Newbie's introductory post & first question (sorry if it's too general)...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Millo posted 01-20-2010 04:40 PM 1466 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3103 days

01-20-2010 04:40 PM


18 replies so far

View 1978's profile


167 posts in 3662 days

#1 posted 01-20-2010 05:07 PM

Well, first off, welcome to LJ’s. I think you will find this site very help and very inspirational.

As for your question, I would say this:

Get the tools you need for your first project. Start from there, but my other advise is to buy new. I know you said you are a “poor musician” but you also said you know little about woodworking. Buying used power tools is a bad idea for a new woodworker because you don’t know how it is supposed to run. With new tools, you will have a manual and costumer sopport. When I first started in woodworking, I went to a pawn shop and found (what I thoght was) a “good deal” on a bandsaw. After reading up on it, I found a lot of parts (safety parts) missing. By the time I found all the parts I needed, I could have bought a new one.

So that is my two cents, take it for what its worth.

Welcome once again.

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3701 days

#2 posted 01-20-2010 05:11 PM

sounds like you’ve got your hands full… or will soon ;)

it’s hard to tell which tool to buy first as each one of us has different needs. if you plan on making end tables, and cabinets – a table saw will be a good addition at one point, but to start off and make the bass traps, this might not be necessary, and you can just use a hand saw (cross cut saw) or have the lumber milled to size at the big box store.

I would recommend to get a good square, some quality measuring and marking tools (gauges, straight edge, marking knife, etc) this will always come into play regardless of whether you cut things yourself or not.

then, just take it day by day, and when you hit a point in your project where you need an additional tool – go get that one to get you going.

good luck, and looking forward to seeing those things being built. I too hope to make some sound blocks eventually when we buy our house and have a dedicated entertainment room. thanks for the reminder :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3291 days

#3 posted 01-20-2010 05:12 PM

I second that Sharon,

I think that the Table saw will be necessary soon or later, and that will be my next purchase if I was you.

Look at the Ridgid R4511 currently being discontinued and its on sale $299, great saw, great features, great price for a full size saw that will last many years with proper care.

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3579 days

#4 posted 01-20-2010 05:33 PM

Welcome to LJ and if you are here you were meant to be here, You ARE a woodworker!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3398 days

#5 posted 01-20-2010 05:55 PM

Hi Millo and welcome to LJ.

Starting from square 1… how intimidating that must seem. I was there myself a few years ago. For me I was concerned about investing in a bunch of tools, and then getting bored with wood working.

Start with a book !

This book is a good level one book. It teaches you enough to get started, and has a few simple projects that each develop a new skill.

As for tools, I am going to say to get a miter saw, and a set of chisels (you can get a set of decent Marples chisels at HD for about $25).

The reason I say miter saw is because you can buy milled lumber at HD, and get it at or near the width you want. HD lumber is not ideal, but getting for getting started it will save you a lot of frustration. The miter saw will give you the ability to cut your wood to length. If you decide to bailout on woodworking, the miter saw will still be a much needed tool for any home owner.

Back to the book… It will teach you how to buy wood, the importance of and how to sharpen chisels, and will start you with a box building project that will get your feet wet. You can probably find the book in your library. Even if you don’t build all the projects in the book, it will get you out of the gate and set you on the right path.

Good luck. I look forward to seeing your first project.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3103 days

#6 posted 01-20-2010 07:31 PM

Thanks so much everyone for the suggestions and motivation! Sadly, I won’t be able to get the table saw and.or miter saw just yet, but it’s definitely there on my list—thanks for that.

magicman, YES! I know, I already thought about the whole no-manual thing. Ugh! I have a lot of CAREFUL study of these strange artifacts this Saturday.

Paul, what miter saw would you suggest? I will look up that book around here this weekend or Friday morning. Yes, this seems EXTREMELY intimidating.

PurpLev, are there specific accurate measuring tools/squares/marking tools, etc. you can suggest? This together w/ some goggles, gloves (I need them in general for working around in order not to irritate my hands right before playing, etc.) and maybe a finish might make up my next woodworking supplies receipt. Engineer’s squares? A smaller adjustable T-square? Combination square? What’s the name for those thinggies that look like adjustable try squares used for copying angles?

I know it would help to show you a design (which I still do not have but that I’ll draw tomorrow night) for the little shelf that’ll go between our sinks in order to help me with this, but I was wondering:

What wood is fine to go in a bathroom sink, where it is exposed to moisture and might get wet occasionally, or more than occasionally? Also, what kind of finish? The dimensions will be about 10”W x 4”D x 8-1/2”H… not sure if it’ll be just legs and shelf, or if it’ll have a base, etc.

Also, I do think I’ll want to go ahead and make that wall-mounted mail sorter right after this, REGARDLESS OF LEVEL OF “SUCCESS” with my first project—I’m a bit OCD and a bit ADD, but I’m a musician, which means I’m perseverant, LOL! Are there any plans available online for free for something like this, where I could take basic ideas from? I sort of have a basic, “dull” design in my head right now, and accurate measurement tools like PurpLev suggested would be crucial in the project, but I’m thinking I might avoid angled cut on the edges of the retainer (front) boards for the moment.

I assume many of those ^ questions are answered in a basic woodworking book. ;-) So, sorry if so many questions seem annoying.

NEXT QUESTION: I have a Home Depot, Lowe’s and this lumberyard: all within a ~5 mi radius (lumber place is closest, yay!). On Saturday afternoon, as soon as I’m done w/ morning lessons, I’ll go out on a quest to get materials for this non-fine-woodworking micro-mini shelf for the bathroom, LOL! There’s a Woodcraft in S Austin but I’d rather not travel all that much—have a lot to do that day! WHERE CAN I GET THE HIGHEST-QUALITY MEASURING TOOLS AT THE BEST PRICES, GENERALLY? At Office Depot or Jerry’s Artarama? J/k!

I will post my first projects here, however “ghetto” or “guerrilla” or “faux-rustic” they come out.

Thanks everyone!

View Cher's profile


962 posts in 3146 days

#7 posted 01-20-2010 07:51 PM

Hi Millo welcome to LJ’s. I started woodworking with only a router, ruler and pencil oh I forgot to mention a cheap sanding machine. The router was used to do everything even cut the lumber. Dont worry before you know it you will know what you want, I agree with magicman, dont buy second hand.
Once again welcome

-- When you know better you do better.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3253 days

#8 posted 01-20-2010 08:35 PM

Welcome to LJ’s, Millo. You have quite a list of projects for a “Newbie”. Really though, that’s all you need, a list of projects and the desire to learn. Glad your here, lots to see and learn from.
I agree with what magicman and Cher both have said, but with one other thing in mind. Sometimes buying used, you only inherit someone else’s problems. You have to be very careful.
Factory reconditioned is a different story. They usually sell for less than new but come with a full factory warranty. This company recovers tools used at shows for demos, are licensed by the manufacturer to go through them, replace anything suspect and then resell at a discount with a factory warranty. They also sell new too, but generally at a discount.

2 yrs. ago, I picked up a 17” 16 speed Tradesman Floor style drill press for $100.00 dollars. The box had been opened but it was still packed in its protective coating and had never been assembled. It had shipping tags on it that stated it came from an Orlando Convention. Tyler gave it a full 1 yr. factory warranty. Just keep your eyes peeled. You may not buy the tools you want in the exact order you think you should get them in.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Russ's profile


357 posts in 3130 days

#9 posted 01-20-2010 08:45 PM


I agree with PurpleLev getting some good measuring tools and I’ve found Harbor Freight to be a good deal. They are up near north Austin. However you can watch for sales at the big box stores too. I’ve not done business with Fine Lumber yet but I’ve read good things about them and they are much cheaper than Lowes or Home Depot. I plan on using them for an upcoming project. I’ve had good experience with buying used power tools but I also understood what to look for when buying them.

Also getting a book is a great idea and your local library might be a great free resource for a book to do some reading. Also, Half-price books has some good books at less than 10 bucks. Since they are all over Austin it’s an easy to visit resource. I would recommend checking out videos on the web about various techniques. There are so many talented woodworkers that share their knowledge on the web.

Just my thoughts.

-- Russ

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4074 days

#10 posted 01-20-2010 10:51 PM

I recommend you first go to your local library and take out some how to books on various woodworking applications. You will soon see what tools are used and hopefully a project you could tackle once you have acquired the proper tools.
You have a lifetime to accumulate the tools you want so take some time at the onset to set you compass for your journey.
If the books don’t explain what you need come and talk with us here.
We can often help.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3701 days

#11 posted 01-20-2010 11:02 PM

Milo, I would start with a combination square as it is what it’s name suggest – combination of different squares into one tool. it’ll help you measure for square, 45 miters, rule, and a good all around marking tool (sliding square). I have found that the higher marked up squares are machined better and work better, but I have also found that Empire combination squares found at HD are accurate enough for WW, do a good job, and are affordable. you can get the 12” version (for general layout work) and the 6” version (for joinery and smaller scale work) and not break the bank.

a carpenter square is nice to have or a large T square, but It really depends on your methods, I rarely use my carpenter square.

you can use an exacto knife for marking your work, but a dedicated marking knife will work much much better as it will not slide around or break free from your intended line.

goggles are good when working with power tools, any cheap clear goggles that cover your eyes from flying chips will do the trick.

gloves are generally not considered safe to wear while working with power tools as the spinning blade/bit can grab it and pull your fingers/hands into it causing more damage. if you must wear gloves – I recommend using the fingerless gloves (found at HD/Lowes) which will let you keep the tactile sense in your fingers while working with the wood, and also help keep the finger area clear of the gloves for a tad bit of safery.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3542 days

#12 posted 01-21-2010 12:35 AM

Welcome to LJ’s! DOn’t forget the safety equipment, like Pruplev said, googles, but also dust mask, gloves, and hearing protection.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3103 days

#13 posted 01-21-2010 06:20 AM

Thanks everyone for the tips! I might hit the public library Friday morning, get the measuring tools, goggles, maybe wood, etc. on Saturday. I’ll revisit this topic to review. Russ: thanks for your letting me know what you you’ve heard about Fine Lumber.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3121 days

#14 posted 01-21-2010 06:39 AM

I’m fairly new here myself, but I’ve been woodworking as a hobby as well as professionally for over 30 years. I’m going to suggest that you listen to your wife and start with that ACC course. You’ll probably start at the most basic level, but you’ll have access to – and instruction on – what is probably a very well equiped woodshop.

Waste some wood on birdhouses or whatever and figure out if your even like the smell of sawdust. By the time you’ve taken a course or two, you’ll know whether you want to take it up – and you’ll have some hands on experience to help you start buying tools. Buying tools BTW, is one the most powerful addictions known. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3103 days

#15 posted 01-21-2010 10:10 PM

For the moment I SADLY need to put the idea of the ACC woodworking course aside for time-restraint and financial reasons. If I take classes/lessons this semester it’ll be on graphic arts—drawing, painting (watercolors as that might serve me better for acoustical reasons—these MIGHT be fine on an acoustical absorber, depending on implementation and absorber location/application)—, sound engineering/production and/or jazz improv. Notice I wrote “IF”. Too much to deal with ;-). I do plan to sleep 5 maybe 4 hrs every night for at least the first half of the year, LOL!

I like the idea of a book + measuring tools. My wife just got me a “handyman skills” book, but it’s not detailed enough on CERTAIN woodworking topics. I do plan to use it for general info, and have already learned a bit about tools with it—thus far it’s been helpful, yet your “second opinions” are HIGHLY valued, and actually I’ve already gotten so much info from you—reading around this site—, and looking at internet vids that this “general info” book seems good as reference and as a complement. So for the moment the list is: woodworking book, combination square, goggles (already have decent hearing protection), some sort of marking gauge or knife… should I add a plane and/or coping saw and/or detail saw? What glue? What finish for the bathroom thingamajiggy?

Has anyone tried a “tri-scribe”? It’s apparently a tool that attaches to a combination square or try-square, to turn them into marking tools, etc…: ...crappy? Good intentions, bad performance? Only good for people who really know what they’re doing?

I think I am going to start practicing on dovetails as soon as possible, maybe within a few weeks, maybe sooner, to develop the skill in a smooth fashion. Should I get chisel(s), plane, coping saw and detail saw? Should I practice on poplar or balsa? What is generally cheaper “practice” wood?

Notottoman: I see your point. As a musician, I see beginner and intermediate-level musicians paying too much attention to, or giving “gear” too much importance over skill when it comes to tone-production and smooth playing. Not to say I’m awesome, but more than once I have had people grab a guitar I just played and wonder if there’s something wrong with it because “now it sounds crappy”. The cure is almost always the same: PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THAT RIGHT HAND, ADJUST ANGLE OF ATTACK!...etc… I am fine with the idea of starting with “beginner’s” tools, but I definitely see the point of buying new vs. used—thanks for bringing that up.

Right now this is the schedule:
1)LATE TONIGHT when I arrive home—design/plan “sinktop” shelf.

2)Friday—look up the suggested book(s) in public libraries and Half-Price Books (a TX used-book chain). Call certain local retailers for availability/prices on certain tools.

3)Saturday—Get necessary tools and wood, read book and look up manuals for used tools, etc. TOO MUCH OTHER STUFF TO WORK ON to actually try any woodworking that day.


5)Monday—SOMEHOW start my little “sinktop” shelf/hutch project, or at least start “practicing” for it.

6)Sometime this year: finish at least one project, LOL!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics