Dividers (or compass) are used for taking and repeating a measurement over and over again on a work piece. Traditional woodworkers rarely take measurements with a tape measure when doing fine joinery work, but rather take a measurement with dividers then transfer that arbitrary (yet accurate) measurement to another work piece. This removes a degree of inaccuracy.

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)
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.
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!
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.

A small jointer is better than no jointer, but a small jointer is not a great addition to a shop. A jointer needs table length. I would skip buying a small to medium size jointer. Once again, rely on your hand tools. They can perform as well or better than a machine that costs hundreds more, they require a great deal of room, and they should be run in conjunction with a dust collector. You can flatten boards with a jack plane and straighten edges with a jointer. With a little experience it becomes a quick task.


Whether they’re just getting started, or have been involved with woodworking for a while, many woodworkers wonder what woodworking power tools they should add to their shop. The answer to this question can be subjective, and depend on what types of woodworking projects you commonly build, but George Vondriska is ready to provide you with his opinion on which five woodworking power tools should be considered top tier tools for your shop.
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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.
But until then, I’ve been thinking of other ways to use my hands and create things.  (Even though many of our saws and tools have been stolen.) But I’m feeling a little antsy to make some quick projects, because creating makes me extremely happy…..so we’re calling this surge in me to create something simple, THERAPY.  In fact, I need to call up a few friends and have them make some with me because friends and creating is a favorite combo of mine!  (Any out of town-ers want to fly in?! ;) )

Most models have variable speeds, but the scroll saw is designed to cut precisely not quickly. Feed the wood to the saw flush to the saw table. Scroll saw blades are thin and easily broken, so take care not to bend, twist, or put too much pressure on the blade. Drill holes in the waste stock at the tightest corners to facilitate clean and neat cuts. The depth of the saw throat determines how large a piece of wood can be cut on a given saw; 16 inches is a common and generally useful size.
Arguably the industrial arts class that is most missed is wood shop. Learning how to work with wood is not only handy, allowing you to make and fix things around the house, but allows you to satisfyingly connect with a long history of craftsmanship. Woodworking was one of the earliest skills mankind developed; the pre-industrial world was largely made of wood, and for thousands of years, all men had at least a rudimentary understanding of how to shape and manipulate it. Even up until the second half of the last century, tradesmen and professionals alike had the confidence to be able to build wooden shelves, cabinets, or even chairs for their family.

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.
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.
Then, beginning several decades ago, shop classes began to be removed from secondary curriculums. With the decrease in educational funding, and increasing emphasis on standardized testing, schools began to cull electives, institute stricter graduation requirements, and focus more on college prep academics and the subjects necessary for passing state exams. There wasn’t money or time to maintain tools and sawdust-filled workshops, and one by one school districts dropped their shop classes, figuring that students who wished to pursue trade skills could do so later at a vocational college.
The most common bench tools in the woodshop are routers and sanders. We have already talked about routers to some extent. Orbital sanders have come a long way from the jitterbug style of old. New sanders leave a better finish, are quieter and last longer. At some point, probably right away, you will want a sander . No one likes to sand. It is tempting to buy multiple sanders to address an unpleasant task. Here again, I point to the hand tools. Learning to use a smoothing plane and a cabinet scraper will reduce your sanding to little or nothing and cut down your overall time to finish a project.
And with many homes falling into the “contemporary but traditional’ style that has taken over the decade, these wine racks are in high demand and can fetch a pretty penny for even a more simplistic design.Feel free to get creative with the design for some more bargaining power. And for a design to hold a small number of bottles, you can expect up to $50 per unit sold.

Small planers on the other hand can do a lot for you. Here it is hard to argue with their capabilities. A large industrial-weight planer is a machine few small shops can justify, but there are numerous portable planers available for a few hundred dollars that can deliver a reasonable cut. They allow you to quickly clean up glue joints or prepare rough lumber.

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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..


I suggest that the aspiring woodworker learn all the skills he or she can acquire, from traditional skills such as carving, wood turning, and traditional joinery, to modern skills such as CAD and CNC. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you can be to more people. Never stop trying to learn new things, and always keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth closed. Never oversell your skills to a prospective employer. If you don’t know how to do something, admit it, and get to work learning how to do it. Don’t be afraid to take on something you’ve never done. A skilled custom woodworker draws on experience and skill to accomplish things he’s never done before. Custom work often requires you to reinvent the wheel on a daily basis. Always remember that no matter how much experience you have, you never know everything, and there’s always something else to learn. Along with the actual skills involved with the trade, you also need to educate yourself about wood. You need to be able to recognize a myriad of wood species and be familiar with their individual characteristics and uses.

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.

Many shop projects can be built with just a major workshop saw, a drill press, and a good router with accessories, along with an assortment of hand tools. Priority hand tools for woodworking include a good set of chisels and a good plane. Consider the workshop tools listed below as investments. Evaluate your goals, and choose the workshop tools that best suits your needs. There is no need to buy them all at once, but as your skills improve and your projects grow more complex add the tools that will give you the right results: straight cuts, square corners, and strong joints.


In my opinion, there are two kinds of woodworking. One is fine woodworking which is well worth learning and mastering. It just takes more time, skills and know-how. Second, there is basic or “maker” woodworking which is probably where you want to start. Find something that will help you jump in and gain some confidence with some basic tools and projects. Then, if you want, graduate to fine woodworking.


I use chisels perhaps more than any other tool in my workshop, so it’s a good idea to not cheap out here. A high quality set of bevel edge bench chisels (new or vintage) will last you many years (likely  your entire life) and will be used on nearly every project. I’ve used some descent affordable plastic handle bench chisels, but highly prefer lighter wooden handle chisels with excellent steel.
Woodworkers must have good hand-eye coordination to make precise cuts; math aptitude and computer skills (especially if working in manufacturing) to properly fabricate objects and furniture; mechanical skills to adjust and calibrate machinery; physical stamina and strength.  They must also be detail-oriented and have the technical skills necessary to understand and interpret drawings and manuals.  In addition, the following is important knowledge to acquire and cultivate:
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.
As far as schools, there are lots of fine schools that teach woodworking, and I think that they are a good way to get started. However, the best way to learn the trade, in my opinion, is by working alongside an experienced woodworker in a working shop. You’ll learn a lot of valuable skills in a school, but in a shop you’ll learn those skills in more of a practical and real-world surrounding. You have to not only do good work, but do it efficiently, and schools can be a little less demanding than a working shop.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, then check out magazines like Fine Woodworking, Woodcraft, etc. Visit your local woodworking store (like Woodcraft or Rockler) and browse the book / plans section. What I like is these stores normally have people with woodworking expertise and can answer most of your questions whether they be basic or advanced. They also offer monthly workshops at an affordable price.
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.
A jointer makes the dges of your material smooth, straight, and square. This creates what’s commonly called a reference edge that you need for additional steps like ripping or crosscutting. In addition to perfecting the edges of your stock you can also straighten faces, called face jointing. Like edges, you’ll end up with faces that are nice and smooth, and dead flat; a precursor to other machining steps.
6. Furniture construction: The shape of the piece of furniture will generally determine its construction. Furniture construction is no less an important factor in the ultimate beauty of a piece of furniture than is its design. The best-designed article may be ruined by poor construction. When making our furniture plans we tend to include a variety of woodworking joints and various types of constructions. Of course, if you are not experienced in making those kinds woodworking joints or you do not have necessary tools and machinery for their manufacture, you can analyze the construction and customize it to your needs and abilities.
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.
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.
My whole life, I’ve loved to be creative and make things. Once I got older though, creativity and anything art related really got pushed aside for a more serious career path. After graduating from college, I decided to go to grad school, get my MS in accounting, and then I became a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and started working in accounting for several years.
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