Saturday, March 20, 2010

Using a Router Table: The Basics

Using a router table is an important aspect of woodworking at home.  It is one of the first major tools I tell anyone they should purchase.  While there are some things you can do with a hand held router other things are impossible without using a router table.  Let's take a look at some of the things that can be done with a router table.

  • Working with long, short or narrow pieces of lumber.  A router table is very handy if you are doing mass production of pieces at one time. 
  • Edge trimming-using a router table eliminates the need to hold the piece and the pattern while you cut.
  • Using as a jointer-provides a space saving alternative to having a separate jointer.
  • Slots and grooves-saves time when doing multiple identical cuts.
  • Stopped cuts-much safer than using a hand held router. 
  • Dovetails-allows for a wide variety of joint sizes and configurations.
  • Raised door panels
  • Finger joints and drawer locks
This is only a small list of things you can do with a router table woodworking at home.  As you progress, you will be able to incorporate new techniques along with these.  The types of bits you own will also expand what you will be able to do with your router table.  Owning a router table will save you time and money.  I guarantee it will be a purchase you will not regret.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Marking and Measuring: You'll Need to Sharpen That Pencil

An important part of any woodworking at home project is actually one of the most basics.  That would be measuring and marking correctly.  If you cut to much off the wood, then you have to scrap the piece, or go buy a "lumber stretcher."  I remember my dad telling me the story of the time he told my brother to go to the tool box and get a lumber stretcher.  My brother went and came back and said he couldn't find it!  LOL  Ok, so back to business, here are a few tools needed for marking and measuring while woodworking at home.

A lot of problems with "fit" are directly to do with marking and measuring.  These are the first things you do in any project so how well you do it will depend on the success of the rest of your project.  Most of these mistakes occur because using the wrong tools at the wrong time.  Here is a list of basic tools you will need for marking and measuring:

  1. A tape measure
  2. Precision marking ruler with 1/32 units
  3. A T-square
  4. Pencil set specifically for woodworking.
  5. A combination square
  6. A sliding bevel
  7. A protractor
  8. A digital caliper
By owning these tools, you will be able to take the guess work out of marking and measuring.  As I've stated before, if you are just beginning start out small and work your way up.  This includes tools as well.  Don't run out and buy all of these today just to never use them again.  I started with a speed square, a pencil, and a tape and worked my way to these types of tools.  As you grow, you will as well.

Click here for more information about these types of tools, as well as sign up for a FREE woodworking catalog.

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Take a look at this page I published on coffee table woodworking plans, great video!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beginning Woodworking Projects: Start Small

When starting with woodworking at home, it is easy to become overwhelmed at the possibilities.  I know I was there at one time.  In this post, I would like to give you some suggestions for beginning woodworking projects.   These projects are relatively simple and can be completed in a few hours, with limited tools.

One option is to purchase pre-made kits.  These kits include everything you need; all you have to do is put together the pieces and finish it however you would like.  These kits include instructions, so it takes all of the guesswork out of what you need to do.  They also offer a valuable lesson in finishing.  Finishing tends to be a weak point for many new woodworkers.  Since everything is laid out, and assembly time is minimal, you will be able to devote more time to finishing and getting used to that process.  I believe no matter how much work you actually put into a piece, if it's not finished well, it's no good.

Another direction you can take as a beginner with woodworking projects is wood carving.  The basic tools for this are carving wood and a carving knife.  You can actually find the wood to carve in your own backyard!  You can learn to carve such things as walking sticks.  Carving is one of those areas I believe is very open to creativity and style.  Each piece you create with carving is unique, and you can add your personal touch.

So that's a few beginning woodworking projects you can get started on with little money and limited resources.  I hope this aspires you to begin to take action, so you can become the woodworker you want to become.

For more information on woodworking kits and carving please click here.

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Take a look at this page I published on high chair woodworking plans.