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Everything posted by BDY33

  1. As a fellow woodworking newbie, all I can add is what helped me, personally. I started out dinking around with nothing more than drill and a circular saw. I added a Kreg pocket hole jig for $20 and with that I was able to make some basic, functional furniture for around the house. The plans at Ana White's site are good for this level of knowledge/tools. Soon though, after lots of watching videos and reading websites I realized I wanted to progress. I wanted to learn about different joints and use a router to do all the magic things it can do. As I started researching more and doing more I began to get frustrated with the limitations of a circular saw so I started researching table saws. My wife got me a router for my birthday and I got scared of the 10 pages of warnings so I never even plugged it in. That probably seems silly to the veterans but when you've never used one and don't know anyone that has and everywhere you look are LOTS OF SCARY WARNINGS it can be a real inhibitor. I know some people say just get out there and build, or watch some guy on YouTube, and that may work for some folks. What got me over the hump however was taking a Woodworking 101 class at the local Woodcraft store. It's pretty basic but it covered all the major power tools (table saw, jointer, planer, router) with hands-on and a lot of safety talk and do's and don'ts which I found invaluable. Shortly afterwards I got a table saw and have been going to town with both it and my router since then. Experience definitely is the best teacher, but if you find yourself in a bit of bind getting started due to lack of basic knowledge, I recommend a hands-on class if there is one nearby. Hope that helps.
  2. Another update: So I've had about 2 months with my Ridgid 4512 TS and quickly got an education in the care of cast iron in Florida humidity, as well as some basic machine repair. I love the table saw and it has been a true game-changer, but I appreciate more the corners cut in making a large power tool at a lower price-point. Have already had to fix the belt, the blade raising mechanism, and the riving knife lock. My first 2 "real" projects since getting the saw were to make a tool storage cabinet for the shop, and a bombe box (jewelry box), both of which turned out great. I made the coves for the bombe box profile on the table saw. Without access to a planer or lumber yard the only wood I could get thick enough was 2 inch cedar from Home Depot. I used a stacked featherboard on the TS to resaw the cedar down to about 1-1/4 inch which only tripped the garage circuit a couple times (I'm guessing this would be impossible on my current low-amp circuit with a hard hardwood if soft cedar caused such strain). I was so pleased with how the box turned out with the cedar that I decided to make a couple more boxes out of it. Everyone loves the smell and the look. Took a Router Intro class at Woodcraft which helped de-mystify the tool and get me over my fear of using it. I had been given one last birthday from the wife but in reading up on it was terrified by the 10-15 pages of warnings and tales of extreme mayhem everywhere I looked. I made the beginnings of a router table insert extension for the table saw, right now it's just a hole that the router sticks up through. I need to actually rout out part of the underside, the router bit doesn't extend quite high enough. Also need to build a router fence addon to attach to the TS fence. But it's nice to have something basic to use from time to time. Yesterday I picked up a 6" jointer off of craigslist. It's just a HF-Central Machinery model but for the low price I figured I would take the gamble. Tried it out last night on some newly resawn cedar planks and it works decently, but there are some rough spots. In reading up on it I'm guessing the knives probably stink so I got some replacements coming tomorrow. Hopefully that should help out. It's definitely taking a lot of material off and the fence and plates are square so with some good cutters it should be a step up from nothing. Next up I've got some extra money coming soon so I've already let the wife know I'm setting some aside for a lunchbox planer (probably go with the DeWalt 734). Then I'll probably make my first trip out to a nearby lumber guy - apparently he's a bit hit or miss as to whether he's there or not or he even answers his phone, but it's really the only option (outside of Woodcraft) in my area. After that I may look into that HF dust collector that runs $150-200. I'm using my shop vac connected to the tools plus a homemade dust blower with filters attached and respirator now. It's ok but obviously could be better. Judging by the crap on the filters it's getting some of it out of the air. Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement. You guys were really helpful and it is much appreciated. Hopefully this thread will help other newbies overcome any misgivings they have an give some pointers on getting started. A lot of good info in this thread.
  3. This thread has turned into a goldmine of ideas, thanks to all who replied. It's been about 5 weeks since I wrote the first post, so I thought I'd come back and give a brief update. So the first big hurdle was to actually clean the garage and optimize space. To that end I borrowed a friend's miter saw and built some 8' x 8' shelves and rearranged everything in the garage. Now I have about an 8'x10' space (give or take) to work with. I bought a Ridgid R4512 Table Saw last weekend - I had been considering a Bosch 4100 or a DeWalt portable, since I had not heard of the Ridgid and assumed all the other good saws were well over $1000. Man am I glad you guys suggested the Ridgid. I may not know a whole lot about saws but it certainly seems like a lot of saw for the price. It's like night and day between using it and using a circular saw to prepare pieces. Wow. Maybe I was lucky, but from what I can tell using my squares, it looks like it came pretty darn close to squared up out of the box. Extremely happy with this purchase. Got a Freud 50 tooth blade to go in it for now. Built a cross cut sled the other day as well. I got a Ridgid shop vac for clean up, some tubing to fit it onto the TS, and am contemplating getting an Oneida cyclone down the road. For now I got a small air blower from Costco and built a small box to hold 2 filters next to the intake, 1 cheapo and 1 ultra-fine on the inside to scrub the air. I am sure it's not ideal but for less than $70 hopefully it's enough to get started. Got a set of dado blades which I haven't tried yet. I actually already had a DeWalt 618 router that I haven't used yet (birthday present last year), but plan to soon. To be honest I'm a little hesitant trying to learn it cold (without physical instruction), so I've signed up for the Intro to Routers class at my local Woodcraft store to ease into that. Right now most of my tools are stored on regular, open garage shelving, and with kids running around all the time I'd like to get them into a closed cabinet/shelves next. So next project is to build something in that vein. I started to look at this set of plans given my small space, but they seem really poorly articulated - the cut list and plan referenced is incomplete and has some parts shown multiple times, etc. So then I went looking, found these plans which looked very clearly laid out, only to realize they require wood that is beyond my grasp to get at the moment without a planer or jointer. Argh!
  4. Hi Steve, I'm new to the forum here, also in Oviedo. Well, really about half-way between Oviedo and Winter Park. Just getting started in woodworking myself. Not much else to say, just wanted to say Hi since you are nearby! - Bryan
  5. Wow! Thank you all a lot for such encouraging and thoughtful responses. I was afraid I was going to get blasted for being a dumb newbie and told to take a hike.... I understand the economics, but was pretty well prepared for the long slow path until I started reading about dust collection, which landed me on Bill Pentz's site, and that was like the straw that broke the camel's back and I kind of fell apart. I will certainly see if I can map out a way ahead using bits and pieces from everyone's responses. I think the first step I need to make is dust collection - right now I have nothing except a mask. I see now that that is definitely inadequate. I'll look into a shop vac and jHop's other suggestions in that area first. I see a lot of you are recommending using a planer without a jointer, but most places and the Woodcraft class all claim that is a big no-no since you are just putting a smooth face on potentially bent, bowed boards. Are you guys saying that for non-commercial stuff it's ok to do that? I scour craigslist daily, and picked up about $450 worth of Jorgenson wood clamps and a couple pipe clamps for $20 yesterday. But so far nothing in the table saw / planer area. Will keep up the vigil
  6. Hi all, I hope this won't come across too negatively, I am looking for encouragement and strategy to overcome some frustrations. I do not mean this as pessimistically as it may sound. I have wanted to get into woodworking my whole life, and at 40 with the help of a very supportive wife and family I have begun to do so in a corner of our small garage. So far I built a workbench (not a woodworkers bench, just a run of the mill garage workbench), which is very ugly but sturdy - not easy to do without already having a workbench! - an end table with drawer for our living room, and a stand for our girl's digital piano. They have all turned out well, but they don't really encompass any amount of actual woodworking skill - just cheap "whitewood" from Lowe's, cut crookedly with a cicrular saw, attached with pocketholes. It has definitely gotten me interested in learning more, and I have a ton of projects around the house I want to do. So I've been reading several books, reading lots on forums like this one, and have taken a 101 class from the local Woodcraft store. So now it seems like in order to actually progress, I am going to need at a minimum a table saw. Every single book, plan, and TV show I watch, with the exception of the hardcore handmade guys, assumes you will have a table saw. So I start planning on how to save up around $500 for a decent Bosch or DeWalt model. Now for the wood itself, I can either pay around $15-20 per bf for red oak at Lowes/HD, or I can get roughsawn lumber locally for closer to $3 per bf. Obviously I want to do the latter! But then, I would need a jointer and planer. OK, I think I can see how I can find another $500 for a Jet 10" jointer/planer (which already is a little dubious, reviews are all over the place for that). So, $1000 and pretty much cramped into my 1/3 of the 2 car garage, doable. But I guess I am going to need an air solution, I already have been coughing more than normal from just 2-3 small projects. So, maybe $200 for a cheapo from HF? OK, maybe I can swing that. But wait, lots of folks saying that is inadequate. OK, need to add air cleaners. Those cost - holy cow, $600? And really, if you care about your and your family's health, you should check out Bill Pentz's site and get one of his cyclone machines. Only $1600! Well you can get a kit for $600, and just add the motor for another $400, plus all the other parts.... And this is just the bare minimum. I probably don't even have room for stuff like a bandsaw or drill press, etc. So all of a sudden it seems ridiculously impossible and like I should just forget about it. Am I missing something here? Maybe I'm overthinking this. Can someone please help me out of this and explain how to get started in a more reasonable fashion? Thanks for any help.