I am new to woodworking and would like some advice

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Forum topic by therookie posted 08-29-2010 09:14 PM 1620 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3032 days

08-29-2010 09:14 PM

Hi my name is Adam and I am 15 years old and i have just started taking a serious look at woodworking as a full time profession. I have a few questions that I am trying to find answers to.
1. I have a 10” radial arm saw, 6” jointer, A drill press and a scroll saw. do i need anything else???
2. What size shop should i build if i want to get started?
3. Where can i sell the numorous projects I have built?
4. Anything else i need to know?


21 replies so far

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3693 days

#1 posted 08-29-2010 09:28 PM

Adam, First welcome to Lumberjocks, fun, full of information and a great place to make new and lasting friendships!

Sounds like you are off to a good start with the equipment you’ve got. I started out with a lot less, I just kept adding tools whenever I could afford too. Do ever let the lack of tools limit what you want to do, a lot of GREAT things have been built with very few tools.

Its not the size of your shop that counts, its the size of your imagination!

There are all sorts of places to sell your craft, word of mouth is a very powerful thing. You also have several good online sources as well, from and

Last and MOST important, STAY SAFE!

-- James

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3032 days

#2 posted 08-29-2010 09:37 PM

Thanks for the reply and i have learned about saftey already i am just about done healing from geting two finger tips off on my wood jointer due to not using push blocks


View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3365 days

#3 posted 08-29-2010 09:50 PM


Tell us what why WW, and what you want to build. A planer usually complements a jointer. Not knowing what your plans are, a table saw might be a next tool to purchase. It is usually the center of a workshop but it doesn’t have to be. I’d also suggest a mini lathe at some point. It might be a tool you might enjoy to express your creativity. Pens are probably a first project on it but it can come in REAL handy as an aid in the shop for making tool handles & knobs for your other work. I’ve prob. made more money with my lathe than any other single tool. Tell us more of what your goals are.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3265 days

#4 posted 08-29-2010 10:05 PM

Do you have hand tools like chisels, hand plane, clamps, combination square, hammer, etc…..
Do you know how to sharpen tools?
Do you have a workbench?
Have you taking woodworking classes?

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3667 days

#5 posted 08-29-2010 10:12 PM

Does your high school still offer woodshop? If so, get in. If not, look for a local community college and you might be able to get in to one of the night classes. You might also talk to some of the local cabinet shops and see if there is anyone they know of in the area that teaches. Also, if you have a Woodcraft store locally they will also offer classes.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3732 days

#6 posted 08-29-2010 10:26 PM

You’ve learned a good lesson already.
The radial arm saw can do many cut for a good woodworker, but it’s a temperamental, dangerous piece of equipment. Be sure to learn how to properly use each tool. It’s not always as straight forward as it appears.
Keep sharp blades and tools. It’s safer that way. Dull tools are dangerous.
Learn to let the machines work at their capacity. Don’t force your work. Patience and a well thought out process are your best friends.
Maybe at first just keep your projects to tools you have available and as you progress you’ll see what tools you need to do the projects you like to work best.
Careful being sold expensive cool tools that you might really not need. Many craftsmen worked years without power tools.
Good luck, have fun…...............

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3279 days

#7 posted 08-29-2010 10:38 PM

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is to rush into buying tools too quickly. You feel like you need to have one of everything, your budget is limited and you end up buying cheap tools that are certain to disappoint eventually. You don’t need real expensive tools, but you should also avoid the real cheap tools. You’ll get pretty good tool advice on this board.

Regarding the tools you currently so not have. Without a planner, you will be very limited in what kind of lumber you can work with. You really can’t work with rough sawn lumber and fully finished lumber is quite expense. I would encourage you to give up on the RAS and get a good table saw. However, you can probably postpone that for a while and get by with the RAS for now. I would put a router high your priority list and you need some sanding capability. A good random orbital sander will get you started well.

In my opinion, 400 square feet is a good size for a “full purpose” shop with a complete set of the most common tools. I invite you to look at the pictures of my shop on this site. It’s just shy of 400 square feet.

It’s very hard to sell stuff on your own. You should look for a place that you can sell on consignment.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3032 days

#8 posted 08-30-2010 01:11 AM

Well I do have a bunch of hand tools and know how to sharpen them and stuff like that. I am drawing up plans for a 7 piece cherry dinning room set and will put pics of the progress as it goes. My highschool does not offer woodshop which I dont like but I dont have much say in it. I really do want a planer and would settle for a lunch box planer but my dad has a say in it and he would like me to wait and buy a powermatic 24” planer with the internal grinder for about $4,000 used but i guess it can wait. I am buying rough sawn lumber from a tree company that has a planer and planes it for me but i dont feel right having them do so much work and not charging me extra. But I dont know i want to build this dinning set.


View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3667 days

#9 posted 08-30-2010 02:46 AM

4K for the Powermatic is a rip off. The 24 is a great planer and with a little patience one should be able to find one for under a grand. The knife grinders are a little harder to come by however. If you can find one complete I would expect it to fetch in the neighborhood of 2K. Another option until you have a planer would be to find a cabimet shop that will surface the lumber for you. They will probably charge a little, .10-.25 a bf depending on how much you have to surface. You might also see if there is a LJ member in your area that can help you out

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3188 days

#10 posted 08-30-2010 03:49 AM

Welcome Adam, What you decide to make will determine a lot of answers to some of your questions. Learning to use what you have will certainly help you to discover what tool additions you will need for the type of different work you want to perform. It sounds like you have a pretty good start already. Doing this as a profession will require you to examine the market interest in your area as for the type of projects to build and where to sell them. This will help you to also determine the size shop you would need to make the projects for your market base. As a hobbyist I am able to work in a much smaller space that if I were doing it for a profession. At 15 I certainly admire your ambition, and would think maybe an apprenticeship in a cabinet or furniture shop would prove very beneficial in aiding you in the knowledge you seek to gain a profitable adventure in the profession of woodworking. I look forward to seeing the projects you make and would like to see the dining set when its finished.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3885 days

#11 posted 08-30-2010 03:59 AM

respect your tools, and they will respect you…

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3264 days

#12 posted 08-30-2010 04:44 AM


It looks like you have already been given some very good advice. My youngest son is 15 and he enjoys working in my shop with me. The thing that I like most of all is that my son enjoys working with hand tools. He knows how to use the table saw, band saw, scroll saw, router table and miter saw as well. He recently started a project using hand tools only, just to see if he could. He can saw faster and straighter with a hand saw than I can. Like what has been said above, use your imagination and stay safe. Respect those tools. They can hurt you badly, but if you use them correctly, you can do some really cool things with them. Also, most of all, have fun.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3346 posts in 3314 days

#13 posted 08-30-2010 05:02 AM

If you’re looking to make big stuff, there are blogs around here where the guys show how to hand plane huge planks into submission as tabletops, for instance. Look around this place, there is some serious talent here. Check out the blogs, get some learning. I was lucky enough to go to a school (in the ‘60s) where wood, metal, printing, drafting, etc., were offered. I took them all, but only use them as a hobby now- except the drafting. I use drafting as part of my mechanical profession, and of course, I use it for wood projects.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3032 days

#14 posted 08-30-2010 02:53 PM

Thanks again for all of the advice everyone


View mnguy's profile


201 posts in 3603 days

#15 posted 08-30-2010 03:38 PM

My advice mirrors much other Jocks have given – make sure you have some decent basic hand tools; chisels, hand saw, a good block plane. And, make sure you have accurate measuring and marking tools and you know how to verify their accuracy. Things like a good metal ruler, a small machinist square, etc. give you a good foundation of accuracy.

Also, learn / practice sketching and drawing – a good plan leads to a good materials list and cut list, which minimizes wasted material and time, reduces setups (which improves fit between parts) and helps prevent needing ONE more board to finish a project and you can’t find one with good color and grain match :)

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