Thanks for the great advice! I went to a local "Woodcraft" store and spoke
to an employee who has been doing professional cabinetry for a few years and
enjoyed woodworking as a hobby his entire life, and he echoed a lot of what
you had to say here. He sponsors a "Woodworking 101" series of classes
where he goes over the safe use of power tools and basic techniques, as well
what the different models are capable of and what you will/won't need, etc.
For $40, it sounds like a deal to me, especially for something like a table
saw that you could easily drop a grand or more on. I was impressed to note
that he didn't always recommend the most expensive thing they sold. He
showed me the Bessey clamps, explained why he preferred them, but pointed
out the price and what the difference is. He told me the Swiss chisels are
(again, in his opinion) the best bang-for-the-buck high-end chisel but
somebody started out would do well with a 6-pack of Marples.
My shop will be 15x17, and if I needed to, I could resize it to add another
13x8 section. Should I build my wall to include that part now? It sounds
like a foregone conclusion that we end up consuming as much space as
The fellow at Woodcraft also mentioned dust control systems and the variable
humidity (I live in Missouri - it's REAL humid. Sometimes.) and recommended
a few systems that I felt were reasonable.
I'm leaning towards purchasing my first workbench - it's a
chicken-or-the-egg deal. I need a workbench, but I'm not sure how to build
one, and even if I did know how, I don't have a workbench to use to work on
one. :) The Woodcraft guy said benches are fairly easy to knock together -
I saw somebody mention
I went and got myself a library card and requested about a dozen books on
woodworking and craftsmanship. The Tage Frid one was among them, so I think
I've got a good start with reference materials and reading.
We've got both Woodcraft and Rockler (I live in St. Louis), so it sounds
like those are good resources.
Here's my list of starting basic equipment:
Circular saw, drill/bits, backsaw, chisels, c-square, bench plane,
sharpening stone, orbital sander, as many clamps as reasonably possible,
straightedge, marking guage, doweling jig, block plane, file, workbench,
dust control, safety glasses
For stationary equipment, I'm eying a table saw and thickness planer. The
guy at the store recommended one other piece of "large" hardware to start
with but I forget what it was. I also don't know what half of the stuff
does yet, which is why I thought a tech school class might be worth it.
Thanks again for all the input! If anybody has any other words of wisdom or
caveats on the learning curve, I'd love to hear them. You'll probably be
hearing a lot from me, I tend to ask a lot of questions before I leap into