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.

I’m currently working on a dining room table with this color in mind (I also plan on a coffee table soon). I’ve been testing out stain colors and dark walnut is currently in the lead. I love the way this coffee table turned out in color. How many coats of stain did you use? Also, did the dark wax make a big difference in color? I was planning on using a satin poly for sealant (mostly because it’s what is most convenient and what I’m accustomed to), but I’m interested in the dark wax after seeing this post. Any recommendations you have are much appreciated.
All trees share common growth characteristics (annual growth rings, branches, sap, etc.), but these individual characteristics vary widely from one species to another. Different species have marked variations in the characteristics of their wood. For example, ash wood is pale with wide, open grain, while cherry wood is reddish brown with fine, closed grain. It is these variations that give each species its unique characteristics, making them suitable for one job and unsuitable for another. Wood falls into one of two categories, either softwood or hardwood, though it could be argued that the categories might better be labelled "Wood I can afford" and "Wood I can only dream about". Generally, coniferous trees fall into the softwood category, and deciduous into the hardwood.

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 last step is to dry brush over top of the white washed surface. Using a dry brush, I used the same linen white chalk paint from Rust-Oleum and dipped the tip of the brush into the paint. Getting just a little paint on the end of the brush, I then dabbed the brush onto a piece of scrap wood to take off any excess paint. Then, going with the grain of the wood, I used quick strokes. You can add more or less depending on the look you desire!
Thank you so much, Fawn!! I think using pocket holes to connect the top boards is a fantastic idea, and we actually did that with the bigger dining room table we did a few weeks ago. For our coffee table, I kind of liked the look of small gaps in between each board… gives it a more rustic look I think! 🙂 Have fun building your table… I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram!

You will perfect your marking, cutting and chiseling skills by making a series of common woodwork joints each joint being that little bit more difficult than the last. These skills will come in for later during the course when you will be required to chop in hinges using a chisel into a door and door frame plus build a door frame with a half lap joint.


Somehow I overlook #1, the jointer and thickness planer, and I saw all the other tools and immediately thought that this was my first set of tools I bought when I started working as a carpenter on a friend’s crew. Then I saw my oversight and just couldn’t get over how incongrous those two items were to the rest of the list. Had I seen a scrub plane and a jack plane I would have more harmony in the list.

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.}
I think it depends on the type of woodworker you would like to become. Are you more interested in traditional “electric free” carpentry or are you drawn to the ease and convenience of modern machinery? Also, I think you should take into consideration what kind and how much shop space you have available. I have worked with all the modern machines for years now, and are just presently finding personal satisfaction in traditional woodworking. In fact, last night I built my very first bookcase with just a few “powerless” hand tools. So in all, I would suggest some personal reflection…What type of woodworker do you want to become?…and from there garnish your shop appropriately. 
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