Shop stuff is generally tackled first, but immediately thereafter consider
tackling a table of some sort. Tables can be elegantly simple, or very
complex, will improve your woodworking chops with each one you do, can be as
cheap as your budget allows or built from scraps, SWMBO's love them,
therefore they can be an excellent justification for more tools, and you can
always find a spot for another one somewhere in the house.
Swingman is on the right track, in my opinion. When in need for a project,
build something for SWMBO. When you get a new tool, build something for her
to show what nice work you can do with the aid of that new tool. WOOD and
Woodsmith have both done some great articles in the past on jewelry boxes,
lingerie cabinets etc. Build her something like that w/o her knowing. BOY
will she be surprised! Then when she comes to you one day and says she
really needs you to make her a this or a that...well, that's when you say,
"Yes honey, of course I could make one...if only I had a (insert next major
tool on your dream list here)".
Try it, you can always build a nice dog house if it does not work. Anything
nice you make in the shop for her Mother will earn you big points also.
Being a newbie 1.5 years ago, I think I can offer some decent advise:
Ken, I think no matter what kind of wood working you're going to do,
you WILL need a workbench. And depending on what kind of tools you
have, you could make something very simple, or very complex.
I made one out of 2x4 construction lumber, with the top made with
2x6's glued together. Not the best top in the world, as it's not very
flat, but I beat the hell out of it, paint spills, glue spill, drill
holes, etc. I attached a wood vise to it, and it has worked out
great. Cheap to build too since it's made of construction lumber.
I recommend buying plans from www.plansnow.com. Most are a great
deal, and are VERY detailed which is excellent for a beginner. You
can really learn some good basic skills. I've bought plans for a
router table, cherry cabinet, bathroom cabinet and patio table.
It doesn't really matter as long as you make sawdust while doing it. That's
the fun part! You can make anything you want and always remember that your
work always improves in the process. The things you make are no worse or no
better than anyone elses. We all have the ability to do great things!
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