I’ve been reading blogs, woodworking blogs (go figure . right?) and they all eventually have a list of “what you need to start up” in woodworking. most are on the theme of you only need this $100 dollar saw and this $75 dollar marking gauge and and $ and $ $$$.
STOP!!! (insert sound of record scratching hear) just stop.
take a deep breath.
tools you may already have around the house or apartment, that can also be used to make furniture projects.
tools (if you don’t already have them) that may be useful around the house that can also be used for woodworking projects.
can I make any of these tools myself?
you may have a saw, if not, any of the ones from the local hardware/lumber store can get you started.
the “hard tooth” ones stay sharp longer but cannot be resharpened, the Japanese style ones make really good smooth cuts but are very difficult to sharpen and very easy to ruin. ANY SAW can get you started. buy the expensive one later.
it is sometimes useful to have a small block plane or smoothing plane around the house. to trim a sticking door or smooth a damaged moulding. the cheaper block planes are more difficult to use. the Japanese style planes really need a couple of years of practice before you manage to get them set right. for starting out: sometimes sandpaper (which can do all of a plane’s smoothing jobs) is what you need to keep the costs down.
A cordless drill is very useful for hanging pictures, curtains, anything you need a hole or a screw for. also can be used for any hole making in your woodworking. OR a brace w/ bits (you can get holders for modern screw tips)
a 15’ (3m) tape measure can do all of your measuring. (and is handy to have for measuring that space to see if the couch you want to buy will fit)
layout and marking tools: you can make them all yourself, gauges, squares, straight edges, bevels, all that , make em yourself. (search the webs, or ask me)
you probably need one to start. a 1/2” or a 1/4” (please do not use it for a screwdriver)
see what I said about drilling
most people have a 12 or 16 oz claw hammer around for the occasional nail or picture hanger. 16 oz is good for most small nails you might use. you only need a 20 or 24 oz hammer if you are driving a lot of 16 and 20 d nails.
Even if you run right out and buy all of this stuff today it should cost less than $100. (yes it can cost you $10,000.00 if you want it to. )
I have a list of tools that I hand out to my students that are all useful to have even if you never make another project. I call it my “tools with which you can make anything” or “everything you need to make anything” list it is @ 20 tools long. maybe next post.
So what are you waiting for?
Money? no really you don’t need that expensive tool. get a better saw when what you are doing justifies the expense (if you “wear out” a tool making things I’d say that the expense of a better tool was justified).
Keep It Simple Sam
-- Kai SaerPren