This woodworking tips card is about finding cheap wood. As a new woodworker, you are going to need a lot of wood. Finding the wood on a deal can make a big difference, and will help you spend your money wisely. Here is how to find cheap wood.
Finding Cheap Wood
One of the best places to start when trying to find cheap wood is your local hardwood store, in the scrap bin. If your store mills wood for customers, then it will surely have a scrap bin. This is a source of revenue for the store, and a source of cheap wood for you.
Most of the pieces you will find in the scrap bin are going to be on the smaller side. Every now and then you will find something a little bigger, but most of it will be small.
If you are making smaller projects, or using the wood for inlays and adding color, this is a gold mine. Pen makers should be driving to their local hardwood store right now because it beats the heck out of buying pen blanks.
The scrap bin is not your only source of cheap wood. You can do something else that will help you get the biggest bang for your buck, and it doesn’t involve you leaving the hardwood store. This little trick has allowed me to make some of my best projects with less expensive wood… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Finding Cheap Wood”
This woodworking tips card is about building it first. Before you buy a new jig or a new setup, try building it first. In most cases, if you are qualified to build the main item, you are also qualified to build the jigs. Here is how.
Try Building it First
Before you spend your hard earned money (that you could spend on more wood) on buying a jig, try making it first. You might surprise yourself at what you are capable of.
I was in the process of deciding what fret slotting jig to buy then I figured out how to make My Guitar Fretboard Slotting Jig myself, and it was a game changer for me. I got frustrated at the prices, and just thought there was a better way.
Had I not given myself permission to make something that was already being sold, I would not have figured out that jig, which is one of my most popular.
Especially in cases where the jig is made from easy to find materials, and does not require any special machining, you should try to make as much yourself as you possibly can.
This woodworking tips card is about texturing wood. Texturing is where you take your looks to the next level, and is different from finishing. It actually involves removing wood from the surface to create a look. Here is how you do it.
Texturing Wood Surfaces
Wood finishing has become so influential in woodworking that everyone is looking for the way to create the next amazing look for their project. What people are really getting into now is texturing.
Any time that you modify the surface of the wood to create a pattern or look directly on the wood, you are texturing the wood. This can be done in a number of ways, but it always involves removing wood from the surface.
In the woodworking tips card on the left you see a candle holder in the picture with a very interesting look to the wood. It is a textured piece. The wood was ran against a wire wheel before finishing.
After the black was applied, I sanded it down to bring back the original color on the high parts. This is one way to create a texture. Others include denting, damaging, scraping, burning, rough sawing, and more. The real design opportunity in creating textures is the staining effect you can typically apply afterwards… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Texturing Wood”
There are two types of woodworkers. The type that loves nothing more than to tell you about every aspect of what they do, and the type that thinks you are an idiot for asking basic questions. Be the first kind. Here is how.
Knowing Where You Came From
We were all new once. Even the most seasoned professional once had a hard time with the most basic elements of their craft. Sometimes, as you get better at what you do, you can forget where you came from.
When someone asks you a question that is very basic, remember that you were once asking questions just like that at one point.
If you meet someone that is asking about your project, tell them about it. There is no danger in telling people about what you do, or teaching them to do the same thing. However, the last thing you want to do is… Read more “There are Two Types of Woodworkers”
This woodworking tips card is all about the Kreg Jig. This is one of the easiest joinery systems to work with, and it’s inexpensive too. The joints are strong, and they can be taken apart if needed. All great reasons to own a Kreg Jig.
The Kreg Jig for Quick Joinery
The Kreg Jig is simply a strong way of joining wood together with screws. You can buy the jig from many woodworking stores and some home improvement stores.
I recommend that you buy the vise grip style clamp that is sold alongside the jig, because it makes using the system much easier. You could always clamp it with a bar clamp too, but sometimes it’s nice to use it the way the maker intended.
The really nice thing about the clamp is that it automatically fits any size that you need it to. Simply set the tension, and it applies that same tension no matter how thick the piece. It’s almost like a magic trick, and fun to play with at first.
If you are making projects where you are joining pieces of wood together flat, or at 90 degree angles, the Kreg Jig is great for fast and easy joints. All you need is a drill to make the holes and drive the screws, and you can use it to make many different projects.
All you do is place the jig, drill the hole, align the pieces, and drive the screw. It’s super quick, and you can even dowel the screw holes to hide the joinery even more. Most of the time the screws will be on the inside anyway, but you always have the option.
Why I Use the Kreg Jig
One of the reasons I really like the Kreg Jig is for projects were you need to join a lot of pieces that are all laid out flat. Think cabinet face frames. These are perfect for the Kreg Jig, and they go together quickly. I also used the jig for my DIY Photo Booth Frame that my wife has used for several parties. It made the build very quick.
Another time that I use the jig is when I need to join something flat together quickly, and I don’t want to hassle with dowels. Dowels are great, but sometimes they are a little too much for a simple project. The kreg Jig makes it quick and easy to join flat pieces, and it’s as fast as it takes to drill a hole.
If you have any questions on Woodworking Tips Cards – The Kreg Jig please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please Subscribe so that you don’t miss out on anything new. Happy building.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
While I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well. You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
You can also Join the Community, and receive updates from me about new articles, upcoming books, and when I release new books. It’s completely free, and full of great tutorials, freebies, and great content.
This woodworking tips card is about reading tips and tricks. As a new woodworker, you can get a huge head start by absorbing as much material as possible. You need shop time too, but reading can be done in your down time, and it can get you ahead. Here is how.
Reading Tips and Tricks to Learn Woodworking
The great thing about tips and tricks is that they are everywhere online and easy to find. They are quick to read, and you can learn a lot in a short amount of time.
The other huge bonus to tips and tricks is that you can learn about woodworking throughout the day in your down time.
You are going to want to be out in the shop a lot in the beginning, but life will only allow you so much time. When you read about woodworking, you advance your skills without having to stop what you are doing.
Find a site you like (hopefully mine) and spend time reading tips, tricks, tutorials, and articles. It’s not the same as actually spending time in the shop, but you can fill your head with good information for your next shop session.
This woodworking tips card is about low pressure clamping. Sometimes, all you need is something to be held together for the glue to dry. In a case like this, using heavy items in the shop can be just as effective as a clamp. This technique works great for thin materials, and here is how you do it.
Low Pressure Clamps for Veneer and Cork
When you are gluing something thin or light weight, it can be easier to use weights instead of clamps. In the case of a piece of cork for my Heirloom Sanding Block Tutorial, I just used a couple screw and nail boxes.
For gluing operations where you need pressure for the pieces to adhere, you still need to use regular clamps. Small weights will never be a substitute for a good clamp in cases like that.
However, if you are facing something with veneer or cork, some weights can do the trick. Find a flat area and set your pieces on it. Then, pile a couple heavy items on top to keep the pieces together.
In the case of cork and veneer, all you really need to do is keep the pieces together. They do not require a ton of pressure. If you can keep the two pieces against each other while the glue dries, they will stay together afterwards. Try it out with some gym weights, boxes of screws, or anything else that you have in the shop with some weight. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Low Pressure Clamping”
It’s important to know what your tools can do before you buy more of them. Many times, you already have the tool you need in the shop. There are also times when buying a new tool will not solve your problem at all. Knowing what your tools can do is the start. Here is how.
Become Familiar With Your Tools
As you acquire new tools, make sure that you are spending time learning about them. Read the manual. Watch videos online, and do research. The more you know about the tools you have, the more they will be able to do.
When you are unsure about a technique, look at how it’s done. Watch several different people do the same process, and see if they are using different tools. In some cases, there may be only one tool for the job. However, in several instances you will find people using all sorts of creative ways to accomplish the task.
Many times, you will see people using common shop tools for some of these processes. Most woodworkers are fairly creative. They come up with all sorts of different ways to do the same thing. This is a huge benefit to you, especially if you can use a tool you already have.
The danger in buying a new tool all the time is that you never really learn what your existing tools are capable of. Some woodworkers also think a new tool will make up for a lack of skill.
While some of the time a new tool will make a process easier, it will never make up for being a poor woodworker. The answer is not always getting a new tool. Sometimes, the best way is to just struggle through the process with what you have. It may seem frustrating in the beginning, but you will learn far more. Through this learning you will appreciate new tools when they come, and you will be able to use them better. Read more “Know What Your Tools Can Do”
Every woodworker needs a side hustle to make some cash for new projects. You can make and sell cutting boards easily from the scraps that you create. Not only are cutting boards easy to sell, but they are also nearly free because you are using scraps to make them. Here is how to get started.
Start Saving Your Scraps for Cutting Boards
If you are making cutting board from scraps, then you are going to need to start saving your scraps. Select a place in the shop where you can put them. This will be your cutting board area.
Since cutting boards come in several different shapes and sizes, you can use just about anything you have for scraps. This includes wide and narrow pieces, long and short pieces.
Even really thin pieces of wood can make great looking accent lines. Use these with a contrasting species, and they will really stand out.
If you are making these from new stock, simply look around for deals on wood. Second grade pieces, small cutoffs, and anything that’s the right size will work. Many woodworking shops have a scrap bin. This can be a place to find great wood for cheap, just like I did for a different project. Read more “Make and Sell Cutting Boards”
This woodworking tips card is about the square. There are many types of squares, but the combination square is one of the most versatile. As a new woodworker, having a reliable method of making 90 degree lines is important. Here is why.
Most of woodworking is predicated on making square cuts, and making pieces of wood join together well. This requires making accurate cuts, and begins with making accurate marks.
A combination square is one of the most versatile kinds of squares, and is great to have in the shop. For another nice tool to have in the shop, check out my Heirloom Sanding Block.
Pick up a nice combination square from a hardware store or home improvement store. Look for one that has a nice weight, and doesn’t feel flimsy.
Some squares will come with a scribe and level. Others will not. It depends on the brand and the style. The most important part is to have a good feel, and have a nice smooth sliding action.
You can use the combination square any time that you need to make a 90 degree line, or a 45 degree line. Simply slide the square into position, and make your mark. You can also use the square to mark a long line by setting the ruler portion to be a certain length. Then, you slide it along with your pencil to make the mark. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – The Square”