Beginner Advice

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I am looking for general advice. I apologize up-front if this is not the correct News Group:
1) I enjoy doing trim work and carpentry, I do not have a lot of experience. Chair Rail, Crown, Bead board etc.
2) I am interested in getting started in woodworking.
3) I have the following tools:
a. 10 in compound miter saw
b. Router, I have only used once.
c. An old Makita 8 inch, contractor table saw
d. Other hand tools, Skill Saw, etc
Any suggestions on my next steps or purchases? My "gung ho" side wants to purchase an upgraded table saw, belt driven. Any suggest as my next steps? Wood working class?
Any reply would be greatly appreciated.
Scott
Woodstock GA
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Unless you know a woodworker willing to do a first project with you, a course is definitely the way to go.
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toller wrote:

I didn't think of taking a course but knew a crafter with an excellent shop and worked there a couple of afternoons a week in exchange for being taught how to use the mahines safely and basic construction. It was worth it! And I got to use first class machines before I went looking to buy. Look around and see who is out there doing what. Look for shop classes at the local junior college.
Josie
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Sounds like you have tools to get you going. You will need more as you go. I agree that taking a course will be very beneficial. About 2-3 years after I started tinkering with wood I took a college intro to cabinetmaking class and it was great. Not only did I learn a lot about basic woodwork, it paid two other big dividends:
1) I walked away with an excellent 900 page textbook that continues to answer design and process questions 26 years later. It is 'Cabinetmaking and Millwork' by John L. Feirer, Bennett Publishing. It is still in print and was mentioned in a post here during the past month or two. My version is 1970 but I know it has been updated and is still used in tech schools. Expect to pay good money for it but it is available @ Amazon.
2) I was exposed to good quality woodworking equipment, some of which has remained on my wish-list since then. Our shop was equipped with earlier-vintage Unisaws, Delta Jointers, good quality hand tools and professional grade benches.
Look around for college or technical school classes. By the way, where are you from? I am from Kansas and Pittsburg State University's School of Technology has one of the best wood technology programs in the region. I am sure there are others like it.
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Build things, find out what your good at... tables boxes etc, with the tools you have. Most woodworkers find a particular niche they like working. As your skills increase let your projects determine the tools you need. Read old posts in this group. Do some shopnotes projects and see where your skills are lacking and adjust accordingly. EJ

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Nice to have. You'll get use out of it. Be sure to get a good cross cutting blade for it.

Good start. You will want a couple of roundover bits, amybe a couple of straight cutters. Use good 1/2" shank bits. Buy what you need as you go but there are some reasonably priced kits too. .

Consider upgrading to a good contractors saw. Get a Beisemeyer fence or equal, or a Unifence. Figure $800 and up. You can spend more on a cabinet saw, but is is not really needed for the weekender. If you have hte $$, go for it.

Good idea. A drill press is nice to have. Bandsaw, planer, etc. You don't need all the tools at once. Ear protection and safety glasses are musts, IMO.
Any suggest as my next steps?

Yes. A basic class can be a big help. Woodcraft stores usually have them. Adult Ed classes also. Learn the basics, learn some safety too.
I've invested about $7000 over four years. There is always a tool that you'd like to have, but most of us buy as we need and can afford. Sometimes good deals can be had on used tools. Many wood suppliers can joint and plane wood for you saving the initial investment in those tools. No shame in starting out with #2 pine boards from Home Depot either.
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<snip>

Ed's right about starting out with #2 pine, but you might want to find a decent lumber yard, and see if you can make a friend there. If you can go during a slow period, and spend maybe five minutes chatting with one of the staff, you'll likely walk away with better materials, at no higher cost, and an idea of what the yard can do for you.
And when you need 200 lf of trim, delivered, for a project at home, you may actually get what you want.
And don't let Ed's $7000 budget scare you off. Some folks can do the trick for only twice that. ;-)
Patriarch
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You DON'T want router bits stored just piled in a drawer where they roll around hitting each other! They seem to multiply like rabbits once you start using them and see how versatile a router is. Plan prior to buying many bits on a storage/identification method and put them away when finished using them.
wrote:

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Scott Willett wrote...

Number One Rule: Make something! The paralysis of analysis is the biggest progress-killer.
2. Start with projects, not tools.
3. Simpler is usually better.
There's more, but this is a good start.
Jim
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You have most of what you need to get started. I'd add a cord or cordless drill/screwdriver and a comprehensive set of bits if you don't have them.
The most important machine in any woodworker's shop is the table saw. Even though yours is old and has only an 8-inch blade, it should serve you well IF you can do precise work with it. You will need to thoroughly check it, i.e., * arbor runout * condition and sharpness of blade * blade runout * perpendicularity of blade to miter slots * perpendicularity of fence to blade * straightness of fence from front to back * fit of the miter gauge in the slots (should have little/no side-play) * ability to precisely set miter gauge to various angles (don't rely on the built-in protractor) * MOST IMPORTANT - a good blade guard that includes a "splitter"
ALWAYS use the blade guard/splitter if at all possible.
I don't want to scare or discourage you with the labor involved in tuning/adjusting your table saw but it is very important that it be done. Many injuries occur because of out-of-adjustment tools and a poorly tuned table saw can be very dangerous. It can kick work pieces and/or off-cuts back at the operator with tremendous force.
There are several good paperback books and magazines that include step-by-step procedures for tuning/adjusting your table saw. (Perhaps others could chime in here with some titles.) You can usually find these in well-stocked magazine and book stores like Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, etc. If you have or can acquire an owner's manual for your saw, that will help immensely in locating adjustment points, etc.
Also check the arbor to see if you can mount a dado cutter and make sure you have a table insert that will accommodate it. Perhaps you have no use for this right away but you may eventually want to take that next step.
Good luck...work safely.

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Oops! Just re-read my previous post and meant parallelism and not perpendicularity of blade to miter slots and fence to blade. Giving myself 10 lashes...ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch...

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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 17:47:10 GMT, "Chuck Hoffman"

Well...
While I'd agree that the most _used_ machine in my shop is the table saw, I'd give it up if I had to choose between it and my bandsaw.
My cabinet saw is the most used because it's a huge _convenience_, and I wouldn't want to be without it. But everything I do on it could be done, (with just a little more effort), using another tool. On the other hand my well tuned bandsaw, is capable of performing stock milling tasks I'd be hard pressed to accomplish any other way.
Just a thought, Michael Baglio
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wrote:

Depends on the focus.
Whenever I mention that a fine furniture maker should buy a band saw before a table saw, I get ignored. <G>
I know a guy, actually he's a professional ww'ing instructor, who has a 99% neander shop in his condo. A band saw is the only power tool in the shop.
However, if the person plans to make all kinds of bookshelves, cabinetry, built-ins, etc... as the project, I'd go with the table saw.
Let the project choose the tool.
Barry
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Michael, I obviously need to spend some quality time with you to learn bandsaw technique. I can't get mine to do much more precise work than I can with a jigsaw. Of all the tools I own this is the must un-intuitive. One of these days I'll have a week or two to just do a major project on the bandsaw and learn to use it properly...or at least better.
wrote:

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Hey, I'm nothing exceptional. If I can get a bandsaw to run smoothly, I'd guess just about anyone can. A reading of The Bandsaw Book, some time and patience to tune it up, you should be set. Once you get the thing to track properly and get a good blade on it, the quality of work they produce is pretty amazing.
(I suppose I should say my experience is with a Delta 14". Can't speak to how well a smaller/lesser machine will perform regardless of how much energy you put into it.)

Well, as long as you promise not to tell anybody, I'll admit that I'm so mechanically inept that I don't even get _how_ bands stay on spinning wheels that are crowned. ;> Don't know how it works, just know it does.
I think it's charlieb here who has a couple of pages on his web site about the joys of a finely tuned bandsaw and the groovy-all-over feeling he got the first time he cut some really nice veneer slices with it. They're worth a read-- maybe he'll see this and chime in.
Someone else here who knows tons more about them than I probably ever will is "UA100". Might want to ping him for some set-up advice. (Just don't ask him about co-planarity.) ;>
Duginske's Bandsaw Book: imo, a very good investment. Good luck.
Michael Baglio
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Michael,
I am getting conflicting advice about the band saw. Can you cut curves effectively with a band saw. I was also told it was a safer machine than the table saw.
Thanks
wrote:

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On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 07:06:45 -0500, "Scott Willett"

to see what curves a bandsaw can cut.
Re safety, both with cut you - bad - there is no substitute for knowledge about the equipment and being careful but, having said that, the bandsaw may stall if you jam a piece in it but it will never throw things at you at a hundred miles an hour like a good table saw can.
TWS
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yes, blades go down to 1/8". The smaller, the easier it is to cut curves. There's a demo that I see at all the woodworking shows. I think it's the guy pushing carter guides. He cuts a reindeer out of a small block of wood. He was cutting 180 degree curves with a 1/4" diameter.

Yeah, no kickback. And if you do hit the blade, it's less catastrophic. You can still cut things off easily though. I'm always reminded by this when I look at bandsaw catalogs. There's nearly always a model designed to cut meat.
brian
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On 23 Nov 2004 08:13:23 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (brian lanning) wrote:

If you get a big enough one, then they're really impressive. The two I've got at work (.056" x 1.25" x 16' blades) could lop a person in half in about 5 seconds (depending on how the feed rate is set) That being said, I've never even come close to getting hit by it, or anything that it's cutting.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 07:06:45 -0500, "Scott Willett"

Sure can- the radius of the curve is limited by the width of the blade (narrower blade = tighter radius) You can free-hand them without risk of kickback, or use a jig.

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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