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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.

About forty years ago I purchased a Shopsmith Mark V because I lacked space for a large shop, and also moved around the United States a lot. Later I purchased another Shopsmith Mark V Model 510 for the increase in table size and flexibility. I do wood working as a hobby, not to do many projects as fast as possible. I also have every tool and accessory that Shopsmith makes for the two primary tools. Their quality is excellent, and while I enjoy antique tools like the 1912 three phase electric Camel Back Drill Press I purchased for my son’s shop, the Shopsmith does every thing I have ever needed.


The course begins with a quick overview of the history of carpentry, from primitive to modern times. It then teaches you about the most important building materials, fasteners, adhesives, and tools used by carpenters in the modern construction industry. You will then receive an essential outline of safety guidelines and procedures. The course then goes through the crucial steps carpenters must take during construction projects. Here, you will be introduced to the best methods for constructing floor systems, walls, and roof framing, as well as how to make and read plans and elevations. The final section of the course shows you how to close off a structure, including installing windows, exterior doors, and stairs.
Real quick story: Recently, I had to help my brother with some furniture and cabinet issues, but there were a few problems. First he lived 3 hours by car and my wife needed our only car. I’ve had a scooter for a few years, but have only used it for local trips with small needs. Since weather was changing and I needed a break away from my other half, I decided to make the trip. I installed my motorcycle saddlebags to the scooter and loaded the necessary tools for the trip. Where’s the motorcycle? That’s another story. Of course the saddlebags are small and the scooter only had a massive 50cc engine; vrmm, vrmm. Although I have a shop full of electric and traditional hand tools, only the smaller hand tools would make the list for this trip. So, here is the list from that trip: (A few may be missing)
Another unusual item which you can repurpose when building a coffee table is a window. The plans featured on martysmusings are actually a bit more complex than that. This is not just a table with a window as a top. That top opens up and the space inside the frame can be used as a storage nook. It’s quite clever and you can do a lot of cool things based on this idea. For example, you could fill the interior with cute little plants or interesting-looking branches or you could create a terrarium which can be admired from above. sAlternatively, use it as a simple storage area for things you don’t ming keeping on display.

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.

A planer comes into use when the woodworker intends to have flat boards of even thickness. Contemporary machines may have a planning platform that helps achieve accurate thickness more quickly. The woodworker adjusts the platform to set the cutting depth, then feeds the board through the machine. The in-feed roller carries the wood forward as it gets placed under the blades of the cutter drum before being moved out of the machine by the out-feed roller. Some planers have both manual and electronic controls.
Poplar is one of the less expensive hardwoods. It’s also fairly soft (1 in hardness on a scale of 1 to 5), which makes it easy to work with. Poplar is white with some green or brown streaks in the heartwood. Because poplar is not the most beautiful wood, it’s rarely used in fine furniture, and if it is, it’s almost always painted. Poplar can be a good choice for drawers (where it won’t be seen) because it is stable and inexpensive. You can find poplar at larger home centers, but a lumberyard will have a better selection.
With a hardness of about 4 on a 1 to 5 scale, walnut is a rich brown wood that’s easy to work with. Unfortunately, walnut is somewhat expensive (usually around $8 a board foot), and finding large boards for big projects is getting difficult. In spite of this, walnut is still a great wood to work with and lends itself nicely for use as accents and inlays to dress up a project. You won’t find walnut at your local home center; you may need to special order it from a lumberyard if you want a large quantity.
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. 

Build a career in Carpentry with Alison and learn how to measure, cut, drill, join, fasten, finish and other woodwork skills. The time-honoured trade of carpentry is just as important today as it has ever been. And now, with free, online carpentry courses from Alison, this knowledge can be passed down to digital learning students via the Web. In the Diploma in Carpentry Skills course, you will develop a sound knowledge of the tools, materials and building methods employed in modern carpentry. Other carpentry classes dig deep into the subject of framework and joinery, construction methods and a basic online introduction to carpentry.

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.

Now, I know this list only contains traditional hand tools, but my circumstances led me to this choice to complete the job. After all, he is my brother and he’s helped me once or twice. Not all woodworkers will want to take the time and effort to go strictly with hand tools. That’s fine; different circumstances and preferences will lead the way. Most people wouldn’t drive a scooter full of tools to assist their siblings either. Sounds crazy, but I enjoyed the trip through the mountains. Once I was there, I still needed a way to rip through lumber. I also needed a can of finish. As needed, a few jigs and templates were constructed from the purchased lumber.


Along with your materials, there will usually be practical exercises that you can do at home. Illustrated textbooks and study guides, along with instructional videos, will guide you through construction techniques step-by-step. And if you still need additional help, you can always contact your instructor via phone, e-mail, chat or some other method.

Description: In this four day class, we will start with rough lumber and finish with a simple box. Along the way we will teach you how to use the jointer, planer, table saw, and router table This is THE class to take if you are interested in getting started the right way in woodworking. This one will fill up fast, so sign up. soon. Woodworking 101 is strongly recommended for beginners and people looking to review the basics.

“Basic,” on the other hand, is a word that allows for growth – and that’s exactly what you want in your woodworking tool kit. You want to be able to take the same kit with you through many years in the craft. With my basic woodworking tools list, I wanted to provide a core set of tools that will serve you well from project to project. I’m especially concerned these days with the transition to hardwood furniture making, as opposed to plywood boxes of various sizes. That’s the transition I’m making right now in my own work!
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