Adventures of a Novice Woodworker #1: Woodworking 101

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Blog entry by Jeff Kochosky posted 09-25-2008 03:12 PM 1723 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Adventures of a Novice Woodworker series Part 2: Now things are getting serious... »

I consider myself to be a true novice when it comes to woodworking. My current “workroom” (actually the garage, minus my wife’s car) consists of a 10” contractor’s saw, and a 10” compound miter saw. I know that there’s a few more pieces that I need/want before I can start really being productive, and I’ve heard rumors that there’s at least a router in my near future…

As the first step in my journey into the world of woodworking, I have started signing up for classes at the Connecticut School of Woodworking, which is held at the Woodcraft retail store in Manchester, CT. While I’m just finishing up my second week of classes, I have already found the class, and the instructor, Bob Van Dyke, to be incredibly instructive, not just on technique, but design and safety as well.

The first class that I am taking is “Fundamentals of Furniture Making I” The piece that we are creating in this class is a walnut jewelry box with a hinged lid and a sliding inset tray. So far, it’s all been working with the jointer, planer, and table saw to cut the pieces for the carcase and the legs.

I’ll have pictures in my next entry, after tonight’s class (have to pull them off of my iPhone).

-- Jeff Kochosky, Professional Novice Woodworker...

7 comments so far

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3046 days

#1 posted 09-25-2008 04:27 PM

Welcome aboard. You are perched atop a very slippery slope. Make sure to enjoy the ride down ;-)

The tool selection really depends on what you want to do. My project list is heavy on tables right now. In this instance a router is a handy tool, but I find myself reaching for handsaws, handplanes, and chisels far more often so I would recommend those items come first. Even with a good selection of power tools I find that the hand tools are much less prone to error on joinery.

That said if you want to dive right into cabinetry then the router will be indispensable. Kind of hard to do rail and stile doors by hand. Even worse the tools to do it would run in excess of the router and bit set. Only a truly masochistic galoot would want to go this fully neanderthal in technique.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3174 days

#2 posted 09-25-2008 04:28 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks!

Looking forward to seeing your projects and hearing about your classes!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View woodchips's profile


235 posts in 3383 days

#3 posted 09-25-2008 08:21 PM

honestly this is more a treacherous precipice than a slippery slope, but have no fear, it is a wonderful (and ahem…expensive) ride down. and yes, welcome to Lumberjocks!


-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 3486 days

#4 posted 09-25-2008 10:53 PM

sweet, and you couldn’t hardly pick a better first project, lots of detail work in a jewelry box, you cover all the fundamentals, and in the end your supportive significant other gets something out of it too.

Welcome aboard!

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3036 days

#5 posted 09-26-2008 01:47 PM

I have table saw, and miter saw, and a grinder and sander and scrollsaw in my garage. An old workbench that was already in the basement and I do a lot with hand tools. Saws to chisels. My only router right now is a trim router. I need a router table and router. I have an old Dremet but that now has a Pet Nail trim attachment on it.

I think the nest tool is the New Dremel and the planer attachment. Would be useful on box building and cabinet edge planing.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5300 posts in 3131 days

#6 posted 09-27-2008 11:36 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks…you realize that you will never have all the tools you need eh? The course sounds interesting.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3579 days

#7 posted 09-29-2008 06:08 PM

welcome to LJ :)
Careful of these guys.. they’ll be enticing you to buy and buy and buy… :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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