I'm new to this newsgroup...been lurking for a week.
I live in Broward County, Florida, US and am interested in picking up
woodworking as a hobby and to do home improvements like built-ins or
trim work. The time I have available are night and weekends.
Last time I worked with wood was in high school (late 1980s) and I
remember I wasn't very good.
I'm trying to think of different options available for me to learn.
* This newgroup
* Searching google
* Community College Class? (I'll have to search and see if this is
available in my area)
* Volunteering for FREE with a local woodworking business. May not
make sense since they are probably on open the same hours I'm at work.
* Find a new friend? I don't know anyone in the area that does
woodworking. (I wonder if there are any clubs in the area that people
meet physically instead of online.)
I really believe I would learn best by seeing someone do something, with
me helping, and later doing it all by myself.
Any other ideas?
Who taught you? Your dad? friend? some other way?
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
Another person mentioning high schools. I really didn't even imagine
high schools would offer such courses. I always thought local community
colleges where the adult education venues.
Yep...I can image that also. They probably don't want to waste time
training someone, watching them make mistakes that eat us resources, and
incurring liabilities when they get very little in return.
I can see why this is probably true for many. You probably want to
focus 100% on what you are doing without having someone else around
bumping into you, creating noise, and distracting your artistic endeavor.
But perhaps an older person that stopped doing woodwork because they
could no longer easily move large pieces of wood would welcome a helper
and in return teach the knowledge they have acquired through a lifetime?
In this area, the local community college offers night classes in various
locations, including several area high schools. The high schools themselves
don't offer anything to adults... and damned little to the kids, but that's
I wasn't referring to high school adult education. I was referring to the local
community college holding its classes in several locations... on the main
campus, at five satellite campuses, and at three local high schools (for night
classes only). The place to start is the local community college.
These are college courses, not high school courses.... even if they're taught at
I too, took woodworking i High School. As I recall it was a class in
applied vandalism :^)
Since then, I have pretty much been on my own. I have learned a lot through
hands on experience, mistakes, reading and challenging myself.
However, I did take a class in Intro Cabinetmaking at the local university
several years ago; and I consider it very benificial. The class was taught
by a very demanding instructor and they provided an excellent textbook. The
book is available today (30 years later) - "Cabinetmaking and Millwork -
Feirer". My book is technically dated with regard to equipment, adhesives,
etc. However, it is an excellent source of "how-to" that will never be
obsolete. My version is over 900 pages. I have seen it, and a teaching
guide, in Amazon during recent years. Expect to pay for it - it is a
textbook. However Amazon usually have previous versions or used books at a
I had a good high school shop experience. The teacher was a safety fanatic
and forced all of us to identify and know every part of each tool before we
could use them. We had to pass a written test for each tool. That kind of
stuff stays with you for a lifetime. He was a part of the the first special
forces in WW II.
We had a couple whackos in the class though. One guy decided to become an
expert in making wooden penises. They were incredibly lifelike too. By the
end of the year he could whip out two or three in one 50 minute class
period. They were unfinished though. The teacher inspected all finishes.
He actually snuck around and carried a project with him to quickly subsitute
if the teacher came near. He never got caught. He did develop excellent
bandsaw and sander technique.
I require the same of every student in my classes. No student can use
any power machine until he/she can draw the tool from memory, label the
parts, and list the safety rules from the book. NO EXCEPTIONS!
I was called in by this new,young and inexperienced guidance counselor.
(I am in my 33rd year of teaching) She thought it was unfair that I
required this of the special ed kids in my classes. I told her I would
think about it. I returned to her office with a letter that I drafted
stating that since she knew more than I did on the subject that her
signature was proof that the student knew enough to use the tool safely,
and if there was an accident that she would assume all legal and
financial liability and that I would be held harmless (BTW, I knew that
this letter was meaningless in any legal way. As she read the letter
and I asked for her signature I saw her eyes get wide. I made my point,
and she got off my case.
Feirer was one of the first woodworking books I got as well, though
not for a class. I like it as a reference, and it is very thorough.
However, it is more about the manufacturing side of woodworking than
the craft side, so while the principles and resource info is valid,
much of it is not applicable to the hobbyist. I'd suggest Tage Frid
Teaches Woodworking from FWW as a better text for learning woodworking
as most hobbyists do it.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Corner of My Mind wrote:
| I live in Broward County, Florida, US and am interested in picking
| up woodworking as a hobby and to do home improvements like
| built-ins or trim work. The time I have available are night and
| Last time I worked with wood was in high school (late 1980s) and I
| remember I wasn't very good.
| I'm trying to think of different options available for me to learn.
| * Reading:
| * This newgroup
This is a good place to ask questions. Many of the people posting have
links to their web sites in their sigs, and you can find answers to
questions you'd never think to ask by browsing them.
Keep an eye on news:alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking to see what
people are working on (or have just finished working on).
There's a home repair newsgroup that might be helpful for some of what
you're interested in.
| * Searching google
STFW is always a good idea. Sometimes an image search turns up what
you might have difficulty finding with a site search.
| * Books
Of course. Browse your library as well as the web.
| * Hands-on:
| * Community College Class? (I'll have to search and see if this is
| available in my area)
Don't forget to check for high school adult ed programs.
| * Volunteering for FREE with a local woodworking business. May
| not make sense since they are probably on open the same hours I'm
| at work.
Somehow I suspect that you won't be received with much enthusiasm,
| * Find a new friend? I don't know anyone in the area
| that does woodworking. (I wonder if there are any clubs in the
| area that people meet physically instead of online.)
Unless you already have too many friends, this is a great idea. Keep
your ears peeled for the sound of woodworking equipment coming from
garages in your neighborhood on Saturday afternoons. Avoid wasting
peoples' time, but don't be bashful about asking if they'd be willing
to answer future questions.
| I really believe I would learn best by seeing someone do something,
| with me helping, and later doing it all by myself.
Ok - but don't be afraid to learn the safety rules for the tool
'something' takes and then giving it a try on your own.
| Any other ideas?
I found it helpful to learn to work with hand tools before I bought
the power tool to do the job faster. It wastes less wood and perepares
you to use the power tool more safely.
| Who taught you? Your dad? friend? some other way?
Mostly I learned by making mistakes - but that was before the advent
of usenet and on-line sharing of experience and advice. There's a lot
to be said for making mistakes and spending the time to figure out
/why/ it was a mistake. Just don't make mistakes that cause bodily
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Corner of My Mind wrote:
| Morris Dovey wrote:
|| I found it helpful to learn to work with hand tools before I bought
|| the power tool to do the job faster. It wastes less wood and
|| perepares you to use the power tool more safely.
| That's interesting, I would have thought power tools used up less
| wood because you could make more precise cuts.
That was my initial thought, too - so I started out with a RAS ("does
everything" <g>), a bandsaw, a shaper, and a drill press. What I
discovered was that 90% of the mistakes were complete before I
actually realized that I'd made a mistake, and that 90% of the time
the mistake called for a "board stretcher" or an "unsaw" for recovery.
When I backed up and forced myself to learn to use hand tools first, I
began paying attention to the grain and how different woods responded
to being cut. The most-used tool in my shop today is a CNC router -
but for those jobs in which I have any emotional investment, I still
pull out my chisel roll, a plane (or three), and a scraper to clean up
things my eyes can't see but my fingertips tell me aren't quite right
When I moved back from hand to power tools I discovered that I'd
developed a better sense of what would "work", higher standards and
expectations, and an inclination to consider what I'd experienced
using hand tools before I fired up the power tool.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Corner of My Mind wrote:
| Morris Dovey wrote:
|| mistake called for a "board stretcher" or an "unsaw" for recovery.
| How much do those specialized tools cost and what is a good brand
| to buy? :)
Board stretchers are generally made of a special alloy of Unobtanium,
and if you need to ask the price, then you're disqualified forever as
I don't know much about unsaws - I think you' probably have to ask
this question in news:alt.trinaries.sorcery.woodworking. I recall
hearing a rumor about mounting a sawblade backward and chanting
"wasnu" as the stock is fed, but there is some danger of kickback (not
the stock - the unsaw.)
|| When I backed up and forced myself to learn to use hand tools
|| first, I began paying attention to the grain and how different
|| woods responded to being cut. The most-used tool in my shop today
|| is a CNC router - but for those jobs in which I have any emotional
|| investment, I still pull out my chisel roll, a plane (or three),
|| and a scraper to clean up things my eyes can't see but my
|| fingertips tell me aren't quite right yet.
|| When I moved back from hand to power tools I discovered that I'd
|| developed a better sense of what would "work", higher standards and
|| expectations, and an inclination to consider what I'd experienced
|| using hand tools before I fired up the power tool.
| Another vote for hand tools. I'm noticing a pattern.
I like both powered and unpowered (and good software) tools. Using
hand tools provides some useful preparation for using power tools
well. The pattern /is/ there, but don't rush to a misinterpretation...
(I cringe at the idea of ripping 150 lineal feet of ipe, for example,
with even the best of hand saws)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
On Wed, 04 Apr 2007 10:57:42 -0400, Corner of My Mind
There are numerous books, although it's more difficult to grasp a
technique from words. There are a few woodworking shows on TV/Cable.
I've learned techniques even though I did not build the specific
project. Classes can be expensive but if you have the cash that will
work well. Our local Woodcraft has classes. I learned what I know
from my dad, TV, books, videos, craft fairs, etc. Woodworking is
mostly a solitary activity.
Yes, I feel that way too. That is why I was more interested in hands-on
I think the only shows I get are the ones that air on HGTV. I only pay
for basic cable.
I'm hoping the initial upfront costs of buying tools and learning are
soon recovered (and then some) by savings between building things versus
buying them. Plus I'm hoping custom built built-ins look better than
store bought shelves.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.