The next important hand tool for the woodworker is an accurate tape measure. Get a retractable one that is at least 25 feet long. Any longer than that, and you start having problems getting it to roll back up. Since measurements on large scale projects can be very susceptible to even the most minute measurement variations, you’ll want to make sure the “hook” or tab at the end of the is firmly attached, with no give. When they get loose, you’ll have as much as 1/8” variation in your measurements. This can add up to some severe accuracy problems in the long run.
The field of carpentry offers many opportunities for employment and advancement for workers with solid educational backgrounds and training. As work and educational experiences enhance your skill sets, you may earn the chance to advance to more responsibility and a higher salary. For example, you could be promoted to a general construction supervisor position within a larger construction company.
Liz Fourez started Love Grows Wild in 2012 with a passion for interior design and homemaking and a dream to help others create a home they love.  From simple project tutorials, to holiday and entertaining ideas, to her journey renovating a 1940’s farmhouse, Liz demonstrates how to create a beautiful and inviting home with a handmade touch. She turned her signature cozy, neutral style into a best-selling book in 2016 and continues to inspire readers with her captivating photography and easy decorating ideas. Read more about Liz > > > >
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.
Suppose you you were in possession of, as I am, four Cherry logs ranging in size from 18″ to 24″ diameter by 12′ to 16′ in length and you need to instruct the sawmill how they are to be cut. Also suppose that you are a novice woodworker who intends to use the resulting lumber in undetermined woodworking projects. How would you instruct the mill to cut up the logs?

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!

There are three very important elements that must come together in making a project that will not only be pleasing to the eye, but will stand the test of time: good design, careful workmanship and meticulous selection of materials. You can continue to refine your design on paper, but at some point you will have to make that transition from a two dimensional drawing to selecting the lumber to use for each part. This can be one of the most difficult phases of any project and one that has the greatest effect on the final appearance of your finished piece.
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.
Cut 2- 1x6 46" boards, mitered at 45 degrees on each end (measurement is taken on long side). Cut 2- 1x6 17" boards, mitered at 45 degrees on each end (measurement is taken on long side). Drill pocket holes in both ends of each board. Drill several pocket holes (3 or 4) on the INSIDE edges of each board. Spread wood glue on the edges of each board, and sandwich them together, using bar clamps to keep them tight. Using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws, attach the 1x4's together. (see photo on previous step)
The sequence in which boards are cut from a log will determine how stable the boards will be once they dry. As a board loses moisture it will shrink in three dimensions. The change in length is so small as to be considered insignificant and the change in radial movement is always less than the tangential movement. This is most significant as the wood dries between the time it's cut (i.e. green wood), and the point where it is kiln dried or air dried and ready for use. Wood that shrinks excessively, or that has been dried improperly, will often develop checks at the ends. When shopping for lumber, carefully inspect the ends for any checking, or for excessively long checks. It is best to allow for some scrap at the end of each board, just in case. As you trim the end, hit the off-cut across the edge of your bench, and if it breaks in two, you'll have to cut off a little more.
Cut 2- 1x6 46" boards, mitered at 45 degrees on each end (measurement is taken on long side). Cut 2- 1x6 17" boards, mitered at 45 degrees on each end (measurement is taken on long side). Drill pocket holes in both ends of each board. Drill several pocket holes (3 or 4) on the INSIDE edges of each board. Spread wood glue on the edges of each board, and sandwich them together, using bar clamps to keep them tight. Using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws, attach the 1x4's together. (see photo on previous step)
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Once the vinegar solution dries (or if you decided not to do the solution) you can go ahead and stain the project. First use a rag or air compressor to remove any dust from the table. Then use a clean rag to apply the stain of your choice. Don't forget to wear gloves and ventilate the area. Have a brush in your other hand to stain hard to reach areas.
Like you, I too am benchless. I built the “Mozilla” Molson vice variant from last year’s issue (I forget which) and it comes in handy for a lot of operations. I clamp it down to a piece of plywood that I have covered with formica (actually, it’s two pieces that I have piano-hinged together for easier storage) laid across two sawhorses. As long as lateral thrust is not involved, this is a pretty stable way to work. I also have a Zyliss vise for working on smaller pieces. I’ve made do for nearly forty years with a radial arm saw and circular saw. I have only recently acquired a planer and router table (both on wheels) It makes the garage croweded because also sharing the space are two motorcycles and about 400 board feet of rough sawn Camphor. I currently attend classes in woodworking and this coming semester I’ll be enrolled in a class for handtools only (and sharpening).

Building a coffee table with hairpin legs is fairly easy, especially if you choose a simple design for the top. There are several options to choose from in that case. One is to build a simple frame which looks something like this. That way the coffee table would look pretty, would be easy to build and would also include a storage compartment which is always useful.
So, just like the lumberyard map, email your entries to me at [email protected], and to help sort through, put “Vacation Spot” in the subject line. It could be a Shaker village with outstanding furniture, the Giant Sequoias of Northern California or a quirky out-of-the-way museum or shop. This will be put up for public consumption just like the above map – I want everyone to find their lumber and see great woodworking.
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