Four Tips to Make Woodworking Designs Work for You

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Wood working DesignAre you itching to embark on woodworking projects at home? The internet is a good resource to find an assortment of types of woodworking designs that you can do. Expect to uncover broad range of plans from simple to ambitious projects. Regardless of your skill level and time budget, there is always something for you to do – choices are so enormous that you will never run out of projects.

Woodworking is a great way to pursue as a pastime and which can be pursued by anyone – men, women and children. Indeed, there are a lot of things that you can do with wood because it promises much potential. It is a great way to express creativity and a challenging one too as one’s skill and artistry are put to test to be able to integrate functionality in most projects. While one can create artwork from wood, functional products like furniture making is still the top product of woodwork.

Once you are ready to start with your project, big or small, what you will need are wood plans and designs. There are many possible ideas and ways to generate this – books, internet or you make your own. Seasoned and master woodworkers generate their own but it will always be good to research for more ideas and for creative juices to flow. Beginners are better off starting with ready–made designs and plans to save time. It is always good to check the details to know if your skill level is appropriate to complete the project. Having someone more skillful than you is ideal but doing a simple project with a good step-by-step plan with loads of enthusiasm is good enough. You can download these plans for free but spend time looking for uncomplicated ones when starting.

More importantly, do not assume that all woodworking designs are created equal or are appropriate for every skill level of the woodworker. What must be your considerations when screening designs and plans?

1. Know your skill level and limit yourself on those designs that can be completed based on the skill level that you have. Cabinets are definitely good projects especially if you have a need for it but it can be too difficult for you and just end up wasting money if you will not be able to finish what was started. Start with projects that will let you progressively develop the various skills needed to be able to more advanced woodwork. Focus on learning precise measurements, the use of basic hand tools and later power tools that will improve your dexterity and efficiency.

2. Check on the tools that the design demands. It is futile to choose a plan in which the required tools are not present in your collection. If you want to buildup your tool set in the woodwork shop, it is also good to choose projects that will demand a new tool that you can acquire. Check out the plan before embarking on the project to determine the required tools. These also indicate the skill level required to complete the project.

3. A good woodworking plan must also include a complete list of materials for the entire project. Buying all the materials at one time can save you money and time. This can even help you figure out the total cost even before you begin the project. For ambitious projects that will require a substantial amount of money to complete, dividing the tasks into phases is a good strategy. This can also split the costs into phases so that you can buy the materials as you start with each phase. This will also allow you to order certain hard to find materials in advance though you need to be sure that all the materials can be made available when you need them.

4. Make certain that there is a step-by-step instruction that come with the design or plan. Check those that need assembly plans and make sure that these can be done when you order them.

There is no doubt that working on wood is both a rewarding and practical hobby. The experiences to be gained are positive but only when you have the guidance of good workable woodworking designs and plans. Advancing in skills is attainable once these experiences are positive and provided there is enough enthusiasm and interest.

How To Find A Good Second Hand Woodworking Equipment

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Woodworking EquipmentAll avid woodworkers aspire to build their own shop replete of all the essentials from basic hand tools and power tools to huge woodworking equipment. The more extensive is the collection of tools, the more varied are the types of projects that can be handled. Some of these pieces, however, are quite pricey which makes building the collection not so easy. Thus, enthusiastic woodworkers are tempted to buy used woodworking machines. One must handle such situation with caution lest one ends up spending more than buying a brand new unit.

To make sure that the used equipment intended to be acquired is still in good working condition, here are some tips to consider:

1. It is good to inspect for yourself the actual equipment in person. If you feel that you have inadequate skill in assessing the soundness of the equipment, find someone who can. Buying online runs the risk of paying for something you have not personally inspected. The only exception to this rule is if you are buying from an established dealer with a good reputation and acceptable return policy or warranty. If buying from a private seller, make sure that the unit has been thoroughly examined before money change hands.

2. Buying reconditioned unit is the closest thing to a brand new equipment. Make sure that the motor has been dissembled and the worn out parts replaced. It must also include an inspection of the wirings system and the switches. If professional reconditioning has been done, the performance of the equipment must be comparable to a brand new one. Usually, these items sold by credible suppliers also come with a warranty.

3. The motor is the most expensive part of any equipment or machine. Thus, the inspection must primarily focus on the motor preferably done by a professional. If you must do it on your own, run the motor; listen to its sound if there are unnatural or abnormal sounds. Check the casing of the motor; it must be warm to the touch but not hot. If it is very hot, it indicates future potential troubles.

4. Check the maintenance records if the service records suggest good maintenance. If the record reveals irregular services, it indicates carelessness and the woodworking equipment is more likely to exhibit more problems than what is claimed by the seller. Bear in mind that wood dusts and oil tend to compromise the motor of the equipment and thus requires diligent maintenance for it to last.

5. It is always ideal to know the identity of the previous owner and the manner the equipment was used. For instance a younger machine or a newer model that is used 24/7 on a production area can be older than an 8-year old model that is being used by a hobbyist in his shop. If the identity is known, try getting the serial number and presenting it to the manufacturer who may have records of the buyer to get an idea as to its manner of use. The age and quality of machines depend to a large extent on the extensiveness of use.

6. Buyers of used equipment are looking for big savings which is why second-hand machines being sold at remarkably low prices are regarded as good buys. If the price is extremely low, the buyer must find out why. Remember that value does not always come with the lowest price. Under pricing or rushed sale almost always happen for a reason – difficult to find spare parts; heavy wear and tear; discontinuation of the manufacturing of the product line; and occurrence of fire in the engine. If no satisfactory explanation can be cited for the low price, it may be better to look for another equipment.

It is logical to start collecting the basic tools and the equipment later as one improves the skill level. When buying tools, it is always important not to compromise quality to cost. When budget is small, one can consider buying used woodworking equipment with a reputable brand or from a credible seller of used woodworking tools. If you can apply these six tips, you stand a chance of being able to buy a good second-hand can last for quite a long time.

The Benefits that Woodworking Projects Give

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Woodworking ProjectsWorking with wood is something nearly anyone can do, and there is a project for every budget, skill level, and size of workshop. Many beginners start with a kit, which could be put together on the kitchen table. As you gain confidence, you can move on to projects you do yourself from start to finish. One great way to begin is to familiarize yourself with the basic supplies, tools and techniques used in woodworking.

The first step is deciding on a project. You will have the most fun and the best chance of successful completion if choose something meaningful to you. Maybe you dream of making custom cabinets that suit your living space perfectly. Or, perhaps you’d like to make some unique picture frames to showcase photography, a rocking horse for a child, a spice rack to help organize the kitchen, furniture for a growing family, or a bird feeder that brings feathered friends to the yard. The best project is one you find inspiring and truly enjoy doing.

Without some woodwork project plans my project tends to go on and on and on. Up to recently and the development of the internet it was difficult to get some decent woodwork plans and you were restricted to buying books which might have carried a limited range of projects.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across some woodwork plans on the internet after many botched and prolonged woodworking projects.

They are pretty extensive and include woodwork plans for all sorts of projects and are suitable for beginners and the more experienced alike. Some of the woodwork project plans include chair plans, cabinet plans, plans for barns, dressers, dog houses, car ports, bird feeders and many more too numerous to mention.

The product itself includes step by step instructions, diagrams, photographs and if you are a keen woodworker then the fact that there are 14,000 plans means you will never run out of ideas for your next project.

Now because I have used some of these project plans I can carry out my woodworking projects with the confidence that I will be finished in a reasonable time and be able to move onto the next project.

Of course you are not confined to building small projects-you can embark on more ambitious projects such as a garden shed or storage shed provided you have a good set of plans and a bill of materials with clear step by step instructions. Regardless of your skill level you will be able to build a decent shed if you remain patient, don’t rush and plan out each stage.

It helps you keep your sanity. After working 8-10hrs, in an office as an insurance agent, my sanity is shot to blazes. When I get home I head into my shop, where I divorce myself from the rest of the world and regain my sanity. I will stay in the shop until 10-11pm. Even if I am not working on a project, I will be in my shop (there is always something to do, clean up, sharpen etc.) woodworking helps me keep my sanity and a grasp on reality.

Furniture are a great way to keep your house look gorgeous. Fresh and unique furniture styles are new life into your home. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

I find DIY work a change from my normal office job and a break from the norm.

There is nothing better than coming home after an eight hour day for me than building some shelves or painting the bathroom, bearing in mind these are only small tasks I am referring too, I’d hate to come home and have to fit a roof for example!

And don’t forget to organize all your materials first!

If you are a starter or an experience hand at woodworking projects then there is definitely something there that you will just love and with the huge database of 14,000 plans it is something that I can see myself reverting to time after time. My next project is going to be a mail box. Wish me luck!

Woodworking Tools That Make Up a Woodworking Shop

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What is woodworking without tools? Such justifies the axiom “a woodworker is only as good as his tools”. Any beginner who wants to pursue woodworking as a hobby needs to assemble one’s first set of tools to start working on a project. Choosing simple woodworking projects at the start and moving to more complex ones help a newbie learn the uses of various woodworking tools. As the projects become more complicated, the need for additional and more specialized tools grows too. Learning to use the various types of tools is a must for all people who are aspiring to embark on woodworking. Such includes the basic hand tools for woodwork, power tools, woodworking lathes, woodworking machinery, jigs and accessories.

Basic Hand Tools

Woodworking ToolsGetting started means acquiring the basic hand tools. There is nothing more basic than a hammer, chisels and screw drivers. There are many types of hammer but the most versatile is the claw hammer with a finish head. Chisels are practical in cleaning out joints and mortises. The basics that are functional and with most uses are: 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ width bevel-edged chisels. Working on screws is basic and thus require screwdrivers that exist in several types. The most practical to keep are #1, 2 and 3 sizes of Phillips as well as Flathead varieties, and a couple of Torx, square head and star drivers. To clean up woodwork, one must have a block plane and a utility knife. The former shaves thin amounts of wood from the stock and the edges, while a utility knife cleans up hinge mortises (and a hundred more uses). A clean-looking woodwork cannot be attained when all the nail heads are visible like sore thumbs. A nail set looks like a small chisel and drives those peeking nail heads beneath the surface of the wood.

To make woodworking easier, it is important that precision is achieved in all phases of work from cutting wood stock down to the last corner. This means precise measurements and leveling of surfaces that can be done with the use of 6” layout square, 25’ retractable tape measure, level and sliding bevel. A 6” layout square is valuable being the easiest tool to use in marking square lines to make end cuts, marking up to 45 degree angles, or measuring up to 6 inches. An alternative to the square is the sliding bevel that is adjustable and can be locked at any angle. Retractable tape measure with standard ad metric markings is a ‘must have’ tool for every woodworker. Determining the perfect level of a wood stock is important and this is done with the use of a level which can either be a long (28” or 36”) or a short (6”) one.

Power Woodworking Tools

Many woodworkers dream of building a whole shop full of every tool and machine that the hobby require. That would definitely cost a small fortune. But to get started, aside from the basic hand tools, it will just be important to start with seven inexpensive power woodwork tools that are enough to start and complete many projects. These are: circular saw, jigsaw, table saw, compound miter saw, power drill, random orbital sander, and router.

Saws are important in woodworking and there are several types with different uses. The most versatile is a circular saw that especially useful in cutting sheet woods such as plywood and medium-density fiberboard. A jigsaw or sabre saw is practical and accurate when working on stock with curved and circular patterns. When choosing, pick an orbital-action corded jigsaw that has an easy blade changing system that suits your grip. The table is usually the first major power tool that is contemplated being the centerpiece around which the other tools are organized and used. This means going for the best that your budget can manage to pay for. The next major power tool to consider is the compound miter saw that is most useful when making compound angles such as beveled, mitered and combination cuts on the ends of a stock of wood.

Meanwhile, a cordless drill is both cheap and versatile which is why it is commonly preferred over portable cordless drills. There are many options available and learning all of these is important to make a guided purchase. For a beautiful and fine finish that makes a woodwork professionally done is a random orbital sander. Make sure that sanding disks are available to make it more functional and attain the fine finish you want.

With advancement in woodwork, efficiency is generally aimed for to improve the quality of woodwork products, to make the tasks easier, and to enhance precision as well as safety. Aside from these and all the hand and power woodworking tools, modern wood shops can’t also do without woodworking machines and woodturning lathe; woodworking jigs and accessories complete the picture.

Designing a Functional Small Woodworking Shop

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Woodworking ShopOnly an enthusiastic woodworker can understand the ongoing obsession of another avid woodworker in wanting to improve the functionality of woodworking shop. Those who can, expand their shop as one advances in skill and as more woodworking tools and equipment are acquired. It is most ideal for any woodworker to determine the kind and extent of woodworking to be done from the start to be able to make a conservative estimate of space to be needed. This helps in projecting the amount of space needed in the future, thus preventing costly repairs and expansions. The goal at all times when building, expanding or setting up a shop is efficiency, cost effectiveness and safety.

Avid woodworkers must have seen hundreds of shops online or in magazines and books and must have some basic ideas and designs in mind. There is no doubt that a great deal of enthusiasts are dreaming of having huge spaces devoted to woodwork on some wooded lands with a view of the great outdoors. Regrettably, that is not possible to most hobbyists who need to keep a job in the city. Consequently one contends by planning a small work shop. So, rather than spend time on dreaming an impossible dream, why not make the best of what you have as a space for a woodworking shop?

Plan. Plan. Plan.

There are infinite ways to make a small shop work like any functional shop. Start with some well-thought planning. First, it is important to decide what kind of woodworking you want to pursue. Do you want to work on large or small projects? This is important because the kind of tools, machinery and work surface you will need depends on the size of the projects you intend to undertake. The projects also determine the kind of woodwork machinery that you need in the process. In this connection, think of how much space you need to make room for all the intended acquisitions. If the space in the house is small, you need to find some ingenious solutions to the space problem. Alternatively, you can consider renting out a vacant or unused building space in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, rather than buy big stationary machines, look for alternative portable counterparts especially if it will not be a central piece to the intended woodwork being pursued.

Laying out on Paper

With a limited space, arranging all the stationary tools and fixtures pose a challenge. Before even lifting a finger and wasting time, make a layout first on a scaled graph paper with cut outs of scaled drawings of the bigger tools and fixtures. See how they will fit on a scaled paper to be able to make the adjustments. Remember to give allowances for the infeed and outfeed spaces with the tools. Think of the workflow that you commonly follow when working. Having workbenches and storage cabinets of the same height make these double as infeed and outfees tables rather than have these built and occupy additional spaces. If there is a door that leads to the outside, an outfeed near the door can accommodate long or large workpieces.

It is realistic to store smaller power tools and to have these set up on a work bench only when needed to save space. A folding workbench is also practical to keep rather than a traditional one that eats up space even when it is not in use. Stationary tools can be placed on rolling bases to allow them to be placed out of the way or side by side when not in use. Most of the time, these are not used simultaneously by a hobbyist. And the best strategy is not to buy anything too big that are seldom used anyway. Opting for scaled down or portable tools is preferable.

Storage Increases Space

Maximize your space by putting up practical storage solutions. Since you are into woodworking, make your own storage cabinets to customize them according to your needs and space requirements. Customize them to accommodate the various tools that can be stored when not in use. Make the storage cabinets functional and use every free space, nooks and crannies in the shop to ‘expand’ the shop. Use the walls to save the valuable floor space for those that can’t be stored on cabinets. Maximize the spaces occupied by stationary tools with open stands by using those as storage opportunities.

There are other important things that woodworkers must not fail to consider when building a woodworking shop such lights, electrical outlets and safety devices like exhausts. Regardless of the design of the shop, never fail to be practical and ensure safety precautions.