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.
Having very sharp tools is one of the most important aspects of proper traditional woodworking. Many beginners think that they stink at woodworking, but usually they are just using dull (or improperly sharpened) hand tools. To start off with I recommend buying sharpening supplies for sharpening & honing your chisels, hand plane irons, and handsaws.
1: Table saw in place of a jointer. Any number of tips in previous issues address straightening edges of boards without a jointer. A jointer serves one purpose, but a tablesaw can serve many (just watch your local Craigslist for a decent one to come up.) The thickness planer is unavoidable, but until you can afford one, buy stock in the thickness you need.

Start by building a base out of 1x or 2x lumber. Make its depth 1 1/2 to 2 in. less than the depth of the bookcase itself. Its height must be 1/8 in. taller than the baseboard molding you plan to install to make sure the molding slips in easily. Set the base into position and check for level right to left and front to back. Fasten it to the wall studs using 3-in. drywall screws [ 1 ]. Also drive angled screws through the inside of the base and into the floor.
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!!
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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.
Vacuum cleaner. A wet and dry model is preferred. Dust collection is very important from the aspect of your safety and health while working in the wood shop. If you are working in an enclosed space, dust collection and removal is a must. While we recommend getting a dust collector, you can start with a good wet and dry vacuum cleaner. It will help you keep your work area clean while working on a project , as well as clean up the place at the end of the day.
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 =)
Vacuum cleaner. A wet and dry model is preferred. Dust collection is very important from the aspect of your safety and health while working in the wood shop. If you are working in an enclosed space, dust collection and removal is a must. While we recommend getting a dust collector, you can start with a good wet and dry vacuum cleaner. It will help you keep your work area clean while working on a project , as well as clean up the place at the end of the day.
To be honest, I loved almost all the 40 bookshelf ideas mentioned here. But I think some ideas like modular bookcases need some expertise, what do you say? Bookcases are something where we can really be creative. Loved the skateboard bookcase(I have never seen something like that, simple as well). You can also include DIY bookshelves with glassdoors(or like closed bookshelves). Triangle bookshelves, diamond bookshelves, U bookcases etc would be some additives to this list (very easy to build)
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!!
A mechanical reasoning or aptitude is also essential, mainly because woodworkers work with such a variety of machines and tools.  A tool in the hands of an untrained or inexperienced woodworker is a recipe for disaster. Woodworkers should understand and be able to apply mechanical principles to solve any problems they may encounter. Critical thinking skills are important too as woodworkers may face unexpected problems that need to be handled quickly. In this way, woodworkers can use reasoning and logic to foresee any potential problems, and develop solutions before mishaps happen.

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.
Measure back opening (the plywood sits between the protruding outside edges of the sides that were formed from the rabbets that were previously milled, and fully overlaps the backs of the carcass top and bottom panels). Cut 1/4″ plywood to fit snugly. Even though I have a large cabinet saw equipped with ample outfeed support, I like to make the cross-cut first using a circular saw for a safer, more controlled operation, and then rip to width on a table saw. Be careful when cutting 1/4″ plywood on a table saw, as it can flex, allowing the material to rise above the blade which can cause a dangerous kickback. Use a slow feed rate, apply steady downward pressure when needed, and be sure to use your blade guard for this operation.
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.
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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.
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.
The space behind a door is a storage spot that’s often overlooked. Build a set of shallow shelves and mount it to the wall behind your laundry room door. The materials are inexpensive. Measure the distance between the door hinge and the wall and subtract an inch. This is the maximum depth of the shelves. We used 1x4s for the sides, top and shelves. Screw the sides to the top. Then screw three 1×2 hanging strips to the sides: one top and bottom and one centered. Nail metal shelf standards to the sides. Complete the shelves by nailing a 1×2 trim piece to the sides and top. The 1×2 dresses up the shelf unit and keeps the shelves from falling off the shelf clips.
Substitute “woodworking” for “judgement” and the principle still holds. Classes, videos, books and private instruction are the result of someone, once upon a time, making a mistake and then passing on the knowledge of how to avoid the same mistake to others, then that knowledge can continue to be passed down the line. That can be very valuable for avoiding common errors and really helps many people in their quest for better results.
You can create a beautiful coffee table by simple stacking logs together. Line the logs end up and create a circle whatever size you need. Then just tie them all together with rope or twine to keep your coffee table secure. You do need to make sure that the logs are the same height and you may want to sand the tops down just a bit to make them smooth.
With sharp hand tools and unforgiving power tools, woodworking can be a dangerous activity. By following some basic safety rules, though, you can considerably reduce the risk of injury. In order to be effective, safety rules must be implemented every time—no exceptions. Committing to making safety a habit increases your enjoyment and lowers the chance of injury (or worse) while woodworking.
Just for the record, a jointer and planer are not from the ICDT kit – the philosophy on that column is, indeed, beginner AND basic (hence the Workmate). The tools we suggest in the ICDT manual are for those who are working at a kitchen table or in a backyard; the tools the editors would recommend for someone who is quite sure he or she wants to pursue serious furniture making would be rather different.
Do you want to use an oil stain, a gel stain, a water-based stain or a lacquer stain? What about color? Our ebook tells you what you really need to know about the chemistry behind each wood stain, and what to expect when you brush, wipe or spray it on. It’s a lot simpler than you think! This is the comprehensive guide to all the varieties of stain you will find at the store and how to use them.
In this category of our website you can find a number of furniture plans which are suitable for both experienced woodworkers and beginners, and also for different types of woodworking courses. However, by downloading these furniture plans you will make only one step in passing the challenge that you will meet during the manufacture of the furniture project that you choose. Before you start making the furniture, you should consider and plan a number of things:
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)
To start off you only need either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ mortise chisel (or some size close to those). You don’t need a whole set of mortise chisels. Mortise chisels (also spelled “mortice”) are used for chopping mortises (rectangular holes) into the side of your board for insertion of a tenon. “Mortise and Tenon” is a very common and very strong joint that most people have heard of.
Thanks for the feedback. We’re glad you found the list helpful. Please note that this page contains only 10 of the 40 top tools for woodworking, displaying only hand tools. You can find the next 10 here: https://www.wagnermeters.com/top-40-woodworking-tools-2/. There are links at the bottom of each article to the next group of tools so you can view the entire list. Hope this helps.

Stiles are 2-1/2″ x 72″, the top rail measures 1-1/2″ x 32-3/4″, and the bottom rail is 2-1/2″ x 32-3/4″”. My favorite way to assemble frames is with a pocket hole jig, but you can also choose to use biscuits, or simply use brads to nail individual face frame pieces into place. I sometimes use that approach for large built-ins, where it may be cumbersome to construct a face frame on-site during the installation process. The school that will receive these bookcases requested that the face frame go all the way to the floor to prevent pencils and other items from rolling underneath. I generally prefer to keep the face frame about 2″ from the floor to lighten the appearance, but this is a stylistic choice. On larger pieces, such as armoires, I like to keep them high enough to allow a vacuum cleaner to pass underneath.
A marking knife is used for marking where you will be cutting with your saws. For getting into tight spots (like dovetails) and making very accurate lines (which is vital for tight fitting joints) you need just the right marking knife. You would think that any old knife would work, but you would be wrong. Years ago I purchased several that didn’t work well.
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.

Many shop projects can be built with just a major workshop saw, a drill press, and a good router with accessories, along with an assortment of hand tools. Priority hand tools for woodworking include a good set of chisels and a good plane. Consider the workshop tools listed below as investments. Evaluate your goals, and choose the workshop tools that best suits your needs. There is no need to buy them all at once, but as your skills improve and your projects grow more complex add the tools that will give you the right results: straight cuts, square corners, and strong joints.

The third tool for the beginner is the Jigsaw. A jigsaw allows the user to cut curved and circular patterns in stock. Sure, a band saw will likely be more accurate and can cut thicker stock, but for the beginner, the jigsaw (sometimes also referred to as a Sabre Saw) can be perfectly effective. For versatility, choose an orbital-action, corded jigsaw that feels good in your hand and has an easy blade changing system.


A super simple iPad Dock/stand made out of a single block of wood features an angled groove which gets to support the tablet device and a cut in a hole to revise access to the home button of your iPad. It’s possible to drill an access channel in the stand through which you can run a charging cable, although this mini stripped back iPad stand may have very limited functions.
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.
Block planes have become one of the most oft-used tools in a woodworker’s workshop. Some traditional woodworkers even keep them in their aprons! These little planes can be used to trim your joints, put chamfers on board edges, trim end grain, etc. I would recommend finding a low angle block plane, because the low angle lets you cut difficult grain more easily.
The very affordable coping saw (often around $20) is regularly used for rough cutting shapes in the board, but especially for removing waste from dovetail joints (one of the most common wood joints). An affordable coping saw will work just fine as long as you have plenty of replacement blades on hand (also very affordable). Read my hand saw buying guide for more detail on brands & features to look for when purchasing a coping saw.
The table saw is the center of most workshops; it is the largest and most imposing tool in the shop. While it is an important tool, one could claim that table saw need not be on this list. However, it is an important tool and shows that creating a shop is not a matter of just collecting hand tools. There are jobs that hand tools cannot do as well as tools like the table saw, especially when there is such a wide variety of blades which can be set up and changed for so many different applications. Table saws create straight and consistent cuts. When setting up a table saw for a cut, one needs to set the depth of the blade and adjust the fence according to the width desired.

Plywood is an essential material for bookcases. It’s strong, affordable and good looking. There’s just one problem: those ugly edges. You can hide edges behind solid wood or moldings, but the quickest, easiest edge solution is a thin strip of wood veneer called “edge banding” ($6 for 25 ft. at home centers). The process couldn’t be simpler: You just iron on the adhesive-backed veneer and trim off the excess.
Can a Makita or Festool Track Saw be a good substitute for a table saw? I’m new to woodworking and have a small shop space in the basement of my home. Doing some reading on several forums, many seem to prefer the track saw over a table saw. Will I be able to do cabinetry such as closets, bathroom vanities, etc with a track saw and track saw table setup?
The best thing about the toy chest is that it is very easy to build. All you need is the basic understanding of woodworking and a few tools to get started. You can also modify your kid’s toy chest in any way you want or build in a different design or color different from the one pictured above. You can try some other designs for your plan in the below-mentioned link.
Of course, there’s the occasional install, client meeting or photo-shoot, but those don’t happen often enough to be considered a typical day. I should mention that every day brings its share of phone conversations with clients and suppliers. That happens at all hours. Most work days end by 7:30pm, and once I’m home and have eaten supper, I’ll usually put another hour into handling whatever financial, legal or internet tasks are most pressing at the time. Altogether, a typical work day is about 12 hours, and this is 6 days a week. At 2 1/2 years old, the business is still a start-up which is the reason such long hours are necessary.
You can find a project for just about every room in your home. Table scape trays make perfect platforms for dining room decoration. Wooden plaques offer a blank slate for any saying or picture you want. If you want a unique table, we’ve got a few options to consider. Headboards and benches can give your bedroom a real transformation. You can find anything you want among these DIY wood craft projects.

If you have wood pallets just lying around the yard, put them to use by turning them into a great mud room bench. This bench would look fabulous on the deck or just inside the door, wherever you want to put it. When you finish putting it all together, just sand and stain it whatever color you want and you have a beautiful bench that cost you very little to create.

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.

In this age of air-powered nailers, drills, sanders, impact wrenches, grinders, saws, spray guns, washers, and other pneumatic tools, the compressor has become a virtual necessity. The compressor consists of a motorized pump; a tank for storing the compressed air; an on/off control (governor) that tells the pump when to start and stop in order to keep the pressure within preset limits; and a regulator to control the pressure at which the air escapes the tank to suit the needs of the tools being used. There’s a metal frame on which all the parts are mounted, usually with a carrying handle and sometimes wheels.


In order to be successful in woodworking, there are skills absolutely necessary to know and master.  Many of these skills were once taught in high school’s all across the nation, but today, most woodshop classes have been suspended, and people must learn through college classes, apprenticeships, internships, from professionals, or by trial and error. 


Thinking about starting a crafts or DIY business? Take a look at these creative ideas using pallets, which have become very popular. One of the reasons many enjoy creating DIY ideas into DIY projects with pallets is there are so many different type of items and decorations that can be made from this rustic wood. Pallets are simply leftover wood and using them is a very eco-friendly and green thing to do. If you choose to make these crafts to sell, you’ll be pleased to discover that many pallet crafts can be created over a weekend. So give DIY pallet projects a try, there are so many here to enjoy! Happy Building and Selling!
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.
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