Beginning down the path of wood working #1: Starting Out...

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Blog entry by Mat posted 03-05-2008 10:36 PM 3023 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve always looked at furniture, cabinets and misc things made of wood and said to myself…I could make that. Watching The Wood Whisperer podcasts and NYW really has inspired me to finally get into woodworking. Now that I have a bit more time and a little space to actually start trying to make things myself I find that I’m a bit lost as to where to actually start. What tools do I need? How should I plan it out? How should I make it?...etc

So I’ve come up with a short list of things I’d like to make, but more importantly learn on. My first project will be a router table. Secondly, I’ll be building some cabinets / shelves in the shop with the new router and router table. Thirdly, I’ll make some jigs and misc boxes to store tools and other items. At least if I mess something up for the shop, my wife won’t say anything bad :)

For now, I’ve got a few basic tools: Clamps, Circular Saw, Jig saw, Orbital Sander / Finish Sander, Belt Sander and a Dremel. The next tool I plan to purchase a router. From what I’m reading, this is the tool that can do most things I’ll need from the start until I can get a table saw such as dado’s, edgeing and joints. I’ll be reading reviews and topics to figure out which one to get and what bits I should start out with. This of course leads into what will be my first project, a router table.

I’ve see a lot of cool router tables on this site that other jocks have built and I can’t wait to make my own. The most common plan I see that people went with is the NYW deluxe routing table. I like what Norm did and from reading the blogs and projects that others have there are a lot of things I can do to the router table in the way of dust collection and mobility that I’ll definitely be looking into. My first step in this project will be to purchase the plans and figure out the hardware, tools and lumber I’ll need.

Stay tuned…

10 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3761 days

#1 posted 03-05-2008 10:39 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. Good luck and have fun building your workshop.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3982 days

#2 posted 03-05-2008 10:44 PM

A router and table are very versatile tools. Let us know how you are doing.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3812 days

#3 posted 03-05-2008 11:17 PM

Having a list of what you want to build is a great way to start woodworking because it lets you slowly acquire the proper tools that suit your need and style. Keep us posted and welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Thuan

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3758 days

#4 posted 03-05-2008 11:23 PM

One word of caution on building your own router table. It can get extremely expensive and very time consumeing to build a good one. I don’t know that I’d ever do it again.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#5 posted 03-05-2008 11:36 PM

A router and table are a good start. Just build your tool inventory a little at a time as budget allows. This way you can learn the nuances of each tool as you go.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mat's profile


9 posts in 3728 days

#6 posted 03-05-2008 11:39 PM

Thanks everyone.

Woodchuck – Would you recommend buying parts of the router table such as the top rather than making them or the whole thing? How expensive is it to build your own table? Aside from lumber there is the hardware which I have seen can get expensive.

View Yettiman's profile


163 posts in 3732 days

#7 posted 03-06-2008 01:26 AM


As a newbie myself, I can say the welcome and support I have reciieved have been great. You’ll love it here. Your plan seems like a good one, and I wish you every success

-- Keep your tools sharp, your mind sharper and the coffee hot

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3758 days

#8 posted 03-06-2008 06:21 AM

Well Mat, I figure I have about $500 into mine includeing a new router that was $150. You can spent alot more, but I wouldn’t recommend spending much less. And thats not includeing the time it will take you to put it all together once you decide on the parts you want.

View GusRod's profile


29 posts in 3743 days

#9 posted 03-06-2008 10:50 AM

Hi Mat,

You might also consider this: Over time, tools happen …. As you get into it, you will buy this, then that … and so on … until you run out of space, money or sanity (not necessarily in that order). I think sanity was my first loss but then space came close behind and although money is sometimes meager there are always other things I can do without …. LOL.

I was looking at a very old Norm Abrams video the other day and it struck me that the one tool that he has used with virtually every project he’s done is a table saw. I didn’t always have one, but once I got my first (an old Craftsman contractor saw) I realized what I had been missing. You don’t need the most expensive saw, but try to get a decent one or you will end up spending almost as much to retrofit it with a good fence system, outfeed table, etc.

Another suggestion is: Don’t skimp on saw blades. It can make a world of difference in the long run.

Ok. ‘Nuff said. Good luck, have fun and welcome.


-- Nothing says "I love you" like a new saw blade.

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4045 days

#10 posted 03-06-2008 02:48 PM

Welcome and you may find that once you have begun down this road that is no turning back. Have fun and ask questions.

-- Hope Never fails

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