As a professional carpenter, furniture maker, and designer/builder, I see a lot of home carpentry projects that are grossly overbuilt and over-engineered. One of the goals of this Instructable is to avoid the unnecessary overbuilding that I frequently see on this site, and that I see every day working in the residential construction industry. Many of the building methods we (in the US) use today are horribly wasteful despite the advances that have been made in materials science and structural engineering, because most people in the residential building industry, from architects and engineers to carpenters, are mired in tradition, doing things a certain way "because that is how it has always been done", rather than consulting the best available science, or even questioning their own assumptions about "the right way to do it". I don't intend to knock tradition, either. Many of the tricks, techniques, and tools that I use daily are definitely "old-school", but seem to have been forgotten.
Disclaimer: I've definitely taken a route that favors hand tools. More so than say, the 'modern' approach -- and it's mostly because, having used both awesome power tools, and awesome hand tools, I find that I enjoy the process of the work more with hand tools (I can actually chat with someone while I'm using hand tools -- not so much when I'm running a circular saw, router, sander, band saw, table saw, etc.)   So, my take is going to be biased towards a more 'traditional' approach -- but the resources and people listed below are no strangers to modern tools either, and definitely make use of them when they choose.
Building a bookcase or bookshelf is a fairly simple woodworking plan that you can get done in just a day or two. This is also a low-cost project as well and since the project idea is free, you don't have to worry about busting through your budget. Just follow the simple steps in the tutorial and enjoy your own company building a simple bookcase on this weekend.
If you can buy a bunch of tools at one time, you can save a ton on shipping, as the more you buy, the lower the rates. Also, take advantage of free shipping offers. Compare to see where you can get the best deal. Whatever you buy, make sure it is high quality. I have a Nicholson backsaw I bought at a local store before I knew of the woodworking suppliers. It has never been used much, but cuts much slower than saws such as Gramercy or Lie-Nielsen, even though mine have smaller teeth than the Nicholson.
A very very interesting woodworking project you can undertake is to make spoons and ladles of all sizes out of wood. These items are really coming back in a big way. I sincerely feel you can attract a lot of attention and sell these items very well. People are beginning to use more wholesome utensils in the kitchens. Wooden spoons and ladles are going to be raging popular products. Getting a lathe will go a long way in making any kind of wood bowls, spoons and ladles.
Hello Eva. Thank you for commenting. I know and feel what you are saying. But selling is an integral part of any business and there is no escaping it. There are no companies as such that pick up things from artisans and craft persons. But it might not be difficult to find a business or a store where you live that will do just that. And maybe other ways of selling your wood crafts are worth looking into as well. Here is an article we wrote on it… Easy places to sell more of your wood crafts..

There are many textures and materials that can be used for crafting. However, for versatile and affordable crafting, you should think seriously about wood crafts. Craft wood is alluring to crafters first because of its affordable price. When it comes to cheap crafts, wood is the best route. The fact that it is cheap does not mean that it is not useful. In fact, wood crafts are easy to put together, paint and otherwise customize. This means that craft wood has endless possibilities. You can use it in home decor, children's crafts, gifts and much more. For the best selection of wood crafts, you are in the right place. Save on Crafts has crates, boxes, wood burning tools, pine cones and more. Save on Crafts is a discount provider of crafting supplies. This means that you can count on the lowest prices possible with every purchase you make through our store.
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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.
Use 1x12 pine lumber for a rustic appearance. Nothing looks like pine with its large knots and swirls. And because you're using solid lumber, you can sand the edges smooth for a finished appearance. Add a 1/4-inch fir plywood back for strength and stability. Note that "1x12" is a nominal size. The actual size will be ¾-inch thick and 11 ¼-inches wide.
Arguably the industrial arts class that is most missed is wood shop. Learning how to work with wood is not only handy, allowing you to make and fix things around the house, but allows you to satisfyingly connect with a long history of craftsmanship. Woodworking was one of the earliest skills mankind developed; the pre-industrial world was largely made of wood, and for thousands of years, all men had at least a rudimentary understanding of how to shape and manipulate it. Even up until the second half of the last century, tradesmen and professionals alike had the confidence to be able to build wooden shelves, cabinets, or even chairs for their family. 

Even if you don’t live in a rustic log cabin, you can give your home a great cabin look by simply planking one or more walls. This is a relatively easy project that will add beauty and value to any home. Just choose the wall that you want to change, and add wooden planks which you can pick up at most home improvement stores for very little. Then stain if you want and you have a lovely cabin type wall
Finding a toolbox for a mechanic, for his hand tools, is not a big challenge at all - there are dozens of the tool boxes available on the market, from huge roll-around shop cases to small metal boxes. Plumbers, electricians, and farmers are well served, too, with everything from pickup-truck storage to toolboxes and belts. But, if you are a shop-bound woodworker then the case changes. You get to need a tool box that suits the range and variety of hand tools that most woodworkers like to have. For those who deny making do with second best, there's only one solution, you’ve to build a wooden toolbox that should be designed expressly for a woodworking shop.
The all-new JWBS-14DXPRO 14 in. Deluxe Band saw The all-new JWBS-14DXPRO 14 in. Deluxe Band saw from JET has been fully redesigned to meet the needs of today's most demanding woodworkers. Gone are the days of adding a riser block; this 14 in. band saw comes with a massive cast iron frame for increased power that makes it ...  More + Product Details Close
Working on one side at a time, glue and nail the side to the back. Apply glue and drive three 1-5/8-in. nails into each shelf, attach the other side and nail those shelves into place to secure them. Clamps are helpful to hold the unit together while you’re driving nails. Center the top piece, leaving a 2-in. overhang on both sides, and glue and nail it into place. Paint or stain the unit and then drill pilot holes into the top face of each side of the unit and screw in the hooks to hold your ironing board. Mount the shelf on drywall using screw-in wall anchors.

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.


A very very interesting woodworking project you can undertake is to make spoons and ladles of all sizes out of wood. These items are really coming back in a big way. I sincerely feel you can attract a lot of attention and sell these items very well. People are beginning to use more wholesome utensils in the kitchens. Wooden spoons and ladles are going to be raging popular products. Getting a lathe will go a long way in making any kind of wood bowls, spoons and ladles.
Any bookcase you build should be anchored to the wall so it can’t tip over and injure someone. Simply screwing it to wall studs is one good solution. If you choose that method, load up the bookcase with books so it fully compresses the carpet before you drive the screws. If you want to be able to move the bookcase without removing screws, pick up a couple of chain latches. Fasten the chains to studs with 2-1/2-in. coarse-thread screws. Position the tracks so there will be just enough slack in the chains for you to detach them.
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.

Arguably the industrial arts class that is most missed is wood shop. Learning how to work with wood is not only handy, allowing you to make and fix things around the house, but allows you to satisfyingly connect with a long history of craftsmanship. Woodworking was one of the earliest skills mankind developed; the pre-industrial world was largely made of wood, and for thousands of years, all men had at least a rudimentary understanding of how to shape and manipulate it. Even up until the second half of the last century, tradesmen and professionals alike had the confidence to be able to build wooden shelves, cabinets, or even chairs for their family.


Then, beginning several decades ago, shop classes began to be removed from secondary curriculums. With the decrease in educational funding, and increasing emphasis on standardized testing, schools began to cull electives, institute stricter graduation requirements, and focus more on college prep academics and the subjects necessary for passing state exams. There wasn’t money or time to maintain tools and sawdust-filled workshops, and one by one school districts dropped their shop classes, figuring that students who wished to pursue trade skills could do so later at a vocational college.


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’ve got a three other bits of advice: First of all, get really, really good at woodworking. There are lots of people who enjoy it as a hobby. To sell your services, you’ve got to be able to do far superior work or do it much faster than everyone else (preferably both). Failure to do so means competing against hundreds of amateurs who make things for the pleasure of it, then sell their work at cost to fund the hobby. Second, develop great people skills. Most professionals do custom work and few focus on selling a product. Most of them sell a service, and a big part of that is getting customers to enjoy the experience of collaborating with a woodworker to create their dream products. If your customers don’t like you, they can usually save time and money by getting something from an online catalog. People who buy handcrafted items from woodworkers are often attracted to the idea of supporting artisans. The face behind the work is important to them. Last, develop an iron-clad work ethic. In this field you’re directly trading time for money, and that time is very limited. It’s important to be productive, so try to get 40 hours of actual productivity (as in making things) every week. Accounting, phone conversations and social media marketing may be important, but none of them provide an actual paycheck, so they don’t count as productive work.
I have used a Workmate successfully for years and I am in the process of building an upgraded replacement for the work surfaces. My replacement bench top will be a little longer, much thicker and it will have and extended apron between the two halves to greatly improve holding wood vertically for dovetailing. With this simple upgrade it turns the little Workmate into a very capable portable woodworking bench.
Start with the horizontal base rail at the bottom of the bookcase. Hold the rail against the bottom shelf and mark onto the rail the center of each slot cut into the shelf. Then use the biscuit joiner to cut corresponding slots into the back of the base rail. Apply carpenter's glue to the front edge of the bottom shelf, and the rear of the base rail. Insert No. 20 biscuits into the shelf slots, then press the rail into place [ 7 ]. Use a rubber mallet to tap the rail tight. Wipe away any excess glue with a cloth. Attach the valance that runs across the top of the bookcase the same way. (Note: Its bottom edge aligns flush with the case top.)
9.  Hand tools and machines: In our furniture plans, you will find only dimensions of the furniture and directions for their construction; we do not suggest manufacture techniques. We recommend that you decide for yourself how you will make particular parts of the furniture – based on your experience, skills in specific techniques and operations and depending on the machines and tools that you got.
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.

Always be on the lookout for usable wood. You might be able to salvage some. You can use a metal detector to find nails and screws. You don’t need a full fledged metal detector. I use a pinpointer made by Garrett. If your wood has some woodboring beetles you can still use it if not eaten too badly. A healthy dose of cyfluthrin will take care of them.
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.
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