The Amish here in Ohio use a nifty wooden rule for calculating bd. ft. It has a brass football shaped hook on the end and they’re about 2′ long. Three columns of numbers run down the length of stick. These columns are the length of stock say, 12,14,16 foot. Within these columns, bd. ft. has already been calculated and marked. For a 16′ bd. the hook is placed over one edge and a reading of bd. ft. is taken from opposite edge from the 16′ column. “Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide #1” pg. 146, shows a good example. They call… Read more »
You enjoy working with your hands and are interested in the skilled trades industry. Chances are, you're a perfect candidate for one of the available carpentry schools. A training program can provide you with the creative and technical skills to work with wood in order to create aesthetically pleasing and functional structures, from window frames to kitchen cabinets. And, you can learn what's involved in framing, exterior finishing, roofing, and much more.

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Afrormosia Alder Andiroba Anigre Ash Apple Aspen Avodire Balsa Beech Bilinga Birch African Blackwood Australian Blackwood Boxwood Bubinga Camphor Cedrela Cherry Chestnut Cocobolo Cumaru Ebony Elm Eucalyptus Hazel Hickory Hornbeam Idigbo Imbuia Ipê Iroko Jarra Jelutong Lignum vitae Linden (lime, basswood) Merbau Mahogany (American, African) Maple Meranti Oak Padauk Pear Plum Poplar Purpleheart Ovankol Ramin Red Quebracho Rosewood Rubberwood Sapele Teak Totara Utile Walnut Wenge Willow Zebrano
Some hardwoods are becoming very hard to find and are being harvested without concern to their eventual extinction (Brazilian rosewood comes to mind). Not only is this hard on the environment, it drives the price of the wood so high that making furniture out of it is out of the question for most woodworkers. If you can, try to buy wood from a sustainable forest (commercial tree farms that ensure the supply of the wood). Check out the National Hardwood Lumber Association for ways to support sustainable forestry.
I have used a Workmate successfully for years and I am in the process of building an upgraded replacement for the work surfaces. My replacement bench top will be a little longer, much thicker and it will have and extended apron between the two halves to greatly improve holding wood vertically for dovetailing. With this simple upgrade it turns the little Workmate into a very capable portable woodworking bench.

Chic white coffee table with blag legs and with amazing natural garden like spell! This happens due to built-in planter that make you feel like you are sitting in a garden while being around this coffee table! Grow your favorite flowers or herbs in the integrated planter or simply use it as an ice box for your beverage parties! Want to copy this versatile table design now? Step-by-step DIY tutorial here abeautifulmess
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.
1: Table saw in place of a jointer. Any number of tips in previous issues address straightening edges of boards without a jointer. A jointer serves one purpose, but a tablesaw can serve many (just watch your local Craigslist for a decent one to come up.) The thickness planer is unavoidable, but until you can afford one, buy stock in the thickness you need.
While flipping through the boards, keep an eye open for signs that a number of boards may have come from the same tree. Looking at the ends and the growth rings will tell you where in the log the board was sawn. In some cases, knots may go through more than one board, and often the outer boards have a live edge. By comparing these features, the colouring, grain and other distinguishing marks, it is often possible to identify several boards cut from the same log.
It's generally more difficult to find long boards. Stock under four or five feet long can often be cut from longer boards, but as the parts become longer, the rough stock will have to be either very clear and straight, or have extra thickness to allow you to remove any bow along its length. In making parts for the room divider (featured in this issue), four stiles had to be set aside: three because they kept bowing no matter how often they were jointed flat, and one because it was under the minimum thickness by the time it was flat.

Description: In this 6-session class Angela will be guiding as you carve from a pre-roughed blank. (Check in with the store to see which blanks she will have available for this class.) Angela is an experienced, local carver and has designed this class to be fun and creative. This class is run in 6-session increments and may be repeated as needed as it will usually require multiple classes to complete your project.


The next hand tool every woodworker should have is a nail set. In fact, you should have several sizes. They look like awls, and you use them to drive nail heads into the wood so they are flush or right below the surface. This allows you to fill the holes and prepare for staining or painting. The nail setter will usually have either a convex or concave surface to grip the nail better and keep it from sliding off and marring the wood.

When I started planning this makeover, I knew I wanted to get rid of the glass coffee table I had and go with something more rustic and cozy… something with beautiful wood grain that looks like it’s been in an old farmhouse somewhere for ages. So rather than searching every single antique store in town or buying something off the shelf at a big box store, I gathered up my tools, picked up some lumber, and made myself a new coffee table!
Even if you are using a beautiful (yet unstable) grain pattern on part of your furniture, it’s a good idea to use stable wood on the other parts. For example, look at an old wooden door. The panels usually have more decorative (less stable) wood, but the rails and stiles (parts of the frame) are usually very stable straight grained wood (don’t worry, I’ll clarify “straight grain” below).
Thanks for the feedback. We’re glad you found the list helpful. Please note that this page contains only 10 of the 40 top tools for woodworking, displaying only hand tools. You can find the next 10 here: https://www.wagnermeters.com/top-40-woodworking-tools-2/. There are links at the bottom of each article to the next group of tools so you can view the entire list. Hope this helps.
Lumber for your projects can come from many sources, but before you can use it to build anything, it must be dry. Lumber that is kiln dried will have a moisture content right out of the kiln of 7 or 8%. However, by the time the lumber is delivered to your local dealer and arrives at your shop, the moisture content may have changed dramatically. Storage conditions between the kiln and your shop are clearly out of your control, so it is always a good idea after purchasing lumber to acclimatize it in your shop for several weeks. To avoid using lumber that is still in the process of adjusting to its new environment it is best to use a moisture meter to verify the moisture content of the wood. Most dealers don't mind customers checking the moisture content at the yard as long as they are using a pinless meter. The meter in my lumber kit uses electromagnetic waves to calculate the moisture content of a given piece of wood. Its use couldn't be simpler or quicker – simply turn it on, enter the species, and place the meter on the wood to be measured. The result is displayed right on the screen instantly without the need for conversion tables and other calculations. Typically, I check a couple of areas on each board as I select them just to confirm they are all in the same moisture range. Back at the shop I once more check each piece of wood and note it in chalk on the board. Every few days I'll recheck the boards, and when the readings have stabilized, I can be reasonably certain there won't be any surprises when I start the milling process.
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.
Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!
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