A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.
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.

Drill presses are available as both freestanding floor models and in benchtop designs. The drill press is powered by an electric motor, driving it via a system of pulleys or gears. The drill bit is locked into the chuck, then is driven down using a hand-powered lever system. A spring pushes it back up when pressure on the lever is released. The size of a drill press is determined by the throat, the distance between the supporting column at the rear and the axis on which the spindle of the drill turns; thus, a 15-inch model will cut to the center of a 15-inch workpiece. A number of adjustments including a movable table depth, a depth gauge to set the distance the spindle travels and pulley adjustments to change speeds increase the tool’s functionality. The drill press can be used not only to drill round holes of all kinds but also for sanding, grooving, and even mortising jobs with the addition of specialized attachments.
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.
Always be on the lookout for usable wood. You might be able to salvage some. You can use a metal detector to find nails and screws. You don’t need a full fledged metal detector. I use a pinpointer made by Garrett. If your wood has some woodboring beetles you can still use it if not eaten too badly. A healthy dose of cyfluthrin will take care of them.
Substitute “woodworking” for “judgement” and the principle still holds. Classes, videos, books and private instruction are the result of someone, once upon a time, making a mistake and then passing on the knowledge of how to avoid the same mistake to others, then that knowledge can continue to be passed down the line. That can be very valuable for avoiding common errors and really helps many people in their quest for better results.

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.


I am from pittsburgh and I make a lot of my projects out of pallets from blanket chest to nautical lamp post and they both sell well here wine racks are Good sellers in the fall and winter months bird houses in the spring it seems what’s the best time of year and the rite product to build I lucked out and I am busy all the time and I can’t forget my best seller is a Raised doggie feeder and water tray with a bone I cut out and it hangs on the front of the tray with 2 small chains and can be personalized with the pets name on it I love to up cycle wood and keep on building
Add curves and other fancy touches to your bookcase the easy way with polyurethane plastic trim. Working with polyurethane trim is much like working with wood—you cut it with standard saw blades, nail it by hand or with a gun and paint it just like wood. Home centers carry a small selection of polyurethane trim. You can find an endless variety of options by going online and searching for “polyurethane trim” (some products are listed as “urethane” rather than “polyurethane”).

Hi, Patrick. In a space constrained scenario, a good track saw can enable you to do some very high quality work, and you can perform many of the tasks that are commonly performed on a table saw. You could definitely build closets, vanities, and a great variety of other comparable projects with a good track saw. The advantages that a table saw can bring are efficiency, repeatability with a single fence setup, and support for a dado blade. If you get a larger shop space someday and decide to add a table saw, you’ll still get plenty of use out of your track saw. Even though I have a large cabinet saw I still use a circular saw and guide for a lot of cuts on sheet goods, mainly because a 4×8 sheet can be unwieldy to handle on a table saw.
Jim, I belong to Charles Neil’s website and get his DVDs and watch his videos. He’s a great teacher. However, if I had to travel all the way up to Virginia I’d be out of luck. The Internet is a great asset for woodworkers. BTW, I wish the college you teach in was right here in my town. If it were I’d enroll because I know that you are a fine woodworker. Traveling somewhere to a class is an expense that I couldn’t afford in money and time.

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.


I just moved overseas and had to give up all of my power tools due to space limitations and power incompatibility. Upon arrival the first power tool that I bought was a cordless drill/driver and the second was a circular saw. I then modified the saw to improve its performance for cabinet quality work by putting a zero clearance baseplate (just a piece of 1/4″ plywood screwed to the base) this allows the saw to cut plywood panels without tearing up the edges. I also bought a length of aluminum rectangle tube stock for a straight edge. Together the straight edge and the zero clearance baseplate makes the circular saw a fairly accurate tool for plywood construction projects. It’s not as easy to use as a Festool track saw but it cuts almost as clean and cost about 1/5th the price.
I just moved overseas and had to give up all of my power tools due to space limitations and power incompatibility. Upon arrival the first power tool that I bought was a cordless drill/driver and the second was a circular saw. I then modified the saw to improve its performance for cabinet quality work by putting a zero clearance baseplate (just a piece of 1/4″ plywood screwed to the base) this allows the saw to cut plywood panels without tearing up the edges. I also bought a length of aluminum rectangle tube stock for a straight edge. Together the straight edge and the zero clearance baseplate makes the circular saw a fairly accurate tool for plywood construction projects. It’s not as easy to use as a Festool track saw but it cuts almost as clean and cost about 1/5th the price.

2 small Japanese pull saws, a western push saw, fret saw, set of chisels, bit brace with a roll of arbor bits, rabbet plane, side rabbet (trim) plane, 2 shoulder planes, 3 set of diamond stones, slip stone, multiple files, a rasp or two, 2 small bar clamps, a mini vise, hand scrapers, scratch beader with cutters, combination plane with cutters, smoothing plane, jack plane, block plane, combination square, steel straight rule, 12′ tape measure, small bottle of glue, a few short dowels, 2 marking gauges, and a few different marking instruments (awl, pencils, marking knife).

Tightening the nuts clamps the uprights against the shelves, holding them in place and providing shear strength (through friction) for the whole assembly. I know of an 8' tall, 12' long version of these shelves that has survived a few minor earthquakes while fully loaded with hundreds of books. Once the nuts are tightened on my smaller versions, I (all 240lbs of me) have a very hard time "racking" the shelves by pushing on one end of them in an attempt to get them to collapse: I can't.

Clamps. Woodworking clamps are essential when building a project. They hold the components together while assembling them together, gluing them, during measuring, cutting et cetera. Be generous with the number of clamps you purchase because you will always need more than you think, and it gets difficult to assemble the project if you do not have enough clamps.


Keeping your house clean and well-sorted is probably one of the trickiest tasks, especially if you are one of those people who have more books than clothes and shoes combined. Each of your books is priceless and you want to preserve them in the best condition possible. But it is not always so easy, especially if you do not have a proper bookshelf. Now bookshelves do not come cheap, be it a simple plywood one or an ornate wooden case. So, here are forty simple yet trendy DIY bookshelves for you and your books.

As shown in the video, attach the front and rear leg together on the top with the arm support 2×4. Measure 11″ back from the rear of the front leg and put a mark. Then line up the rear leg so that the 15 degree angle sits flush with the arm support. Attach with 2 1/2″ Deck Screws. Use the star (torx) deck screws instead of philips because they are much easier to use and don't strip. Only attach the two legs to the arm support in this step. We'll get to the lower cross support later.  Measure 11 inches from the back of the front leg to the front of the back leg. Flush it up with the horizontal 2×4 and attach with 3 screws.   Here is another look at how the sides will look when completed.
There are some who also swear by their bandsaw for ripping lumber. A bandsaw can cut faster and is far safer to use than a tablesaw. I personally still prefer to use a tablesaw for ripping for two reasons. First, the bandsaw table and fence are smaller than a typical tablesaw. I find this makes it harder for me to keep a straight edge. Second is the quality of cut. A bandsaw rip will usually be rougher than a tablesaw rip.
We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can’t hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.
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