The Secret to Making String Art

This is the secret to making string art. If you want to know how to get your nails all lined up nicely, and how to get them to the same depth, this is for you. I promise that there is a far easier way to make string art than pounding in nails for hours.

The Easy Way to Make String Art

the secret to making string artIf you really want to get your string art to the point where it looks professional, do not hammer in the nails. Instead, use a drill.

The best way to do this is to use a drill press, because it drills straight every time. However, if you have a hand drill you can still make it work.

Once you have selected your nails, use a caliper or a micrometer to measure the diameter of the shank. Once you know your measurement, dig out your drill index. Find a bit that is just smaller than the shank of the nails. If you get the perfect drill, you can almost push in the nails by hand. However, even if you still have to hammer them, it’s far easier. Read more “The Secret to Making String Art”

Woodworking Resolution For the New Year

woodworking resolutionIt’s the new year, and everyone is busy making resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, and get into better shape. This year, how about making a resolution that will actually be fun to keep?

This is your guide to making a woodworking resolution.

There are many easy things that you can do to increase your woodworking knowledge and skill. Implement some or all of the following techniques, and this will be your most productive woodworking year ever! You don’t have to do all of these, but make sure to pick up at least a few and give them a try.

Woodworking Resolution Ideas:

  • Try Something New
  • Take More and Better Pictures
  • Keep a Woodworking Notebook
  • Become a Student of Woodworking
  • Build a Woodworking Library
  • Take a Class – Learn a New Technique
  • Set Aside a Little Money Weekly for Tools
  • Start A Project You Have Been Avoiding
  • Make Yourself Some Hand Tools/Jigs

Try Something New This Year

woodworking resolutionOne of the easiest woodworking resolutions is to try something new. This is also a sure fire way to learn a new skill, and improve the skills you already have. Building a different project than you normally make causes you to learn new techniques, use unfamiliar tools, and solve different problems. This is a great way to make a huge leap in your woodworking ability.

I wrote a whole post about trying something new, but the main point is to make sure that it’s different than what you normally make. If you are a guitar maker, try a different instrument. If you make cabinets, maybe try making a table or a piece of wall art. It doesn’t matter if the project is easy or complex, it just has to be different.

If you normally make red tables and then decide to make a blue table, all you are going to learn is where they stock the blue paint at the store. Look around and find something that you would really like to make, and then make sure it’s different than your normal projects. It will make you a better woodworker.

Take Better Pictures of Your Projects

woodworking resolutionEvery woodworker should be taking pictures of their projects from start to finish. Not only do you preserve the memories, but you also build a woodworking portfolio that can be referred to when needed. With digital cameras and computers being so common now, the cost of taking pictures is close to nothing.

I have been taking pictures of my projects from start to finish for years, and even wrote about picture taking in one of my woodworking tips. The pictures are a great reference, and they help me remember how certain projects were made. In the event that I don’t remember something about a build, I have pictures to look through.

You should be taking pictures frequently, even if they are just on your phone. If you do have a digital camera, take your pictures and save them in folders on your computer. If you are not printing out every picture, digital makes photography almost free. So, take lots of pictures as part of your woodworking resolution.

Keep a Woodworking Notebook

woodworking resolutionAnother great woodworking resolution is to keep a notebook. This is actually a two step process. One notebook is very small and stays with you at all times to capture ideas. The other stays at home or in the shop. This one records the ideas, plus any other useful information from your projects.

Ideas come all the time…and they also go all the time. Unless you write down your woodworking ideas, you are bound to forget the majority of them. When I started this process, I couldn’t believe the results. Just reading through the notebook after a week proved to me that I had forgotten the majority of what I had written down. Thankfully I still had them on paper, because a few of them were pretty good.

Once a week, go through the notebook and transfer the best stuff to your in-house notebook in a special ideas section. The rest of the notebook is for project measurements, drawings, finish recipes, and anything else that you need to get on paper. Getting ideas out of your head and onto paper is the easiest way to remember them.

To see my woodworking notebook, take a look at my post.

Become a Student of Woodworking

woodworking resolutionBecoming a lifelong student of woodworking will always ensure that you keep a fresh edge about the craft. Continually learning is the only way to keep moving forward, and it takes surprisingly little time per day.

If you read, watched videos online, or worked on a new technique for just one hour a day, and maybe a couple couple on the weekend, it would be 400 hours of learning by the end of the year. Four hundred hours of learning is like working a full time job for ten weeks, and it only took you a small amount of time per day. I don’t care what you study. After 400 hours you will be much better than when you started.

Pick a subject, buy a book, or watch videos. As long as you are spending the time learning about woodworking, you will be moving in the right direction. This is a great way to increase your knowledge over time, and a huge part of your woodworking resolution.

Build a Woodworking Library For A Low Price

woodworking resolutionIt’s no secret that I love books. Having written four of them myself, I really enjoy books and hold them in high esteem for anyone wanting to learn something. If you are collecting books on woodworking to increase your education, there is no better place than discount book stores and markets.

I wrote a whole article on building a woodworking library, and the main focus is to have you not break the bank doing it. I have dozens and dozens of books. Most of them came from used book stores. Even in a second hand store they have a clearance area, and I have been able to find many books for $1-$3 each. Some of these were $20-$30 new.

When you build up a library as part of your woodworking resolution, it provides you a resource that covers many aspects of woodworking. Buy books that interest you, especially when you find them really cheap. Even if you don’t use it right away, it may become something you try in the future.

Take A Class – Learn A New Technique

woodworking resolutionThere are many woodworking stores that offer classes. Maybe there is a new technique or tool that you want to learn? Taking a woodworking class is a great way to get hands on information from a real live person.

Books are great, and I use them all the time. However, there is something to be said about having a real person teaching you something. Not only do you have the benefit of their expert instruction, but you also have the ability to ask questions. This alone is worth the price of admission. Most good books will answer the majority of your questions, but a person can answer all of them.

Look for woodworking stores and woodworking clubs in your area. Most of these places offer classes, and sometimes they are pretty inexpensive. Some classes are going to be more than others depending on the subject matter, and a few may require that you purchase some materials as well. Either way you go, a class is a great way to jump start your woodworking skills for the new year, and a great woodworking resolution.

Start Setting Aside Money For New Tools

woodworking resolutionBuying a new tool can be a pain in the budget. Especially if that new tool is several hundred or several thousand dollars.

If you are looking for an easy way to alleviate that pain, then saving money in a tool fund is a great woodworking resolution to adopt.

The power of small things over long time periods is amazing. Even if you only saved a dollar each day in a jar, you would have $365 at the end of the year for tools. That could be a nice bench top power tool, or several other tools.

If you can set aside $20 a week, you will have over $1000 at the end of the year, and that can mean a huge start to next year’s resolution. Yes, it’s going to take you a whole year to make this resolution work. However, next year is coming anyway, whether you save money for tools or not. You might as well start saving now and in a year you will be very happy that you did.

Start a Project You Have Been Avoiding

woodworking resolutionPeople love to procrastinate. Inaction is safer than action, and you can never fail at a project that you never start. While that’s a true statement, you still end up failing by default, which is worse than giving it your best try and coming up short.

Today is always the best day to do something. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. You can only really count on today.

If you have something that you have always wanted to try, or have been worried about starting, make this the year you start it. You can start small, and that’s ok. A large scale build like an acoustic guitar can be daunting. I can tell you from experience that the hardest part of the build is just committing to it and starting.

If you break down the project into smaller chunks, it will be easier. Most projects have logical sections or stopping points. Look for those in the build and break up the project. All you need to do is start the first segment, and finish it. Then, start the second. Before you know it, a long and difficult project can be completed step by step, and it wont feel nearly as hard as you thought.

Make Yourself Some Hand Tools/Jigs

woodworking resolutionThis should be part of every woodworker’s diet. Make your own tools. Once you have a few tools that you made yourself, you will instantly have a higher level connections with the tools that you use for your projects. It can’t be explained, but when you use a tool that you made yourself, you end up working better.

I have several tools that I have made in my shop. I use my 1/8 sheet sanding block all the time, and my hand plane a little less often. When I put that hand plane to work, I feel more connected to what I am doing than at any other time. I understand everything about that hand plane, because I made it. At the time I am using it, I am taking something I made and using it to make something else. It’s a powerful experience.

Start out easy and make yourself a nice sanding block. Then, move on to a hand plane, or an awl, or some sanding sticks. These are commonly needed tools, and you will really enjoy using the tools that you made with your own hands. I wrote about this in my article called Chop Your Own Wood. It explains how making your own tools can warm you twice.

I really hope this is your best woodworking year ever. Spend time learning, and then take that learning out into the shop. Apply the knowledge, and next year you will be an even better woodworker.

If you have any questions on making a woodworking resolution, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

Woodworking Mistakes and Why They Are Good For You

Woodworking mistakes are actually good for you. A mistake gives you the opportunity to learn. This rarely happens when everything goes well. Yes, you do learn with everything you do, but a mistake gives you an opportunity if you look at it the right way.

woodworking mistakesI have done the vast majority of my learning through making mistakes. Not having a teacher, and relying on woodworking books and looking things up online has afforded me several woodworking mistakes.

The way you handle a woodworking mistake is where you can decide to make it something beneficial. After all, if a piece was ruined then you need to find a silver lining somewhere.

Beginning woodworkers tend to see mistakes as failures. They think that they cannot be a good woodworker if they make mistakes. This cannot be farther from the truth. Every good woodworker has made many mistakes in their careers. Even current woodworkers still make mistakes after years of practice. The difference is that they are better at pivoting than they were in the beginning. Hiding the errors or pivoting the project slightly are something that you get better at with time.

The best form of learning is by doing. It is through the act of practice that most woodworking mistakes occur. These afford you more of an opportunity to learn about the craft than at any other time. They also teach you little changes you can make to your designs that turn your mistakes into design opportunities.

woodworking mistakesThere are some strategies that can help you cope with the inevitable woodworking blunders that will come your way. First, beginners should expect to make many mistakes.

Divorce yourself from the idea that you will hit a home run on the first try. People who can do that are rare, and people who think they can do it every time are delusional. Expect some failures in the beginning, and they will not be as big of a hit when they come.

Second, make sure that you are learning something from your mistake. The first time you do something wrong it’s called a mistake, the second time you do the same thing wrong it’s called a choice. When you know the wrong way of doing something through trial and error, then you also know the right way too.

Once you know that brad nails don’t work like real nails, you will never forget the glue again. If you do, then you are making a decision, not a mistake. We all make mistakes, the key is not to make the same mistake a second time.

woodworking mistakesStudy your mistakes. Make sure that you completely understand why things did not go as you had intended. Once you have a thorough understanding, you then have the ability to try again without making the same error.

Woodworking mistakes will teach you, and it can take years and years of making mistakes until you have made enough to call yourself a good woodworker. Eventually, you will have done enough things wrong that you know the way to do them right by default.

That sounds bad, I know. However, if you are making a project several times (like a guitar maker, or furniture maker) you will have many different disciplines to learn. Each of those has their own woodworking mistakes that can happen along the way. As you make small mistakes here and there, it strengthens your ability and skill. You will come to a deeper understanding of what you are doing, and will be able to create better and better projects.

As for the random pictures…it’s confession time. The Thor Hammer has a couple bricks inside the head. I thought it would be a good idea to make it heavy like the movie. Not only is it a pain to show people, but it’s also a pain to lug around. I gave it to my brother in-law for a display piece, and that’s the best thing for it.

The pipe looks beautiful, but you can’t smoke it. The laminated wood has glue in the tobacco chamber, which would not be good to smoke. Lastly, the inlay on the wine ceremony box was under filled, which means I had to fill it a second time to get it level. I’m not proud of my mistakes, but I have definitely learned from them.

The moral of the story is not to worry. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s ok. Spend your time learning as much as you can. Destroy some wood, and make sure that you come out with more knowledge on every project. It’s only wood, you can buy more.

If you have any questions on Woodworking Mistakes and Why They Are Good For You, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest. 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

You Don’t Want to be a Woodworker

What? You don’t want to be a woodworker? Stick with me for a while and I promise that you will understand what I mean. Lots of people call themselves woodworkers, myself included, but we are really something more. Woodworking by itself is not an end product, it’s a means of accomplishing something.

you don't want to be a woodworkerIs there something you want to make? Is it made from wood? If you answered yes to those questions, then you need to learn woodworking. The real question what do you want to be.

Woodworking by itself is just the ability to make things from wood. It’s a skill, or a means to an end. I coach new woodworkers to start with the end in mind. This means, start out with what you want to make.

If you want to make tobacco pipes, then you really want to be a pipe maker, not just a woodworker. Woodworking is what will get you to be a pipe maker, which is what you really want to be.

Similarly, if you want to make a guitar, woodworking is what will allow you to call yourself a guitar maker once you complete your instrument. The thing you really want is achieved through woodworking. For that reason, you need to select the tools, materials, disciplines, and study materials based on what you want to make.

If you begin with the end in mind, you will be far more successful at woodworking. The range and scope of all that you can make from wood is too big to comprehend. Almost anything you see in the world around you could be made from wood. The tooling may be similar in some cases, but widely different in others.

When you decide to use woodworking as a vehicle to your success, make your buying decisions based on what you are building. If you have no idea what you want to make, then figure that out first before you invest in tools that may do nothing for you.

While there are some standards that every shop has, you may end up spending money on something that you hardly use. That is a drain on your budget, and will slow down your progress.

you don't want to be a woodworkerInstead, pick out what you really want to make first. This can be one big thing or a couple things. Once you understand what that is, begin tooling up for those projects. You will save money, and learn the skills necessary to make what you want.

This is a sure fire recipe for success in woodworking, because learning the skill will reward you with the item that you wanted to make. This is far better than just buying tools without direction and hoping that you can make something you like with them.

When I first started making things from wood, I was making magic props as a young kid. I knew how they were made, but they were really expensive from a magic shop. My father helped me, and I was able to make several things including a box that made things appear, and a box that my brother sat in while I shoved a dozen dowel rod “swords” through it. All of these were made on the basement floor in my parent’s house.

This was my first taste of woodworking, and what it could do for me. The props were expensive from the store, but I could make them for a small fraction of the price myself.

One of my next projects was an electric guitar. I asked my dad for a Gibson Explorer, because James Hetfield from Metallica had one, and I was convinced that it would make me a better guitar player. After all, if it was good enough for him, then it was good enough for me. <y dad was not about to get a 15 year old a $1000 guitar, so we made one instead. Again, woodworking helped me achieve my goal of having a high end guitar.

you don't want to be a woodworkerI never once wanted to be a woodworker. When I made those magic props I really wanted to be a magician. I enjoyed magic at the time, and knew I needed to perform good tricks in order to be successful.

The same thing happened later with the guitar. I wanted a nice guitar, and woodworking got me there.

It wasn’t until several “wants” and even more projects later that I realized woodworking was the only constant thing I was ever interested in. I have made so many different projects over the years that being skilled at making things from wood kind of sneaked up on me. I never even realized it until several years later.

Begin with the end in mind when you are getting into woodworking. One of the biggest tragedies in woodworking is when a beginner buys a bunch of tools with no idea what they want to make. The “want” is what drives you to become a better woodworker. The desire to make something specific is what makes you learn how to use the tools, manipulate the wood, and create something beautiful.

Without the drive from the end goal, woodworking can be a non-starter. A shop full of tools will never get any use of you have nothing to make. Have that end goal. It can be as simple as a picture frame or as elaborate as a book case that covers an entire wall from floor to ceiling. Whatever that end goal is, use it to make you learn about woodworking.

Once you tackle several projects, you will become more rounded. At some point, if you continue making things, you will be able to make almost anything you want. At this point you will know that woodworking has served you well in your goals, and will continue to serve you well for the rest of your life.

If you have any questions on You Don’t Want to be a Woodworker, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

19 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Woodworking

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedIf I could travel back in time and teach myself as a beginning woodworker all that I know today, I would be making things right now that I cannot even imagine. We all would love to be able to teach our former selves something that took failure or time to learn. We understand that if we knew more from the beginning that we would be better.

One of the things that I constantly tell people who are getting into woodworking is to read as much as possible about it. Spend time online, reading books, watching videos, and absorbing ideas about woodworking.

The more you know in the beginning, the better off you will be in the long run. If you commit to learning about woodworking early on, you will also avoid a lot of the pitfalls and mistakes that come along the way.

If you are a new woodworker, hopefully you can benefit from my mistakes, and learn from these 19 things I wish I knew when I started woodworking.

Here are the 19 things I wish I knew when I started woodworking:

  • Start with an idea of what you want to make.
  • Learn about finishing at the same time you learn about woodworking.
  • Build a woodworking library right from the start.
  • The price of your tools does not matter…most of the time.
  • Make your own tools when possible.
  • Look for tools that compliment what you make.
  • Safety is very important.
  • There is a whole world of wood to learn about and discover.
  • The internet is a huge resource.
  • Tips are a great way to learn a lot about something rapidly.
  • Be open minded. There is more than one way to do it.
  • Have confidence in what you are doing.
  • Learn to combine ideas from different woodworking disciplines.
  • Have a dedicated space if you can, and a sturdy bench.
  • Keep all of your firsts.
  • Woodworking is addictive, and can become expensive without control.
  • Slow down. Don’t worry about how long it will take.
  • Finish Strong. The last hours on a project make the biggest difference.
  • Brad nails don’t work like real nails.

Start With an Idea of What You Want to Make

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI’ll open with the biggest thing I wish I knew when I started woodworking. Have a project in mind that you want to build. Don’t just start being a woodworker without a compass.

I used to work in a higher end woodworking store that had seasonal customers. There was a guy that I met twice, about a year apart, and he was buying another big tool.

I asked him again this year the same question I asked him last year. That question was, “What do you make?” His answer was the same as it was the year before. He said he was still getting his shop set up.

This is an example of someone that is a tool collector, not a woodworker. While the company I worked for liked that he purchased big tools every year, he never really made anything with them. As someone with only average tools, I was almost heartbroken that someone could have an expensive woodworking machine and do nothing with it.

Begin with the end in mind. Woodworking is a vehicle or a means. It’s not what you directly want to be. If you like tobacco pipes, maybe you want to be a pipe maker. If you like guitars, maybe you want to make them. That’s what woodworking is for. It’s a skill that will allow you to make what you really want.

Learn About Finishing At the Same Time as Woodworking

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI wish I knew to start learning about finishing at the same time I was learning how to be a woodworker. Almost every project you make will have a finish on it. If you finish poorly, it will take an excellent project and ruin it.

Finishing is an enigma in woodworking. It can take you a lifetime to master, but not very long to learn. You can spend decades researching and discovering things, or you can spend a few days and learn how to apply a few easy finishes.

I prefer the latter approach. Learn some easy finishes right away, and practice with them on scraps of wood. Hand applied finishes are very easy to master, and they are also inexpensive to buy. They do not require fancy equipment, and they leave a professional look. If you want to learn about applying these finishes, my 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing tells you all you need to know.

Start Building a Woodworking Library Right Away

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI love books. I have dozens of them, and I have written four myself so far. If you want to really learn about woodworking, then you need to invest in some good books.

A great way to save money on your woodworking library is to look for deals. Used book stores often have clearance sections. In these you can find books for as little as a dollar. Most of the books I own were under five dollars, and the cover prices were far higher.

A woodworking library gives you an instant reference section for your questions. Also, the step by step instructions and tutorials will help you be more successful in woodworking. I wish I knew that woodworking books were so valuable in the beginning. They contain so much useful information, and they are easy to bring out into the shop when needed.

The Price Of Tools Doesn’t Matter…Most of the Time

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedHigh end tool guys will not agree with this one. However, even though very high end tools do perform better than lower end tools, that does not mean you will be able to do the same things with them.

The woodworker determines the quality of what leaves the shop, not the tools. Bob Vila with a box of pipe cleaners and a pocket knife could still turn out amazing work. By contrast, a poorly trained and lazy woodworker with a million dollar shop will never make anything worth looking at. It’s all about what you do with your tools, and how well you know them.

I do not have many expensive tools. In fact, most of my tools were from hardware stores and discount tool stores. The lathe in the above picture is from Harbor Freight, and it has been running in my shop for over ten years. For what I ask of it, the tool works great. If I were making three foot tall vases, I would need a different lathe. Sometimes, you do need to spend a little to get what you need, but shooting for the middle is usually best.

In the beginning, look for smaller versions of the big tools. All of my tools, with the exception of one that was a gift are bench top models. These are smaller in size, and meant to sit on a bench top. They are less expensive, and yet still have much of the same functionality.

Make Your Own Tools When Possible

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI really wish I knew this when I started woodworking. You can make lots of tools in the shop that will save you tons of money. I am not talking about big power tools, but smaller hand tools and jigs.

When you make your own tools, you learn so much about woodworking. Not only do you learn from making something, but you learn from using it too. The value literally doubles.

I have dozens of jigs and several smaller hand tools that I made myself. I hated hand planes, but after I made one, I use it all the time. Also, the 1/8 sheet sanding block I made is used almost every time I go into the shop. I love these tools above others because they came from my hands, and in turn they allow my hands to do more than they could alone.

Buy a book or look online for some easy tools that you can make. I promise that even if they are not the best looking, you will use and treasure them above all others. They come from you, and serve you well as you use them to accomplish your woodworking goals.

Free Weekly Woodworking Tips (New Post Delivery Service)



Look For Tools That Compliment What You Make

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedOne of the best and worst purchases I ever made was a lathe. At the time, it was all the money I had to buy the tool. The problem was that I made guitars, and literally nothing on the guitar except the pins can be made on the lathe.

The reason I say it was a mistake, and that I wish I knew better, is because I was a struggling guitar maker at the time. I really should have spent that money on wood so I could make more guitars. Instead, I bought a lathe. While I did have a lot of fun working on it, I ended up having to get a “real” job to supplement my guitar making income. However, I did have a ton of fun, and still do when I turn something on my lathe.

When you buy tools, assuming you are like most of us without an unlimited budget, spend them on tools that enhance your current project. If you are making cabinets, maybe a nice router table or panel bit set would take you to the next level. For wood carvers, a new carving tool can open up more and easier design possibilities. Whatever you do, don’t buy a tool that doesn’t allow you to move forward in your development.

Safety Is Important

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedUnfortunately, people don’t often think about safety until they are in the hospital, and then they have plenty of time to think about it. Start with safety in mind, and you will have a lot less to worry about.

This is something I wish I knew when I started woodworking. I have made some mistakes in the shop, but thankfully nothing permanent has resulted from them. It could have, but it didn’t.

Read your users manuals on your tools, and follow their recommendations for personal protective equipment. In my shop, I am typically wearing safety glasses and hearing protection if I am using a tool. I also have a respirator for finishing, a dust mask, and a face shield.

Another good thing to have in the shop is a fire extinguisher. Heat caused by friction and sawdust can turn into a fire. Having a fire extinguisher nearby makes a difference, and here is why:

Where is your fire extinguisher right now? If you had to think about it, imagine how hard it will be to find when your shop or house is on fire. Plan now, and you will be able to react to a situation more quickly if it arises.

There is a Whole World of Wood to Discover

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI was stuck on Pine and Oak for a long time. I wish I knew that wood came in so many different and interesting varieties. In the beginning, spend some time in a hardwood store getting to know what is available.

Wood comes in nearly all colors, figures, patterns, and densities. There are very light colored woods, and woods that are completely black. All the colors of the rainbow are present, and you can find a wood that inspires you in a single trip to the hardwood store. The selection is so big that it can take you years to see the majority of it. Also, over time you will end up discovering different woods that you may end up working with.

Look online at exotic hardwoods. Places like Google and Pinterest are loaded with pictures of beautiful and amazing types of wood. When you find something you like, make a note of the type of wood, and look for it the next time you are in the hardwood store.

The Internet is a Huge Resource

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI can’t believe that people still have questions about things. If you have the internet, there should be no question that you are missing an answer for.

All you need to do is plug your question into Google, and you will have millions of answers returned to you in less than a second.

If you like to read, try Google. Find a woodworking website (like mine!) and read all that you can about what you are interested in. If you are more of a video person, try out YouTube. There are hundreds or thousands of videos on any topic you can imagine. I can guarantee that you will find several videos on just about any woodworking topic.

If you are the kind of person that plays on your phone or tablet, spend time on a woodworking website. It will be far more productive than social media sites, and you will learn something other than what your friend had for lunch today.

Tips Are a Great Way to Learn Rapidly

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedI love tips. I wish I knew how powerful tips were when I started woodworking. Tips let you absorb a large amount of information in a rapid fire manner.

For example, if you looked online for woodworking tips, you would find hundreds of resources. I even have a Woodworking Tips guide as a free FPD download.

When you refine your search, and look for tips on gluing wood for example, you will get several great tips that normally you have to make a mistake in order to learn. These tips give you the quick version of the learning that someone else went through already. You can pick up some great points, some things to avoid, and very quickly become more informed about the topic.

In the beginning, read about what you are interested in making, and then also read tips about it. These will typically cover the pitfalls and secrets that take what you read earlier to the next level.

Be Open Minded. There is More Than One Way

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedWoodworkers can sometimes be stuck in their ways about how to do things. Don’t let someone tell you that something is wrong just because you accomplished it differently.

I wrote an entire book that is predicated on the fact that there are many ways to do something well. My Acoustic Guitar Making book shows easier methods for many guitar making techniques. It simplifies things, and shows you that there are other ways to accomplish the same thing. If you really learn and begin to understand your tools, you will come up with many creative and interesting ways to accomplish things. All of these are great, as long as you have the same result in the end.

If you are not comfortable, or do not have a specific tool for a woodworking operation, search for another method. There are plenty of people who have made discoveries, and they are more than willing to share them online. (I do this all the time.) Look around and see if there is a way to do the same thing with the tools you have. You will learn more, and save money too.

Have Confidence in What You Are Doing

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedThis is a huge thing I wish I knew. A little confidence goes a long way. Not only does it give you the ability to try something new, but it also gives your brain permission to try something a little above your skill level.

You can learn all the skills in the world, but if you don’t approach them with confidence, you will grow very slowly. Once you have researched something, try it out and don’t worry about it.

Destroy some wood in the shop, ruin a few finishes, and don’t worry about the cost. The knowledge that you gain will far outweigh the wood that you destroyed. Also, nobody needs to know that you ruined a couple projects on the road to success. We all did. It’s just not something woodworkers like to talk about.

Personally, I like sharing failure stories just as much as success stories. I have learned more from my failures than my successes, and I share them so my readers can get the same benefit without the cost. My First Guitar will show you how bad it can be if you need a good laugh.

Combine Ideas From Different Woodworking Disciplines

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedThis is something to watch for early on, but not something you can really do until you try out a few different woodworking projects. When you make several different things, you should look for opportunities to combine the good points.

The wine ceremony box on the left has Cocobolo trim and inlays. I learned how to create beautiful bindings on acoustic and electric guitars, and just used that same technique on the wine box. The process was actually easier too, because the pieces are not bent like on a guitar. I went from a basic Pine box to a nicely decorated Cocobolo trim by using what I learned from guitar making. This came easy to me, because I have made so many guitars.

Another thing I discovered from a venture into tobacco pipe making was the contrast staining technique. This involves staining the grain of a piece of wood very dark, then staining the flake a lighter color. This makes the wood grain patterns just explode, and completely changes the look. I have since used this technique on a lathe turned gavel, a few pens, and even candle holders.

Combine ideas as you learn things. You will be able to take each project to the next level by using tricks from a completely different type of woodworking.

Have a Dedicated Space and A Sturdy Bench If Possible

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedIn the very beginning, I did not have a space for my woodworking. I ended up doing projects on the basement floor, which was not ideal.

If you don’t have a space and a bench, at least find part of the house where you can set up a table and work in the same area. Consistency is a good thing, and it will not feel foreign to you every time.

Most woodworkers make their own bench. I inherited mine. It was my father’s, and his father’s before that. I never really knew what having a nice bench was like, but psychologically it did make a difference for me. I think it has more to do with the history in the bench than anything. My grandfather and my father all made things on that bench, and now I get to do the same thing.

A dedicated space doesn’t have to be huge. My Shop is not glorious by any stretch, but I turn out great projects all the time. I have a larger space now, but for a long time I was in half of a single car garage. It doesn’t matter where you work, as long as you have a little space and you are comfortable.

Keep All of Your Firsts

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedKeep the first of everything that you make if you can. It may be hard, but you only get one chance to make something for the first time.

I am not talking about random projects that are below your skill level. What I mean are larger projects that you make for yourself. I have my first tobacco pipes, first rings, and first guitars.

These items are not replaceable to me, and are a reference to how much I have learned. My firsts are pretty bad in some cases, and right down the middle in others. Even though they would not win any beauty contests, they are mine and I value them.

Hold on to these treasures. I let a few of these go in the beginning, and I wish I knew better at that time. I have the few that I somehow had the foresight to keep, and I am very happy that I did. You will be too.

Woodworking is Addictive and Can Get Expensive

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedIf you suffer from squirrel syndrome, woodworking can become very expensive. If you run in the direction of every shiny project that you see, you will end up almost making everything, and in the end making nothing.

Don’t worry about waiting on a new project. Use the time you have to finish what you are working on before moving on to the next big idea. Even better, make a few of something that challenges your skills, and once you become good at making that project, move on to something else. You don’t have to master it, you just have to be good enough to mark it off your list as an accomplishment.

The last thing you want to do is have a dozen half finished projects laying around the shop and nothing that you can actually use. It would be better to have finished only one project and be enjoying the fruits of your labor. Finishing something feels great, and using it feels even better.

Slow Down and Don’t Rush the Process

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedWoodworking in itself should be an enjoyable experience. If it’s not, then you are doing it wrong or it’s not for you. A fundamental part of woodworking is the peace and enjoyment that the process gives you. It should be a time to clear your mind, and be happy.

People in general are in a hurry. In the age we live in with instant everything and a barrage of shiny things trying to get your attention, I can see why we are the way we are.

By virtue of the fact that you have made it through over 3,500 words so far in this article, you are probably not one of those people. That’s a good thing.

Take your time and enjoy the process. If you become frustrated, stop and think. Woodworking is only difficult and frustrating when you are missing something. If you are laboring very hard, sweating profusely, and your back hurts, then something is wrong. Either you need to practice more, need to learn a better technique, or use a different tool. Slow down, and look at the scene. A couple minutes spent thinking will typically reveal the solution.

Finish Strong, The Last 10% Makes all the Difference

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedThe final hours of a project make all the difference in how it will look for the rest of the time it exists. It’s in the tail end of the project that you give it the final look.

The last thing you want is someone looking at something you spent hours on, and finding a scratch. If they don’t know much about woodworking, they will just think you are a poor woodworker. This is obviously not the case. If you can make a desk, you are more than qualified to sand a desk smooth. If anything, you either missed the scratch or you rushed through the last 10% of the project. One is not your fault, but the other one really is.

I wish I knew that it only took a small amount of extra effort to take a woodworking project from good to great when I first started. After all that work, it’s tempting to skip through the last few steps too quickly.

I was one of those kids that couldn’t resist opening a new toy in the car on the way home. For the same reason, I fell victim to rushing through the end steps in order to play with my new creation. Don’t fall for this. All it takes is a small amount of additional time near the end to make your project look the best it can.

If you find yourself rushing, walk away. I know that’s hard, but you need to do it. You don’t want to have a reputation of being a so-so woodworker. If that’s the best you can do, then own it. But the last thing you want is to let being a lazy woodworker make people think you are a poor woodworker.

Brad Nails Don’t Work Like Regular Nails

19 things I wish I knew about woodworking when I first startedThis last example of things I wish I knew when I started woodworking is more of a funny story. However, it was something I did not know, and I would venture that other beginners don’t know either.

I was really excited to get a nail gun. I bought the gun, nails, and hooked it up to the air compressor in the garage. All of my pieces were already cut for a small book case, so I began firing them together…without glue.

Anyone who does case work knows that brad nails are really more like clamps. The purpose of brad nails is to hold the pieces together long enough for the glue to dry, which is where the actual strength comes from.

As for my project, it did not go very well. As I dragged back into the garage it collapsed into pieces. Once I Googled how to use brad nails, that’s when I discovered the glue. Armed with my new found woodworking knowledge, I glued and nailed everything again. The book case held up much better on the second round, and is still in use today.

To Re-Cap: 19 Things I wish I Knew When I Started Woodworking

  • Start with an idea of what you want to make.
  • Learn about finishing at the same time you learn about woodworking.
  • Build a woodworking library right from the start.
  • The price of your tools does not matter…most of the time.
  • Make your own tools when possible.
  • Look for tools that compliment what you make.
  • Safety is very important.
  • There is a whole world of wood to learn about and discover.
  • The internet is a huge resource.
  • Tips are a great way to learn a lot about something rapidly.
  • Be open minded. There is more than one way to do it.
  • Have confidence in what you are doing.
  • Learn to combine ideas from different woodworking disciplines.
  • Have a dedicated space if you can, and a sturdy bench.
  • Keep all of your firsts.
  • Woodworking is addictive, and can become expensive without control.
  • Slow down. Don’t worry about how long it will take.
  • Finish Strong. The last hours on a project make the biggest difference.
  • Brad nails don’t work like real nails.

While I do give away the majority of my woodworking tips, tricks, and tutorials for free, I have also written a few woodworking books. If you like the way I explain things, the books are a great way to learn about the fun side of woodworking.

wooden ringsWooden Rings: How To Make Wooden Rings By Handteaches you how to make beautiful wooden rings without many tools. I wrote the instructions using the bare minimum tool set, so that anyone can enjoy the process and make a nice ring.

There are step by step instructions for making many different styles of ring, as well as over 50 example rings for inspiration. If you have ever wanted to make a wooden ring for a gift or for yourself, this book has everything you will need.

There are sections on making each ring, finishing, wood selection, and the tools and materials you will need to be successful.

I even include step by step instructions for making my wedding ring, which has a titanium band under the wood for strength. This is a beautiful ring, and I have been wearing it daily for years. If you want to make a beautiful wooden ring, this is the book for you.

wooden tools for kidsWooden Tools For Kids was written as I made a set of heirloom wooden tool toys for my son. Before he was born I had the idea of making him a nice wooden tool set. This is the exact set that my son plays with now, and he loves every one.

The book has step by step instructions for over 20 different wooden tools. There is also a farm style tool box to hold them, and a chapter dedicated to applying a nice looking finish.

These tools are all beautiful, and they are easy to make with common woodworking tools. The hand plane, level, and square are some of my favorites, but they all have a charm of their own.

Most kids toys end up being sold or thrown away. A set of heirloom wooden toy tools will become a family treasure that you will keep forever. If you have a child or a grandchild, this is a great project.

If you have any questions about the 19 things I wish I knew when I started woodworking, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest!

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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

How to Save Money on Wood Glue

In this edition of the woodworking tip of the week, I will cover how to save money on wood glue. All woodworkers need wood glue. Other than wood, this is the only other thing that is on just about every single project. Like anything, when you buy in bulk, you save.

save money on wood glueI use Titebond Original wood glue for all of my wood to wood joints. This has been my go-to glue since I found it in my father’s shop as a kid. It has always been good to me, and I never worry about my projects falling apart.

I used to buy glue in the 16 ounce bottle. This is the medium size that most woodworkers use in their shops. This can be anywhere from $8-$10 depending on where you buy.

Now, I buy the gallon size, which only costs $15-$20. For the same price as half a gallon, you get a full gallon, and you save money on wood glue.

The only thing you will need to buy is a small plastic glue bottle, which are typically a few dollars. I have a couple of these around the shop, and I fill them with wood glue from the gallon as needed. Not only is it smaller and easier to work with, but the small nozzle lets me get glue anywhere I need it. It also dispenses fast, so it still works for larger projects. You can buy these small bottles (like in the picture) from any woodworking store, or online.

This way to save money on wood glue is the woodworking tip of the week. It may sound simple, but most people don’t look at the gallon price. I know I didn’t. I saw that the medium bottle was $10, so I just figured that the gallon would be closer to $40. That was wrong, and now I save money on wood glue by buying a gallon at a time.

Woodworkers go through glue very quickly. Buying a gallon at a time will help you save money in the shop.

If you have any questions on How to Save Money on Wood Glue, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest!

Lastly, if you like what I share, send me an email and I will add you to my woodworking newsletter. 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

Why I Wear Safety Glasses

I’m deaf in one ear, which is why I wear safety glasses. Stick around with me for a little longer and you will understand what I mean. When I was born, the three small bones that transfer vibration from the ear drum to the auditory nerves never developed. So I am completely deaf in one ear. I have never known what surround sound audio sounds like, and I get two for one on every set of ear plugs I buy. This is why I wear safety glasses.

safety glassesMost people take for granted that they can see and hear. I understand why, because the vast majority of people were born with two good eyes and two good ears.

The problem with that line of thinking is that it only takes a blink of an eye to lose one. Also, by the time you do notice you are going deaf, someone else will have to shout it at you so you can hear it.

By the time any of these things happen, it’s too late to do anything about it. The even sadder thing is that it only takes a couple seconds to protect yourself in the shop. Yes, you have to spend that couple seconds every time, over and over. However, let me tell you from experience that it’s well worth it. I have a couple stories. One that is kind of funny, and one that I am not very proud of. Both demonstrate the importance of wearing your personal protective equipment when you are working in the shop.

I was born deaf in one ear, so I never knew I was partially deaf until someone told me. It only came to my parents’ attention when I started failing hearing tests in grammar school. I was a energetic kid at the time, so my parents had a feeling I was having fun with the person doing the test.

We all remember the hearing tests in school. Raise your right hand when you hear the tone, then raise your left hand when you hear the tone. Apparently, my right hand worked just fine but my left needed an air raid siren to make it move. I am also pretty sure that it was so loud my right ear was actually hearing it through the ear muffs.

Had I thought if the idea at the time, I was definitely the kind of kid who would not raise my hand even when I heard the tone. I liked to have fun with people, and that would have made them scratch their heads for sure. However, this was not me just having fun.

After a medical test at a hospital, they told me I was deaf in one ear. My parents were sad of course, but I really had no other perspective. I really hadn’t lost anything, because I never had it to begin with. Plus, if the house was loud, I could just put my good ear on the pillow and fall right asleep in silence. Being half deaf did have some benefits.

After that, I made sure that I wore ear plugs (at my parent’s insistence) when I did loud activities like playing electric guitar and when I practiced with the band I was in. I hated it at the time, but it kept my one good ear from losing the hearing I had left. It also showed me that protecting my senses was important.

safety glassesMy second story is about the time I learned about safety glasses on the lathe. This demonstrates the importance of using the proper equipment, not just safety glasses. Yes, glasses are important, but you really need to use the right protective equipment for the tool you are using. A lathe requires more than safety glasses, which I learned very quickly.

When I bought my new lathe I was really excited. I got it home and immediately started assembling it. About an hour later I was the proud new owner of a mid size lathe from a discount tool store. (It was all I could afford, and I still have it.)

I knew from my time working for a high end tool retailer that I needed to wear a face shield before I used the lathe. However, the excitement of having a new tool and all the things I could make with it overwhelmed me.

I found the first piece of wood that looked about the size of a bowl and screwed it to the face plate. I donned my safety glasses, and went to work with my new roughing gouge. Once I had the outside rounded off, and switched to a fingernail gouge to hollow the inside. That’s when it all wen’t wrong.

I caught the gouge inside the wood, and the piece exploded off the face plate. It happened in a split second. I heard a piece crack against the wall like a professional baseball pitcher had thrown it. At that same time, I felt something hit my face like I had been in a fight.

The other half of the bowl-that-never-would-be hit me dead square in the safety glasses. It was a one in a million hit that completely missed my face. My safety glasses took the entire blow, but it felt like I was punched.

I ran to the bathroom to see the damage. Thankfully I only had a couple red marks from where the feet of the safety glasses dug into my nose. It took a few minutes for me to calm down, but I realized that I was not going to the hospital, and that made me come down a little faster.

The very next thing I did was turn off the lathe, and drive to the hardware store to buy a face shield. On top of that, I have never used my lathe without it since.

Why I Wear Safety Glasses and Other Protective Equipment:

safety glassesFor all intents and purposes, I consider myself to be a safe woodworker. I have made some mistakes, but thankfully I made it out of them without anything permanent.

Having been deaf in one ear for my entire life really showed me the importance of protecting the senses that I have left. It’s a little odd that it made me more conscious about wearing safety glasses, but as a woodworker you need your eyes more than anything.

When I am in the shop, I wear ear protection when it’s loud, safety glasses or a face shield when working with tools, and other personal protective equipment when needed. It’s a small chore. If something happens to me I know I will be able to continue pursuing the passion that I have. Woodworking is second only to my family, and I would be devastated if something happened to me because I did not take a couple seconds to protect myself.

I really hope you enjoyed these two stories about me, and I hope even more that you wear your safety glasses and any other protective equipment that you need while you are working in your shop. The time you need it will be the instance that makes all the other times you wore them worth the extra few seconds. Be safe in the shop. You owe it to yourself and to your family.

If you have any questions on Why I Wear Safety Glasses, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest!

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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

Homemade Sanding Block

A homemade sanding block is a handy tool that every woodworker should own. You should also make it yourself. There is a certain warmth and connection that you feel from a tool that you made yourself. It’s hard to understand until you actually do it. Try making one of these easy sanding blocks, and you will find out what I mean.

homemade sanding blockAll you need for a nice homemade sanding block is a piece of flat wood, and some cork. I typically buy my cork online or in a craft store in rolls. They are sold for people making cork boards. On one roll, you will have a lifetime of homemade sanding blocks, and the roll is pretty cheap.

Look for 1/8″ thick cork, with smaller particles. The thicker pieces with gigantic particles can be a little problematic if they start falling out. This leads to divots on the face, and uneven sanding jobs.

When you make something yourself, it gives you a sense of accomplishment twice. Once because you made it, and twice because it serves you well. I cover this idea more in my chop your own wood article. The main point of the idea is that when you make something yourself, you really get far more out of the piece. You also get an enjoyment in using the item that you would not have gotten had you not made it yourself.

I also have a couple hand planes that I made a while back. I had avoided using hand planes for a long time, mainly because I had never used a sharp one before. After I caught a wild itch to make one from wood, I immediately gained a new respect for this age old tool.

Once you cut down your sanding block to the size you like, sand one face flat. Then, glue a layer of cork on that face and clamp it well.  After the glue has dried, trim the edges of the cork flush to the wood. Then, all you need to do is wrap it in a piece of sandpaper and use it the next time you need some quick sanding.

If you have any questions about my Homemade Sanding Block, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

Make Your Own Tools – Woodworking Tip of the Week

Make your own tools is the subject of this edition of the woodworking tip of the week. As a woodworker, you will be barraged with companies trying to sell you tools. When you make something yourself, it broadens your woodworking ability, and you get a inexpensive tool out of the deal as well. Also, you can create tools that do not exist in the form you need them by innovating, and experimenting with design.

make your own toolsMy favorite example of how to make your own tools is my fret slotting jig. I was frustrated with measuring and sawing frets by hand. Inevitably I would get near the end and somethng would go wrong. As soon as I cut the slot, I would check the measurement and it would be off. For a guitar fretboard, this means starting over again.

I looked around for a solution. There were plenty of places that sold fret slotting systems for the table saw, but they were hundreds of dollars. I’m sure they worked very well, but I was not about to spend that much money.

After a little thinking, I decided to try something similar to a miter box. Having worked with miter boxes before, I also knew that I would need something to hold my place so that the cuts were very accurate. The idea came to me instantly. A small piece of thin metal that is the same thickness as a fret slot was installed right under the saw guide, which holds a template fretboard by the slot.

make your own toolsThe design was perfect on the first round. Using a template fretboard, all I had to do was slide the blank and the template into the miter box together. Then, lock the first fret slot onto the metal piece. After that, I could saw the slot, and then move the piece to the next fret.

I got lucky on this one. The first build came out perfectly, and did not need any alterations to the design. When I made this jig, I was able to slot about a dozen fretboards in an hour, which was about the time it normally took to slot a single fretboard before. This was a perfect example of how to build your own tools and save lots of time and money in the shop.

make your own toolsThere are many websites and books out there that show you how to make your own tools. If you follow their instructions and make what they show you, the price of the book will be meaningless next to the value of the tool.

Also, making tools expands your woodworking ability. When you make something that you use, it warms you twice, because you benefit from crafting and using the piece.

This is by far my most popular acoustic guitar making jig. I have received hundreds and hundreds of emails from people thanking me for sharing the instructions for free. I also share this tool and nearly 50 more in my book, Acoustic Guitar Making: How to make Tools, Templates, and Jigs. It’s a great book for new guitar makers, and helps simplify many of the processes.

When you make your own tools, you really do benefit more than buying them. Plus, they will have more value to you. A handmade tool that works well is a lifelong treasure. You will enjoy using it, and it will provide years of lasting service in the shop. Instead of buying your next hand tool, try making it. You may surprise yourself at how well it comes out.

If you have any questions on Make Your Own Tools, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! 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.

Lastly, if you like what I do so much that you want to help me continue my work, please look at my profile on Patreon. This is a way for the people who enjoy my content to help me create more and better tutorials, books, and resources for woodworkers.

Masking Tape Clamps

Masking tape clamps are very useful when you are gluing something together that does not require a huge amount of pressure. I first learned about using tape as a clamp from binding acoustic guitars. Since then, I have used masking tape on many occasions to aid in clamping decorative trim and bindings in place for other projects.

masking tape clampsI have been working on this box here and there for a few days. It’s a simple Pine rectangle box, and I wanted to add a little flair to the look. I had a small stash of Cocobolo wood laying around, so I decided to trim out a few places.

Cocobolo is a irritating wood for many people. Thankfully for me, I only end up with a runny nose and some extra congestion for an evening. Some people have severe allergic reactions to the wood. If you decide to work with Cocobolo, make sure you are careful until you know how your body will react.

On this box, I started by making several rabbets around the two faces. These are the biggest areas, so I decided to put a border on them with the Cocobolo. The nice thing about this kind of operation is that the binding strips do not need much force to hold them in place. In cases like this, masking tape clamps are the easiest way to secure the pieces. I always keep a few rolls of masking tape in the shop for this reason, and it’s a quick way to secure several small pieces at once.

How to Use Masking Tape Clamps:

masking tape clampsFirst, apply your glue to the wood, and then seat the binding strip. Once you are happy with the position, start tearing off and applying the masking tape clamps.

I prefer to do these about every couple inches. If you work your way from one side to the other, the tape will hold the strips well. As you are applying the masking tape clamps, press the binding strip in place, and then secure it with a strip of tape. Repeat this as you go. The tape itself does not do a great job of staying in one piece if you pull it too hard. This is why you need to press the piece, and then tape it. Let your fingers apply the pressure, then the tape keeps it there.

Once the glue has dried, all you do is peel the tape and you are done.

If you have any questions on Masking Tape Clamps, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.

Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks

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