Bucks County PA.


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Hello everybody

I just found this forum while I was looking for some answers,
but I will introduce myself properly.

My name is Arie Boom and I live in Bucks county, PA
(Yardley - Morrisville area)

I am a scrollsawer, 
who is currently switching to other forms of woodworking.

About 8 years ago I moved from The Netherlands to the U.S,
so that I could be together with my American wife.

Back in The Netherlands I was a CNC programmer / manager in a steel company,
specialized in small parts, and had done that for more then 25 years.

When I came to the U.S, 
I realized that I had to start from scratch, and ended up working at a local restaurant.

I began as the maintenance/gardner, 
and slowly worked my way up to being the right hand of the G.M, 
and the person who is in charge of many banquets and outside catering events.

During those first years I found out that I needed to build a lot of things myself.
Set up constructions for big events... build it myself.
Special decorations for holiday's... build it myself.
Repairing fences, making new fence doors, building outside service areas... did it myself.

I didn't have any tools, and borrowed tools here and there to complete a task.
One day I decided to make large wooden reindeer for Christmas, 
to put around the fountain that we have at the restaurant.

One of my co-workers borrowed me a 1000 year old scrollsaw, and I was fascinated.
It was useless for my deers, and i ended up cutting them with a jigsaw,
but I decided right then and there that I wanted to have one of those scrollsaw's.

Working in a restaurant, wearing many hats means that time slips by fairly easy,
and it took a few years before I finally had some time to buy a scrollsaw,
which happened last year.

Now I had a saw, but what am I going to do with it?
I looked online, 
found some great examples and bought a whole bunch of birch plywood at my local H.D.

The first piece I made was the puzzle box that I use as my profile picture.
My best friend called me crazy for even trying to make that as my first piece, 
but I always like a challenge.

Some co-workers saw the puzzle, 
wanted to buy one, or requested other things.
Currently I am in the process of making a 3x3 feet wall-art piece for a friend of mine.

I do however run into a few problems here and there, 
and that's how I ended up on this forum.

The problems that I run into are
(in random order)

1) I don't know anybody who is into wood.

Sounds strange for a guy who meets thousands of people a week.
But there is a fine line between what you can say to customers at what time.

If I host a funeral for instance, and happen to hear people talking about wood, 
then I don't butt in.
That doesn't look very professional to me.

So my "personal circle of friends" are people who work with me, 
and none of them is into woodworking or even know people who are.

2) Space.

Currently I have my "workshop" throughout my house.

When we bought this house, I never imagined I would pick up a hobby like this.
It was just me and my wife.
My step childeren were already married, 
and we didn't need much space.

I don't have a garage nor a basement, 
so I have to be creative when it comes to space.

My scrollsaw is in my office, right next to the livingroom, 
and I kinda hi-jacked the laundry room.

I have my mitersaw, drill press, and the rest of my handtools, 
and was even able to build a small work bench, which fits perfectly in between the washer, dryer and water heater.

It's not ideal, but it kinda works.

3) Tools and Wood

When I came here, I had to start building up my tool collection.
For your average diy projects it's not so hard, 
but when you get into woodworking it becomes more problematic.

I already had a miter-saw for diy projects, and added a scrollsaw to the collection.
Then I bought some sanders ( one palm and one orbit ), a dremel, a router, and a drill press.

I know it is not much, but I can get by ( for now ) with them.
The problem is that it limits me to the wood I can use.

I buy my wood online, the so called "scrollsaw ready wood".
I can get it in different thicknesses, and has the perfect "handling size" for me,
and it's s4s.

Downside is that it is rather expensive.
A piece of 3/4" walnut, 12x24" cost me about $25.00.

At that same company I can get the same wood much cheaper,
although it would be unsurfaced.

So what do I do?

Buy a planer?
But that almost means I need to buy a jointer too.
So then I got two more big tools in a space I don't really have.

I still need to get a table saw, to make it easier to rip boards.
Meaning I would add three tools.

Looking online I see a lot of lumber.
I can get them by the boardfeet starting at 4/4 thickness.

I know what it means, but it doesn't really help me.
Most times it means the thickness is about 13/16 ( too thick for me )
and widths are mentioned as 4" or higher ( or something simular )

And that is my biggest frustration.
I wish I would have a place in my area where I could go to, 
too pick out some nice wood.

4) Finishing.

My background is steel.
I don't need to finish steel, and if we do, 
it is a specialized process, done by a specialized company.

I looked at the almighty youtube about finishing wood, and it dazzles me.
There doesn't seem to be a consistency in finishing, it's more of; whatever you prefer!

Well, I don't like to paint my products (although I have for special occasions)
and I have used Danish oil, which is a nice product.

I don't know anything about properly finishing a wooden product.
I like a natural, glossy or semi-glossy look.

I hear people talk online about using a finish, and then buffing it to a shine.
Okay... the video doesn't show so much... buffing steel we use a wax...
do you do that with wood as well?... and if so... what kind of wax...

I like watching woodworking video's, and picked up a lot of information and cool tricks,
including making my own special miter-saw fence/raised platform/t-track "thingy".

But a lot of times the creator kinda expects that you know a few basics,
which I don't *blush*

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Welcome!   If you can read as well as you write, I don't think you will have a lot of trouble learning what you need to.   Almost everything I have learned how to do was learned through reading.   There is much information here on these Forums.  Use the search box as a starting point for information that you seek, and feel free to ask questions.  When you type a replay in a "thread", it gets moved to the top for all to see.

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Welcome in, Arie!  I understand your frustration over dealing with material costs, although for me its the lack of local sources.

I would suggest that you look for other woodworkers in the area that you might "partner" with to buy materials and dilute the cost. They may also be willing to help you with surfacing rough lumber.

If you expect to focus primarily on scroll saw projects, I would suggest a bandsaw and planer as the most productive way to reduce rough lumber into the material you need. A jointer isn't absolutely necessary, as you can use a plywood 'sled' with a planer to flatten a board's face. A portable "lunchbox" planer could be placed into a shop-built stand with the bandsaw above it to minimize the footprint. Not the most convenient thing to use, but effective.

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Welcome to the Forum !  

Is there room for a garden shed in your yard ?  To consistently make thin stock you would need a bandsaw to resaw a board (vertically cut the thickness of the board) , then a planer or drum sander to smooth the other side.  Some boards will warp or twist after cutting releases tension in the wood. Some pieces can cup or crack a few days after cutting when the moisture in the wood evens out. All the machines and a dust collector would not be smart to try running in your house . 

You might see if there is a local woodworking club you can join. Some cities have shops you can use with membership.  Or check with local cabinet shops and see if they can cut boards for you out of their scrap.

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Welcome aboard, Arie! My ancestors were from the Netherlands. I stayed in Utrecht for a week on business years ago; I must get back some time to visit. Wonderful country, wonderful people. Maybe I'm biased. :)

I'm in a similar house like you; we have no basement, no garage, no shed, so I can't make sawdust to any significant degree. Most of my stuff has to be done outside, so my setup has to be portable and capable of being broken down for storage.

Sounds like a bandsaw is a good next choice for a power tool, though a circular saw and some track guides can help you break down lumber. You can do that outside without raising too much fuss from the neighbors. I've seen jigs to turn a circular saw into a table saw; maybe that would work near-term too.

Planers are great but they are very lout and very dusty. Consider a couple of hand planes instead; they make no noise, the shavings are easy to clean up, and you can work with them anywhere.

Marc's book Hybrid Woodworking has good ideas on how to use hand tools alongside (and instead of) power tools. This forum is fantastic for help and ideas, too. You can post some of your questions above in the other forums where they'll get more eyeballs and probably more suggestions, too.

Again, welcome aboard, and it's great to have you here!

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Thank you all for your wonderfull words of welcome.

@ Tom King

Yes I do read as well as I write, 
and am currently reading as much on this forum as I can.

Thanks for those links, I am going to check them out.


That is a wonderful idea.
Problem with that is that I basically don't know any woodworkers.

I moved around in this area, let's say a 20 mile radius from where I live now, in the beginning.
I actually never moved so much as in the first 5 years of being here.

I am not really planning on staying focussed on Scrollsaw projects only.
It is a wonderfull tool, but a bit limited.

The plywood shed you are talking about is something that I saw on youtube,
I like the idea but wonder how long it would take to "plane" down a board?

With "lunch box" planers you mean the benchtop ones?
Something like the WEN 6550?


There is room for a shed, and I already put one up when we bought the house.
For some strange reason the "wise men" of my town have decided that everything under $500 can be done without a permit.

Everything above $500 needs a permit, which also means that your taxes will go up.

My neighbours told me this out of their own experience, and we checked it with the local authorities as well.
My first shed was just a plastic thing, bought on sale from H.D. for 499.

It's awesome for storing rakes, hoses and other garden stuff, but not for tools and wood.

I was thinking about "bending" the rules a bit, by attaching a shed to my house in multiple steps,
but I'm not sure if that would work and how long it would take.

To say it simple; if the total shed (including insulation, electri, heat, etc) would cost me 3000 bucks, 
it would take 6 years to put up.


Nah, you're not biased :rotflmao:

Sawdust is the least of my worries.
I don't create so much dust, and when I am scrolling I have a shopvac next to me.

I saw a lot of video's of Marc, and I like his style.
I will definitly look into that book.

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