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.
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).
Once the choice of species has been made, the hunt for the perfect boards begins. However, before heading off to the lumber dealer, it is best to do a little preparation. After years of board stalking, I've come up with a kit that I always take with me to the lumberyard. Now, returning to the lumberyard to pick up those 'one or two' extra boards, has become a thing of the past.
This is the side table version of the stylish project we shared previously. In certain configurations, it could function as a coffee table. It’s a design suitable for small spaces. The wooden top has this hollow storage compartment which is great for keeping things like a book, a magazine, the remote control or the phone when relaxing on the sofa. The hairpin legs give the table a slender look.
“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!
Just a little nitpick on the tape measure blurb. The hook should not be completely tight. It should move in and out about a 1/16th or the thickness of the hook. This way you get an accurate measurement whether you hook a part to measure or bump up to it. If you want more accurate measurements with a tape measure, “burn” an inch instead of hooking or bumping the part. Just line up what you want to measure with the 1″ mark and subtract that inch from the final measurement.
Put an emphasis on the material used in the design of the coffee table. For example, if you’re using wood, showcase its natural beauty, with knots, cracks and all other imperfections. A live edge top would definitely be a good choice in such a case. Check out these rustic coffee table plans to find out all about the steps leading up to a gorgeous and yet simple design.
The lumber industry uses the “Janka hardness test” to test and rate common woods for hardness. The test involves pressing a steel ball to gauge how much pressure each wood species takes to push the ball half way into the wood. You can download my free PDF of the Janka chart here. {If you can’t open a PDF then install the free Adobe PDF Reader here.}
This course introduces students to the craft of creating custom built cabinetry through practical application and classroom instruction. Students begin by learning how to design and build basic box cabinets. Other topics include standard cabinet sizes and specifications, types of lumber and sheet material, basic terminology, joinery techniques and safety operations. Students work on their own or with others to create a variety of projects such as kitchen cabinets, built-in shelves or closet storage units.
This is a vintage woodworking plan. Visit our FAQ page for a full definition. View the Larger Image Slideshow to see the actual item you are buying. A fine new design just added to our Colonial group is the Wagon Seat Coffee table, patterned in full-size. You will admire its beautiful lines and appreciate its sturdy construction. The well shaped, open gallery and four shelf pegs add to its appearance. Its two drawers are handy for small storage, and the shelves are useful for holding a few magazines or books. Build it of pine or hardwood and finish it with a stain and lacquer of high quality. Then wax it and rub it, and you will have a piece of furniture that will mellow as it improves with time.
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.
Most carpenter classes and courses lead to a certificate or associate's degree. Graduates can work in many different specialty areas including residential and commercial carpentry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 3 carpenters are self-employed, so some courses include basic business skills for carpenters like cost estimating and project planning. Primarily, however, students will learn about tools, materials and building techniques.
Carpentry skills can be applied to residential or commercial remodeling, cabinet making and exterior and interior trim. Coursework in carpentry classes commonly includes instruction in building safety, construction codes, framing and site layout. These courses are widely available at technical schools and colleges. Hands-on practice is emphasized in most classes.
If you choose paint for your finish, you won't want to waste your money on woods known for their color and beauty when stained, so avoid richly-colored species such as oak, maple, walnut or mahogany. For painted projects, poplar is a very good choice because it is relatively stable and takes paint quite well (not to mention that it doesn't look all that good stained).
Treeline offers only the finest wood carving tools and supplies. Everything from Treeline is backed by our 30-day guarantee against any defects. We have been providing wood carving tools since 1997 and we strive to excel in customer service and quality products. All employees at Treeline are very knowledgeable and professional, so if you are looking for the right woodcarving tools, contact us and we will do our best to help you.
Now it’s time to attach the top of the table. Line up the 1×6 boards and place the frame you built upside down and centered on the boards. Drill 1 1/4″ screws through the supports into each board to secure them to the table. I used regular wood screws for this step originally, but the heads were sinking into the supports and not pulling the top boards down tight like I wanted. So I swapped them out for the Kreg Jig screws, which have washer heads, and they worked like a charm. If you’re having trouble getting those top boards secured tight, I’d try switching to the Kreg Jig screws!

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.
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.
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