Help with a beginner project, any info much appreciated

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Forum topic by Beginner_Brian posted 07-08-2018 03:17 AM 1029 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 560 days

07-08-2018 03:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: help beginner advice question

So a little while back I got interested in wood working, I think working with your hands and using such a beautiful material like wood is really great. While I do like working with it I don’t have any clue how to get started. I have very basic power tools but no idea were to start. I have this horizontal slab of a Deadora Cedar is like to make into a small table, but I’m afraid I’ll ruin it. It’s a fresh cut so where do I begin?

6 replies so far

View TungOil's profile


1371 posts in 1096 days

#1 posted 07-08-2018 03:43 AM

It’s a fresh cut so where do I begin?

- Beginner_Brian

If it is not already dry, then you will need to begin by air drying it or having it commercially kiln dried. Stickers every 18-24” so air can circulate evenly all around, seal the ends with Anchorseal If not already sealed then wait 1 year per inch of thickness. Place it someplace with good air circulation but not in direct sun and protect from the rain.

Slabs make nice tabletops.

Good luck!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Kelly's profile


2624 posts in 3546 days

#2 posted 07-08-2018 05:33 AM

Regarding where to start, I’d go with small, simple projects, to get the feel of what you can do.

As to ideas from us, the good advice given above aside, it would help if you gave us more information about the tools you do have.

About five decades back, I started with an electric drill and a Black & Decker saber saw. In addition to blades for the saw, I bought what was promoted as a router bit for drills, which worked, but you had to work to make them work.

I started by using boards I found and cutting them into plaques. I used white glue to apply photos and prints from magazines, then used the glue and poly to seal them. They actually sold.

I took the money from that and bought a router and bits, making it easier to repeat the processes.

I used 2x’s and 1x’s to make picture frames, coat racks and whatever else I thought they’d lend themselves to.

View JohnDi's profile


80 posts in 2035 days

#3 posted 07-08-2018 08:48 AM

Good advice above.
First rule of woodworking, wood moves. Your slab should be dried before using in a project. If not it could warp, split or otherwise change shape after your table is built and ruin your project.
Most of us have started with limited tooling. Try starting out building a project you need or want for yourself.
As far as ruining your wood, at some point you will. Your mistakes are going to be part of the learning curve.
Maybe start out with home center pine for a few projects to keep the cost of mistakes down.
As you start building projects, you will discover which tools you “need” for the type of projects you want to build.
Enjoy the journey!

View Fchilly's profile


49 posts in 1083 days

#4 posted 07-08-2018 11:49 PM

I agree with everyone, start with drying the wood. Figure out your local air moisture content and dry the wood until it is consistent with that. One problem I had was drying would on concrete. I didn’t space it with a stick because it was up on end. It seemed to wick moisture from the floor.
Don’t worry about ruining the wood. It may no longer work for your first idea, but figuring out your next idea is half the fun. Get a scrap bin and hang on to cut offs, they will come in handy later.
I did a walnut slab coffee table, it was kiln dried which caused it to cup and crack. I flattened it with a router sled and filled the cracks with epoxy. Then sanded the thing for hours and hours. Buy yourself a decent sander with a variety of grits then be very patient! I’m new too, If you get stuck people here are glad to help!

-- Fchilly

View Pogo930's profile


18 posts in 1245 days

#5 posted 07-09-2018 01:55 AM

You have 2 paths to take. Mostly hand tools or mostly power tools. For hand tools check out Paul Sellers and The English Woodworker websites. Sellers has a lot of free stuff. The other is a lot of fun if you like British accents and British colloquialisms. Sellers can get preachy. EWW is a younger guy. First item you will need is a bench. Sellers has videos on you tube how to build one. Hand tools are cheaper, especially if you refurb older planes, etc. Power tools can get expensive quick. GOOD tools are not cheap. I have good power tools but tend to like hand tools better as I get older. If I had to do it over again I would skip the table saw and buy a good 16” (or bigger) bandsaw. Table saws are a necessity for breaking down plywood but with a good bandsaw and a sharp plane you can work lumber all day long. Forums tend to run power tool heavy.
In the end you will probably end up being a hybrid user.

View BlasterStumps's profile


1494 posts in 1041 days

#6 posted 07-09-2018 02:10 AM

Check around in your area, there might be a woodworking group that meets regularly. If there is and you can knock shoulders with other woodworkers and get to take advantage of their knowledge and experience, you will most likely streak ahead of someone trying to figure it all out on his own.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

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