Back when I was just starting out in my first apartment, I piled up milk crates to store all my worldly goods. It was a simple idea, and it worked like a charm. Fast-forward many years: Faced with a need to store and display lots more stuff, I made plywood boxes in two sizes and mixed them up, adding doors to some and painting the inside backs of others the same color as my wall. The result was a stunning showcase that’s adaptable to any situation and includes useful storage space.
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 prefer the large size because it will cut the most sizes. Years ago I purchased a medium shoulder plane, but it didn’t cut the larger sized joints, so I sold it and purchased a large shoulder plane so I could cut and trim most sized joints. Most of your traditional woodworking hand tools can be vintage/used, but used shoulder planes can be very hard to rehab and get “square”, so I recommend spending the extra money on a new shoulder plane. See my recommendations in my hand plane buying guide.
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.
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.
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.
This might be where the fist-to-cuffs start. Why a router table as my second choice? It’s so versatile. With the right fence set up, I can edge joint boards, like I could on a jointer. (No, you can’t face joint, but I’ll live with that for now.) I can make any number of joints, create doors, and profile edges. I can remove the router and use it hand-held for work at my bench. A good router table simply provides lots of bang for the buck.
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?