give you a shortcut to passion. The stories and lessons of others are for you to discover. That is what it is all about. Woodworking is a voyage, a journey. Not a destination.

Do you have an interest in building anything specific yet? That is a place to start. Forget the tools … instead think of the project. Visualise what you want to build, research what you need to do … and that will introduce you to the skills that you need to develop and tools to begin with.

Tell us your dream ..

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

541 posts in 561 days


#45 posted 01-26-2018 01:42 PM

LOL, if you aren’t overwhelmed with the plethora of information, wait till you actually begin a project, especially one that tests your skill set. HAHA, thats when the fun begins, IMO,
I’ve been doing it since i was old enough to stand, its seems like, grew up in a construction family and settled into a carpenters life, so to speak, and it grew, sometimes hard at it, and other times it sat idle, the shop that is, but eventually i got back into it.
Its not for everyone, but for me it is, enjoy it more and more as i get a little older, wishing i’d devoted more time to it when all my digits worked correctly, haha, that age thing again, figure i’ll fall over in the shop one day, they’
ll find me under the saw dust, I hope.
good luck, share your thoughts of all the info, and how the begining works out.
Rj in az

View Brian_M's profile

Brian_M

2 posts in 486 days


#46 posted 01-27-2018 01:02 AM

Thank you folks. Life kinda got away from me there for a little bit….

So, overwhelmingly, pick a project. Gotcha covered… many options from that source every married man dreads, pintrest. :/ I don’t have an account so no photos, but the first option is a plant stand. Basically it looks like 2 ‘H’ frames with a half-lap joint in the middle. Seems simple enough, I’ve done (sloppy) half-lap joints before. I’d like something that Looks nice here.

I’m reasonably sure that my chisels and block plane blades are at least 80% as sharp as the best they could be (I’m experienced with knife sharpening, same principles). I have never bothered to strop them so I’ll add that ASAP.

Thanks so very much for the old textbook listing, that’s ideal for my style of learning (I’m better with reading and trying than watching someone else). It’s in my cart, just waiting for a few more things that need to be bought.

Most of the rest are specifics, all good, many I’ve addressed and learned on my own already, definatly all appreciated. I’m going to stop window-shopping tools now…. that’s easily the biggest evil of watching videos. “Oh, just grab your XYZ for this part….”

Oh, here’s a photos of the plant stand in mind:

https://i.imgur.com/UN7SqwJ.jpg

Seems pretty easy, but I’d like to try and make it nicer than everything I’ve hobbled together before.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for the “Why”? Donno, I get a kick out of Truly masterful people doing their craft and there’s a LOT of that out there. I also like working with my hands, doing detail-oriented work (I’ve been doing stained glass for a couple decades), and the barrier for entry with woodworking seems reasonable. Less tool cost than for getting into stained glass, though way more options down the road.

I also like to challenge myself, I’m a golfer and a precision shooter ~ both activities where you do a lot of work to do better than you’ve previously done. I also brew beer, love to cook and took up sewing a few years back ~ I love to present things I make to others. I know I’m not going to be some famous woodworker demanding thousands per piece, I’d just like to make things that someone can appreciate. Heck, it only needs to be me appreciating the effort needed after trying and failing on my own.

It’s an Interest, not a Passion. Something I’d like to become more familiar with because it seems to fit in with who I am.

Cheers!

Brian

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

424 posts in 2279 days


#47 posted 01-27-2018 01:50 AM

Or, find the guy on your block who is doing woodworking and always have plenty of beer on hand for him!

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1845 days


#48 posted 01-27-2018 08:18 AM

I would use nothing but alder.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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