Newbie wood and first project question(s)

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Yeah, I work a lot with numbers and computers and such and I have the same enjoyment of making something tangible.
A good place to start is to get a few decent chisels, a little handsaw (western or japanese, as long as it's sharp), and practice making some joinery by hand. A few books from the library will get you started in the basic technique (there are many good authors out there). Use something cheap like scrap poplar just for practice. Even if you end up using only machine tools later, the things you learn by doing this will be good skills down the road. It teaches you about accurate layout and gives you a feel for how to work the wood compatibly with the grain.
After you've done a half dozen or so mortise and tenon joints and dozen dovetails, you'll be itching for something more. Maybe try a small bookcase, small hanging cabinet, or possibly a side table. You might be tempted to make it out of a really cheap wood (like poplar again) -- but don't. If you can afford it, then make it out of a wood that you like, even if it costs a little more. At the end of the project you will care more about the labor you put into it than the modest difference in wood cost.
If you want to get into using the table saw straightaway, the best projects to make on the tablesaw first are jigs. Tenoning jigs and crosscut sleds are extremely useful. Just be sure to understand all the saw safety rules, understand what causes kickback, don't remove the safety guards and pawls, and don't get in a hurry.
Good luck, Nate
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Hey Corey!
This describes me perfectly -
"white collar guy that works with numbers and computers all day that has a earning to create something tangible and real"
Couple of personal questions, if you don't mind.
How old are you? Where do you live? Have you purchased any tools yet?
I am 35. I live on Long Island. I became interested in woodworking about 4 months ago and so far I have spent approx. $2,500 putting together a modest shop in my basement.
Luckily for me there is a woodworking club (300+ members) right here on LI. I've been attending their monthly meetings since June. GREAT group of people!
I have all the same questions that you have -- what kind of wood, where should I buy it, what tools do I need, what should I build???
I must say, before June of this year I think I underestimated the complexity of woodworking -- there sure is a lot to learn.
If you come across any plans for simple projects, please e-mail me. I will do the same.
Good luck!
Glen
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I'm 32, living in a central IL city of about 100K. I have a very beginner shop/set of tools. Intro tools from gifts or inheritance. I'd rather not drop a bundle into equipment before I'm sure I'll stick with it. That actually is my wife talking than me though.
The local community college has a 6 week beginner course starting next week that I might take. The class conflicts with my tennis lessons. But I can move tennis to another night of the week for 6 weeks. That will probably make me feel better - having some hands on demonstration and instruction.

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<snip>

ANYBODY can play tennis, and not hurt themselves too badly. ;-) Take the class! The frustration you save, not to mention the wood not butchered and the bad tools decisions you avoid, will be worth the time and money, even if you get to play no tennis at all between now and Thanksgiving.
The class will start you down that slippery slope just fine....
Patriarch
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Corey notes:

Take the course even if you have to forgo tennis lessons for a few weeks. It is the absolute best way to learn if you'll like it or not, at very low cost.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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AND look at the chance of meeting neighbors with similar interest!
On 03 Sep 2004 22:39:23 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

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Take the course. I poked around, played around, read some magazines and a book or two. Then I tool a four day basic course and learned more than the previous year. With some basic instruction, you are less likely to get frustrated and less likely to injure yourself. You will also have more confidence when taking on a project.
Starting out, you don't need a lot of tools or the most expensive tools. You do need to know how to use what you have though. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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for
guy
create
4-5
into
Both of you guys - go out and buy the S4S and get doing something with it. I'm in the same industry as you guys, but I'm a sales guy and the one thing I can tell you already is that you're both more on the technical end as evidenced by the methodical approach you're both taking. Just jump in there boys and buy some lumber and build something. Even something bad, just build it.
Now, it goes without saying that you will have to continue to invest in toys... err, tools over time, but let's don't put the cart before the horse. For now, just make sawdust and mistakes. While you're out there buying your lumber, buy a decent hand plane. Don't get all carried away with what you buy, and for pete's sake, don't ask on this forum which one to buy. You'll never get any work done if you open that flood gate. Just go buy a plane and then go to your local lumber supply and buy a piece of rough cut schmorgus board. Take it home and plane it. Don't screw around with sharpening you plane, don't screw around with anything. Just set your piece of wood down and hit it with the plane with a very shallow cut. Now - touch it. Makes ya wet don't it? Ok - lesson - you'll be surprised what you don't need in order to do what you want to do. Talk about creating something tangible and real. Hell, just hitting a piece of rough cut with a plane and feeling that nice smooth surface is creation in itself. Oh, and by the way... just as a side note, you can probably hand plane just about any piece you will be working with in less time than it will take you to set up an electric planer and achieve the same results. Ok, maybe a slight overstatement there, but not much of one.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
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Certainly you can buy finished stock, rough stock costs less initially but if you do not have the tools or knowledge yet, then buy finished product. Some hardwood yards will plane and joint one edge for you at an additional cost.Try searching for a hardwood yard in your area. You can buy rough or finished boards from online companys. I never have so I can't reccomend a particular company. You have the right idea, I would buy inexpensive softwood, pine, poplar, etc for your beginning projects. As far as what to build? What do you need or like,bookcase,magazine stand,etc. In the future you might decide to build furniture from expensive woods, by then you will have down more than just the basics.
Mike
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Corey wrote:

Perhaps not a good recomendation, but I'm a beginner as well, and here are my first projects:
oak Go board (really just 3 pieces of HD oak biscuited together) plywood camp table plywood and oak stair tread step stool oak round Limbert occasional table oak tavern mirror frame oak & walnut chest pine knock-down camp benches
Now I'm thinking about more furniture and decorated boxes
Hope this Helps
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My start was wife wanted a shelf with rounded corners and curved supports with contoured edges that would be painted. Sears 3 wheel bandsaw, router and table and couple of bits, BIG mistake but I hark back to time when Sears was not a foul name. All gone now except the bits that gather dust. All of the tools were bought the same way, something NEEDED. Got a chance to get familiar with each one as they were acquired. I realize now hearing protection should have been procured earlier than it was along with other things like air filtration. Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking books 1&2 shows more than one way to do a LOT of things and isn't something you go through once and put aside but something that will be pulled off the shelf several times for reference. Almost everything can be done in more than one way when working wood. Second and third attempts at same task are always improvements over the first, and get done faster also.
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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

I thought I'd learned enough about woodworking from watching my grandfather as a kid to be able to pick up a couple of machines and start right up. Fortunately a friend needed an extra hand in her workshop (She's a full-time oak crafter.) and I offered to give her several hours a week if she'd get me up to date/par. I was very lucky - she's very safety aware and routinely uses all the safety features my grandfather's machines didn't even have; dust collection, eye protection, ear protection, various sticks and pushes - all routine to her. I probably would have quickly discovered the depth of my ignorance on my own, but probably that would have been more costly and painful. I still check books at the local books stores and home improvement centers and have purchased several but the all-inclusive books often lack depth. I'd like to have a couple of good reference books and would appreciate more recommendations.
Jois
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...

I'd recommend "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking v1&2" in paperback (by Tage Frid, of course).
(Amazon.com product link shortened)94171209/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/104-5339634-2025563?v=glance&s=books&nP7846
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My advice may be a bit different than others - my wife tells me I am a bit "different" sometimes. I think you should start by building stuff that doesn't NEED to be perfect but can still benefit from various joints, edges and finishes. These, to me, would include shop furniture you are going to need such as shelves, cabinets, and boxes for various sets of tools that you have that don't have boxes. Early on I boxed up chisels, cheap carving tool sets and drill bit sets. The boxes, while not great and sometimes pretty crappy, are worth far more than the tools ;) You can also practice by building patio furniture, bird houses, etc. Pretty much all of these can be built (shop stuff and outdoor stuff) using basic Borg pine, construction scraps and found wood such as pallets (I have some really nice shop boxes and cabinets built from pallet wood of various unknown species). The found wood got me started on both "exotic" (i.e. not pine) woods and rough wood without breaking the bank. It also made me start looking for planes on ebay and at garage sales ;)
Save that living room bookshelf or formal diningroom table until you have played with the hobby a while, but build at least some useful stuff while learning
Dave Hall
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Corey wrote:

some scrap

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Start with some finished stock. Go with the pine or the poplar. As far as the project, start small. Don't take on something too big the first time or you might get discourarged too early in your woodworking experience. Good luck.
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hi "Newbies" I'd suggest watching cable TV's DIY...Woodwork Show ..it's on regularly, shows a complete project,the projects usually require several types of toys/tools,DIY gives you computer access to their site and info re:plans, needed supplies etc, and it's free...good show!

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