You could also go old school and use a combination of hand planes. Hand planes of course are much less expensive than a big power tool like a planer, but their drawback is they require a lot of skill, practice, and patience to achieve good results. If you’ve got the time, there’s absolutely no substitute for learning how to hand plane, and you’ll quickly earn the respect of your fellow woodworkers.
Hand Tools — Three to four hand planes. A low angle block plane, smoothing plane, jack plane and a jointer plane are the most used sizes. With these in hand and some practice, you can go a long time without a planer, jointer, belt sander, and a few other machines. The market now has a few brands that are close to, if not ready, to use off the shelf. I also think the purchase of at least one good hand saw, a few good chisels, some clamps and a card cabinet scraper are necessary for most projects.

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.


Make It: Have your child paint 10 craft sticks and allow them to dry. Put a line of glue on the back of five sticks. Sandwich a piece of string between a glued stick and an unglued stick; clip them with clothespins to hold the glue securely. Let dry. Run glue along an unpainted craft stick, lay it horizontally and stick on the five strings as shown (don't let the sticks hang too low or they'll tangle in the wind). Top with another unpainted stick and add clothespins to hold the glue securely. Once dry, tie the strings together and cut off the excess. Hang outdoors and let the wind do its work.

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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.

Slice, dice and serve in style on this easy, attractive board. We’ll show you a simple way to dry-fit the parts, scribe the arc and then glue the whole thing together. We used a 4-ft. steel ruler to scribe the arcs, but a yardstick or any thin board would also work. Find complete how-to instructions on this woodworking crafts project here. Also, be sure to use water-resistant wood glue and keep your board out of the dishwasher or it might fall apart. And one more thing: Keep the boards as even as possible during glue-up to minimize sanding later. For great tips on gluing wood, check out this collection.
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.
Made this bookshelf with a little alterations. I made it 8'x8'. There was no cutting involved because I bought 8' 1x3's. There are 8 shelves of slightly varying heights. If I did it again I would have about 12 shelves on the 8' but we will stack on this. I stained it using a poly-stain. Thought this would take less time. I will never use this again. It left drips all over the place..even though I was being careful. I would have been better off using stain then polyurethane. I also made the mistake of bying oil based (rushing in the store). Didn't realize until I went to wash my hands. If you ever do this...I found out that cooking oil followed by dishsoap works great to take oil based paints off your hands. I also used 5/16" rod because there wasn't any flex and I was making the shelves so big (used a 5/16" drill bit too so the fit was a little tight :) . Couldn't find the acorn nuts after 4 stores so I ordered them on Ebay ($10 inc shipping for a box of 50). Only put them on front because I needed 64. I also put metal cable on the ends (drilling two holes at the end of each shelf and x'ing it) so the books wouldn't fall off (got this idea from the poster who used clothesline). It cost a little over $200 when done (CT prices are high) but it is much sturdier than a Melemie shelf that would have been this price. My husband did not not believe it wouldn't "rack" but it is VERY sturdy. Will be making more.
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Nightstands are just not big enough for everything: lamp, alarm clock, phone, photos of your kids … so books, magazines, your tablet or your cup of tea ends up on the floor. This shelf unit gives you about 10 times more space for decorative and essential stuff. And its dazzling design will transform your room. Best of all, it’s easy to build with basic tools.
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.
Work bench. You might get by by using a saw horse as your work bench for a while but believe us when we tell you that you need a dedicated sturdy work bench for doing your woodwork. You can buy one, or like many woodworker, make one yourself. You can make your own workbench for under $200. There are plenty of free videos and guides online that will show you how. Just type your search in a search engine.
More than a decade ago I spent 2 weeks in Maine aspiring to learn furniture making. On my return home I started enthusiastically planning to turn my basement into a proper shop – with all the “essential” tools I had learned to use. My list reflected my engineer’s preference for buying quality and quickly exceeded $25k in power tools alone (table saw, band saw, joiner, thickness planer, drill press…) even before solving the power, lighting and dust challenges.
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!
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.

At the same time, in order to improve your skills, you have to first use those skills and will make mistakes as a novice. How quickly those are overcome and improved on varies from person to person. Some craftsmen grasp a skill quickly and progress to higher levels, others, for several reasons, take more time. Those that do this quickly thrive as self-taught artisans.


The most common bench tools in the woodshop are routers and sanders. We have already talked about routers to some extent. Orbital sanders have come a long way from the jitterbug style of old. New sanders leave a better finish, are quieter and last longer. At some point, probably right away, you will want a sander . No one likes to sand. It is tempting to buy multiple sanders to address an unpleasant task. Here again, I point to the hand tools. Learning to use a smoothing plane and a cabinet scraper will reduce your sanding to little or nothing and cut down your overall time to finish a project.
The Japanese saw is a favorite. A much smarter, efficient and exact cut can be made using this saw as opposed to a European saw. The difference between the two is simple: tooth direction. European saws cut when pushing the saw as opposed to Japanese saws which cut on the pull. One uses much less energy when pulling - perhaps that is why the horse was put in front of the cart. A Japanese saw is a must have in any shop.
There is a seemingly endless selection of power tools. Variations of tools that were only seen in large cabinet shops and furniture factories can now be found at the local big box hardware stores. Prices are lower today than they have ever been in terms of real dollars. Quality can vary and old brand names don't always mean what they used to. So where do you start?
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