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Hello everyone,
Brand spankin' new to wood working and trying to delve into it. I would like to start off slow and easy and aquire tools and accessories as I go. So i will be stopping by here often to read over threads and seek advise.

Thanks in advance to all that will help me in my wood working adventure

Tom
 

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Hi Tom.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Hello Tom
 

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Welcome to the forum Tom.
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Hi Tom, and welcome to the forum.

"New" to woodworking - whatcha wanna do? furniture, crafts, signs...? What you want to do or make
decides what tools to get first. Like I started with a rotary tool to make my own outdoor sign for my
place up north. I went from there and got a sander, then the scroll saw, a compound miter saw, (that
was something I just ended up with; my husband's boss at the time had bought it and didn't like it, so
we bought it off him. It helped make our deck, then I got it.) My last tool was my router, which has been
my greatest purchase, I think. (Well, I love all my woodworking tools, but I've accomplished most of what I
always wanted to do using my router.)

I look forward to seeing your creations. Just holler for help, cuz we have some amazing talent in this group
 

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Hi Tom--great name by the way.

I'm about 5 years into the hobby and really loving it. The heart of most shops is the table saw. I just got a Laguna Fusion 10 inch saw with 36 inch capacity. I am extremely happy with it and Laguna fixed a minor problem with no fuss. There are many other options, but I'm sticking to what I know. I looked at saw stop, but if you have even a littl moisture in your wood you have to turn the safety feature off anyhow because moisture will trigger the cartrige, which also ruins your blade. Bang, there goes another $130-$150 bucks. I also hear good things about the Grizzly brand.

That said, here are a few things I've done to accelerate my learning curve with wood, thought you might find them useful.

1) If you use Firefox browser, get a free add on YouTube download helper app. Search for videos on all aspects of woodworking that interest you and collect them. I watch a video on the topic of whatever project, or phase of a project, on which I'm currently working. VERY helpful to see it done before you try it yourself.

I use the Flash Video Downloader YouTube Downloader 3.8.2. it is free using the tools menu/add ons. It puts a download button under the video on YouTube. Click the button, name it (I always label it according to the tool or job it works on. For example, anything to do with routing, I label as "Router", which clusters all the similar videos together in Windows Explorer. All my videos go into a single folder. I sometimes watch woodworking video while on planes, which occasionally triggers interesting conversations.

2) There are hundreds of used books on woodworking on Amazon. Order some on basic tools and woodworking. You'll need to learn to tune up saws and other tools, and books are how I learned to do these things. It wasn't until I tuned up my saws that good results began to happen. My saws cut exactly 90 and 45, or any angle I need now. Two books I really love are Bill Hylton’s “Woodworking with the Router,” and “The Joint Book” by Terrie Noll. The Noll Book is a really concise and heavily illustrated reference with great hints for making every variety of joints. There are lots of good table saw guides.

3) Make some first projects with MDF before using more expensive wood. Make the same project several times with improved skill and workmanship each time. Great learning method.

4) Consider making cabinets or stands for each of your power tools. My first cabinet was of MDF and my sander and all my sanding gear still sit on and in it. I can't tell you how much confidence I got from building space efficient shop stands and now, all the tools in my smallish shop are on casters and easily moved around for use and cleanup. BTW, if you add casters, use two non swivels on the back and two locking casters on the front--make sure the lock secures both the wheel and the swivel so your carts don't skip around in use.

5) Many of the woodworking supply stores in the US (and I imagine overseas) have demos on weekends. Attend and get to know the people you meet there. They can turn you on to sources of wood and you can get some nice help and begin a friendship or two. Don’t forget to talk with the employees as well. At our local Rockler, several of the employees are serious and experienced woodworkers and always eager to help. I’ve also found some of the big box stores have very experienced wood workers and carpenters, you just have to start a brief conversation, then ask them about what they did before the store. Also check out any woodworking classes at your community college or adult ed programs.

6) Among your first purchases should be some form of dust control. Many woods are proven carcinogens and can quickly damage your lungs. Dust collection information is on this site. I have a 4-inch system installed to collect sawdust, but I also have and recommend a dust mask with a small fan that pulls in pressurized air that not only keeps dust out, but also keeps my glasses from fogging. Got mine at Rockler and keep a couple of sets of rechargable AA batteries ready to use. For cutting just a piece or two, I keep surgical style disposable masks handy. I also built a box with 20x20 filter inside and a fan that pulls air through to remove fine airborne dust over time. Don't take your mask off right after cutting because there is always dust floating around for awhile. If you start coughing, it means you need to pay very close attention to dust control. It can take months to recover from a bout of working MDF.

7) Take your sweet time with projects, there's no rush and it is easy to have a project nearly complete, then make a careless, quick cut or other error that ruins all your good work.

8) Buy the very best table saw you can manage. A little debt could move you up a notch and help you produce better results. Get the best tools you can afford and read the reviews and ask questions on the forum before you choose. To me, it is worth it to use credit if necessary to get the best you can manage. And there are some new models called hybrid saws that have the mechanical works attached to the cabinet rather than the top. My shop is not wired for 220, so I was happy with the 110 volt models.

9) If you can, get an electrician to add a 220 outlet or two to your shop. There are many tools that require 220 volts to work best, and many used 220 tools are available at good prices if you feel comfortable buying used.


If you don't have a router yet, I really like the Bosch 1617, which comes in a kit with fixed and plunge base. It has many accessories that are very well made. Others like different brands, but Mike recently checked in on the topic and compared PorterCable and I thought the Bosch came out a bit ahead.

10) When it comes to router bits, try to stick to the half inch shafts with carbide cutting tips. These are astonishingly sharp. Bosch and Freud are easily available at HD and Lowes, but there are lots of other excellent brands. I wear gloves when I take them out of their packaging because you can easily have a laceration from those ultra sharp tips. I'd suggest storing them in one of those foam lined cases you can get pretty cheap from Harbor Freight. The tips are actually fairly fragile, so store them loosely packed so they don't click together, and so you don't cut yourself reaching into your small forest of ultra sharp bits. Some of the cheap bits don’t have carbide tips. Spiral bits are sometimes used to cut grooves and are pretty fragile if all carbide.

I buy bits as I need them and don't much care for the kits. I suggest you do the same. A few standard bits most of us have are the round over bits. You can get them in different depths, but mostly you’re likely to use the 1/8th quarter, half and ¾ sizes. Another bit that is very useful for cabinetry is the half inch rabbiting bit with a bearing. Some come with a changable bearing that allows you to change the depth of the rabbit.

One more thing about using bits, don’t try to take off too much wood in one pass. Make several passes taking more wood with each pass. Pay attention to the grain of the wood (that is covered in most books on routing) with a final pass just a light shaving,that makes for a very smooth finish..

11) The most useful item I own for my saws is a Wixey digital angle gauge, which allows me to set up all my saws to exact angles (90 degrees to the table). It wasn't until I started being meticulous about this that my projects started working out right. These are cheap on Amazon.

I have a Bosch 10 inch compound sliding miter saw that I also love, but use it mainly for cross cutting long pieces.

12) Make a table saw sled (lots of YouTube videos on how to) to do perfect 90 degree cuts on your table saw. I have a little more money than time, so I bought the sled Rockler makes that has a swinging fence and a very precise angle scale. I love that thing and set up a special shelf right next to my table saw to store it and keep it flat. Cross cuts on the sled are wonderfully exact and it prevents most tear out, the ragged or splintered area at the end of a cut.

13) I had a lot of problems with tear out at first, but most of that stopped when I started using a sacrificial piece to push the last bit of a piece through the blade or router. I use square pieces of MDF (medium density fiberboard) because it is cheap and stays flat. When it gets torn up, I just cut off a chunk and use what’s left. Really helps! I also found that I wanted to push that last quarter inch through the blade too fast, now I feed at a steady pace all through the cut.

14) Clamps: The joke is you can never have too many clamps. The ones I use most are about $3 each at Harbor Freight, about 8 inch F clamps (they look like an F). I have 18 of them. The same source has longer versions up to 24 inches and I keep 4 to 6 of the 18 and 24 inch models. I have several sets of 24 to 60 inch Jet Parallel clamps for making really square cabinets and other items where holding things square for gluing is important. I’ve all but given up on most plastic clamps, but have a few that look like scissors for holding things together or down. Depending on what you’re making, a few wooden hand screw clamps could be useful.

15) Hand planes and hand tools: Learning to use these is something of an art, as is proper sharpening of their blades. There are lots of woodworkers who really love working with hand tools, most will suggest you buy used and clean and tune them up. Chisels are important particularly if you are making furniture. Sharpening chisels is a basic skill involving many ultra fine grits of sandpaper, ultra flat surfaces, maybe diamond grit sharpening stones—arcane stuff, but anything less than a razor sharp chisel is pretty useless. Don’t scrimp on chisels, cheap ones get dull fast.

This has run pretty long, but I think the information is helpful for someone new to the hobby. And yes, you can spend a lot getting set up,

Have fun, play safe. Get a GrRipper for your table saw and keep you fingers safe.

Tom
 
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