Monthly Archives

February 2018

How to Start a Woodworking Business

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A woodworking business is often only a dream for many men and even women, but if you follow a few important steps you'll see it's not as hard as it may seem to start a successful woodworking business. Before you get started, you probably want to know how much money you can earn woodworking. The great thing about woodworking is that your potential earnings each day are completely up to you. If you're feeling lazy and just want to build a couple of chairs for a $ 100 profit, or maybe your rip and roaring to go and you decide to build 10 tables for a nice $ 500 profit. Obviously the profit you earn will also depend on the quality of your work, but we'll talk about that later.

The first step in starting your business is to choose what kind of product you're going to specialize in. This can be anything from fixing up cabinets, to producing furniture, and even making wooden toys. You should consider purchasing some premium woodworking plans / blueprints at this point so that you know your creating grade A quality products. Knowing what kind of product you're going to specialize in will also give you an idea to what equipment you'll need to produce your product.

After you've chosen the product and have purchased or rented the correct equipment you'll have to find a wood supplier who will give you the best deal for your dollar. You'll likely save money if you buy a bulk supply of wood, but do not get to in over your head. Only spend what you can afford and always have an escape plan in case your business is not successful.

Now that you have your equipment and wood you'll need a working space. This can be anything from your garage, to a small rented lot, or even a large building if your business expands.

Now that your ready to start building it's time to advertise. You can advertise through fliers, Craigslist, garage sale ads, yellow book listings, or even your own website. You should have already built sample work so that you can take pictures that you can put on your website, fliers, etc.

Now that you've advertised business should start rolling in. If you hit a dry streak you should try new methods of advertising or maybe expanding your product range. If your business is really booming and it starts getting overwhelming you might want to consider hiring some employees or asking your friends or family to give you a hand. When starting a business you should always set a budget so that you do not end up going bankrupt.


Source by Ryan H Peterson

5 Simple Woodworking Plans for the Beginning Woodworker

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Whether you are a beginner in woodworking or you just want to take on a simple woodworking project, there are simple projects that do not take a long time to do and still show off your woodworking skills. Here are some ideas for simple woodworking projects that you should try.

1. Picture frame
When people walk into new homes, they love to look around at the pictures through the house, and they will love your handmade picture frame. Make them more special by carving names into the picture frames. People may even ask you to create one for them.

2. Book shelf
You do not need to make a large book shelf, if you have a few books here and there but maybe you do not have a book shelf, so just put together a small one that can be set on a table so it won ' t take up too much space and it will be easy for you to make. Keep it next to your bed so whatever books your are currently reading are not far from your reach when it's time for some quiet reading before bed. This way your books will not be cluttering your nightstand.

3. Shelves
If your walls are blank and you need a little extra storage space, why not add some shelves to the walls? Shelves are easy simple to make and then all you have to do is hang them up. Paint them fun colors to match them to room colors instead of just painting them white or brown. Shelves can be hung anywhere and can be used to hold just about anything, you'll be glad you made them.

4. Yard sign
Whether this sign sits at the end of a long winding driveway of a mansion or it just sits at the edge of small garden, it tells your neighbors that you are proud of your home and your neighborhood. It will add to the appearance of your home and property. It will not take up too much of your time to create and it is not difficult either. Add the numbers of your home then paint it colors to match your garden and your neighbors and passersby will love it.

5. Bird house
A bird house is a great project to make that does not take up all your time to create. Many people collect bird houses and make them all the time, there are many ways you can create and decorate a bird house. If you like birds and you like seeing different types of birds then a bird house is a great project for you since it can attract birds that you want to see.


Source by Ryan H Peterson

The Beginners Guide to Woodworking and Outdoor Projects

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Working on a woodworking project is always fun even though it may have its frustrating moments. After all, in most cases it is a hobby and one that is suppose to be enjoyable. The greatest anticipation and driving force is the anticipation of the finished product. There is something satisfying in having that almost finished project in front of you ready for the finishing touches. It's been a great project, everything turned out perfect now comes the final decision which is how do you finish it off? There are so many choices of finishes and tints how do you know which one is going to be the best for this particular piece. It's somewhat stressful at this point because you have done a lot of hard work and the piece is perfect it would be most disappointing if you ruined it at this stage. So take a deep breath and tackle the job head-on.

The object itself is partly going to help you determine what type of finish you are going to use. If it's a usable object that possibly could get market up then you need to think a little different regarding your finish. For example, a table or countertop is going to have things set on it all the time. Hot and cold items as well as items that could stain the wood. In this case, you need a durable protective finish. At this point, we have not even considered the esthetics part of it. That comes next. You need to decide if you are going to use a stain or leave the wood natural. Finally it comes down to what's easiest for you and what do you feel most comfortable doing. If you are a novice to woodworking then you need to find the easiest products to work with in the simplest fashion and application.

Again, when it comes to the durability and protective coating that you are going to use you will find many of them on the market but again it's going to depend on your project. We talked about what tables and countertops are exposed to so you will need a protective coating that is going to withstand this. Then if it's outdoor furniture or d├ęcor that you have done then it's got different requirements for a protective finishing. The same applies for food items such as salad bowls and steak plates. The finishes that you use on these must be food safe. Whatever one you decide on do not cut corners and be absolutely sure that you have followed the manufacturers directions and have applied as many coats as required.

Naturally, you know that the stains are going to change the color but also keep in mind that the protective coatings will also alter the color somewhat. If you are using the water base protective coatings then it will not be as much of an issue as with the other types.

It is always a good idea to check with your home improvement center where you buy your products. They have good feedback as well as product knowledge and will be able to give you some good first hand knowledge about the products you are thinking of buying.


Source by Ryan Henderson

The Beginners Guide To Buying Used Woodworking Tools

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Experienced or New Woodworkers

It is possible to save a good amount of money by purchasing quality, used woodworking tools instead of only buying new tools and this is true whether you are a new or experienced woodworker.

However, it is very important to choose the right type of woodworking tool by buying from the right source.

Where Should You Buy Good Used Tools?

Always ensure you are buying from a reputable source that you know and trust. It may also be worth buying from a reputable store in your area who has a reputation for supplying only quality tools and equipment and will give some form of back up service for you after the sale.

You can also buy from auctions or even online. However, be sure to ascertain the quality of the goods before you commit and check wherever they offer any sort of return policy if required.

While it is always good to save some money by purchasing used woodworking tools or equipment, you may find buying second-hand or used can be false economy instead of a good investment, if it is either unsuitable for the intended task or is of such poor quality that it will not perform the job for which you intend it.

There is a difference between the tools and equipment that a professional woodworking craftsman will require for their woodwork and the tools required if your woodworking is more of a hobby. The professional craftsman can not be buying cheap worthless tools that can not be used professionally and should only be buying used woodworking equipment from shops or suppliers who are in the business of selling used items as a profession and have a back up policy and good customer service .

For the more casual woodworker, it is no different other than that you may be able to find good quality old hand tools that are suitable for less dust woodworking from the markets or auction houses.

For power tools you will need to be careful about buying second-hand and you should only consider buying these from reputable sources.

Just How Old Can Second Hand Tools Be?

The age of hand tools is less important than power equipment and machinery. Old hand tools, such as mallets, chisels, squares etc. are classic and can still be used effectively for many years if they have been well cared for and are well maintained.

Power tools and machinery have moving parts that wear easily and often and get outdated more easily. Also the cost to maintain can be more than they are worth. Some machine tools can be reconditioned cost effectively to ensure they are for many more years if used correctly and are maintained properly.


Source by CJ Pierce

Build Furniture Without a Woodworking Workshop

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When you get started in woodworking there are many paths to follow, forks in the road, dead-ends and shortcuts. It's a journey that our forebears would make with the help of a living, breathing guide: a master, a grandfather, a shop teacher.

Sadly, the guides are fewer in number today. And so you are left with people like me to help. Like the making of meat byproducts, it's not a pretty sight. Getting your woodworking instruction from books, magazines, television and an occasional class is a slow way to learn a complex task. In fact, many woodworkers spend a long time (years!) Simply accumulating machines and tools before they ever build a single stick of furniture. And when they do begin to build, they inevitably discover that they actually need different machines and tools to make what they really want to make.

So they buy more tools and machines.

I want you to know something important that does not get said much: There is another way to begin building furniture. You do not need a table saw, a workbench or even a shop. You do not need to spend $ 1,000 to build your first birdhouse. You can go to the home center in the morning and build something in the garage on the same day.

I'm not talking about building junk, either. The difference between a nice-looking set of bookshelves and a rude assemblage of 2x4s is not a table saw. The difference is clarity, sound design and just a wee bit of patience.

To build nice furniture you need three things: A handful of decent tools that you will not outgrow, some help getting started and some realistic projects to build.

The core of "I Can Do That" is a free 79-page manual you can download at popularwoodworking.com/icandothat that will help you choose all your tools and introduce you to the skills you need to cut wood and put the pieces together. The other essential component – project plans – can be found on many woodworking websites.

Occasionally, we think you will outgrow this approach to construction as your skills improve. I bet you will want a table saw someday. And a drill press. And a smoothing plane. When that day comes, however, you will also have a house full of well-proportioned, well-built projects under your belt. You will be ready for those awesome tools, and the learning curve will be mercifully shorter.

If all this sounds like something that a bunch of idealists cooked up at a corporate strategy meeting, you're wrong. Although I had some carpentry training from my father and grandmother, I started building furniture on my back porch in Lexington KY, with a similar set of tools. Probably the only major difference is that I had a circular saw instead of a miter saw (at the time I did not know those implemented). I built a lot of stuff with my simple setup – some stuff we still have today and some stuff was long ago abandoned at the curve.

So this, dear readers, is a valid path.

My only regret in following it is that I wish that I had this manual (or a master woodworker) to make my journey easier.

Rules for Tools
I am not an emotional guy. I do not get nostalgic about high school, my first car or my first dog. I do not much hugs from family members at holiday gatherings. But I do have the deepest respect and affection for my tools. The care you give tools will gush read into the things you build with them. None of the tools in the kit we recommend should be disposable; if you take good care of them, they will last.

First, take a look at the list of tools in the box on the previous page. You probably have at least a few of these tools already, even if you're an apartment tenant. The reminder can all be bought at any home center with a minimal investment. But before you rush out and spend your beer money, take a moment to read about my tool-buying philosophy.

You want to be careful when buying tools because these tools should last most of your lifetime. You will not replace these tools with fancy machinery when your skills advance, so you do not want to buy the cheapest tools on display in the tool crib.

So what's wrong with that $ 39 jigsaw? Everything. Chances are the motor is underpowered, the bearings (if it even has bearings) are flimsy and the electronics are poorly insulated. Push the tool a little hard and it will – no lie – catch fire.

That said, you also want to avoid the tools that are loaded with lots of gizmos and features (with the price tag to match). In general, tools with lasers, bubble levels, wrist straps, micro-adjustable doo-dads and digital readouts are not necessary for accurate work. In fact, they might actually make life harder for you.

So I recommend you do two things. First, before you go shopping, visit toolseeker.com and browse around so you can see what brands and models are out there. Toolseeker.com also will help you figure out what to expect as far as price. Second, when you go shopping, seek out the brand-name tools, but choose a brand's stripped-down version of the tool.

Here's an example :: Let's say you want to buy a random-orbit sander, and you like the Porter-Cable brand. The company offers the 343 model for $ 69 and the 344 for $ 79. The more expensive model has variable speed. And while variable speed may sound helpful, it's not useful in a sander, really. Skip it and spend the $ 10 on wood, glue or finish.

This philosophy extends to blades, bits and wallpaper. Buy brand names. Nothing is more expensive than cheap sandpaper, bargain blades or no-name drill bits. But do not buy the fancy professional accessories with plastic cases and flashy graphics. Flashy graphics are provided to impress the guys on the job site. At home you will impress only the family dog.

Once you get your tools home, treat them like shards of the true cross. Never ever let your tools rust. Rust spreads like a cancer in ferrous materials (iron and steel) and can make your measuring and cutting tools difficult to use. There are a lot of products out there to prevent and remove rust, but the best thing going can not be found on the shelf: a small can of vigilance.

When you are done with a tool, wipe down the metal surfaces – especially the cutting surface – with a rag that has been soaked with WD-40. Always keep the rag nearby (mine is seven years old) and renew it with a squirt of WD-40 when it gets dry. Wiping your tool down does two things: First, it removes dust from the tool. Dust can carry salt. Salt contracts water. The combination of salt and moisture will start breaking down your iron and steel tools.

Second, the WD-40 helps prevent rust by forming a thin protective barrier, albeit one that must be constantly renewed to be effective. Other people will disparage WD-40 (I once did). Ignore them.

Buying Materials
Another key component to the "I Can Do That" philosophy is that all the materials come from a home center. You do not have to buy your materials there, but you also do not have to trek out to some exotic hardwood supplier, learn the foreign language of lumber and spend a ridiculous sum on wood for a purpleheart planter box.

The truth is, you can build a lot of nice things with the run-of-the-mill (literally) lumber and plywood from a home center. You just have to learn how to shop for it.

Let's talk about home-center wood. In general, you are going to find lots of construction lumber – white pine, yellow pine, Douglas fir and perhaps hemlock. This is sold in thicknesses best for construction 2x4s, 2x6s, 2x8s and so on. There are times you are going to want to pick through this stuff, but when you do, you need to know that it is usually too wet to be used immediately for furniture. If you buy construction lumber, take it home, cross it to rough length and let it dry out for a couple weekends before you dive in. You'll be glad you did.

In addition to construction lumber, you'll find hardwoods and softwoods that are thinner and designed to be used for trimwork in a house and even furniture. This stuff has been planned to 3/4 "thick and is in convenient furniture-sized hunks.

Well, first off, this stuff is far more expensive than wood will be at an old-fashioned lumberyard – convenience costs, I tell you. And though it's quite expensive, the really flat and clear boards are just as overpriced as the warped, knotty and split ones.

So sort though the entire pile of wood when looking for boards. Yes, you might get dirty looks from the employees; but if you are going to pay $ 30 for a pine 1×12, then by God you should get the best one in the store. When you are done, re-assemble the store's wood pile so it is better than you found it.

What sort of furniture woods are you going to find at the home center? For the most part, lots of pine, red oak, poplar, and sometimes maple and aspen. You can build a lot of nice stuff using this wood, especially if you are willing to paint your projects (we will talk about finishing next).

Also, do not forget to visit the molding section of the home center. You can get away with a lot of store-bought molding when building furniture – you do not have to have a router. And the nice thing is that most stores sell the molding by the linear foot, so you can cut what you need right there (and get some practice with a handsaw.)

As far as fasteners go, let me put one little bug in your ear. The worst thing you can do is to buy screws and other fasteners in those little boxes and plastic bags. You know, the ones that have five wood screws in them. Those are, for the most part, made from soft metal and cost too much. If I have to buy screws at a home center, I will buy a box of 100 or more that are intended for home builders. Heck, I would buy drywall screws before I would buy the little plastic baggies.

And as far as glues go, you're in luck. Home centers have a great selection of glue. Just do not buy the no-name stuff. It might be great. It might not. The name brands (Titebond, Probond, Gorilla) do not cost much more.

Finishing Materials
When it comes to finishing materials you are in wonderful luck when it comes to shopping at a home center. If you know what to look for you can achieve almost any kind of finish you desire.

First, let me say a word about paint. Do not let other magazines or woodworkers bully you out of using paint. A lot of excellent and well-made furniture is painted (for example, virtually every Windsor chair ever made). Personally, I love paint on certain pieces. It allows the graphic lines of a project to really stand out. Paint allows you to easily get the color exactly like you want it. And it's a finish that is hard to mess up. In general, I find that latex semi-gloss paint works very well for furniture. It's durable, does not stink up the house like oil-based paint and is easy to clean up.

But what if you do not like paint? Again, you're in luck. Home centers carry a wide variety of stains. And here's a trick that you do not hear a lot: You can mix two (or three or more) stains to get the color you are looking for. Just be sure to mix oil-based stain with oil-based stain, and water-based with water-based.

And while we are talking stains, I recommend you avoid the products that both stain and protect your project. These "one-step" products are usually just stains with a little more binder material in them. They offer little protection to your project, and I do not think they look good, either.

Instead, you should protect your wood with some sort of film finish. In general, you are going to find three samples of products at the home center that will do this.

There will be Watco, Danish oil and tung oil. These usually are a blend of boiled linseed oil and varnish. It's OK stuff, but you need four or five coats to build up a nice film.

You'll find lots of polyurethane. In general, I think polyurethane is harder than necessary; plus, it does not bond well to itself. So sometimes a coat can flake off. If you use polyurethane, be sure to sand the finish thoroughly between coats with # 320-grit sandpaper or sanding sponges.

You'll also find varnish or spar varnish. This is the good stuff. It's a lot like polyurethane, except it's a bit softer and bonds more easily to itself. Buy a can of varnish and a can of paint thinner / mineral spirits (they are the same thing). Thin your varnish with three parts varnish and one part paint thinner and you can then apply a nice thin coat with a rag. After three coats or so, you'll build up a nice sheen. Just be sure to sand your finish between coats.

Finally, get some paste wax and some way to apply it. I like the fine synthetic steel wool, which is a gray pad. The gray pad will smooth your finish to the touch and the wax will give the whole project a nice consistent sheen.

Do not Forget Your Workmate
The last important piece of your toolkit is a Workmate. This is a portable workbench that you will never outgrow, even if you become obsessed with workbenches, build 10 of them and write a book about it.

The Workmate is one of the greatest woodworkingventions of the 20th century. It's a big vise, a worktable, a clamping surface, a stepstool. With a Workmate, you can work almost anywhere in the house or yard.

When you buy one, get the nicest one in the store (I know that this contradicts my earlier advice on tools). The plastic ones are not so nice. In fact, the best way to buy a Workmate it to pick up an old one from a garage sale. My Jimmy Carter-era one cost me $ 30 and even included the plastic dogs, which are great for holding panels.

Now Get to Work
Once you buy your tools, pick out a project and get your materials, you should go immediately into the project. No matter how daunting the joinery journey ahead, I promise you that most of the barriers in woodworking are mental. The first step is always the hardest, and that's true when it comes to cutting your first pocket-screw hole or sand-shading your first piece of inlay.

'I Can Do That' Tool List
The foundation of the "I Can Do That" approach is the small number of tools you need to build nice and sturdy furniture. Here's a list of the basic kit.

– 12 "combination square
– 16 'tape measure
– jigsaw
– 10 "miter saw
– 7 1/4 "circular saw
– electric drill
– scratch awl and brad awl
– bastard-cut file
– file card
– palm-grip random-orbit sander
– block plane
combination oilstone
– pocket-hole jig or a biscuit joiner
– 16 oz. hammer
– nail sets
– 4-in-1 screwdriver
– Workmate
– F-style clamps


Source by Jason L. Martin

Intarsia – Painting With Wood – Seven Rules to Follow When Doing Intarsia

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Intarsia is a mosaic of small wood pieces all glued together in a specific order. Call it painting with wood. Think of wood intarsia pieces as '' Pictures In Wood '' which are more life-like than paintings, because they have a three dimensional appearance.

Each piece of wood is specifically cut using a scroll saw (some may use a band saw), The piece is then sanded, try to visualize the project as if it were real. Then carefully contour to give a three dimensional look, when fitted together it will form an architectural scene, flowers, or maybe an animal, etc. The colors in the intarsia pictures are almost always the natural colors of the various varieties of wood (true intarsists do not stain the wood) combined with numerous grain patterns, we typically paint pictures in wood.

Everyone that does woodwork of any kind has developed their own techniques based upon the tools they own. There are a few rules we normally follow when doing an intarsia.

– Included in your intarsia pattern are suggestions for types of wood and grain direction. You can change these to suit the woods available to you. Most intarsia patterns will benefit from certain special grain patterns and shapes. Knots are seldom acceptable in the Intarsia itself, but often the grain pattern around the knot is very desirable. I love to find boards with knots so do not disregard a board just because it has a knot.

– There are several ways to layout your pattern on the wood, the most common is to use carbon paper under your pattern. The pattern is given as actual size, however; you may want to enlarge or reduce to suit your taste. When I have done this I cut the pattern out of lexan or some similar clear material with the scroll saw. This allows the intarsia pattern piece to be positioned perfectly on the wood grain. This can enhance the finished wood intarsia.

– The most important thing you need when cutting Intarsia can be summed up in three words; patience, patience and more patience! If you use lexan templates, cut, removing the line will give you the desired cut. If you are intimidated by the number of pieces of an intarsia project, separate it into several sections. Complete the sections, then assemble them together.

– Now make sure everything fits together using a dry fit. Whether you are going to use a backing board or not, any adjustments you need should be made now. Maybe your blade wandered a bit and you do not have a perfect fit, you will have to do a little sanding to correct the error. Sometimes you just have to re-cut a piece to make it fit properly.

– The most important portion of your project, contouring. Now you change a two dimensional piece of wood into a three dimensional piece of wood art. Think three dimensional. Try to keep in mind how you want the picture in wood to look, especially how the piece you are working on belong to the overall intarsia project.

– Assembling your project: If you do not use a backing board assemble your Intarsia on a piece of waxed paper to prevent it from becoming part of your workbench. Simple yellow wood glue works well and it is easy to clean up and gives you some leeway if you make a mistake. If you are backing board assemble your intarsia directly on the board. Use glue on the backs of the wood pieces so they will adhere to the backing. Caution: Make sure you do not have glue oozing out on the finish side of your project. If you do, clean it off immediately.

– When the piece has dried, coat with a good finishing oil and put a hanger on the back.


Source by Carm Paynter

Beginner Steps to Take When Getting Started In Woodworking

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If you have a passion of producing your own woodwork crafts then you should consider setting up your own woodworking workshop and become an independent craftsman. This is a great past time hobby that you can do to do something productive all in the comfort of you home. But just every other hobby out there becoming a woodworker requires you to know the basics to the hobby.

Below are some guidelines that every beginner should follow when getting started in this wonderful hobby:

– Know Your Wood

When you are doing your project you do not just take any kind of wood to build the project but you choose the right type of wood that is suitable for the finish craft. Wood falls into 2 categories which is hardwoods and softwoods. Choosing the type of wood to use depends on the use of the craft.

For example if you will be building a garden table then most probably you will need hardwood since the table will be exposed to outside conditions like rain. But maybe if you are creating a computer stand then you can use soft wood since a computer is not heavy and stays indoors.

– Know Your Tools

In order to create wood crafts you have to certain tools and machinery to help you cut out the wood and assemble the pieces together. The tools come in two forms which are hand tools and power electric tools. If you will be doing big projects then you will need power tools but also keep in mind that power tools are large and will require you to have a large room.

– Project Plan

For your project to be successful you will need a project plan. A project plan will let you know what you will need to create the craft. You will have to know the type of wood suitable for the craft, the required tools, and the time frame that you can complete it.

– The Assembly

Making different projects requires you to know how to safety and effectively assemble the wood to produce the project at hand. You have to know of the different joints like tenon joints and dovetail joints. And the different types of fasteners and glue used to stick the wood together.

Learn all the above and you will be on your way to creating professional projects. When starting out do not go for difficult projects but start with simple ones then later on take on the larger ones.


Source by Rogue Oranum

Choosing Your First Metal Lathe

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If you’re the type person, who wants to go beyond woodworking or perhaps try your hand at building a small steam engine or IC (internal combustion) engine you most likely will be looking for a metal lathe. Choosing a metal lathe is somewhat intimidating, especially for the first time buyer. A simple web search will yield all kinds of opinions and choices. One thing you quickly learn is there can be fierce loyalty to brand names, country of origin, size, and sometimes-even color!

So I may as well get in the fray and submit my ideas. However, be forewarned, I have a few dogs in the fight. Over the past 20 years I’ve owned an American and Asian lathes, in fact I’m on my forth lathe right now. I hope that during the past 20 or so years I’ve been able to pick up a few tidbits that may help you in your choice.

First, let me break tradition. Most people will tell you “any lathe is better than no lathe.” However, I don’t necessarily agree with that. I believe, a worn out lathe is nothing but trouble, ESPECIALLY for someone who has never used a metal lathe before. Therefore, before we start talking about size, heritage, or color, if this is your first lathe, please seek out a lathe that is at least in “good” condition, not some worn out hunk of cast iron.

Next, let’s look at sizes. The size of lathes in the Unites States is measured in terms of the diameter and the lengths, in inches, of the material that can be turned. For example, you will see lathes that are sized as 6 X 18, 7 X 14, 12 X 36, etc. That means a 6 X 18 lathe can theoretically turn a 6-inch diameter piece by 18 inches long. In reality, it will be somewhat smaller since you have to allow slight room for the lathe tooling. BTW, our English friends would measure the same lathe 3 X 18 since they measure from the center of the lathe spindle (3 X 2 = 6). One last thing about size: Get one big enough. I’ve seen and known, folks who buy too small and then have to upgrade within a year or two.

The next critical decision is deciding on manual change gears or quick-change gearbox. I’ve had both and believe me a gearbox with useable speed changes is a tremendous time saver. However, the key word here is usable. I’ve seen (and owned) lathes that the low speed was good but the high speed was excessively slow and vice versa. Moreover, I’ve owned manual change gears that, while it takes about 5 minutes to change gears, the speed selection is spot on. Pluses and minus, just like life. After 20 years, here’s my conclusion. If you can live with the selection of speeds on the quick change, go for it. However, don’t let it be a deal breaker, the lathe I currently use most is a manual change and I really don’t miss (most of the time) the quick change as much as I thought.

Now for the big question-USA or Asian? What a can of worms this is. Once again, I’ve owned both. Bottom line: Today’s Asian lathes are not a bad tool. For a long time, folks considered them a ‘kit’ of sorts that once bought you took the machine apart, cleaned everything, smoothed casting marks, usually replace bolts with USA stock and put it back together. Today things are a lot different. The last lathe I bought was a Lathemaster 9 X 30. All it needed was uncrating, cleaning the shipping grease off and start turning. It took less than an hour from the back of the truck to switch on and ready to run. And the Lathemaster is truly a fine machine and a pleasure to use.

Final thoughts: Look for a solid machine, ask lots of questions on the many home shop forums out there and make a decision. Just like life, nothing’s perfect or easy, and it’s the same when choosing a metal lathe. Nevertheless, go for it. Choose one that fits your needs and after you have a year or so under your belt, then you’ll make a better decision next time.


Source by John Robertson

How To Build a Workbench For Your Garage – A Detailed Woodworking Plan For Your Woodworking Project

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The workbench is the most important thing for any woodworker. A workbench makes a lot of things easier and helpful in many ways, and I will teach you how to make a workbench. You should build a workbench for your home so that everyone can create their own project. First, find your workstation before creating on your workbench designs and plans.

Workbench Designs

Before you start the project, you need to get the right workbench designs. Even if you don’t have any experience on building projects, there are strategies available on workbench designs with which you can build a workbench of your own. It must draw attention to everything that you will need to build a workbench. It should contain the exact measurements and standard size of your workbench. The workbench plan should have the dimensions, styles or designs of your project.

The style created in workbench design prefers the usage of your workbench in the garage. The most important thing you must do when you outline a workbench design is to work out all the things that you will be using to build a workbench. The workbench designs you create must suit your requirements.

Decide the wood before you start your work

The next step after completing your workbench designs is to decide the kind of wood that you should use. Many workbench designs offer a clear list of the kinds of wood to buy the materials to make workbench. You should select a wood that is strong and resilient, but at the same time smooth and simple to work. Hence, if you pay attention in making an outstanding bench, you should prefer beech wood. Beech wood is the familiar type of wood used for a long-lasting workbench.

Birch wood that is not as thick as beech wood, used for making a lighter workbench. This wood is durable and strong and hence used to make a portable bench.

Right tools and materials

One of the most important steps is you need to have the right tools and materials. They are circular saw, belt sander, eye protection, corner square, lumber, safety goggle sand other power tools for easy access.

The other common materials that are required to make a workbench are screws, screw driver, hammer, measuring tape, sand paper, drill, pencil, nuts, bolts, nails, wood glue and clamps.

How to make workbench

According to the design, you need to cut the wood to the right length for rails and legs of the bench. All four corners of the bench should have necessary holes to drill the screws into the legs. Then centre the top rails and lower rails on the wooden legs. Join the cut pieces of wood according to the design to create your bench. Paste the plywood on the surface of your workbench with the help of wood glue and use screws. Your workbench is ready to use.


Source by Srini V.

Intarsia – 6 Different Ways To Change Intarsia Art

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Intarsia art, an artistic form of wood inlay. Whether your an experienced intarsia artist or just a beginner, you will soon have a style that suits you when doing intarsia art woodcraft. Mostly the intarsia artists you will meet are intarsia purists, using various species of wood for color and using its grain direction to help create form. This form is enhanced by sanding to give a 3 dimensional look. The more shaping that is done with sanding the more pronounced the 3 dimensional look. The individual pieces are oiled and the pieces are either glued together or to a background. NO STAINS, PAINTS OR DYES, are used Just the natural beauty of the wood.

Let us throw out the perceived rules and suggest that there is no wrong way to create wood art, whether you want to call it intarsia or not will be absolutely up to you. The changes you make will depend on your own artistic ability and the following suggestions will help with the changes you may want to make.

1: Change the intarsia pattern. We can change an intarsia pattern by just copying a portion of one pattern and joining it to another pattern or part of another pattern. This can often be completed by simply joining a few lines to make a completely different arrangement. Patterns can be enlarged, reduced, reversed, etc.

2: Consider using a readily available type of wood such as pine and stain each piece to create the look of oak, walnut, cherry, maple, and many other types of wood.

3: Why not use adornments such as glass, colored stones, feathers, metals, etc. Frequent glass eyes give birds, animals and fish a more realistic look.

4: Washes and stains on specialty woods can create or enhance colors that you absolutely can not accomplish with the special woods you have available. White stain is acceptable to most intarsia artists to keep white woods from darkening, so why not use other color enhancements?

5: Think about just cutting your pieces and not shaping them into a 3 rd. dimension, in order to create a 2 dimensional wood art painting. Glue the pieces to a backing and put it all into a frame. Great for wooden scenic pictures.

6: The 3 most important words to remember when cutting any form of wood art. Patience, patience, patience. Depending on the complexity of your project, if you are intimidated by the number of pieces, separate it into several sections. Finish each section, then assemble the sections.

The only limit in what you can create is your own imagination. Pure intarsia art creations generally use all natural wood and natural wood colors in their creations. However, various degrees of these suggestions can help you develop an art form that will be strictly your own.

Working with wood is very rewarding for most of us. As a retirement hobby for that free leisure time there may be a definite place in your plans for intarsia or some other form of wood art. The ideas here will, hopefully, help suggest some ways baby boomers and others can fill up those free hours after they choose to retire.


Source by Carmn Paynter

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