Getting into woodworking and have questions - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Getting into woodworking and have questions

Hi, my name is Sean and I'm 31 years old, living in Pittsburgh, PA. I've been meaning to get into woodworking because it seems like it would be a wonderful means of working out my fixation for building things.

I've always had a passion for building things, which explains why, at my age, I still play with legos and erector sets, as well as assemble model kits. It just never really occurred to me to try my hand at real craftsmanship.

I do have some concerns though:

1. I don't really have any experience with woodworking except for taking a semester of shop in high school, where we did more sheet metal work than wood working

2. Aside from working on cars and my motorcycle, as well as that semester of shop in high school, I don't really have any experience doing general "handyman" type work in general.

3. The only set of tools I own are a very basic set of around the house hand tools and some automotive specific tools that would probably never be used in woodworking (pneumatic tools, etc).

So, what tools would I need to get started just doing hobbyist stuff, and what type of projects would I realistically be able to tackle as a beginner with next to no experience?

Last edited by weaponzero; 09-20-2011 at 10:18 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 12:44 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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it's a 3 step process

First step is planning, sketching, designing a project
Second step is measuring, cutting, assembling.
Third step if "finishing" and of course finishing.

You need basic tools to measure, steels, tapes, tri-square, for angles, depths, and lengths.
Basic tools for cutting down the length or ripping and across the width or crosscutting, can be with a hand saw or hand held power saws, like a sabre saw or circular saw or a table saw.

You can buy wood that's already dimensioned to 3/4" x *** or plywood or you can reduce rough sawn wood to the dimensions you need. This requires about 3 basic power tools, a bandsaw, a jointer and a planer. You can do it all by hand, but that's your choice. The enjoyment is either in the Journey or the satisfaction is in the end product, sorta thing. There's no way to know where you are until you get more involved. If you can master hand tools then your appreciation of power tools will be better based.
Sharp tools and proper technique apply to both approaches.

You Tube has a Jillion Videos on woodworking so spend an hour there every day for a week or so and come back with specific questions and we can help.

bill

Copied from my other post:
Quality of workmanship depends on the following: Tools, technique and blades in no particular order.
They kinda go hand in hand as you can't do quality work with inaccurate tools, poor technique and dull blades/cutters.
So, to get there from here you should "practice" joinery, whether it by making something, a project, or just setting up some typical types of joints and trying to master the technique. After you get the new table saw and set the fence and blade accurately it will amaze you how accurate you can be ....and oh yeah, a sharp blade.
A book on joinery or search phinds site
www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/
for the types will be the best, and possibly You Tube for specific joints like dove tails.
Many joints require jigs for them to be accurate, another project on which to practice joinery.
I recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Illustrated-Guide-Joinery/dp/1561584010/ http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Illustrated-Guide-Joinery/dp/1561584010/
Japanese joinery will amaze you:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0834815168/ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0834815168/
Hand tool joinery differs from machine tool joinery in some ways, but lap joints, dovetails and mortise and tenons can be done both ways, depends on your "style" and approach. I'm a machine type guy, but I would love to get more involved in the hand work.
Sharp chisels and plane blades are a must.

Cabinet making uses a different type of joining system more suited to table saws, routers and dado heads for the carcasses and face frames.

Furniture sorta combines the handcraft for carved things like legs and feet and mortise and tenons for the frames and some machine work for the panels. There are some excellent furniture makers here if you search that word and look at the albums in My Photos. Lola Ranch comes to mind.

Projects like jewelry and keepsake boxes are best to start with and combine various hand and machine processes.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-20-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 03:00 PM
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Desire is the key ingredient Sean...where there's a will, there's a way, so you're already on track! There are a ton of ways to accomplish things, and it definitely helps to be mechanically inclined. I'd suggest a book to start with....http://www.amazon.com/New-Woodworker-Handbook-Spending-Working/dp/1565232976 by Tom Hintz (~ $15 from Amazon)...great book with lots of tips on setting up shop, what the tools do, how to maintain them, joinery, finishing, and loaded with good pics.

I tend to work with mainly hardwoods (as opposed to sheet materials), primary tool suggestions for using dimensional lumber would be a good full size table saw, a router, and a planer. Along with clamps, measuring tools, a work surface, a few chisels, and a hand plane, you can accomplish a lot. Things like dust collection, a jointer, bandsaw or jigsaw, sander, and drill press come in handy too, and can be added anytime you're ready.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice so far =) although I admit that I am getting intimidated so far by the way people are acting like a table saw is a a requirement. I don't have the room to devote to something like a full size table saw. Is there any portable alternative?
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weaponzero View Post
Thanks for the advice so far =) although I admit that I am getting intimidated so far by the way people are acting like a table saw is a a requirement. I don't have the room to devote to something like a full size table saw. Is there any portable alternative?
There very definitely is a portable alternative.

A good friend of mine (the person who actually got me started in serious woodworking 30 years ago) does not have the space these days for all of the tools he used to have. In years past he had a full size table saw, jointer, chop saw, sanders, etc.

Now his main tool is a foldup, portable Craftsman table saw. He does still have a router and small router table and other portable power tools and hand tools. He still does beautiful wood work. It takes a little more time and a little more patience, however it all still comes out looking very professional.

He does have a garage that he can move a vehicle out of when he needs the space to work.

If you have a vocation tech school that has a woodworking class I would recommend that for a starter.

George
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 04:34 PM
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Welcome to the forum

I agree with the others there are basic tools needed for woodworking and a table saw is probably one of the main ones needed for most types of woodworking. They do have portable saws. There are so many types of woodworking that you can do that it is almost impossible to know what to buy until you decide what your interested in.

Bill has some good points especially the part about figuring out what you want interest you. Another option would be look around in the Project Showcase category on this forum or browse through some of the member photos for ideas.

Let us know what you decide to try so we can help you get started.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weaponzero View Post
Thanks for the advice so far =) although I admit that I am getting intimidated so far by the way people are acting like a table saw is a a requirement. I don't have the room to devote to something like a full size table saw. Is there any portable alternative?
A TS isn't a requirement....just a very nice tool. There are several guided track saw systems now. DeWalt, Festool, Eurekazone, to name a few. Even a plain circular saw with a guide clamp can work well. I happen to be one who prefers a table saw for ripping and crosscutting wood, but as I mentioned in my first response, there are lots of alternative methods for getting things done....


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post #8 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 06:10 PM
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For the price of those track saws you can get a table saw. If you can find the space a table saw would be my choice.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 07:41 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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You could start with one of these

This would make a great starting project and you will end up with a useful guide or sled that will make other projects easier and more accurate. The length of the "track" is up to you, but I would want around 36" inside if I were going to make cabinets from sheet goods. There is a ready made system by Eureka Zone I believe that is somewhat similar. As was suggested you can rip the sheet goods with a track or guide or there are homemade guides as well.



Here's the basic sled. It confines the saw on either side with rails.
The work is placed under the rails, pressed down and the saw is pushed through. Different spacers can be placed under the work
to raise it up or....you can hinge one end and then the saw and rails can be pressed down, a better approach. I haven't made one, only sketched it out so I can't verify the results or the safety aspects.

BTW it is shown with a "left hand" circular saw. Most saws have the blade on the right side of the motor, a right handed saw. Left handed saws are easier for right handed people to see the cut line. In a guide or sled that is less important if you have a kerf to reference from...
There are more simple guides, but they necessarily involve holding the guide, the workpiece and the saw all at the same time...3 hands ? and for smaller pieces they just aren't safe.
bill


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-20-2011 at 07:53 PM.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-20-2011, 07:53 PM
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I would suggest getting your feet wet with making small boxes. Boxes can be very involved with many types of joinery methods, or could be simple. To get started, learn how to use hand tools. Hand saws, chisels, etc. While you are learning, post your projects, and you'll get all the help you could want. Best part about it is that hand tools are easy to store, and your electric bill won't go up.






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