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.
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.
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.

Rip the 3/4-in. plywood to width for the case sides and shelves using a table saw or circular saw and straightedge guide. Crosscut the case sides to length, making them 2 in. shorter than the distance from the top of the base to the ceiling. Then, cut all the shelves to length. The shelves should be no longer than 36 in. to keep them from sagging under heavy loads. Before proceeding, finish all the plywood pieces.
Dan, I’m worried about you. The stress must be getting to you. Somehow you’ve lost your ability to count. By my estimation, your list has at least 29 items, some of which are actually “sets” of items, like chisels or crayons, which I only counted as one item. Perhaps you need a break from all that blogging, and time to get back to basics, like counting. I can help. Come over to my shop and we can count things like parts, items on the honey-do list, and for extra credit, screw holes. Don’t worry about making mistakes, I’ll guide you through it, and we can round up if necessary. Ha! 

Whatever your dream for a rustic look, you are sure to find something in this collection that will help you along. Many of these projects are so easy to do and you can complete them in less than a day. Some make wonderful gifts as well so if you know someone else who just loves the country, rustic look, make them something to brighten their own décor. The projects use all sorts of materials, many of which are really inexpensive or even cheap in some cases.

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.
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.
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.
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Thank you for sharing your story! Would love to hear how you got started with your blog and business too someday, I always find it so interesting what inspires people to shift their career path. I can’t believe you’ve learned so much with YouTube videos! And congrats on creating such a successful business from scratch and also having the courage to walk away when you knew it wasn’t for you anymore. We’re having a home built next year, so look forward to checking out all the custom work you’ve done with your place!
I studied forestry at Penn State University and then spent ten years working in the utility line clearance industry with the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. While building my house, I began to get into carpentry and woodworking, and later went to work as a finish carpenter. Eventually, I started taking on some minor woodworking jobs. I realized I needed some real shop experience, so I took a job in a stair shop building custom staircases for about five years. While there, I began to set up a shop of my own with the intention of going into business for myself, which I did in 1998. I’ve been on my own since.My typical day is usually pretty simple. I’ll spend an hour in the morning on the computer promoting my shop and looking for leads. Around 8:00 A.M. I open up the shop and work on whatever I’m doing until 4:00 or 5:00 P.M.
I was attracted to this page by the headboard. It looks great and it’s unique. I must disagree with the first sentence, that rustic is ‘in’ right now. I’m thinking, ‘It’s the great recession’. Any money I spend better get me the most refined thing I can afford. Kind of like how I believe that new store bought jeans with holes in them are going out of style like a cold cup of coffee.

As part of the job, woodworkers prepare and operate saws, drill presses, routers, sanders, lathes, shapers, milling machines, and planers.  Often using a template, woodworkers measure and verify dimensions, cut, and shape wooden parts. Woodworkers stain or coat the wood products with sealers and topcoats, such as varnish and lacquer. But, they also often install hardware, fit electrical components and specialty products, such as metal trims and glass.

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

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.


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. 

Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
To corral shelf-dwelling books or DVDs that like to wander, cut 3/4-in.-thick hardwood pieces into 6-in. x 6-in. squares. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut a slot along one edge (with the grain) that’s a smidgen wider than the shelf thickness. Stop the notch 3/4 in. from the other edge. Finish the bookend and slide it on the shelf. Want to build the shelves, too? We’ve got complete plans for great-looking shelves here.

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)

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Thank you for sharing your story! Would love to hear how you got started with your blog and business too someday, I always find it so interesting what inspires people to shift their career path. I can’t believe you’ve learned so much with YouTube videos! And congrats on creating such a successful business from scratch and also having the courage to walk away when you knew it wasn’t for you anymore. We’re having a home built next year, so look forward to checking out all the custom work you’ve done with your place!
Hi Scott – Your nearest decent sized town should have a flea market or craft store. Rent the space, fill it up, and check back every couple of weeks to get your money and restock. I tried craft shows and they were a bust and too much work loading, unloading, setting up, reloading, taking down the set up, unloading what did not sell into your garage. As with lots of things, the craft show promoter makes most of the money.
Make It: Paint nine craft sticks red, six craft sticks white, and four mini craft sticks white. Let them dry. On a rectangle piece of cardstock, have your child create a blue sky and green grass with colored paper or markers. Then help her create the bottom of the barn by gluing on a row of 11 craft sticks vertically in the following pattern: two red, one white, five red, one white, two red. Glue white sticks horizontally along the top and bottom and cross two in the middle as shown. Glue the mini craft sticks to red cardstock to form the barn roof. Adhere the barn roof to the background above the barn. Cut out a rectangle from black paper and adhere it to the barn. Cut strips from a paper bag and crumple for the look of hay; adhere to black rectangle.
I built my first bookcase in middle school. A multitiered assemblage of wooden planks laid across stacks of bricks, it was reminiscent of pieces from the early Flintstone Period--and I was proud to have made it myself. Since that masterpiece, I've built 50 or 60 more, most while working as a cabinetmaker for an interior design firm, where I learned the carpentry skills, design guidelines and construction techniques used in the bookcase shown here. Basically consisting of three plywood boxes fitted with a hardwood face frame, this piece looks built-in because it spans from wall to wall, and is trimmed with molding at the ceiling and floor. I used 3/4-in. birch plywood for the cases, 4/4 sustainably harvested African mahogany for the face frames and 3/4-in. mahogany plywood for the sides surrounding the doorway. With moderate skills and some patience, it wouldn't be hard to make this project fit any space.
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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