Maybe you have a tablesaw and a 13” thickness planer already, but most of us don’t. Be careful not to fall into the trap of feeling like you have to buy expensive machines to build things. When I work with wood, I use only hand tools and love every minute of it. If you learn how artisans worked their lumber before machines dominated the furniture industry, you will find woodworking by hand to be efficient and viable. There are many tried-and-true techniques to expedite the process that free us from feeling like we have to do machine-perfect work by hand. The real key is to use the right tool for the job: coarse tools for coarse work and fine tools for fine work. Still not convinced? Check out my good friend Jim’s story. I hope it inspires you.

Your first backsaws should be (1) a dovetail saw, with fine rip teeth, used for cutting joinery along the grain (like dovetails), (2) a “carcass saw” used for cutting across the grain (fine cross cut teeth), and (3) a larger tenon saw used for cutting deeper cuts, like tenon cheeks, along the grain (rip teeth). All three saws are used very, very often in my workshop. You could certainly get by with just a larger dovetail saw and a carcass saw at first, if you don’t plan on immediately cutting large tenons. Buying backsaws can be very confusing because there is no standardized naming system, and a dovetail saw can be turned into a carcass saw (and vice-a-versa) by sharpening it differently. And practically everybody that’s selling antique saws mixes the names up. My buyer’s guide really clears this confusion up and will help you know what to look for.
At some point dust collection needs to be considered. For safety reasons all power tools should run in conjunction with a good dust collection system. However the reality is that many woodworkers will put up with the dust for a while, if not forever. There are machines that really can't be run without dust collection such as a large planer or a bandsaw. The chips and sawdust must be extracted or else the buildup will damage the machine. A large shop vac may be sufficient for smaller machines, and portable dust collectors are available that can be moved from one machine to another. Dust collection is a reasonable investment that should actually be made early on. Your health is well worth the cost.
Your first backsaws should be (1) a dovetail saw, with fine rip teeth, used for cutting joinery along the grain (like dovetails), (2) a “carcass saw” used for cutting across the grain (fine cross cut teeth), and (3) a larger tenon saw used for cutting deeper cuts, like tenon cheeks, along the grain (rip teeth). All three saws are used very, very often in my workshop. You could certainly get by with just a larger dovetail saw and a carcass saw at first, if you don’t plan on immediately cutting large tenons. Buying backsaws can be very confusing because there is no standardized naming system, and a dovetail saw can be turned into a carcass saw (and vice-a-versa) by sharpening it differently. And practically everybody that’s selling antique saws mixes the names up. My buyer’s guide really clears this confusion up and will help you know what to look for.
As projects increase in size and scale, there is usually a desire to get a larger table saw, a miter saw, add a small jointer, a router and maybe a belt sander. Eventually, things get out of hand and you are seen at every tool sale, and spend more time online looking at the few remaining tools for which you have not yet found a project that will justify their purchase.

Make It: Help your child paint a square wooden dowel and wooden spool his favorite colors and allow to dry. Glue white string around the spool and adhere it near the bottom of the dowel. Attach a long string to the far end of the dowel and tie a magnet to the opposite end (magnetic barrels from the jewelry section of the craft store work well). Make clothespin "fish" by painting them fun colors with pink lips. Let paint dry and help your child glue on sequin scales and googly eyes. Now he'll be ready to go fishing!
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.
This is the most fundamental joint in all wood construction. Whenever we have to join a horizontal member (like a chair rail) to a vertical member (like a leg), we need to interlock these pieces at a right angle. By fitting a tenon into a corresponding mortise (hole), we can create a solid 90° joint. Although it may look intuitive to make, achieving a nice, tight fit requires careful technique and practice. There are many ways to make a mortise, but I use a stout chisel designed for that task and simply determine the width of the tenon based on that chisel’s dimension. Cutting the tenon is usually a matter of four straight saw cuts. When you do learn how to lay this joint out properly and cut it to a snug fit, the world of woodworking opens up to you. At that point, you know all the joinery required to build most tables and chairs.
Nearly every woodworking project in one form or another will require you to check some intersection, joint, or board end for squareness, or "square." In some cases, you'll need to confirm that an entire assembly is square. For small projects, you can use a squaring tool, such as a try square, speed square, or framing square. For larger projects, you can check for square by measuring diagonally between opposing corners: The assembly is square when the measurements are equal. You can also use the 3-4-5 method, based on the Pythagorean Theorem: a2 + b2 = c2.
With the advances in modern technology and the demands of industry, woodwork as a field has changed. The development of Computer Numeric Controlled CNC Machines, for example, has made us able to mass-produce and reproduce products, faster, with less waste, and often more complex in design than ever before. CNC Routers can carve complicated and highly detailed shapes into flat stock, to create signs or art. Rechargeable power tools speed up creation of many projects and require much less body strength than in the past, when boring multiple holes, for example. Skilled fine woodworking, however, remains a craft pursued by many. There remains demand for hand crafted work such as furniture and arts, however with rate and cost of production, the cost for consumers is much higher.

Just a little nitpick on the tape measure blurb. The hook should not be completely tight. It should move in and out about a 1/16th or the thickness of the hook. This way you get an accurate measurement whether you hook a part to measure or bump up to it. If you want more accurate measurements with a tape measure, “burn” an inch instead of hooking or bumping the part. Just line up what you want to measure with the 1″ mark and subtract that inch from the final measurement.
Without Norm, I probably wouldn’t have developed such an interest in working with wood, so he’s my #1. Norm built my foundation, and books gave me a glimpse of the incredible variety of techniques and an appreciation of the design process. Marc, the contributors to this site, and other web-based sources provide ongoing inspiration that keeps me eager to get back into the shop.
Marc, it’s very difficult to answer this question. Many years ago i started out with a book, and then i got another but i just wasn’t getting it. Then I started watching your video’s and everything came to life. I know there are many options that you would fall under but in my personal opinion there needs to be a Woodwhisperer choice or at least a Pod casting choice =)
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.
Description: You've seen him demo in the store, now come join Rod Hendrickson to learn to carve your own realistic animals. Beginners and carvers of all levels are welcome to join this on-going class. First time students will make a miniature duck decoy. Tuition is for 12 hours of class time. Rough cut outs are supplied by the instructor - check with Rod for cost. (approximately $15 for the miniature duck decoy blank)
Wondering if you are still hanging in there Scott? One thing I notice woodworkers often do when getting started (including myself) is they sell their hand made items way too cheap, it doesn’t help anyone except the customer. You say yourself that they sell as fast as you can make them. Put your prices up! Double or even triple, the amount of orders may slow down but you will be doing yourself a favour. Don’t bother with Etsy or Craigslist or local markets in my opinion. Build it up for yourself to make money not making the giants even richer from all your hard work. I’ve been selling my woodwork online since 2004, before all these giants came along. I feel I have the experience to offer advice if anyone is interested. Trust no one! The internet has become a place for giants to make money off you (Facebook, Etsy, GoogleAds, Amazon…… the list goes on.) Don’t let them take your money, learn how to use them to your advantage instead of being a sucker and paying them money to grow even bigger while you stay the same size. They don’t care about you, they only care about their own business models. Grow your own business brand and ignore anyone who appears to want to help you, especially if their main business is making money online. That’s all they care about! Not you. Invest your time and money in yourself, your own website – not others and you will succeed, providing you are doing what you love and are passionate about.
Screwdrivers are another must-have in the woodworker’s set of hand tools. Not only will you need Phillips and slot, or flathead screwdrivers, you’ll need star drivers and Torx drivers, too. A quality construction is vital to a good set of screwdrivers. So many of them are made out of soft metal, and the first time you put any “oomph” behind them, they strip out, becoming absolutely useless.
One of my mentors started out as a cabinetmaker who loved working wood but dreaded getting to the finishing part. He started doing some digging to learn more about it and became so addicted to the process that nowadays he loathes having to build anything because all he wants to do is the finishing! I promise that if you give a little energy to learning how to properly finish your work, your enjoyment of the finished piece will be dramatically increased. These final touches are enough to inspire you to take on another project.
Make It: Let your child choose a few bright colors to paint his dragonfly. Paint a wood clothespin to be the body and paint two mini craft sticks to be wings. Once dry, cross the craft sticks on top of the clothespin and glue in place. Add googly eyes to the front and glue a strong magnet to the bottom of the clip. Display it on the fridge and your little one will feel very proud.

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
Formally known as a “tilting arbor saw,” this tool is just an upside-down electric handsaw that’s been mounted to the underside of a steel table top, with the circular saw blade protruding through a slot. The “arbor” is the shaft on which the blade spins. It’s an axle that can be tilted with respect to the horizontal table top for cutting angles; it’s raised or lowered to adjust cutting depth. A miter gauge enables the sawyer to push stock at angles or perpendicular to the blade (“cross-cutting”). A fence can be fixed parallel to the blade for cutting along the length of a workpiece (“rip-sawing”).
Table saws, band saws, and radial-arm saws are examples of woodworking machines that are most often used exclusively in a wood shop because they are far too large and cumbersome to be portable. Even though they're confined to the shop, these workhorses are so useful that it makes sense to complete a woodworking project in the shop and carry the finished piece to the location or job site where it will be used or installed. 

Today, in our age of plastic and factories, woodworking has transformed from a common necessary skill into something almost mysterious or awe-inspiring. Because most 21st-century consumers are used to driving to big box stores to pick up another mass-produced replacement when their desk falls apart or their chair breaks, any man today that can walk up to a lumber pile with saw and plane to shape a beautiful and enduring replacement is revered as a “true craftsman.”
I work with a lot of rough sawn boards (Wood Mizer) that are up to 12 inches wide. The worse defect is twist. First I saw the stock to rough project lengths and then using winding sticks, I attack the twist with a #5 hand plane, gradually moving the winding sticks toward the center. If there is bow or cup I can plane that out also. I now have a reference surface that can go thru my planer. The finished boards are perfect. This is not really difficult or excessively time consuming.
Steely blue walls and a few intricately placed wood slices will give your bathroom a great rustic look. You will need several wood slices to go all the way around the room and then just place them in geometric patterns or however you want. Thin wood slices will affix to the walls easily with wallpaper glue or you can use a hot glue gun if you prefer.
Please note that many of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase any of the tools using them. This is what helps support the website so I can continue making free plans for you. Anything purchased on Amazon using the following link:http://www.DIYPETE.com/AMAZON will help support the site. So thank you for your support!
Let’s start with perhaps the most basic tool in every household – the claw hammer. The claw on one side of the head should be well counterbalanced by the finished head, which should be somewhat rounded. The other kind of head is the waffle-head. Most commonly used in construction, it leaves a distinctive waffle mark on the wood when you drive the nail. This, of course, is not the proper nail for woodworking.
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I know this is an old forum topic, but I felt the need to chime in. I was in Jr. High back in the late 70s and my school had a wood shop and I still have a cutting board and a three leg single post foyer table made from those shops and very proud of them. It is sad seeing the lack of “hands on” classes these days in schools because of liability issues. Just recently got back into woodworking last year and honestly Marc has much to do with that and his YouTube videos, that and a date night where my wife and I went to a Woodcraft class for making pens. I plan on joining the guild at some point but wanted to get enough tools and skills together to make the guild worth it for me and I am almost there. I am currently working on the 2015 Kids Table from Woodworkers Fighting Cancer and will donate to them as well when I finish even though it is way past due it is the perfect project for my daughter. Since I started I have made pens, cutting boards, a toy airplane and now working on this table and love it. Thank you Marc for being such an influence on this community!!

This is a hard question to really answer. I learn a lot from just being in the shop working. but, at the same time I learn and am exposed to so much more online and in books than I would be in my own shop. I had a hard time answering this question. Though I ended up saying books. Why? Because I learn more traditional hand tool techniques, visually see furniture construction(drawings and sketches), and I am exposed to different types of furniture styles, many older books were written by those who had done the same things for years, so they became very proficient at the styles they constructed in . All of these things combined give me a lot of information to take back into my shop. I could learn all of this from schools and from online content, however I feel I have enough basic techniques under my belt to learn successfully from a book, vs. when I first started when I was a kid. And I can buy several books for the cost of one class. Not to say classes are bad, I just don’t have the money to go galavanting all over taking classes.
It's a little strange but you can charge premium prices for birdhouses and people are ready to pay for it. People who want to enjoy birds coming to the garden, attach a high value to a functional and nice looking bird-house. And who doesn't really want pretty birds coming and chirping in their gardens. Therefore, birdhouse is one of the top-selling woodworking projects.
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.
A quality wood moisture meter is vital to the long-term success of any woodworking project you put together. Lumber mills try to dry their batches of lumber according to the intended end product destination. That is, if the wood is harvested in the wet Northeast, but is going to be shipped to the arid Southwest, it will be dried more than wood kept in the Northeast for use by woodworkers. The success of your woodworking project, from wood flooring to kitchen cabinets to fine furniture, depends on the correct moisture content levels of the woods you use for your area of the country.
We recruited Justin and his son to help us with this story. Justin is a full-time firefighter and a woodworker on his off days. His 11-year-old son Jackson, an up-and-coming woodworker, had fun with his dad and learned a few power tool techniques in the process. We provided the plans and gave a few pointers along the way, and Justin and Jackson took it from there.

Description: You've seen him demo in the store, now come join Rod Hendrickson to learn to carve your own realistic animals. Beginners and carvers of all levels are welcome to join this on-going class. First time students will make a miniature duck decoy. Tuition is for 12 hours of class time. Rough cut outs are supplied by the instructor - check with Rod for cost. (approximately $15 for the miniature duck decoy blank)

You really don’t have to do anything to get a great set of coffee tables. Well, you do have to gather a few tree trunks or stumps. Just sand them down a bit, and cut them off to make them flat. You can have a collection of different sizes sitting around the room and in different shapes. Stain them if you want but you can leave them natural for a really rustic look.


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.
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.
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