Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kid's Table and Chairs - Design and Planning

And so it begins, my first real furniture project. No vinyl veneered particle board, no allen wrenches, no androgynous Swedish instructions.

Kid's table and chairs at Amazon
The idea for this project came to life a few weeks ago when my wife emailed me at work with a link to a child sized set of table and chairs at Amazon. She wanted to know what I thought about buying this to replace the kid sized folding table and chairs we currently have. The set at Amazon is all birch with a simple, stylish design (pictured left). I like it a lot and it will fit nicely with our decor but I do not like the thought of buying it and I convinced my wife that I could build it. She probably regretted sending the link. Its going to take longer and cost more but she has since warmed up to the idea.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Building my shop on a budget - Part 1 in a series of unknown length - My table saw and thickness planer.

Being new to woodworking means I still have plenty of tool purchases in front of me, but I have acquired many of the essentials. Having limited funds to make these purchases has forced me to be creative and to compromise. Prior to having kids and living on a single salary I would never had considered buying anything used, let alone tools, but necessity sometimes pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Make no mistake about it, if money was no object I would have gone out and bought a shop's worth of Powermatic, Festool, Leigh Neilsen and other high end goodies. However, with a little frugality, resourcefulness and acceptable compromise I have bought a table saw, band saw, router, planer, random orbit sander, shop vac and a #5 hand plane for under $800. The table saw and planer are the only tools I have bought new and the others, while used, are of good quality. In this series of blog posts I'll explain how I researched and bought each tool, the websites I used and some tips I discovered along the way.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Building a basic work bench

I know I need to upgrade from my existing plywood-over-sawhorses bench for the simple reason of wanting to attach a vise to a stable work surface. The combination of the vise and dogs is going to enable me to tackle some bigger projects. I have convinced my wife to hold off on buying a small table and chairs for the kid's playroom and allowing me to build them (I'll certainly be sharing this project with you all), but before I start that project I need a better bench.

One of the online resources I mentioned in my previous post is Fine Woodworking's Start Woodworking website. This is FWW's learning center for new and aspiring woodworkers. They've done good job putting together some great videos and articles including a series of three videos in their second season of the Getting Started in Woodworking series about building a simple and sturdy workbench.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Learn About Woodworking Online

I have been in IT for 14 years now, dating back to 1998 when the internet we know today was still in its infancy. I remember when Google was barely heard of and 56k dial-up was fast. Back then the internet was still the computer geek's domain and though I don't consider myself in that category, there has to be a part of that in me to have stayed in computers for a living.

Fast forward to today when my blue ray player can access youtube and my eighty something year old grandmother uses facebook (sort of). There isn't much I don't consult the internet on first, from looking up a phone number to call for pizza to in depth research prior to buying just about anything that costs more than $10.

With all the world wide web has to offer I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find the wealth of available woodworking knowledge, but I was, and still am. My misconception about woodworkers was that most were middle aged guys who shunned technology, save for power tools. But really, how advanced is a cordless drill anyway?