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By vivavilla86
#1227224
Hi all

Found this forum today and signed up as I'm looking for some general advice. A little bit about me first - I'm relatively new to woodworking although have just finished a 6 week beginners course which taught me a few basics (and let me get my hands on some power tools!). I've wanted to try my hand at basic furniture making for some time and having recently moved house, I felt like this was the right time.

I've set myself a target of creating a desk for the corner of my study area. It will comprise of two drawer units and a curved L-shape on top (I would post a picture but I don't seem to have permission to).

Basically I'm just looking for some advice from more experienced people - what I'll need to get started, drawer building tips, how to achieve the curve etc. I've watched a LOT of YouTube videos and feel fairly confident in the theory behind it, but ultimately I've realised now I just need to actually have a go at it. I have yet to invest in any tools or materials, although given this is something I'd like to take seriously, I am willing to invest in tools I can use for future projects as well. I'd be interested to hear what tools people would recommend picking up for this, as I've thought about getting a table saw but have also had a circular saw recommended to me instead. I don't have anything in terms of a work bench yet either so would need to pick one of those up, if necessary.

Thanks for your time! :)
By MusicMan
#1227229
I think many of us would recommend building a bench as your first project. It will be enormously useful for building a desk, and will give you practice in much of the same kind of construction. Besides, mistakes on a bench can be considered as battle scars, but a desk you use every day is a different matter.

The next thing to consider is the materials for your desk and other furniture: solid wood or sheet material. I'm in (mostly) the solid wood and tablesaw camp, but many are in the sheet material/tracksaw camp. Tracksaws are more useful than plain circular saws as they allow more precise cutting of sheet stock.

You will find plenty of threads here on equipping a new workshop, building a bench, table saws vs track saws, hand tools to select, etc ad infinitum. Do remember that there are many ways to achieve the same end in woodwork! We all have our favourites but that does not mean the others are wrong.

Brownie points to you for going on a course!

Keith
By dzj
#1227233
Hi,
Welcome to the forum.
I'd start with building a workbench first. You'll hone your skills and whatever you build later, it will come in handy.
If you use the search function, I'm sure that the topic of basic tools has come up more than once.
Good luck!

He he, MusicMan beat me to it. :)
By phil.p
#1227239
Three. Start at the beginning, build some sort of bench. Don't worry too much what it's like, you'll end up building another one anyway.
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By nabs
#1227248
vivavilla86 wrote:Thanks guys! Great idea to try a workbench first.

Apologies if this is a totally stupid question, but with no bench to start with, how would I go about cutting what I need to make said bench?

not a stupid question at all - do a quick google for workbench builds by Paul Sellers or Richard McGuire - both have good instructional videos on how to go about it from scratch using minimal tools (you will find it useful to construct/buy a couple of simple trestles/saw benches to get going. There are videos on building these too. )
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By custard
#1227257
It's great to see new people taking up furniture making, but it's a real shame when they start with an over ambitious project that knocks their confidence.

I'd endorse the previous advice, first build yourself a simple softwood bench, then I'd suggest cutting your teeth on a few smaller scale projects.

The very best way of learning woodwork is with face to face tuition, failing that Paul Sellers seems to offer the best internet based training programme available. His designs are a bit dated, and he can get a bit preachy, but he walks you through all the essential stuff in bite sized, logical steps.

Good luck!
By MusicMan
#1227261
vivavilla86 wrote:Thanks guys! Great idea to try a workbench first.

Apologies if this is a totally stupid question, but with no bench to start with, how would I go about cutting what I need to make said bench?


Not stupid. You can get a pair of trestles, or a folding Workmate type bench quite cheaply. They would come in later, too, for example for working outside on sheets to big to handle easily in your workshop. The Workmate solution has the advantage that it has clamping jaws, to help in work holding or in holding wood for planing etc. And you can use it to build a simple sawhorse of the same height to support the other end of a big piece.

It can sometimes be a close call between build or buy in a new project. In the case of the workbench, it is almost a no brainer. Commercial benches that are any good are incredibly expensive. But even more, you need the experience of building the bench before starting on furniture.

If you have workshop room, you could build a simple "Roman" bench (again, search this forum), which again will be useful forever. This would get you going and it is very handy for furniture to have a low-level bench as well.
By vivavilla86
#1231005
Hi guys

Been a few weeks but I finally got around to putting these plans into action. Attached a picture of my workbench.

Big thanks to all the tips and advice. It is FAR from perfect, I'm sure a season pro would recoil in horror up close, but I learned a ton and had a great time doing it, and given it's the first thing I've ever made I'm generally pretty pleased.

Wanted to ask for general advice now on a suitable 2nd project? I'm looking to build up enough skills to attempt a desk with drawers, so anything that might help towards this really.
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By AndyT
#1231021
Here's my suggestion for a next project - a small side or coffee table. It's a bit like a bench or a desk but with some proper joints. It doesn't need a lot of material. Dimensions can be varied to suit your needs and whatever wood you have available.
Techniques used include:
- Cutting and planing to size.
- Mortise and tenon joints to join the aprons to the legs.
- A groove to suit hardwood buttons to hold the top.
- Edge jointing the top.

You could include chamfering or moulding the edges if you wanted.

Here's one I made, using wood from an old dressing table:

Image
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By custard
#1231029
vivavilla86 wrote:I finally got around to putting these plans into action. Attached a picture of my workbench.


Congratulations on seeing it through to the end. That's an excellent start to woodworking.

=D>
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By custard
#1231030
AndyT wrote:Here's my suggestion for a next project - a small side or coffee table. It's a bit like a bench or a desk but with some proper joints. It doesn't need a lot of material. Dimensions can be varied to suit your needs and whatever wood you have available.
Techniques used include:
- Cutting and planing to size.
- Mortise and tenon joints to join the aprons to the legs.
- A groove to suit hardwood buttons to hold the top.
- Edge jointing the top.


That makes a lot of sense.

Incidentally, the trickiest part of that job, by some distance IMO, is edge jointing the two narrower board to make the top. If you can produce a flat top with a tight glue line then you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
By Bodgers
#1231389
Congratulations

I started out in the same position with basically the same project a few years ago. I ended up with a hobby I wasn't looking for!

Home office room, L shaped integrated desk and some wall cabinets. No tools or experience. No bench.

It ended up taking me about two years by the time I'd bought power tools and sorted out the garage for a workshop.

I still don't have a proper bench, but I'm building one now. I also dove in buying lots of power tools like tablesaws (some of which, like the tablesaw, I've sold).

I used a B&D workmate to get by, but because I used power tools all the way I got by.

This is what I built:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWDvHhVlMKL ... 3e5dvh4q4w



Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
By Fergal
#1231494
Good effort on the workbench. One of the first things I made about 15 years ago was a workbench consisting of an old door mounted on the wall with hinges so it could be folded away. That lasted me about 12 years and I built various bits of furniture on it to a pretty low standard. I then built a much sturdier bench out of old roof timbers rescued from a skip. Having a heavy bench that won't move when hammering or planing helps a lot and improves the standard of your work.

My early efforts at furniture making were hindered by lack of skill mostly and working on a less than ideal bench. I was also not stringent enough about making everything absolutely square. If things were a mm or so out, that was good enough as I was under a lot of time pressure. I've since learned that taking the time to ensure that everything is perfectly square makes things easier in the end.