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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a ragtag assembly of novice techniques for woodworking. I have always been a turner most of all but with all of the tools I have inherited I am looking to expand my knowledge base. What projects would y’all recommend to learn technique? I know this is an incredibly broad question. I am interested in pretty much all aspects of woodworking so any suggestions across the board would be welcome. I seem to have one or more of most tools at this point, a pile of jigs that I don’t know the use for, and a giant pile of boards and turning stock to play with.
Thanks,
 

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Termite
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Joinery...

What part of the state's are you located?

Alex can you post pictures of the jigs? Maybe we can figure them out..
 

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What type of projects are you interested in? Furniture or? What styles do you like?

Think of something you'd like to make that involves techniques you want to learn but aren't too far beyond your current skills. Small to medium size projects are good, less material cost, and less time.

I make stuff for my cats, one of the advantages of that is that the project doesn't have to look perfect to humans to be a success.

a giant pile of boards and turning stock to play with.
What species do you have? Sizes and qualities? I don't make complete projects just for practice, but say I'm starting with dovetails, I'll use some cheap pine (just not too many knots) to practice on. The wood you already have isn't exactly free, if it is a great piece of wood you might be better saving it for when your skills can best use it, buy a cheaper wood until then.

Ditto what @subroc said, stuff for your wood shop.

An area I've been procrastinating: chisels, how to sharpen and use them. Hand planes too. Even if like me you mostly use power tools there are lots of situations where hand tools are needed for the last little bit. Mortises etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m definitely interested in making cat furniture, like wall mounted stuff, since my wife is a vet and we have 5 kitties. As far as species I have a ton of oak, bird’s eye maple, hard maple, zebra wood, flamed birch, pine, goncalo(tiger wood), and some purplehear. I’m set for chisels, saws, and planes.
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I’m definitely interested in making cat furniture, like wall mounted stuff, since my wife is a vet and we have 5 kitties.
I think wood working and cats are natural fit, there are projects and designs for every ww skill level.

For ideas, explanations of what cats like etc I highly recommend the catification books:
Have you seen Jackson Galaxy's and Kate Benjamin's work before? He also has the TV show My Cat from Hell.

My first spiral cat stairs are a variation of the single most common ones you'll see online, I forget whether the threaded rod I used is 3/8" or 1/2". I made it with a rise of 1 1/2" per step, 12 steps per turn, 18" of rise per turn. Pogo told me too many steps and too shallow, so I turned them so they have 4 1/2" rise per step, 6 steps per turn, 27" rise per turn. Radiata pine steps (with router burns lol) and 2" popular dowel spacers.

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The next steps I did have a hexagonal column, no rod etc inside, splines and glue hold the sides together, it is freaky strong, I'd like to do it again with the column about 60% the width. Radiata pine.

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A double helix is my third spiral design, red oak, I didn't know until I put it up if it would work structurally, it does. You can see the top is supported on opposite sides, I think it would sag if only on one side, so a corner is the best place for this design. Ok, the cats would be fine with a more simple spiral, but it looks cool to the human eye. On of the cool things about a double is that it looks as if it is turning twice as fast as it is. These turn 1 1/2 times, could look lame, but l like the 3 turn look.

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Learning to make small boxes taught me a lot of basic skills. You can use a wide range of tools and joinery techniques. I had built a barn and my shop/equipment shed, but didn't really learn wood working until I started building small boxes. Book cases with dadoed shelfs are also a good project.
 

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Do you have have a nice work bench?
You can learn a lot during the build of a bench.
Amen to the bench.. That's when I really figured out tenons and mortises and planing by the weeks on end.. I still have the bench and it's still rock solid even if my concrete floor isn't..
 

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Got lots of wood, huh?
1. Make a nice book case. I say 4' wide and up to the ceiling. 5-7 shelves for different size stuff.
Attach every shelf with a different kind of joint. Good place and time to learn.
2. Make yourself a fancy umbrella stand. Big. For brollies and canes.

This one is waterproof for the bottom 8". About 24" high.
Hand split western red cedar, smoothed and jointed with PacNW First Nations adzes and knives.
Assembled with pegs.
The form line carvings are beaver, frog, orca and salmon.
Wood Artifact Trunk Art Wood stain
 

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Welcome to the forum, Alex! Nice batch of hand tools there. Too bad I moved from big D a couple of years ago I'd had you over.

Ditto on a box - it teaches the art of square cuts and the mystical art of fixing not square cuts. Fence alignment is key on the table saw - I use a 12" adjustable square to align it for each use - takes about 30 seconds once you get the hang of it. I'd recommend small to medium size project to start. Lowes for poplar or Wood World [behind TI/Raytheon 635/75] for other inexpensive practice lumber. Also square cuts on the ends and 'flat' cuts on the sides - table saw fence alignment.

Flat wood is the place to start. Removing warp or cup via planning the saw cuts to minimize, hand planes, planers or my favorite - drum sander makes the finish cuts/joints much more successful. Many of the more figured woods tend to be squirmy or 'unhappy' as a wood buddy called them - but I find the fight is well worth the end result.

Pick a joint style - box/finger joint, dovetail or butt joint. I'm not a fan of the 45° joint as it requires a [thinking table saw here] a perfect 45° blade and the wood needs to be flat or flattened to avoid uneven blade engagement and the ugly joint syndrome.

The art of glue up is also an evolving experiment. I'm a finger joint fan and at first tried to glue up all four sides at the same time - thinking to have everything square on a 20"x20"x12" speaker cab - way too much hassle. Now I do one at a time set to 90° - takes longer and yields mucho less cussing.

Then comes the finishing - I tend to test different dyes / sealers on the project cut offs to see what enhances the figure and looks best if you're mixing wood species. Being a 'get the damn thing done!!!' sorta guy I lean toward the easy [like oils] or the self fixing like lacquers. Just picked up some amber shellac for a current mixed species project and I think it's going to be the initial color/seal with gloss spray lacquer on top.

I also recommend being fearless when making the first cut - whilst practicing safe saw methods. My first figured wood project - quilted cherry & walnut - took 3 months of my buddy yelling 'CUT IT!!!' before I actually did. You can always glue more on and call the 'mistake' a design element.



Russ
 
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