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.
Having very sharp tools is one of the most important aspects of proper traditional woodworking. Many beginners think that they stink at woodworking, but usually they are just using dull (or improperly sharpened) hand tools. To start off with I recommend buying sharpening supplies for sharpening & honing your chisels, hand plane irons, and handsaws.
Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
How about building a secret room hidden behind a door that’s masquerading as a bookcase—just like in the movies? Not sure how to build the entrance? Well, just buy a kit. These bookcase doors from Woodfold Manufacturing are perfect for disguising the secret entrance. The bifold-style doors look like a typical bookcase when they’re closed. In fact, you can even load up the shelves with 500 lbs. of books or knickknacks. The doors slide open along a steel roller system at the top and the bottom to reveal the secret room.
I am finally getting to practice my woodworking more after years of collecting tools. By using tool reviews and thinking of the kind of work I would like to do, I have accumulated a nice set of tools without purchasing many mistakes. I decided to use Paul Sellers book and videos and start learning from the beginning. He starts with projects that begin with a small set of tools. One of those tools is a spokeshave. Even though I know much of what is in the first lessons, I have picked up a few new tricks, and am learning to use my tools more efficiently. My most important tools are my workbench and vise. The workbench was tough to build as I was on the floor using hand planes; not a good way to work. I have no jointer; did get a small planer and made a sled for it so I can flatten a board. My tools are in my house, so there is no room for a big table saw or bandsaw. I have a chopsaw and a piece of an old Craftsman tablesaw I got for free. It has to be moved outside to use. A circular saw with a guide is handy. My guide has a plate on which the saw is mounted. The plate slides on aluminum angle (with help of rollers) which is screwed to plywood. Once the initial cut is made in the plywood, the plywood is simply lined up with your cut marks and clamped down.

Apply 2 coats of Urethane with a brush. Let the second coat dry completely (6-12 hours), then lightly sand the armrests, table, and areas you come in contact with when sitting (chair slats). This light sanding with 220 grit paper will remove any dust particles that settled in the first coat. Next, take a clean cloth and wipe a thin coat of poly on all the areas you sanded. This will give you a nice smooth finish. Once dry, enjoy your new furniture and have a barbecue!

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.


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.
Disclaimer: Almost any DIY project involves risk of some sort. Your tools, materials, and skills will vary, as will the conditions at your project site. Rogue Engineer has made every effort to be complete and accurate in the instructions provided on this website. Rogue Engineer will not assume any responsibility or liability for damages or losses sustained or incurred in the course of your project or in the use of the item you create. Always follow the manufacturer's operating instructions in the use of tools, check and follow your local building codes, and observe all commonly accepted safety precautions.
We recruited Justin and his son to help us with this story. Justin is a full-time firefighter and a woodworker on his off days. His 11-year-old son Jackson, an up-and-coming woodworker, had fun with his dad and learned a few power tool techniques in the process. We provided the plans and gave a few pointers along the way, and Justin and Jackson took it from there.
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.
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.
There are several ways to complete this task, including pocket screws, brads or biscuits. I have used all of these methods, but my preference is biscuits, as they provide adequate strength, excellent alignment, and ease. I generally just place one biscuit in the center of each rail and stile, which provides alignment assistance while not being overly constraining when manual adjustments need to be made to achieve desired placement. After applying glue and biscuits, use lots of clamps to create a gap-free bond between the face frame and carcass.
If you can buy a bunch of tools at one time, you can save a ton on shipping, as the more you buy, the lower the rates. Also, take advantage of free shipping offers. Compare to see where you can get the best deal. Whatever you buy, make sure it is high quality. I have a Nicholson backsaw I bought at a local store before I knew of the woodworking suppliers. It has never been used much, but cuts much slower than saws such as Gramercy or Lie-Nielsen, even though mine have smaller teeth than the Nicholson.

It wasn't until the end of the eighteenth century when the first woodworking machine was patented. Some of the basic principles of the earliest woodworking machine tools are still in use today, but the new machines are faster, more powerful, and easier to use than previous generations. We carry a full range of stationary woodworking machines including table saws, miter saws, band saws, drill presses, mortisers, shapers, planers and more. If you have any questions or need help finding what you need, give us a call or email and we'll assist you in finding the right woodworking machine.
Start by arranging all the parts on your work surface. Justin used a flux brush to spread the glue in the slots, and onto the biscuits after they were installed. Any small brush will work, though. When you have everything assembled, install clamps to hold the sides tight to the shelves while the glue dries. Check by using a framing square or by measuring diagonally from opposite corners to make sure the bookcase is square. Adjust it if needed. Then tighten the clamps. This is a good time to take a break while you let the glue dry for about an hour.
I learned the basics from J. Arthur Johnson when I was in 7th grade shop class . . . and I’ve been self-taught ever since. I do read Fine Woodworking (I have EVERY issue) and some books that my wife and friends have given me; and of COURSE Marc’s fine blog and a few other on-line sources but I don’t feel like I have really learned how to do anything until I’ve tried and failed and then re- and re-re-tried until I’ve made it work MY way.

It wasn't until the end of the eighteenth century when the first woodworking machine was patented. Some of the basic principles of the earliest woodworking machine tools are still in use today, but the new machines are faster, more powerful, and easier to use than previous generations. We carry a full range of stationary woodworking machines including table saws, miter saws, band saws, drill presses, mortisers, shapers, planers and more. If you have any questions or need help finding what you need, give us a call or email and we'll assist you in finding the right woodworking machine.
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