The Curriculum

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Author:  Trip English [ Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

One day the lumber will call to you. 8)

Author:  Reuben [ Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

So, let's say you're starting out with absolutely no tools, no experience, limited funds, and limited time. And let's follow that up by saying that you don't have any permanent indoor or outdoor space to set up, so ideally everything would store rather compactly. I'd also have to either run an extension cord from inside or use something battery powered. Any advice for where/how to start?

I imagine my first project would likely be some sort of work bench, but I'd like to knock up these at some point:


Doesn't call for anything more than some 1x10's and plywood, and they're measured out to fit perfectly in the odd-sized spaces to either side of my bed. The shelf spacing is what I've measured to fit various tall boots, short boots, chukkas, various shoes, and my favorite pulp-tastic paperbacks. Seem like sound plans and a decent project to y'all?

Author:  Trip English [ Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

If I were doing something like this, I'd use a pocket hole jig and a circular saw on a track. Most folks have a power drill and many even have a circular saw. A pocket hold jig and some screws start at about $40 and will be as handy as any household tool even if you don't build any more furniture. Kregg (the maker of the jig) also offers some fabulous how-to videos.

You can set up on some $3 buckets as saw horses from Home Depot or Lowes. You can buy some thin stock to make a track for the saw to ride on and you'll be able to clamp this across the plywood to make perfectly straight and square cuts.

You should pick up at least two cheap clamps and a carpenter's square.

And in the video about making the saw track, ignore his use of the table saw. It's just to give you a rough idea of what you're aiming for as a finished product. You can make one with just the circular saw by taking a flat sheet (1/4") stock and using the square to line up another thin strip (maybe 2"w x 1/4" thick) of stock and then screwing it in place. Then turn on the circular saw and run it alongside the strip and it will cut of the extra board. That will give you what's called a "zero clearance" track. This means that the edge of this track is EXACTLY where the saw kerf will be. You can clamp the track along a layout line and run the saw (has to be the same saw you used to make it!) confidently down the line for a pretty clean cut.

Happy to field any other questions!

Also - build a knockdown Nicholson workbench. It can slip under a bed or stand up in a garage when you're not using it (or at least break down to move easily) and it'll cost about $300 in wood and fastening materials. It's great for hand tools and power tools.

Author:  Reuben [ Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

Sounds reasonable enough! I'll start with the knockdown nicholson and then do the shelves/shoe racks next, I think. Once I get far enough along I've got these two chunks of landmark oak that've been sitting in the tractor shed for a decade and a half:. No idea what I'll do with 'em, but it should be pretty cool regardless! The nicks and bloodstains from using them for splitting wood and cleaning birds just add character, right?



Author:  Trip English [ Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

Good to hear you're going to build a bench. Pretty much anything you want to do after that will be easy (or easier). That slab looks intimidating. You're looking at cutting that thing with a chainsaw.

Author:  Reuben [ Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Woodworking

Trip English wrote:
That slab looks intimidating. You're looking at cutting that thing with a chainsaw.
Turns out those slabs might be overshadowed shortly. They came from one of the major branches of an oak next to my grandparent's house after it fell during a hurricane. We're currently in the process of renovating their house now, so we can either put it up for sale or rent, and we've discovered that the damage from the storm all those years ago is slowly killing the oak. It's going to have to be cut down and I've asked for a couple of the widest, most intact sections of the trunk. To put it in perspective, that branch was around a half to a third of the width of the trunk at best.

Should be pretty cool to work with a 500-700 year old oak, even if it's a pity it has to be taken down.

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