Bullsfan586

Chicagoan Here

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Hello. I am relatively new to woodworking. I am in the process of improving my skills. I have build a workbench (pictured below) but little else. I currently have a miter saw, a circular saw, a Craftsman table saw, a jig saw, a Ryobi hammer drill, and a belt sander. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's a start. I am currently shopping for a router, and I have three in mind (explained in another post). 

I want to build small pieces of furniture or whatever else strikes my fancy. I want to take some classes to teach me how to use my tools more effectively. I know that Rockler offers classes. I'm know my shop is incomplete. I want a band saw, a drill press, and (as stated previously) a router. If you think there is something else I need to add to my inventory, let me know. 

IMG_3992.jpg

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Welcome to the forums!  This is indeed a very deep and expensive rabbet hole!  Some good people here to help you along the way!

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Welcome @Bullsfan586.  I am in the Chicago area as well.  

This is a great hobby and great forum.  You'll enjoy participating in both.  As to what to buy next forget all that flatwork stuff and save your money for a lathe and turning tools.  OK, that was totally self serving advice (I'm a turner). 

Your available funds and space will dictate your aquisitions.  There are generally agreed upon "you really want these" tools (e.g. jointer planer), but to some degree let your future project plans inform your wish list.  You can actually make some stuff with what you have.

That said a router is useful tool and good investment.  I bought my first router when I had a project that needed it.  I have since aquired three and one member of the forum has eleven.  Maybe he should sell you one of his :o.   Used tools, by the way, are a good option; there are good values to be had.  

Since you live in Chicagoland there are  some resources.  Besides the three Rocklers, two Woodcrafts, and Berlands for tools/supplies, there's Owl Hardwood (and others) for lumber.  There are also physical woodworking clubs where you can find folks that might help you out on a project.  For example, I'm going to see if one of my pals can run a board through his drum sander since that's a tool I don't have.  I don't know which part of town you're in (I'm in the western burbs), but the three clubs I know of are DuPage, Hickory Hills and Fox Valley.  

Another great resource is Make It Here, a makers space in Downers Grove, just off I-355.  They have a myriad of woodworking, metalworking and CNC tools you can use.  There is always going to be a tool you can't afford or don' want to buy, or can't site, but you can access the tool there.  

The physical clubs sometimes have some classes, and there is usually a demonstration at every meeting.  Rockler & Woodcraft have classes as you mentioned.  Check out the Chicago Scool of Woodworking.  They have a big facillity and a variety  of classes.  The Marc Adams School of Woodworking outside of Indianapolis is worth the drive and has both weekend and week long classes.   

Not all of these suggestions may work for you today, but you'll probably be into woodworking for a long time to come.

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@Bullsfan586! With that workbench as an example, I'd say we'll be seeing some nice furniture come out of your shop in no time! One thing I suggest is to add a work holding device or two for maximizing your bench's usefullness. Chad Stanton demonstrates a couple of inexpensive options:

Or there are pleny of commercial options to choose from.

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1 hour ago, Mark J said:

Welcome @Bullsfan586.  I am in the Chicago area as well.  

This is a great hobby and great forum.  You'll enjoy participating in both.  As to what to buy next forget all that flatwork stuff and save your money for a lathe and turning tools.  OK, that was totally self serving advice (I'm a turner). 

Your available funds and space will dictate your aquisitions.  There are generally agreed upon "you really want these" tools (e.g. jointer planer), but to some degree let your future project plans inform your wish list.  You can actually make some stuff with what you have.

That said a router is useful tool and good investment.  I bought my first router when I had a project that needed it.  I have since aquired three and one member of the forum has eleven.  Maybe he should sell you one of his :o.   Used tools, by the way, are a good option; there are good values to be had.  

Since you live in Chicagoland there are  some resources.  Besides the three Rocklers, two Woodcrafts, and Berlands for tools/supplies, there's Owl Hardwood (and others) for lumber.  There are also physical woodworking clubs where you can find folks that might help you out on a project.  For example, I'm going to see if one of my pals can run a board through his drum sander since that's a tool I don't have.  I don't know which part of town you're in (I'm in the western burbs), but the three clubs I know of are DuPage, Hickory Hills and Fox Valley.  

Another great resource is Make It Here, a makers space in Downers Grove, just off I-355.  They have a myriad of woodworking, metalworking and CNC tools you can use.  There is always going to be a tool you can't afford or don' want to buy, or can't site, but you can access the tool there.  

The physical clubs sometimes have some classes, and there is usually a demonstration at every meeting.  Rockler & Woodcraft have classes as you mentioned.  Check out the Chicago Scool of Woodworking.  They have a big facillity and a variety  of classes.  The Marc Adams School of Woodworking outside of Indianapolis is worth the drive and has both weekend and week long classes.   

Not all of these suggestions may work for you today, but you'll probably be into woodworking for a long time to come.

 

30 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

@Bullsfan586! With that workbench as an example, I'd say we'll be seeing some nice furniture come out of your shop in no time! One thing I suggest is to add a work holding device or two for maximizing your bench's usefullness. Chad Stanton demonstrates a couple of inexpensive options:

Or there are pleny of commercial options to choose from.

Thanks for the comment. My intention is to get a wood vice to install on the face of that table (see the attached image of the Yost F9WW). I'm going to look into other devices to hold my projects, as I am the only one working with only 2 hands! If you have any other suggestions for devices to hold my projects, I'm all ears (and eyes!(.

Vice.JPG

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I live in Westmont, and all of the suggestions for places to go for help are appreciated. I will be doing a lot of research on all of them. Unfortunately, my shop is in southern Wisconsin. That's where we have our retirement house is (we're not up there full time yet). But that doesn't mean I can't learn here. Although I am retiring this year (I'm a teacher), we are going to try to stay around here  for a few years. But, since I am retiring, I will be spending more time up north, therefore, I will be starting to make things! I'm very excited about this. I have another table (not as sturdy as the one I made) that I use when I'm working with my tabletop tools. My intention is to get a sliding compound miter saw. For that, I am going to make my own stop-block, and it will be portable. That is to say that I don't want to leave it on the table. I have some ideas how to do that, and the router would be a useful tool to use on that!

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