A while back we stumbled upon this awesome industrial bookcase from Pottery Barn for $1900! I knew we could do it for a lot less so we posted it on Facebook for some reader feedback and it was a resounding YES! So I got to work. After a couple of weeks and 1000 mile move to Michigan we are finally finished and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. And it only cost us about $275! The pipe is what drove this project cost up however it is still a far cry from the $1900 Pottery Barn price tag and well worth it if you ask me. Let us know what you think in the comments.


As someone who is just progressing past being a “beginner” (just getting into building furniture) in the woodworking community, I would say there are a number of changes I would make to your list. First, I would say that a power jointer/thicknesser does not belong on the list by any means. They are way too large of an investment and take up a lot of space (not to mention you can buy your stock at the desired dimensions). I also strongly disagree with the concept of joinery devices. As someone new to the trade, I feel this is a very important skill that must be developed, not skipped over by buying devices power devices that achieve a single goal. I think the jigsaw should be replaced by a good bandsaw. I just purchased my first major power tool and it was a 14″ bandsaw and not a tablesaw for space reasons as well as versatility. The bandsaw allows me to resaw, cut curves, (now that it is adjusted for drift) rip pieces of stock accurately that are thicker than a table saw could handle, etc. Once the cut is complete, a handplane can remove any saw marks and square/flatten a surface. It is also really useful for cutting tenons and dovetails. Handsaws can be used for crosscutting and anything else the bandsaw cannot handle. As for a bench, if you are getting into woodworking, this should be your first real project (and it is not expensive to make). You are also missing a good vise to be attached to the bench.

Just create stunning “professional woodworking projects” with the step-by-step instructions given in a blueprint to participate in 16,000 completed woodworking projects. Just read the simple steps that you should follow before doing it practically, and you will feel confident all the time. With the simple “hand holding” instructions, you can complete the wood project in very little time.

I also had the brainstorm to use two nail-in furniture "feet" on the bottom of each 2x4 on the front side so as to compensate for the carpet tack strip on the back edge and to make the shelves lean ever so slightly into the wall. I thought we might have to anchor the top of it to the wall, but with the feet, it stands very firm with absolutely no signs of wanting to tip forward! I felt great satisfaction when the almost 150 square inches of friction applied allowed for NO racking -- I could practically climb the end without anything budging!
Vacuum cleaner. A wet and dry model is preferred. Dust collection is very important from the aspect of your safety and health while working in the wood shop. If you are working in an enclosed space, dust collection and removal is a must. While we recommend getting a dust collector, you can start with a good wet and dry vacuum cleaner. It will help you keep your work area clean while working on a project , as well as clean up the place at the end of the day.
I consider this my “basic” tool list. Although I do not have a dedicated box for these tools, I assure you that they have a great home in cabinets, on shelves, and laying around on benches. When I do need to take my hand tools somewhere, the larger tools end up in a simple tongue and grooved latch box my grandfather owned. The smaller tools are always in my overall pockets. Overalls work great. They have multiple pockets, they’re comfortable, and they protect your upper body and legs. You only have to deal with small chunks of wood getting into the pockets, which can be dealt with if you or your other half are crafty enough to sew some flaps. It doesn’t bother me though. Thanks for your time.
Apprenticeships or internships are definitely a viable path. They can be the fastest way to learn due to all the hands-on experience, and some will even provide a small income. Those opportunities can be hard to find for those not already familiar with the woodworking scene. Supporting skills such as accounting, business, marketing, photography and website administration can be learned formally via conventional education such as college, but it’s tough to dedicate time and money in that route while also trying to master woodworking. Books and the internet are handy in this regard, and I did learn to setup WordPress websites by utilizing a basic Lynda.com subscription. 

Description: In this four day class, we will start with rough lumber and finish with a simple box. Along the way we will teach you how to use the jointer, planer, table saw, and router table This is THE class to take if you are interested in getting started the right way in woodworking. This one will fill up fast, so sign up. soon. Woodworking 101 is strongly recommended for beginners and people looking to review the basics.
Use the Cutting List (see Additional Information, below) as a guide for cutting all the parts. The next step is to mark the shelf positions on the shelf sides. It’s important to keep track of the orientation of the parts. For reference, we placed a piece of masking tape on the top of each side, and on the top side of each shelf. Justin and Jackson used a framing square to draw lines indicating the bottom of each shelf (Photo 1).
Don’t follow the temptation to cheap out and buy a cheap combination square. Because, like me, you will eventually have to replace it because of its inaccuracy. If you want your joinery to fit perfectly, then you need to scribe it accurately with precise marking tools. Unfortunately there is really only one company (that I know of) that makes a super accurate combination square. But fortunately it is amazing, and I use it daily. I’ll talk about it in-depth in the Layout & Measuring Tool Buying Guide.
Thickness planer. A thickness planer is used to fix surfaces of imperfect wood. If you are picking up less than perfect wood from the lumberyard, wood with some surface defects, a planer will let you fix that wood in the quickest time. A thickness planer pays for itself quick as it allows you to buy cheaper wood that doesn’t have perfect surfaces and fix it yourself. Be careful though. You loose wood during planing. So the remaining amount of wood still has to be worth the price you paid for it.
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