Robyn Mierzwa is the founder of Makeville Studio, a community workshop established in 2008 that offers classes in woodworking and furniture making in Brooklyn, NY. A self-taught woodworker, Robyn has honed her craft over many years and continues to learn something new on every project. In addition to furniture making, she is passionate about teaching and is grateful for the opportunity to help others tap into their creative selves through craft.

Bruce Lamo has done woodworking pretty much all his life, although never exclusively to make a living. He prefers making furniture and working with solid wood, but often uses plywood when making cabinets. This article originated when a few friends were considering buying tools that based on his experience, he thought would not be a good investment.
Thank you for that info. Is there any recommended size for crosscutting? Lets say I purchase a 4×8 sheet of plywood or MDF at my local home center. I have them cut it down to strips of 18×8 (for example). When I get home, if I need to crosscut the 18×8 piece, is that possible on a cabinet saw with a crosscut sled or better with a track saw? Reason I ask, that will most likely be my scenario when I purchase lumber. I would rarely bring home a full 4×8 sheet from the store because it’s easier to transport it in smaller widths. I’m at the point to make some tool purchases, and seeing if I should go solely with a track saw for my scenario or get both? I do have a 12 inch compound miter saw but cutting to size on that with 18 inch depth panels is hard in one pass.

A few days back, I was searching for some cool DIY plans. So, I got to work and ended up coming up with some easy to follow project and an awesome new ice chest cooler to have out on the deck! It was going to be perfect for summer hangouts and barbecues. It was a fun and practical plan to work on and I know you will have fun tackling select a design from this plan and start building your own. Enjoy learning how you can build a rustic cooler also sing the video tutorial and source tutorial plan!

Power drills are something most people have in their homes, and something every father in law should buy for their kids’ wedding. Therefore, this is probably not something one would need to go out and buy. As you can see, there is no drill press on this list; perhaps it would be number 11, 12, or 13. The point is that starters should buy what they can get away with to achieve similar results. With that being said, there are ways to convert your hand held drill into a drill press, if necessary. Additionally, the versatility comes with options of other accessories.
To add some additional dimension to the bookcase, you can use corner posts to dress up the bookcase. I like to use a contrasting wood to highlight this element (such as maple posts with walnut carcass as shown), but this is a stylistic preference. The posts can be square, or tapered. I prefer to cut these as tapers, using a band saw to make the angled cuts on the two outside surfaces of each corner post.
“Basic,” on the other hand, is a word that allows for growth – and that’s exactly what you want in your woodworking tool kit. You want to be able to take the same kit with you through many years in the craft. With my basic woodworking tools list, I wanted to provide a core set of tools that will serve you well from project to project. I’m especially concerned these days with the transition to hardwood furniture making, as opposed to plywood boxes of various sizes. That’s the transition I’m making right now in my own work!
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An old piece of wood and a few hooks will help you to create a beautiful hanger for your favorite coffee cups. Just add the hangers, stain the wood and then hang it on the wall. This is a project that takes little time and will cost very little if you already have the wood on hand. You just have to purchase the hangers which are relatively inexpensive.
Now, I know this list only contains traditional hand tools, but my circumstances led me to this choice to complete the job. After all, he is my brother and he’s helped me once or twice. Not all woodworkers will want to take the time and effort to go strictly with hand tools. That’s fine; different circumstances and preferences will lead the way. Most people wouldn’t drive a scooter full of tools to assist their siblings either. Sounds crazy, but I enjoyed the trip through the mountains. Once I was there, I still needed a way to rip through lumber. I also needed a can of finish. As needed, a few jigs and templates were constructed from the purchased lumber.
oh yeah, and buying a bunch of cap nuts is not so easy unless you order ahead of time. i went to two hardware stores (one family owned and one big box) and they kind of laughed at me when i said i needed 32. so i got regular nuts, tightened them so they were flush with the all thread on the front side, hammered it against the board and tightened the back side while holding the front one in place with a wrench. so, some of them have a little bit of overhang on the back side, but i don't have to worry about gouging skin while walking past it. for my next set, i'll order the cap nuts in bulk from ebay ahead of time...
11. Other necessary skills: Each woodworker should have a basic knowledge of metalworking. Although most of the home furniture is made out of wood, in this category you may occasionally find some projects made out of metal, or the wooden furniture projects that have a decorative metal parts or fasteners. In our opinion, the combination of wood and wrought iron makes the most beautiful furniture.
Bench top machines have come a long way with respect to dust collection. Most now have ports that connect to a shop vac. For a few dollars you can buy a switch that will automatically power up the shop vac when you turn on the tool (such as a sander). When you turn off the tool, the switch will allow the shop vac to run a few extra seconds to clear the hose and then shut off.
Dan, my work space that is available for power tools is quite small, about 6′ x 20′. It may seem like a lot on the surface, but a long rectangle is a bear to work in. It requires a lot of serpentine action. That said, I don’t have too much room for large footprint tools. I have settled finally on three big tools; a small bench saw, a thickness planer, and a drill press. I had to forgo the jointer, so I use hand tools to make up for it’s absence (as I do with a lot of my hand tool techniques). I have gotten to the point where I can flatten one side and true an edge of a board reasonably quick. I then finish it up with the thickness planer and table saw, giving me a nice flat board. I guess what I am basically saying is, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and don’t write off hand tools as a quaint way to experience the past. They worked for thousands of years, and still do! Thanks for the blogs, they make for great reading.
A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.
Woodworking was essential to the Romans. It provided, sometimes the only, material for buildings, transportation, tools, and household items. Wood also provided pipes, dye, waterproofing materials, and energy for heat.[5]:1Although most examples of Roman woodworking have been lost,[5]:2 the literary record preserved much of the contemporary knowledge. Vitruvius dedicates an entire chapter of his De architectura to timber, preserving many details.[6] Pliny, while not a botanist, dedicated six books of his Natural History to trees and woody plants which provides a wealth of information on trees and their uses
When buying a table saw, two factors determine both price and the flexibility of the machine. The larger the blade, the larger the stock that can be cut; a 10-inch saw is probably the most common size. The dimension of the table top is the other criteria: bigger is better for cutting large stock like plywood; but bigger is also less portable and more expensive.
Now, I know this list only contains traditional hand tools, but my circumstances led me to this choice to complete the job. After all, he is my brother and he’s helped me once or twice. Not all woodworkers will want to take the time and effort to go strictly with hand tools. That’s fine; different circumstances and preferences will lead the way. Most people wouldn’t drive a scooter full of tools to assist their siblings either. Sounds crazy, but I enjoyed the trip through the mountains. Once I was there, I still needed a way to rip through lumber. I also needed a can of finish. As needed, a few jigs and templates were constructed from the purchased lumber.
I use chisels perhaps more than any other tool in my workshop, so it’s a good idea to not cheap out here. A high quality set of bevel edge bench chisels (new or vintage) will last you many years (likely  your entire life) and will be used on nearly every project. I’ve used some descent affordable plastic handle bench chisels, but highly prefer lighter wooden handle chisels with excellent steel.
Basic function of the furniture is to make our life easier and to make it more beautiful with its appearance. Industrially designed furniture made out of the cheapest materials is the most present on today’s market and it can be found for popular prices, but its quality standards are on the lowest acceptable level (the woodworking joints are not solid and long-lasting, but added just to assemble the furniture simply and quickly; plywood is commonly used instead of wood, etc.). This kind of furniture will surely not last for generations and will rarely withstand even one relocation.
Apprenticeships or internships are definitely a viable path. They can be the fastest way to learn due to all the hands-on experience, and some will even provide a small income. Those opportunities can be hard to find for those not already familiar with the woodworking scene. Supporting skills such as accounting, business, marketing, photography and website administration can be learned formally via conventional education such as college, but it’s tough to dedicate time and money in that route while also trying to master woodworking. Books and the internet are handy in this regard, and I did learn to setup WordPress websites by utilizing a basic Lynda.com subscription.
Some moisture meters have pins that penetrate the surface of the wood. This can leave tiny holes that mar the surface and require filling. Others are pin-less. They have sensing plates that scan the wood beneath. However, not all pinless moisture meters are the same – look for one that uses technology that is not affected by the surface moisture in the wood, such as Wagner Meters IntelliSense™ Technology Moisture Meters.
​The plan tutorial includes images, diagrams, step-by-step instructions, and even a video to help you along the way. You can also go with some more bookcase design ideas. Browse the internet for more and we are also proving a link below to some more ideas to this plan. Select and build one of these free bookcase DIYs and you will have everything available easily that you need to get started creating a bookshelf for any room in your house.
The next important hand tool for the woodworker is an accurate tape measure. Get a retractable one that is at least 25 feet long. Any longer than that, and you start having problems getting it to roll back up. Since measurements on large scale projects can be very susceptible to even the most minute measurement variations, you’ll want to make sure the “hook” or tab at the end of the is firmly attached, with no give. When they get loose, you’ll have as much as 1/8” variation in your measurements. This can add up to some severe accuracy problems in the long run.
Build your own platform bed frame at your home by following the source linked tutorial given above. The source link also includes more pictures that can help you to build a better bed frame. You can see a step by step set of instructions and guidelines to follow with real life pictures, as well as you can download a PDF file detailing the list of materials and tools you’ll need, know about the length of every board, and most importantly color-coded illustrations of the building process.

A while back we stumbled upon this awesome industrial bookcase from Pottery Barn for $1900! I knew we could do it for a lot less so we posted it on Facebook for some reader feedback and it was a resounding YES! So I got to work. After a couple of weeks and 1000 mile move to Michigan we are finally finished and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. And it only cost us about $275! The pipe is what drove this project cost up however it is still a far cry from the $1900 Pottery Barn price tag and well worth it if you ask me. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Preparation is everything. It took my friends a long time to learn that dropping by on their way home from work to hang out was not a really good time for me to stop and shoot the breeze. I typically spend a minimum of one hour and usually two or three hours setting up a three-hour class, going through all the operations I plan to cover that night such as getting the lumber milled, making sure the tools are in good working order and doing any of the critical machine setups in advance with no distractions.
Fifteen years ago, I was running a small woodworking school in a funky L-shaped room with a leaky roof (try keeping a straight face when water is dripping on your head while you demonstrate how to use the table saw). As much as I liked working at the architectural millwork firm, I realized the school would always take a back seat to the main focus of the business.
There may or may not be an easy answer to this. If you already have a woodworking craft you are passionate about, then that's great. All you need to do is a little market research to figure out whether others love it as much as you do. You do not have to go very far and wide to do some primary market research. Start with your family and friends who will give you a fair and honest opinion.
Too many people have perpetuated the myth that working wood by hand is really hard work, simply because they were using a dull tool. It is an axiom among woodworkers that in order for things to go smoothly, you have to “let the tool do the work.” If your saw requires a good amount of push to cut or if you find you need a running start to make shavings with your hand plane, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Sharpening your tools is a basic and foundational skill because it is something that needs to happen regularly. Not only is it inefficient to work with dull tools, it’s dangerous. If you feel like you need to push your chisel with body weight to complete the cut, when it does pop free, you will lose control and your tool will stab into whatever is in its path. Learn how to sharpen your tools and you will find woodworking to be enjoyable, safe, and efficient.
Description: In this session, I will be demonstrating over 20 ways to mount wood on the lathe for turning. Starting with different methods between centers, I will demonstrate single axis, as well as multi-axis turning. Discussion will then move to various ways to use faceplates, to safely hold your wood blank on the lathe. We will then progress to scroll chucks and screw center usage. Next, will be conversation on the use of homemade chucks, jam chucks, collets and mandrels. I will then demonstrate the use of vacuum chucks, jumbo jaws, doughnut chucks, and Longworth style chucks, and finish up with the use of various types of steady rests, including ring-style, bowl steadies, and spindle supports. This class is geared toward the turner who is interested in learning many different ways to mount pieces of wood in the lathe, and what the advantages or disadvantages might be of different techniques. The student will be expected to watch and learn, but also get involved in the discussion regarding chucking methods, and share some of their experiences as well. This class is designed for all turners, wanting to learn. Please bring eye protection to class.
Jim, I belong to Charles Neil’s website and get his DVDs and watch his videos. He’s a great teacher. However, if I had to travel all the way up to Virginia I’d be out of luck. The Internet is a great asset for woodworkers. BTW, I wish the college you teach in was right here in my town. If it were I’d enroll because I know that you are a fine woodworker. Traveling somewhere to a class is an expense that I couldn’t afford in money and time.
I agree with your list. My table (cabinet) saw has a router mount built into the table to the right of the blade and it works great. The table is flat cast iron and I can use the table saw fence. I’ve also built an auxiliary fence with dust collection and more features. The only downside is I can’t use a router lift and have to make depth adjustments under the table. To avoid frequent band saw blade changes, I have two: a big one (17″, 2HP, 12″ thick capacity) for typical work and a 9″ bench-top unit that I keep a narrow blade in. I also build radio control airplanes and the small one works great on small stock.
This was not actually a tutorial post to the woodworking plan ideas but the aim of the post was to give some easy and free woodworking ideas to the readers. If you have some time to entertain yourself and also willing to add some new stuff to your furniture you can take any idea from the list and start working on it. Be sure to see both post tutorial and video tutorials of the plan you have selected, it will make you understand everything nicely.
Hardwood boards and softwoods may look similar in shape and dimension, but they are sold using completely different measuring systems. Softwoods are typically sold in standard lumber dimensions (such as a 2x4), whereas hardwoods are most often sold by the board foot. Calculating board feet helps you guarantee that you're getting your money's worth on every piece of hardwood you purchase.
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Description: This workshop is designed for those who have recently gotten a wood lathe, or have had one for a while, and haven't gotten around to using it until now. During this workshop students get acquainted with the wood lathe and its parts and accessories. We will cover the turning process, as well as sanding and applying finish to a project while it's on the lathe. Students will also be shown a variety of turning tools and how they function. You will also be introduced to wood selection, tool selection, and tool sharpening. Students will test their skills while working on a small turning project. Students should bring suitable eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield. If you have problems with wood dust, a respirator or dust mask would be advisable. Also bring any wood turning tools you might have. Tools and safety gear will be provided for those who don't own them. Materials for turning will be provided.
Capitalize on low hanging fruit to identify a ballpark value added activity to beta test. Override the digital divide with additional clickthroughs from DevOps. Nanotechnology immersion along the information highway will close the loop on focusing solely on the bottom line.Podcasting operational change management inside of workflows to establish a framework. Taking seamless key performance indicators offline to maximise the long tail. Keeping your eye on the ball while performing a deep dive on the start-up mentality to derive convergence on cross-platform integration.
We’ve already done rope, and now we’re on to another rustic material we love: wood! It’s as basic of a material as clay and is constantly reinvented by DIYers, crafters, artists, hackers, and carpenters. To get inspired to create our own batch of cool wooden objects, we turned to our favorite fellow makers to see what projects they’ve come up with. Scroll down for our top DIY wood project picks.

Make It: Paint four clothespins black. Thread a 4-inch-long black chenille stems through the two holes of a large black button. Twist and curl the ends of chenille stems where they meet to form antennae. Glue googly eyes just below the antennae. Next, cut three 3-inch pieces of black stems for each ant. Have your child help you thread all three though the spring hole in each clothespin and adjust to form the legs. Glue the face and two more black buttons to the top of each clothespin. Then use the clips to secure your tablecloth, and enjoy a carefree meal in the summer sun.
I have never claimed to be an expert furniture maker. I probably have more experience in a kitchen than a workshop, having spent 18 years as a chef. But it was probably my abilities to run a commercial kitchen that have led to my success at running a school. Planning and logistics is everything in a kitchen and it is the same with running a successful school.

Tightening the nuts clamps the uprights against the shelves, holding them in place and providing shear strength (through friction) for the whole assembly. I know of an 8' tall, 12' long version of these shelves that has survived a few minor earthquakes while fully loaded with hundreds of books. Once the nuts are tightened on my smaller versions, I (all 240lbs of me) have a very hard time "racking" the shelves by pushing on one end of them in an attempt to get them to collapse: I can't.
There is significant evidence of advanced woodworking in Ancient Egypt.[1] Woodworking is depicted in many extant ancient Egyptian drawings, and a considerable amount of ancient Egyptian furniture (such as stools, chairs, tables, beds, chests) has been preserved. Tombs represent a large collection of these artefacts and the inner coffins found in the tombs were also made of wood. The metal used by the Egyptians for woodworking tools was originally copper and eventually, after 2000 BC bronze as ironworking was unknown until much later.[2
With a pencil and a protractor, divide the larger disc into 30-degree wedges to create 12 center lines for the bottle indents. Center and trace the smaller disc on top of the larger disc. Next, with a drill press, drill 3/8-in.-deep holes on the 12 center lines with the 1-7/8-in. Forstner bit, spacing them between the disc’s outer edge and the traced circle. Next, divide the smaller disc into 60-degree wedges and drill six more 3/8-in.-deep holes with the Forstner bit.
After investing a number of weekends building a nice table or chest, how are you going to finish it? Finishes beautify and protect the piece you’ve worked so hard to build so don’t cop out and do the “rub it with oil” thing. There are so many beautiful finishes that become second nature to work with. I use shellac 99% of the time. Once you get the feel down, it’s really quick to apply, very forgiving, easily repairable, and you never have to clean a brush (because it re-softens in alcohol)! There are other varnishes that provide good protection for outdoor use as well. I recommend picking up a good starter book, like Jeff Jewitt’s Hand Applied Finishes. It is simple and straightforward, without getting too far into minutiae.

Another fine example of remodelling furniture and re-using what already exists in the house.  The bookcase involves using your old kitchen cabinets, and building new shelves on top of them. The final product can also be used as an entertainment unit, housing a television, books and things of your interest along with ample storage to keep other utility objects.


Lots of ways. Woodworking really reinforces my independent nature. Blogs are good. Norm Abrams videos. I have a library of magazines and books with really neat projects which I love to read over and over to get a sense of how other woodworkers think through their creative projects. I have a painter friend with whom I endlessly brainstorm how to finish the final wood project. But really, the wood itself teaches me the most. Each species has different needs. The projects also teach me. Each project is unique in approach, design, and method. I’ve learned to listen and make myself a servant of these things. I come to the shop ready to learn.
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You should also double-check the length of your all-thread rods. I'd dummy one up and try it out before cutting all of them. It needs to be just long enough to catch a couple of threads and snug down without punching out through the cap nut. The actual "cap" portion of cap nuts is fairly thin, and if the all-thread is even a bit too long it will punch through the end when you snug it up.
After experiencing working in the wedding rental industry, I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do long term and sold my business. My wedding and vintage rental business had reawakened my creativity though. After learning how to build farm tables, I became hooked on building and making things. And knowing how to build other things became much easier, as well as learning to use different tools. It’s like once you know how to do one thing related, the rest just flows.
If a woodworker wishes to advance in the field or to demonstrate competence in the industry, they may also choose to become licensed. The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America offers a national certificate program. The AWI, or Architectural Woodwork Institute sets standards for the industry and offers training programs for management and mid-management positions.
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