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recommendations on getting the right foundation for woodworking

by Spikes
posted 10-08-2018 08:17 PM


9 replies so far

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 1054 days


#1 posted 10-08-2018 08:39 PM

The first thing is to figure out what your friend is hoping to get out of woodworking? Is he looking at getting into it as a hobby to build furniture or is he looking at doing it for home improvements? If he’s getting into it for furniture then starting out with hand tools is the best route – you’re not likely to take your fingers off with a hand saw. It takes some real determination to do that.

In addition to the safety aspect, hand tools teaches you how to ‘read’ the wood and how to wood reacts to being cut, shaped, and finished. It’s also a lot cheaper to get started with hand tools, so if your friend decides it’s just a passing fancy, he won’t have to worry about having invested a lot of money into it.

I’d also suggest that you pick up a few books on the subject. Paul Sellers series is excellent, but there are many other ones you can get. Some can even be downloaded for free. I know the tendency is to use videos these days, but I find that reading a book just gives you something you can’t get from a video.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1153 days


#2 posted 10-08-2018 08:58 PM

Someone with six months of self-taught knowledge becoming a teacher sounds awfully premature to me.

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Spikes

125 posts in 609 days


#3 posted 10-09-2018 12:44 AM

@Rich, I completely agree, if I was cocky enough to think it wasn’t premature I wouldn’t have posted asking the question. The thing is, then what? woodworking for me has been really great, it’s been a way to take more ownership about my space and help the community where I live. So to deny this opportunity to this guy because I’m no teacher seems to do him a disservice. Of course to get him injured is far worse. I’ve already told him that I’ve a newbie myself and he doesn’t care, but I feel the responsibility, hence trying to figure out how to get some more solid foundations – so that maybe in a few years if the occasion presents itself again I’ll be able to help.

@Lumbering_on, he’s just intrigued and wants to try it out, don’t think he’s in for the long term or anything at this point and he’d be using my tools etc, but I hear you about the hand tools. right now he wants to build a table for himself.

I’m all for the books, I just don’t know which ones, there are so many and not really being familiar with the space it’s hard for me to figure what to pick, if you had any specific recommendations that’d be great. The Paul Seller’s one doesn’t seem a good fit tbh, if this is the one you meant:

https://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-books/essential-woodworking-hand-tools/

I like hand tools, but it’s not exactly what I use daily, in fact a big chunk of time goes into the table saw or miter saw and I’m finding more and more uses for the router. That said I’d love to learn more about hand planes and chisels, especially former as much of the wood I deal with is pretty rough. Hope that makes sense

Spike

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1153 days


#4 posted 10-09-2018 01:01 AM


@Rich, I completely agree, if I was cocky enough to think it wasn t premature I wouldn t have posted asking the question. The thing is, then what? woodworking for me has been really great, it s been a way to take more ownership about my space and help the community where I live. So to deny this opportunity to this guy because I m no teacher seems to do him a disservice. Of course to get him injured is far worse. I ve already told him that I ve a newbie myself and he doesn t care, but I feel the responsibility, hence trying to figure out how to get some more solid foundations – so that maybe in a few years if the occasion presents itself again I ll be able to help.

- Spikes

I see your point and agree that everyone needs to start somewhere. Having to think about how to explain something to someone tends to solidify one’s own knowledge, so it might benefit you as well.

One thing you might want to look into is liability. I’d have a chat with my insurance agent before I invited anyone into my shop to use my tools.

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 1054 days


#5 posted 10-09-2018 01:12 AM

You have the right book, but if that’s not what you are looking for then that’s fine. I really suggest hand tools as much as possible at the beginning as that was how I learned a lot. However, not everyone wants to deal with them. The link below has some excellent references, and in fact, the site itself is a great reference as it from Fine Woodworking
http://www.startwoodworking.com/post/7-great-books-getting-started-woodworking

As for his desire to build a table, unless it’s an end table or coffee table, you may want to stop him. Tables aren’t something I’d suggest a beginner start with. There are a lot of techniques and knowledge you need to build before you start with something such as a table. I know a few people that thought that building the “Anna White Farm Table” was easy, until the thing basically twisted itself into junk.

The ‘Start Woodworking link has a number of projects, such as a bookshelf that are much more appropriate for a beginner. Have him start with these smaller projects, then if he still wants, he can build the table once he’s mastered a few skills – and still has all his appendages.

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HokieKen

11602 posts in 1702 days


#6 posted 10-10-2018 03:52 PM

I say make it clear to him that you’re fairly “green” yourself but he’s welcome to putz around in the shop with you. Make it a joint learning endeavor and get him invested with that understanding.

There is still the issue of him using your power tools though. Since it’s your home, any injury is likely to be your problem financially. So maybe just explain to him that he will have to let you do all the TS operating if you aren’t comfortable with the liability.

Also make it clear that wood and tools aren’t free. He’ll have to provide his own wood and pay for some portion of new saw blades/drill bits/sandpaper etc.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Spikes

125 posts in 609 days


#7 posted 10-10-2018 09:13 PM

thanks all, point taken about liability and I will definitely clarify that it’s gonna be “two peers learning together” rather than me teaching him anything, at most just sharing what I’ve seen so far.

As for books and courses, I’m just gonna share what I got out of 3 days of google searches in case someone bumps into this thread:

I found a few video courses that I think could have been interesting 6 months ago. Right now, with a few hundred hrs of youtube and as many building out the shop it doesn’t look like I’d get my money worth. That said here’s the ones that looked most interesting:

other than that, I found a bunch more but not particularly interesting. Most importantly, I could not find any solid series on youtube, if you go that route you have to piece it all together by yourself, which I guess is fair enough.

As far as books go I’ve found some consistent recommendations across many blog posts, including the one @lumbering_on mentioned and got this list (warning, I have not read any of them and there’s probably a fair amount of redundancy, I’ll need to pick a couple to start with and then see):

  • The Complete Manual of Woodworking: A Detailed Guide to Design, Techniques, and Tools for the Beginner and Expert
  • Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology
  • Woodworking Basics – Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship – An Integrated Approach With Hand and Power tools
  • The Complete Book of Woodworking: Step-by-Step Guide to Essential Woodworking Skills, Techniques and Tips
  • The Minimalist Woodworker: Essential Tools and Smart Shop Ideas for Building with Less
  • Setting Up Shop: The Practical Guide to Designing and Building Your
  • Woodshop Dust Control: A Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Own System
  • Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings
  • Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish
  • The Workbench Book: A Craftsman’s Guide to Workbenches for Every Type of Woodworking
  • Woodworking with the Router: Revised & Updated Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use
  • Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Tablesaws
  • The Naked Woodworker
  • Great Book of Woodworking Tips: Over 650 Ingenious Workshop Tips, Techniques, and Secrets from the Experts at American Woodworker

that’s it, hope it helps somebody

spike

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1153 days


#8 posted 10-10-2018 09:43 PM

Popular Woodworking videos are good. They have stuff by Frank Klausz, Glen Huey, Dale Barnard and lots of others. For $20 you can sign up for a month and watch all you can fit in to your schedule. I don’t recommend subscribing since there aren’t that many new videos posted over time to make it worth it. I check in once a year or so to see if there’s enough new stuff to warrant another $20. Also, sometimes they run a 7-day free deal.

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000

2859 posts in 1463 days


#9 posted 10-11-2018 12:07 AM

It’s all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out.

Hard to say. What are your personal goals in woodworking and how will your friend hanging around affect that?

Both of you hanging out being buddies woodworking together is not a bad thing,
but if he gets hurt in your shop you never know which way it will go.
Some people say no problem my fault.
The other side of the coin is you told me to do it like this and I cut my fingers off…...lawsuit.
(It may not even be him but maybe his wife making him.)

So there is a lot at stake. Figure out the details / legalities so that your covered then it’s up to you how much of your time you want to spend hanging out with your new woodworking buddy.

Blind leading the blind is ok when friends are hashing things out together, but think ahead of the pitfalls you may be involved in.
Using your shop all the time, maybe when you don’t want him to?
Building his project that is in your way?
Never putting your tools away or cleaning his messes?

Just stuff to think about.

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