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Thread: Beginner Lessons Learned

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Beginner Lessons Learned

    Hi all:

    I wasn't sure where to post this, so I hope here is okay. I thought that for the beginners among us who are lurking in the background and reluctant to say much fearing to appear dumb, it might be useful to share some lessons learned over these last few days.

    First a couple of photos. Sawdust, to prove I actually did something, and a first pathetic little soon-to-be table (it's missing its plywood top) for infeed and outfeed, so I don't have to keep using my garden cart.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. If you don't feel comfortable or safe using a tool, then don't use it. Safety first. (I stopped using the circular saw and moved to the miter saw--and bought a smaller blade CS.) Love the MS.

    2. Even if you're just nailing, wear hearing protection (and eye protection). I thought I'd blow out my eardrums with the first couple of blows of a hammer. Yes, gentlemen I know screws are superior, but I did want to feel the hammer.

    3. Clamps clamps and more clamps. I've discovered that wood has a diabolical way of moving around while you're trying to fasten it. So use lots of clamps when possible. (It's usually possible)

    4. Working outside is great and cuts down on the dust in your face.

    5. Just do it. All the reading and watching and calculations in the world are no substitute for actually woodworking. Everyone starts somewhere, so just jump in!

    I hope this helped someone,
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Glad ya made some saw dust. But hearing protection is a must please get some and use it, take it from someone who didn't and now regrets it. As for safety, the miter saw is better for what your doing. My circular saw get used for breaking down sheet goods and little else.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    Hey I think your first attempt looks pretty darn good Cynthia
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    I will second what Jay said. Your table aint pathetic. Oh and dont worry about coming across dumb, i did at first but got used to the feeling now i dont bother worrying about it.

    One thing you showed in your saw was the setting being off 90 degrees.

    A word of caution here. Every machine you buy, before you use it in a project, play with it and make some cuts on scrap lumber. In the process make sure its set up right. There are adjustments on most tools that need to be done.

    Example : Chisels need sharpening. A table saw in many cases needs the table set to parallel with the blade and the stops for the tilt set to make sure it comes back to 90 and goes to 45. Even then on the TS use a bevel gauge or protractor. Chop saws as you have discovered have a bunch of settings.

    One thing when it comes to hammering. If you hammer something in the air with no support behind the piece you are hammering into, it will take more force and longer to get the nail in than if you have something behind it. Try do it on the floor in sub assemblies. Try this take a 2x4 and put it across another. Hammer a nail in while it lies on the ground and then do it with the 2x4 standing up in fresh air. You see what i mean.

    I dont see anything wrong with your bench at all. You sure this is your first one?

    Glad you posted your experiences Cynthia.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Good for you, Cynthia. All the reading and studying doesn't quite compare to actually getting a bit dirty, huh? And if you happen to make a few mistakes along the way, it's still part of the learning process. Your table looks just fine, and should work great for its intended purpose.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Table looks just fine Cynthia.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Madison Lake, Mn

    Onward and upward

    Cynthia - You broke the there's no stopping. There are so many special interests in this hobby that everyone eventually finds a home base (furniture, wood lathe, ornamental, pen-turning, toys, musical instruments, etc.) where things seem to work the best. Your table is looking good and well under way. You no doubt are already enjoying the pleasure we all have of looking at a project completed with your own hands. Please keep posting the pictures of your progress.
    Wood worker wannabee
    Semper FI

  8. #8
    Looks great Cynthia!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    table is fine, but you can keep the leaves we dont need them to be falling yet dont let the circular saw scare yu away for ever it has its uses and you just need to understand the differnt techniques of each tool they are all not created equal so keep going forward cynthia
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    You go, girl.

    You ever get to Arizona, look me up. I'd love to should you a thing or three.

    You rock!

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