New Homeowner New Woodworker? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 Old 09-30-2020, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Roanoke VA
Posts: 2
View johnandersonoutdoors's Photo Album My Photos
New Homeowner New Woodworker?

Hello all. I am new to the forum. It is good to be here, as it looks like I will learn a lot.

I have so many questions swirling in my head and I finally decided to do something about it and come here, where I can ask a few. I am a new homeowner and have been working on demolition and towards eventual remodeling. I am trying to save money and/or create value and do as much of it as possible, however, I have very little experience in construction or woodworking. The last decade I spent shooting guns/pistol competitions and reloading my own ammo, but it is time to add some new skills.

I can probably scrounge some help from a few friends, but with a budget for mostly materials only, I feel like I need to learn some things and try to save on expensive labor as I work through remodel. One place where I am wondering if I can save some money or create value and learn some skills would be in making my own kitchen cabinets. Perhaps bathroom, laundry room and cabinets/otherwise in large walk in master closet. Perhaps I can also shape various raw stock into different trim such as baseboards, etc.

I haven't priced cabinets for my kitchen, but it is my understanding that cabinets can range from less expensive (100? per linear foot) to many many hundreds of dollars per linear foot. I have a 10 foot long galley kitchen in this house, so I am thinking a very nice set of cabinets could cost $10,000.

What can I realistically do myself? I know you don't know me, but just your general thoughts? I am a basic newb, except for building my current workbench and reloading benches, now granted these probably aren't even nice and square....just functional. How would you get started if you were me? I went to a local Woodcraft the other day but classes are paused. I may put out an add to try to find woodworker in my area who can show me a few things or give some lessons. What do you think? I am also thinking about going to local custom cabinet shop and seeing if I can bend someones ear about what it is like to try to get into making my own cabinets.

I really want to contribute as much as I can to remodeling this house and saving money/creating value. I honestly don't know if woodworking is the right hobby or thing to take on. Maybe I would hate trying to build my own cabinets. I appreciate your feedback.

Last edited by johnandersonoutdoors; 09-30-2020 at 11:29 PM.
johnandersonoutdoors is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 07:40 AM
John Smith_inFL's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 3,219
View John Smith_inFL's Photo Album My Photos
welcome to the forum, John. what part of the country are you in ?
as with any new project, taking on small areas first will help prevent
the frustrations of becoming overwhelmed with "so much to do".
sit down and write a "to do" schedule and try to stay within the confines of that project.
posting photos here and asking for assistance before you start will help.


there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks.
John Smith_inFL is online now  
post #3 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 08:52 AM
Wood machinist
difalkner's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NW Louisiana
Posts: 4,919
View difalkner's Photo Album My Photos
Welcome to the forum, John! Add your location to your profile, please.

We do like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.



Curly Wood Shop on Etsy
David Falkner - Woodworking YouTube channel and Instagram
Our music at church - current videos Airline Baptist BC Facebook Live
Romans 3:23
difalkner is online now  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 08:58 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 12,515
View GeorgeC's Photo Album My Photos
Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to ask questions and learn about woodworking.

I think that you are being rather ambitious for a person with no experience.

What tools do you have? How much area do you have to place tools and do your woodworking?

As John says, photos of the baseline from which you are starting will be a great help.

You say that you are working on demobilization. Just what area are you demolishing? Are you taking note of how it was built in the first place.

A 10' galley kitchen is pretty small. Any area into which you can expand? Our house started life with a galley kitchen, so we know just how frustrating that can be. After 17 years of living with this we finally pushed out the back wall 8 feet.

GeorgeC is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 12:29 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 3,151
View Tool Agnostic's Photo Album My Photos
The first thing I would recommend is to find a woodworking club in your local area. They are a great resource in so many ways. Many of them are hosting online "Zoom" meetings. They will know what you need to get started, and may be a trusted source for used tools, too.

Where are you located? What big city is near you?

In addition, consider this book as a good start:
Illustrated Cabinetmaking - How to Design and Construct Furniture That Works
Author: Bill Hylton
Scroll down the Amazon page to see the detailed description with examples of the content and wonderful illustrations.
Tool Agnostic is online now  
post #6 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 04:08 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 8
View dwcon1431's Photo Album My Photos
Ditto to what's already been said. My best advice would be to get the most expensive tools you can afford. I know that sounds like a stupid statement, since you're on a tight budget but, great tools make for great results. If you want to build a house using Harbor Freight tools, You WILL get Harbor Freight results!

Sent from my SM-A102U using Tapatalk
dwcon1431 is offline  
post #7 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 04:24 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 12,515
View GeorgeC's Photo Album My Photos
A decent craftsman can get good results using Harbor Freight tools. I do not agree that the most expensive tools get the best results. The results are in the craftsman, not the tools. They may make the job easier as there may be less effort in setup and use, but the final result in in the person.

GeorgeC is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 10-01-2020, 08:25 PM
cynrich's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: eastern CT
Posts: 87
View cynrich's Photo Album My Photos
There are so many Youtube videos about beginner cabinet making, watch a few and see what you can learn.

cynrich is offline  
post #9 of 12 Old 10-03-2020, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Roanoke VA
Posts: 2
View johnandersonoutdoors's Photo Album My Photos
Took me a little time to get to sit down on computer again. Thanks for the replies so far everyone, and thanks for the welcome. I will try to find a woodworking group, maybe by posting a message on the board at the Woodcraft store within this region.

I am in Southwest VA, call it Roanoke for the nearest city. I bought the house recently and not actually living it in yet. I wanted to knock out a few key tasks before moving in, so when my apt lease ended I moved in with a friend (hopefully for not too long). I will need to move into the house soon, so I will be living in construction zone for the next couple of years.

I know what you mean when you said my plans might be ambitious, as I am a virtual newb. I have watched hundreds of hours of renovation youtube videos and more recently quite a few cabinet making videos.

Regarding tools (or anything) I research and I tend to be a buy once cry once type of person and I always handle things carefully and gently as I need to make sure my stuff lasts for years and years. For reloaders out there, I started with Redding single stage press (reputation for quality/precision) and have also bought a Dillon progressive press (again known forr quality). Set it and forget it quality tools.

I want to spend $30,000 or less to fix up my home. I will post pictures this weekend. It is a 1979 (with attic/roof trusses) brick house on sloping lot with walkout basement on the side of the house. About 1,200 sqft on main level and 900? in the basement. Main level has 4 bedrooms and two baths. The basement is partially finished but will probably be unfinished when I get done with it. There is a poor quality bathroom down in basement that isn't even connected to drain line. I want to tear it out and open up basement for shop/other. One main room is basement is "finished" with wood colored paneling that got moldy in basement that was super humid this summer before I got dehumidifier in there. There was no AC on in house.

There are very few tools at the moment. I bought a ladder, lawn mower, weed eater, circular saw and recip saw. I have a corded drill, a craftsman benchtop drill press, tile cutting saw that was given to me, jig saw, 1/3 sheet sander, dremel. Not too much. I will be adding as I go.

On main level I am tearing out flooring; carpet from bedrooms and 2 1/4" hardwood in hallway/fam room/kitchen/laundry. I am also tearing out particle board layer of subfloor/underlayment. There is 1/2" plywood below particle board, the base layer of the subfloor. The walls were erected on that plywood. The particle board does not extend below sheetrock of the wall. I guess I am replacing particle board with 1/2" of something, which will yield about 1" subfloor. Although I watch a youtube channel (HomeRenovitionDIY i think) and that fellow says you want 1 1/4" subfloor in order to provide good base if you want to put down any tile.

Master bedroom sits at end of home's hallway on back side of house. At the end of the hallway on the front side is another bedroom. Each of these rooms has a wide but somewhat shallow closet along the wall separating these two bedrooms. I want to knock that wall/closets out. This will create an 11' x 28' space. This will get into 11' x 19 bedroom area and 6' x 9' walk in closet. The the bathroom will get new entry/door, existing bathoom door and few feet of current master bedroom/master bath wall removed to open it up a bit, and move sink from current spot out to existing master bedroom space (sink will end up just on other side of newly built walk in close wall and outside of current bathroom footprint).

I want to do full remodel of hall bath later, for now it is the one that will be used. Also, as I said in first post, all new kitchen. There is also a wall separating family room and kitchen (not galley part of kitchen). Currently it has a large pass through, like 4' x 10', but would like to take that wall out too.

Finally, all ceilings are textured. Hallway and family room have leaf like vein pattern or something, everything else is half moon trowel grooved. The walls aren't smooth either. I think I want smooth walls and ceilings. The half moon trowel stuff and leaf like sand off, so could rent or buy drywall sander. HOWEVER, one bedroom ceiling is painted and sanding does nothing. Also sanding painted walls does nothing. Can I strip paint or somehow sand these painted walls/ceiling surface smooth? Or maybe I need to hire or try to skim coat the whole house? Or hire or re-drywall the whole house?

Thanks all for listening and offering your advice. I will be back with photos.

Last edited by johnandersonoutdoors; 10-03-2020 at 02:22 AM.
johnandersonoutdoors is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 10-03-2020, 05:53 AM
Senior Member
Tony B's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx.
Posts: 4,207
View Tony B's Photo Album My Photos
A good table saw is a good starting point. If you cant cut a straight line safely, you are dead in the water. A table saw is usually the hub of most shops. Cabinetry and furniture are all about straight accurate cuts. New price - around $1,300 and up. If you are new at this, it is best to stay away from used tools unless you buy with an experienced woodworker at your side.
Because of Covid, most manufacturers are in back order mode. This is leaving the used market with overpriced junk. This includes Craigslist and FaceBook.

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.

"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
Tony B is offline  
post #11 of 12 Old 10-08-2020, 07:49 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 327
View RogerInColorado's Photo Album My Photos
Wood Magazine videos on YouTube has videos for every type of kitchen (and shop) cabinet, including drawers and doors. A good spot to see lots of how-to and overview examples.

RogerInColorado is offline  
post #12 of 12 Old 10-08-2020, 07:54 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 128
View Bob Vaughan's Photo Album My Photos
I'm also in the Roanoke area. There's a Woodcraft store in Roanoke that will be a great source for woodworking supplies and tools.
The projects you now speak of are mostly carpentry, finish carpentry, and painting. Woodworking would be a small part of that.
The phrase "you can't beat a man at his own game" holds true for cabinets also. Making them yourself can be a drawn out ordeal. You'll be making do in a torn up kitchen and probably have to do without running water for a while when the plumbing is being done.
I recommend you consider buying cabinets and countertops to get going. The woodworking can be crucial for adding extra shelving and storage in places regular store bought boxes won't fit. I've done a lot of this type of work over the 40 plus years I've lived in my house.
Maybe some day you can stop by my home shop and see what can happen when tool acquisitions occur over a 40 year period.
Bob Vaughan is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome