Biscuits (not the kind you eat). When you get into the details of how to build a bookcase, you’ll discover dozens of joinery options. Our editors simplify those options by focusing on biscuit joinery – a fast and easy way to line up all the boards in your project and get on with the gluing and screwing. You’ll also learn a little about pocket screw joinery in our free bookcase plans.
What I like most about my work is the satisfaction of building something useful and attractive, or even beautiful, out of a pile of raw materials. There is nothing more satisfying than when a complex piece, composed of dozens of parts, each one individually handmade, comes together. The thing I like the least is the business side, such as bookkeeping, promoting my business, etc. If you have a mind for business and the talent to create, this would be the perfect combination.
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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.

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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.
I decided to start my own vintage rental company, with farm tables being the main rental item. There was just one problem, I couldn’t afford to buy twenty farm tables… Which led me to my only option, I’d have to build them, except that again I didn’t know a thing about building or power tools nor did I know anyone that I felt comfortable asking to teach me. But, I figured if I could pass the CPA exam, I could figure out how to build a table on my own and learn how to use power tools.
I was telling my brother of the different ways I sharpen and he seemed interested in the slab/sandpaper method. When I went to get the extra supplies I picked up a slab of granite, adhesive, and sandpaper for sharpening. When the job was completed, the saw, the can of finish, and the slab with sandpaper were gifted to my brother. I could have shortened my list a little,
An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.

Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. Like the potter's wheel, the wood lathe is a simple mechanism which can generate a variety of forms. The operator is known as a turner, and the skills needed to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery. In pre-industrial England, these skills were sufficiently difficult to be known as 'the misterie' of the turners guild. The skills to use the tools by hand, without a fixed point of contact with the wood, distinguish woodturning and the wood lathe from the machinists lathe, or metal-working lathe.
Handsaws (often called “panel saws”) are long, thin saws with a comfortable wooden handle. They are used for rough dimensioning of your lumber. Although a “panel saw” is technically a smaller handsaw that fits into the panel of a tool chest, I’ll hereafter refer to this type of saw as a “Panel Saw” to differentiate them from the broad category referred to as “hand saws”. Panel saws come in two tooth configurations: “Rip” (cuts along the grain…like a chisel) and “Cross Cut” (cuts across the grain…like a knife). You will need both.

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.
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.
11. Other necessary skills: Each woodworker should have a basic knowledge of metalworking. Although most of the home furniture is made out of wood, in this category you may occasionally find some projects made out of metal, or the wooden furniture projects that have a decorative metal parts or fasteners. In our opinion, the combination of wood and wrought iron makes the most beautiful furniture.

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.

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.
You can do this with a dado blade, or alternatively, you can simply make two passes with a standard kerf table saw blade. I often do the “two pass method” for 1/4″ dado and rabbet cuts simply to save time, avoiding setting up a dado blade. Set up a sacrificial fence on your table saw because you will be spinning the blade right next to the fence. Set your blade height to 3/8″, and remove a width of 1/4″.
gregoryterry06111969@gmail.com Thanks for the pep talk. I’ve been kinda stale on my creative thinking lately. A few years back i made a birdhouse for a gal friend of mine,except the birdhouse wasn’t for birds it was to hide or disguise a security camera for her small motel she owns. She loved it and i enjoyed making it although i spent too much time with intricate details. My first attempt on the first piece i cut was unsatisfactory to me so i discarded that piece and continued with the project. After it was completed and she loved it so much she paid me 125$ for it. Well longer story shortened I get bored easily and one day sometime later I was looking at that first piece I had discarded and it inspired me to create something i call the ” Perpetual Puzzle”. Turns out everybody I’ve shown it to absolutely loves it and say that they would definitely pay good money for one. My problem is I don’t know the first thing about marketing or patents, copyrights and so forth. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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.
Preparation is everything. It took my friends a long time to learn that dropping by on their way home from work to hang out was not a really good time for me to stop and shoot the breeze. I typically spend a minimum of one hour and usually two or three hours setting up a three-hour class, going through all the operations I plan to cover that night such as getting the lumber milled, making sure the tools are in good working order and doing any of the critical machine setups in advance with no distractions.
thank you, thank you, thank you!! the lumber that i had in the garage wasn't exactly what your plans called for (2x4s and 1x10s), so i adjusted the length of the all thread to accommodate the depth. also, one of my 2x4s was kind of wonky and i was worried it would jeopardize the stability of the set - but it's totally solid! the shelves are level and aren't going anywhere!! :) (i threw all of my body weight against it, and it's totally solid!) it's approx. 4' wide by 7.5' tall.
Learning how to use tools to create what you envision in your mind is one of the most rewarding activities a man can involve himself in. Even though many of us today missed out on this first-hand training in high school shop class, there are a lot of folks that are buying books and reading blogs all about it. By learning how to tune up their grandfather’s hand plane they are seeking to once again tap into that deep-rooted desire to create and build with the knowledge of their mind and the skill of their hands.
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.
To minimize potential cupping, we decided to make the top by gluing two pieces of 1×6 together rather than using a solid board. Choose a straight piece of 1×6 with a sharp, clean edge. Cut the pieces long and trim the top to length after you glue the two parts together. For pro tips on gluing boards edge-to-edge, see “Edge Gluing Boards” . Justin and Jackson cut biscuit slots in the sides of the two 1x6s to help hold them in alignment while installing the clamps. Glue and clamp the two 1x6s. Then let the glue set up about 30 minutes before routing the edge (Photo 10).
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..
Handsaws (often called “panel saws”) are long, thin saws with a comfortable wooden handle. They are used for rough dimensioning of your lumber. Although a “panel saw” is technically a smaller handsaw that fits into the panel of a tool chest, I’ll hereafter refer to this type of saw as a “Panel Saw” to differentiate them from the broad category referred to as “hand saws”. Panel saws come in two tooth configurations: “Rip” (cuts along the grain…like a chisel) and “Cross Cut” (cuts across the grain…like a knife). You will need both.
Hardwood boards and softwoods may look similar in shape and dimension, but they are sold using completely different measuring systems. Softwoods are typically sold in standard lumber dimensions (such as a 2x4), whereas hardwoods are most often sold by the board foot. Calculating board feet helps you guarantee that you're getting your money's worth on every piece of hardwood you purchase.
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.
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10.  While manufacturing the furniture, another important thing besides the precise parts manufacture is the assemblage. The pieces, when fitted, should come together easily, and not require to be twisted, sprung or bent in order to put the piece article together. It is the practice with skilled cabinet maker to put a piece of furniture completely together once (without glue, screws or nails)to see that everything fits right, before putting together permanently. After fitting the parts of a piece of furniture and before gluing, smooth such parts as cannot readily be smoothed after putting together permanently.
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5. Reading technical drawings: In order to make the furniture projects by our furniture plans, you should have the basic knowledge of technical drawing, so you could read drawings of the parts and assemblies. We do not stick strictly to exact rules of technical drawing in our plans; instead, we have adjusted the content and appearance of the drawings and plans, so they can also be understandable to the less experienced woodworkers.

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.
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.
Hello everyone.for a less expensive turning tool, I use a mini lathe for small turning projects..up to 10″. The smaller projects I have in mind are mini baseball bats, lamp bases, smaller bowls, candle stick holders, and the list goes on and on. my favorite turning projects are pens. I make over 100 different types of pens and pencils from inexpensive wood from all over the world..once you start turning on a lathe…you’re hooked..have fun.
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.
But what if you want to make a box? The revered (and overly-mystified) dovetail joint is a very strong way to join corners of boards. Of all features that non-woodworkers admire today, the dovetail joint is the one that creates the most awe. It is composed of one side cut into wedge-shaped “tails” that mate into corresponding “pins.” When fitted together, the wedge shape prevents the boards from sliding apart in one direction. This joint has been very standard construction since the 1700s. Never meant to impress, it was usually intentionally hidden behind veneer, molding, or paint so that no one would have to look at that “ugly” joinery. It wasn’t until the arts and crafts movement that visible joinery was considered an aesthetic asset. Today, making dovetail joints has become a litmus test for serious woodworkers, but don’t let this scare you away from trying it. Check out a few of the four million “How to Cut Dovetails” videos online and then get into the shop. It’s much more straightforward than people think: Cut tails. Trace the tails on the other board. Then cut out the waste you traced. That’s pretty much it. All the fine tuning is just practice.
To minimize potential cupping, we decided to make the top by gluing two pieces of 1×6 together rather than using a solid board. Choose a straight piece of 1×6 with a sharp, clean edge. Cut the pieces long and trim the top to length after you glue the two parts together. For pro tips on gluing boards edge-to-edge, see “Edge Gluing Boards” . Justin and Jackson cut biscuit slots in the sides of the two 1x6s to help hold them in alignment while installing the clamps. Glue and clamp the two 1x6s. Then let the glue set up about 30 minutes before routing the edge (Photo 10).
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.

Lots of good comments! I do think it is a bit of stretch to include a jointer and surface planner on the ‘basics’ list – we’ve got a slippery slope here! And a lot of different approaches – money, space, time, resources, etc. But lets plunge ahead. If you buy your wood already (or mostly) prep’ed, then the jointer & surface planner can be postponed. You definitely need a way to accurately measure linear distances (e.g. length, width) so a good ruler and tape measure. You need to be able to measure squareness – so you need a good combination square. You need to be able to mark the wood – so a good marking knife, an awl, some chalk, a fine pencil, etc. You should have some decent chisels (and good ones don’t need to cost a lot!). You will need to sharpen them (again not expensive – piece of plate glass and some sandpaper). You need a way to accurately cut your wood – a couple of good handsaws and a file or two for sharpening. You really should have a decent work surface/work bench/etc – a good first project by the way. Last of the basics – a good drill (3/8″ vs battery type). Lastly (I could go on but room is lacking), take a look at Paul Seller’s video’s for simple but highly competent work.
Basic function of the furniture is to make our life easier and to make it more beautiful with its appearance. Industrially designed furniture made out of the cheapest materials is the most present on today’s market and it can be found for popular prices, but its quality standards are on the lowest acceptable level (the woodworking joints are not solid and long-lasting, but added just to assemble the furniture simply and quickly; plywood is commonly used instead of wood, etc.). This kind of furniture will surely not last for generations and will rarely withstand even one relocation.
Thank you for that info. Is there any recommended size for crosscutting? Lets say I purchase a 4×8 sheet of plywood or MDF at my local home center. I have them cut it down to strips of 18×8 (for example). When I get home, if I need to crosscut the 18×8 piece, is that possible on a cabinet saw with a crosscut sled or better with a track saw? Reason I ask, that will most likely be my scenario when I purchase lumber. I would rarely bring home a full 4×8 sheet from the store because it’s easier to transport it in smaller widths. I’m at the point to make some tool purchases, and seeing if I should go solely with a track saw for my scenario or get both? I do have a 12 inch compound miter saw but cutting to size on that with 18 inch depth panels is hard in one pass.
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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.
As Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner at Brit + Co, Anjelika Temple brings her voracious consumption of all things creative and colorful to DIY projects, geeky gadgetry finds and more. When she's not DIY-ing her heart out, you'll find her throwing dinner parties with friends or adventuring with her husband David, their daughter Anokhi, and their silly dog Turkey.

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.


Cut off a 21-in.-long board for the shelves, rip it in the middle to make two shelves, and cut 45-degree bevels on the two long front edges with a router or table saw. Bevel the ends of the other board, cut dadoes, which are grooves cut into the wood with a router or a table saw with a dado blade, cross- wise (cut a dado on scrap and test-fit the shelves first!) and cut it into four narrower boards, two at 1-3/8 in. wide and two at 4 in.


Woodworkers use geometry, arithmetic, algebra, calculus, and statistics to measure materials and during the planning stages of projects.  On any given job, they will calculate sizes, dimensions, distances, and quantities of materials.  Computer skills and knowledge of relevant software also benefits woodworkers with job-estimating, project management, and basic spreadsheet or word processing.  Woodworkers should be detail-oriented, have good people skills, have steady hands, and physical strength, especially when lifting 100-pound sheets of plywood.
The shelves fit into dado joints routed into the case sides. Since the shelves were going to be glued and screwed into the dadoes, they couldn't be adjusted later. So I measured my books before I decided how tall the shelves should be. As a rule, a bookcase with shelves between 7 in. and 14 in. apart accommodates most everything. While books generally fit on 8- to 9-in.-deep shelves, I prefer deeper bookcases, so I ripped the plywood to a width of 11 7/8 in.
One simple method of getting your foot in the door is to check out Craigslist help-wanted ads. It’s about the only place I’ve seen a decent selection of job postings for woodworking, and some are entry-level positions. Once a little experience with basic tools is acquired, more options open up. However, a lot of the most interesting positions can’t be found by searching jobs postings. Many high-end furniture shops recruit via networking instead of advertising for help. To break into the custom furnishings market, do research to find out who is doing the sort of work you’d like to get into, then figure out what circles they participate in. If they belong to a particular artist association, try to attend their shows or get an introduction to one of the members. If they teach classes, attend their classes. The goal is to get their attention, and let it be known you wish to pursue a woodworking career. Demonstrate good work ethic, reliability and a willingness to learn, and someone might take notice. Talk to people and continue to introduce yourself to others.

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.

Despite the popularity of plastics, MDF (medium density fiberboard) and other materials, wood is still the product of choice for most people when it comes to the expectation of quality, value, and utility.  Today, many wood products, such as musical instruments and furniture are mass-produced, but trained woodworkers make custom-made products with their hands and their tools based on drawings and architectural designs.
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.
Break down plywood Following the cutting diagram, crosscut plywood along the line marked “first cut”. Take the smaller of the two rip 3/4″ plywood according to diagram and cut list. For safety and easier handling, use a circular saw with a good quality blade (following a straight edge guide for a straight cut) for first cross-cut on plywood. If you are not confident in your circular saw’s ability to cut straight lines with no tear out, leave yourself 1/4″ of extra material (there is enough extra material in a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood to do this) and make your final cuts on the table saw.
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.
Real quick story: Recently, I had to help my brother with some furniture and cabinet issues, but there were a few problems. First he lived 3 hours by car and my wife needed our only car. I’ve had a scooter for a few years, but have only used it for local trips with small needs. Since weather was changing and I needed a break away from my other half, I decided to make the trip. I installed my motorcycle saddlebags to the scooter and loaded the necessary tools for the trip. Where’s the motorcycle? That’s another story. Of course the saddlebags are small and the scooter only had a massive 50cc engine; vrmm, vrmm. Although I have a shop full of electric and traditional hand tools, only the smaller hand tools would make the list for this trip. So, here is the list from that trip: (A few may be missing)
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.
To give you an idea about the different bookshelf plans available,this guide presents you 17 simple but alluring bookcase designs to choose from. The designs are not only in a wide array of sizes and styles but they are also inexpensive to build and will fulfil your home space. So be sure to go through all of them to find the best one for your room.
Making a garden arched footbridge out of some wood boards can be fun, hard working plan and also it’s quite rewarding. We are providing the project tutorial for how to build an arched footbridge without rails or having rails. If you take your hands of work and have some basic woodworking skills you can easily build this type of bridge. While this garden bridge is too small to walk over but it can make a really stunning addition to your lush yard or garden.
While some people consider the circular saw to be more of a carpentry tool than a fine woodworking tool, but some would disagree. There may be no more versatile basic handheld power tool than a circular saw. When used with a clamp-on straight-edge, the circular saw can be just about as accurate as a table saw and handle quite a few of the tasks that one would attempt with a table saw, particularly cutting sheet goods such as plywood or medium-density fiberboard. When woodworking on a budget, a quality circular saw should be the first handheld power tool purchased, as it is the one that will likely be the most useful as you get started.
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