Making things too hard sometimes. Simple is the way to go.

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Forum topic by AngieO posted 04-26-2013 03:38 AM 1352 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1267 posts in 2176 days

04-26-2013 03:38 AM

Back last summer when I started acquiring my tools I also came across some magazines and books. I was able to get some from the library but was also able to pick up some woodworking books from the local used book store for pretty much nothing. (I traded in a bunch of my moms romance novels that I would never read). I looked through every single one of the magazines and books last summer. I pretty much haven’t touched them since.

Well… as I’ve been getting my shop set up and as I’ve been working on little projects here and there I’ve been thinking of jigs and things to make things easier. I think that I’ve been over thinking things and just making things too difficult.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been feeling kinda sick. So I pulled out those old magazines and books and have been browsing them. Tonight I picked up an issue of Wood magazine. It’s the November 2008 issue. In this issue they have an article called “22 All-time Top Shop Tips”. Each one is simple enough. But some just made me say DUH!!!!! Out of 22…. only four of them are things that don’t pertain to what I’d do. Of course… last August… none of them probably made sense to me. LOL

Just thought I’d ramble away about nothing important. I’m done now. Gotta get some sleep. I think I’m going to pick up another load of wood tomorrow. :)

Oh… BTW… if anyone wants to know any of the top 22 shop tips… let me know :) Gotta say that clamping a speed square to your band saw as a quick fence is my favorite. My band saw doesn’t have a fence and that’s going to work wonderfully for me. :) (simple… no jig required. DUH!)

Have a good weekend!

18 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2036 days

#1 posted 04-26-2013 12:21 PM

I have some wood working magazines that date back to the 70’s. Most of them I kept because they had some article or project that I had visions of doing back before I ever had a workshop. I’ve looked thru several in the past few years and found some good tips. Now that I’m nearing retirement in a couple years, these reference materials are gonna come in handy.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3346 days

#2 posted 04-26-2013 12:56 PM

I was thinking about this subject just yesterday – and things like clamping a speed square to a BS table. It seems that, as I develop my woodworking skills and build experience, I find the best solutions and techniques are often the simplest. When I started I thought everything in the Rockler catalog was an essential.

There’s a whole industry out there that takes the simple solutions, adds some razzle, and then markets them as must-haves (the super-deluxe, titanium bandsaw fence system).

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2943 days

#3 posted 04-26-2013 01:01 PM

This is great Angie. The older mags definitely come in handy. I was fortunate to be given a +20yr collection from a friend’s deceased father WW’r. Then I got an additional 10yr set of WOOD mag from a fellow LJ member so I now have +25yr and missing only #1 issue. That said, it is great to have an accessible personal library of WW information. A personal opinion, is that the older WW plans for projects appear to be/have more traditional joinery methods and material requirements, and the ‘newer’ plans seem to have more shortcuts. In other words, IMO these plans are approaching or going in the direction (ever so slightly) of becoming IKEA-ized.

BTW, this collection that is now mine, has many books that were sold by the “Friends of the Austin Library”, so your idea of hitting up the old and used book stores is a good one. Also check your local libraries in the area and find out when they hold their own “sales” and such.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3154 days

#4 posted 04-26-2013 01:11 PM

Funny that you say you over think things. When I first started I was obsessed with being perfect all the time. I would stay awake at night thinking about the small tasks and needed set-ups I needed to finish before I could move on the large projects which earned that reward of a finished piece. I would read every book I could find, and thanks to working in a second hand store right after college, I have a huge collection of woodworking mags. I thought I had to do all those things.. learn the all the tools, make all the cool stuff to have a functioning shop.

Eventually the list of jigs, storage shelves, cans of nails to sort, logs to clean, chisels to sharpen, saws to true up…. so many things that I honestly did not realize it was going to take so much time just to have the best studio space. I put way too much pressure on myself to get “up to speed” and I almost closed up shop a few times. I tried using assistants, but I found myself still updating the studio one day a week, while they cleaned or sorted wood.

Looking back, I did not need half of the set-ups that i made for myself…. but in reality I do enjoy my studio so much and the skills I earned from the self imposed pressure… well both has made the last two years so productive and happy, and I am proud of my studio. Now I am in search of a new studio space, but this time I know what is important and what is a luxury.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

10548 posts in 3457 days

#5 posted 04-26-2013 02:05 PM

Building jigs is half the fun of any project. Some jigs I’ve found in magazines are way over the top for me, though.
Wood, Shop Notes and Woodsmith seem to adhere to the KISS philosophy, however.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2176 days

#6 posted 04-26-2013 02:25 PM

I agree that making jigs is lots of fun. I just don’t like getting caught thinking I can’t do a project till I get that “shap made band saw fence” made… When I could clamp and dang speed square down and get it done. Lol.

Lol… One of the books I have is “Jigs, Fixtures and Shop Furniture”. It was one of the books I basically picked up for free at the second hand book store. I didn’t even open it. I just read the title and put it in my stack. I love jigs and will always want to make them. But sometimes… You just need to stop over thinking and go with easy. Lol

HorizontalMike… That sounds like an awesome collection. I was given 9 issues of Woodsmith. I think that if I asked they’d give me the rest. I realized after I left that the friend didn’t realize how serious I am about woodworking. He probably has stacks of them. And isn’t really interested anymore.
I plan to build on my small collection

Most of the Magazines are from the late 90’s when I first started getting interested. I went no where then. The Wood magazines I have are from 2011, except a few I got back in the 90’s.

Because I never actually did anything till last summer, most of the plans I’ve looked at were more modern. It was very interesting that now that my skill has developed (only slightly though, lol), I see the plans differently and they aren’t so intimidating.

Joein10asee… I bet some of the 70’s furniture is pretty cool.

Mark… I’m definitely drawn in by the razzle dazzle… But while I’m on the budget I’m currently on… Speed square to the bs table is what I need to be focusing on so that I can have more finished projects :)

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3346 days

#7 posted 04-26-2013 02:33 PM

Angie, I’m attracted by the razzle dazzle, too. And I’ll watch a manufacturer’s or retailer’s video showing how easy the thing is to use, and how much better the results. And I gotta have it.

My wife and I have the good fortune of owning a vacation/retirement home in northern Indiana, right in the middle of Amish country. Every once in a while I’ll have the opportunity to peek into one of the woodworking shops in that area and watch them work. Pretty simple stuff.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Grumpymike's profile


2263 posts in 2344 days

#8 posted 04-26-2013 03:43 PM

Just to amplify your perusing thoes mags … When I moved from Kansas City to Arizona, we had to lighten the load … alot … or hire two moving vans.
All of the tools made it onto the truck, and a good share of the wood collection, (and furniture of course) but the library had to be pared down to one medium box. saddly I had to pass on to others some 200 issues of Wood, Woodsmith and many others. I did buy the CD’s so that I would still lhave all the info … But alas, just ain’t the same as thumbing through the paper copies.
As for your bandsaw fence, I used a streight board clamped to the table for many years till I built the one I now use on the drill press and BS.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2943 days

#9 posted 04-26-2013 03:49 PM

+10 on having hard copy mags and books. Even with that though, I still scan the pages of the project of choice so that I can mark it up. Got to keep the mags in top shape! ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29406 posts in 2367 days

#10 posted 04-26-2013 04:07 PM

VERY often we over think problems . You are also correct about understanding. Now that you have worked with the tools and encountered the problems, you understand the reason for the jig.

Continued advancement. Get well soon.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2176 days

#11 posted 04-26-2013 04:41 PM

Feeling better already and looking forward to the weekend.

Even being the tech person that I am… I’d MUCH rather have a catalog/book than look at it online.

Yikes… 200+ issues..? It’s good to pass them down. I’m a bit of a pack rat myself. Which is why I still have the magazines I bought in 1994. lol Glad I kept them. I’ve never been one to stick to the old rule of “if you haven’t touched it in 6 months throw it out”. Almost 20 years later and those books and magazines are coming in pretty handy.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3000 days

#12 posted 04-26-2013 05:45 PM

I don’t know how others feel about it but I especially like Shop Notes magazine.
They tend to have more projects for the shop and I like the way they will usually put something in the project that they know is going to be something or some method you never tried before. Then they will and break it out with more detailed explanations.

I always feel like I’m learning new skills I’ll need later when I build something for the shop from projects in this mag.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2176 days

#13 posted 04-26-2013 05:52 PM

I’ve never seen any Shop Notes. I’ll keep that in mind.

Guess what I did today? While making some sawdust in the shop today… I used several of the tips that were in the “top 22”. Guess which I used first? Had no need to do anything on the BS today… but just for the heck of it I pulled out a piece of scrap an my speed square…. LOL! It was the first thing I did when I walked into my shop.

Yes… as time goes by you will learn that I’m a bit nutty… and very easily amused. Loved it! Still going to build myself a fence… but I love the quick an easy of it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29406 posts in 2367 days

#14 posted 04-26-2013 10:28 PM

I don’t think you’re nutty at all. I am not sure what my therapist would say though. :-)

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2719 days

#15 posted 04-27-2013 02:29 AM

Angie, If you liked those others, you will LOVE Shop Notes. No ads and tons of jigs, tips, and techniques.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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