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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone, my name is Danny and I'm a 23 year old database administrator/programmer, and have been so for the past 2 1/2 years. Prior to my programming career, I did a lot of manual labor jobs (construction, landscaping, painting, etc.). So I've had my fair share of doing physical labor in the past, although, I do have to admit that I kind of miss it. And now, the desire to work with my hands once again has kicked in.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because I'd really like to start working with wood - creating something from nothing - and discovering and developing my skills upon this new hobby with what resources I have available to me now.

I have the basic tools: circular saw, router, chisels, drills, bits, and a few sanders (circular and the small multipurpose handheld one) and a few other things that are almost necessary household tools. I've been thinking of making myself a table saw for use with my circular saw, and was thinking this could be my first startup project...if it it works, great! If not, then I have some firewood and learned something along the way.

I plan on doing this by the design where you find the width between the blade and cutting edge, make any sort of table, then mount a 2X4/8 (whatever really) length wise along the table with the edge of the 2X4 right at the width in the measurement mentioned above. Then your circular saw will run your cut along in a straight line.

There are also other designs such as:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Convert_a_hand_held_circular_saw_into_a_table_saw/
However, I don't think I could put use to one of that size and skill level at this point. Just wanted to give the link in case anyone else may find this useful, either as a project, or to save yourself a good $100+, depending on how high quality of a table saw you decide to get. But if you think I should use this one, then by all means please let me know.

My ultimate goal is to start woodturning - creating bowls, pipes, vases, and hopefully some pretty cool custom knobs for some new drawers I will be building into my closet. There are also other things I'd like to do as well such as make my own legs to chairs/tables. My dilemma is I haven't been able to find a reasonably priced wood lathe around here anywhere (South Jersey). I don't really have the resources for other tools that could possibly be used as a substitute to a wood lathe either, so I'm stuck with what I got as mentioned in my list above. I'd also like to be able to make cabinets and other things of that nature further, further, furtherrrrr down the road.

If you're still reading, thanks! Sorry for ranting, but I'm really interested in picking this up as a hobby and possibly even a profession later on in life (been thinking of picking up sidejobs or finding a contractor needing an extra hand on the weekends for extra cash to buy tools and also learn this unique trade).

Ok, so finally my questions:

Is the self-made table saw worth building as a startup project? I figured if I could build this, it would give me the ability to make straighter, quicker, and more accurate cuts.

Is there any alternative to creating the materials I mentioned without the use of a wood lathe (besides hours of chisels/sanding)?

What other tools and types of wood do you think I should start out with, besides the ones I've already mentioned?

Any help would be much appreciated, and I'm looking forward to following up on everyone's tips, ideas, projects, and comments.

P.S. - Being I have a limited tool set, I've been salvaging what I can to get myself all the tools I need and also the ones I want. Any thoughts on this? Does anyone know of any good spots to get these sorts of tools I'll be needing for my upcoming projects? Oh yeah, and I'm hurting on the money end, so not looking for highend pricey tools....just something to get me started and get experience in the field. I know of the Berlin Mart (once again, I'm a South Jersey resident), and they have some tools there, but nothing interesting enough that I came across in the hour I was there.

Thanks again guys and look forward to hearing from you.

- Danny Sheridan

Note: I apologize if any of my questions have already been asked on this forum and for posting them again. I just came across this site, and saw so much valuable information that I had to get involved and wanted to do so right away.
 
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