Monday, December 28, 2015

Beginning Woodworking

As I mentioned in the previous article, you don't need a lot of powertools or even fancy equipment to do any kind of woodworking. A simple saw, a good drill/driver, a hammer, and some other miscellaneous stuff is all you really need. But to get good results, without getting frustrated, you will eventually have to move up to the next level with your tools. I mean let's face it, you're not going to build fine furniture with the basic stuff.

Below is video I made a few months ago telling you how I got started. Yes, I had the basic stuff, mainly because that was what I needed to do some remodel stuff around the house. When I decided I liked doing stuff like this (meaning, woodworking in general), I tried to do some nice projects using what tools I had, while slowly building up to better equipment. My initial tools were, shall we say, not exactly the finest on the market. And today some would say that's still the case. But I figured I'd better learn how to use these before moving up to the higher priced stuff.

For example, my first router was a cheap Harbor Freight knock-off that my local home center sells (they somehow rebrand it under another company, but it's the exact same router). It cost me about $75, with all the attachments included (edge guide, etc), it came with a router table that, shall we say, wasn't worth a hill of beans, and it could only take 1/4" bits. And, of course, the bits available to me in my area weren't exactly made of the finest quality. In fact, I broke two of them before I realized just how cheap they were (thankfully I had taken safety precautions and wasn't hurt, but the lesson was learned....there's no substitute for good quality tools and, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for).

Now, you certainly don't need to go out and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to make great projects, and please don't take this article as my saying that you do. Having said that, though, you have to expect a certain trade-off when using the lower-end of the spectrum. The higher-priced, better quality tools (just for the record, price doesn't always equal quality) will give you more accurate results, and accuracy is the name of the game when joining two pieces of wood together propertly.

My first "real" project was a keepsake box for my daughter. I built it using my cheap circular saw, my cheap miter saw, my cheap router, and a cheap dovetail jig that I bought. It was an experience, I will say that. It took forever for me to get it to go together in a respectable fashion, and if it stays in one piece for more than ten or fifteen years, I'll be really surprised. But, as with every project I attempt, I tried to learn something from it, and I did...for starters, your stock has to be propertly milled, and you have to have accurate cuts.

I have since made several other keepsake boxes, and they each went together a lot easier than the previous one, and they looked a lot better, too, because I learned from my past experiences. Which, as you'll hear me say quite often, is what my You Tube channel, Facebook page, and this website is all about: it's about the journey. With each new project I make, regardless of what it is and what tools I'm using, I'm trying to learn something with each attempt. I started out not knowing a single thing about woodworking, except that I didn't have the skills to do it. But I resolved that I would learn, and that's what I'm doing. Hopefully I can inspire others to do the same.


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