I am just starting out in woodworking and I wonder if some of you folks in the
group can give me a logical "progression order" of projects. I realyze that
you don't just one day decide to go into woodworking and there you have it, you
can build anything.
Ideally. what I am looking for is like, small shaker table might be a 2 (1 to
10 difficulty) where a Queen Qnne Cherry High Boy with a full bonnett is a 10!
(and hopefully some nice projects in between)
It would be great if the list somehow included the progression of TOOLS that
would be required, like start out with a table saw and hand tools, add a
router, later add a shaper, planer, etc. I wouldn't want to go out and
purchace a shaper, planer, lathe, whatever and find out I don't have the eye,
steady hand or patience to be a halfway decent woodworker.
I have a 10 inch bench saw, lots of hand tools, small drill press, cheapie 9"
band saw and a standard router, but haven't really used them much except in
remodling several older homes we have moved to and from over the last 35 years.
I haven't attempted to build any furniture.
There are several places you can go that list furniture projects from
beginer to advanced such as
www.minwax.com or www.lowes.com
Sometimes you can look at a piece or a plan and either can figure out a way
to perform a certain cut or shape without the high tech tool or realize your
in over your head experience and or tool wise.
After a couple of years working with a benchtop table saw and limited amount
of tools which included a cheap craftsman router I decided I wanted to get
more in depth in the hobby and with the help of SWMBO last year bought a
contractor table say, 3 routers, jointer, planer, mortiser and several other
tools and it opened up a whole new phase in woodworking.
Hope that helps.
If you would like to make furniture, i'd recommend starting with shaker (as
you mentioned) and mission style pieces. furniture like this is not heavily
detailed, not complicated and can be built with more basic tools. when i got
interested in making furniture i got a book- i believe it was called "how
to build mission furniture part 1" and picked out a few easy projects. Then
moved on to a few more difficult projects, picking up tools as needed. It
sounds as if you are well on your way with the tools you have to get
started, but as your skills progress, so will your need for more tools. I
am a carpenter for a living, so i already had many of the tools to start
with. One of my first purchases after starting to make furniture was a
planer because of the savings on lumber. An oak 1"x12"x6' at the large home
stores runs about $50. I am lucky enough to have a small lumber mill close
to home and can get the same size board and plane it down myself for about
$15. This woked for me. But ultimately, equiping your shop will have to be
your decision. Try a few projects, once you get started you will realize
what tools you'll need to accomplish your goals. Some woodworkers prefer
more power tools, whereas some prefer more hand tools, Your shop more than
likely will have many of both after a couple of projects, but which one
works best is a matter of your own style of doing things. Pick out a
project- whether it be a plant stand, end table, small bookshelf, or the
like and go with it, the rest will fall into place. -dave
A perfect role for an adult education or community college class, or a
local woodworkers' club. Ask to see if such resources might be available
In my experience, you'll learn more by touching, watching and doing than by
any other means. And you'll see a range of projects which might not
otherwiase have occured to you. Some of them you might even find
interesting or inspiring.
You have already received some good advice from the group. The only things
I would add are:
1) don't be afraid of making mistakes. You are going to make them and you
will learn from the mistakes and from the ways you correct them.
2) As another said, challenge yourself. As you start to feel comfortable,
move a little beyond your comfort zone. But do it safely.
Let's see. In high school our first project was a sanding block (I
swear it was), then a footstool, and then a magazine rack. That took
the whole sememster. You might want to start with the footstool :-).
Make some jigs. You'll learn a lot and have useful shop aids where a
little scratch in the finish doesn't ruin your day. How about a
tenoning jig, a sliding table, a drill press table that tilts at right
angles to the built in tilt, a router table to replace one of the
tablesaw wings, ...
Oh yeah, make clamps - lots of clamps :-). Cam clamps, bar clamps,
As far as power tools, tablesaw first, then drill press, then a router.
Note this is my opinion - you'll get lots of others.
make boxes. Start rough, for the shop, get better as you go. You
don't use much wood, they don't take much time. Work up to jewelery
boxes. You can make them with hand tools, at first. You have a
router- that helps.
Than, buy a table saw.
this approach has worked for me, partly because I have access to a lot
of short cut offs.
(who can make a nice small box on his table saw)
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