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How to get started?

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I have been wanting to start woodworking for a couple years now and I just can't figure out where to begin. What tools would I need to get started? Where is the best places to buy materials? I live in Michigan. I just would like to have a hobby that I can work towards perfecting and possibly end up making a business out of it. 

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I have been wanting to start woodworking for a couple years now and I just can't figure out where to begin. What tools would I need to get started? Where is the best places to buy materials? I live in Michigan. I just would like to have a hobby that I can work towards perfecting and possibly end up making a business out of it. 

 

Honestly there is no right answer here, it's a complete myriad of answers and all of them have valid points.

 

My suggestion beyond finding a local Woodcrafters or Rockler to learn the beginning skills is to get some basic carpentry tools.

 

A good circular saw, cordless drill, tape measure or folding tape, tri square, a few clamps, and of course some glue. Don't blow the budget right out of the gate. A decent saw and drill with good blades and bits will take you far and shouldn't kill your budget.

 

The question what is your skill level? Zero experience, novice, framing carpenter, finish carpenter?

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

 

 

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I am more interested in building things like furniture or stuff for the house. I have some experience. But most of it is from building bird houses or small things like that. I've worked on several buildings with my father. Houses, car ports, gazebos, etc. my girlfriend and I just got our own place and I have a garage and zero hobbies (besides working on my old truck). And I thought maybe I could build us some nice stuff for the house. Tables, chairs, maybe a book shelf. And see where it goes from there. 

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Now that we know the destination, directions how to get there will be easier to give. Do you have a budget to work within? And are you thinking more power tools vs. hand tools?

 

My personal preference would be to start gathering small items, like a decent square, maybe a bevel gague, and a marking gauge and knife. While saving (if needed) for the bigger machines, tablesaw, jointer, planer, bandsaw, various sanders. And dust collection...never forget dust collection!

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Maybe try popular Woodworking's "I Can Do That" series. Simple projects and tool requirements are minimal. Watch Marc's videos and you'll find several projects that are within the reach of motivated beginners. You'll learn a lot on this forum. 

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With just a bit of study and practice, you can make great furniture with hand tools, and not that many of those. Takes more time, but the feeling of gratification is pretty high.

 

 

I'd still invest in a power planer, at least. Milling boards flat and square by hand is a great skill to master, but gets old REALLY quick.

 

Honestly, the best thing I can recommend is that you start by reading as much from this forum as you can. Understanding how the medium behaves is the biggest hurdle most new woodworkers face, and that topic is disussed here repeatedly, covering just about any circumstance you can imagine.

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First, decide on something you want to build.  Then figure out how to do it as you go along.  I've done this for a living for 43 years now.

 The hardest thing I see that new people have to overcome is reluctance.  There is no set, or best, plan or formula, or list of tools to start with.

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Best way for me was to just go buy some nice hardwood and just build something. Don't worry about it being perfect, don't even worry about it being good but going out and getting some crappy 1x pine from home depot because you don't want to screw up "nice" wood is just frustrating. Buy some cherry or walnut and just make something out of it. At the end, everything you learn will be related to the craft without having to learn how to make crap wood not be crap and that is more valuable than the lumber will ever cost you.

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Do yourself a favor and take up hiking instead.  This hobby will break you.  A couple hundred a month should get you a serviceable shop by the time you're nearly dead...if you're in your twenties now.  That's just not enough money to pursue this thing with any real gusto, IMO.  It takes an earnest investment in time and money or it's not really worth it.

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Ha Eric makes a good point.

And reminds me of the saying behind every great woodworker is a wife with a great job!

And it's so true for me my wife has surpassed me in my former career of roofing.:angry:

Now the pressure is on me an ordinary common woodworker to make a buck.:huh:

Aj

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I started with a jigsaw, a router and cheap hand tools. It was painful but I persisted because I wanted the products I was making (bah, the wife wanted them). Pretty much what prov163 said.

But Eric is right, if you want to enjoy this hobby, you need a decent set of tools to start with.

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50 minutes ago, Eric. said:

Do yourself a favor and take up hiking instead.  This hobby will break you.  A couple hundred a month should get you a serviceable shop by the time you're nearly dead...if you're in your twenties now.  That's just not enough money to pursue this thing with any real gusto, IMO.  It takes an earnest investment in time and money or it's not really worth it.

Eric is right.  I thought when I started it wouldn't be terribly expensive but even after buying your initial complement of tools, you still need to buy wood, which ain't cheap.  Then you want better tools and the the rabbit chase begins.

All hobbies are like that.  Even hiking can be expensive once you buy the right boots, backpack, etc.  If woodworking is something you feel strongly about doing, then prepare to invest in it reasonably.

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15 minutes ago, prov163 said:

All hobbies are like that.  Even hiking can be expensive once you buy the right boots, backpack, etc.  If woodworking is something you feel strongly about doing, then prepare to invest in it reasonably.

Yeah that's true but it's all relative.  I'm sure I have at least a few grand invested in all my outdoor hiking/backpacking/canoeing toys...but that's peanuts compared to what woodworking has cost me.  Tens of thousands.

And the main difference is, hiking can still be enjoyable when pursued in a minimalist way.  Not so true for woodworking unless you just wanna carve spoons or turn pens.  If you plan to build furniture, prepare to spend some real money.  Even the craigslist guys spend more than a couple hundred a month, on average, to put a shop together.

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I would sort of disagree about the cost. If you don't mind taking a lot of TIME to build stuff, you can get along with a few inexpensive hand tools, a sharpening system, and patience. A bit like making a 20-seat dug-out canoe with a soup spoon, but it does work. I probably have less than $1k in tools that I purchased, but there are also gifts & inherited tools. I still enjoy the process, even if there is more time spent honing and fettling to make tools perform.

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I'm w/old south. Startin' out in wood working has alot to do with choice. The first thing you need to decide is what your interest is. Furniture, scrollin', whatever. Find ya some readin' & research on the tools that's involved with makin' whatever you decide. Then ya need to spend time studyin' & researchin' wood. Different species, what it looks like, when it's workable, etc. A little studyin' on finishin' wouldn't hurt, neither. 

I'm suggestin' all this to ya b'cause I been in your shoes. I was an OTR truck driver all my life, & didn't know anything else. When my Sawbones gave me the long face, & told me I was done truckin', I started readin' everything I could about the tools, wood, you name it. And in the mean time, we picked up a few tools here & there. I taught myself how to use every machine we bought. My shop was a small room in our basement then. I've moved to a bigger shop b'cause of more toys, ya see. But in 25 years of woodworkin', I've owned some junk, & made it work for me. I wore out the first scroll saw I had. Since then, I've added 5 more scroll saws to our shop. An 8" 1950's tablesaw. planer, jointer, belt/disc sander, RAS saw, drill press, 2 lathes, & numerous hand & air tools. And my tools ain't all new & shiny, neither. Some are a little on the rough side, but they all do what I need them to do when I ring their bell.

With your circular saw, you can do anything you need to do. A drill, hammer, tape measure, & a couple hand planes, you're off to the races, brother! You just need to spend time learnin' your equipment, then start ya a project. You'll do just fine. You was given two feet for a reason. One step at a time. Hang in there, cowboy! Before long, you'll have everything ya need!

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So I acquired a few tools this week. Circular saw, drill, a couple hammers, some clamps. I have access to a small planer, table saw, and a router. But does anyone have any plans for some projects that I can do that will help teach me the basics? Just something that I can build to get some hands on work? 

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Check out "Make Something" on YouTube.  He makes a lot of relatively easy crafty type projects.  Same goes for "Woodworking for mere mortals."

 

Definitely super informative and straight forward builds from both guys. I would check out Steve's other videos under the basics categories.

 

"Modern Builds" and "FixThisBuildThat" are also two good YouTubers to check out.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

 

 

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