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Primer

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Hi everyone.

I’ve long wanted to get into woodworking. I’m a software engineer by day but for several years I’ve wanted to get in about it make real things with my hands. My dad tinkers and he’s really got me more into recently as he’s starting to make some really good stuff.

Anyway.... I just got a house with a garage so it’s time to go for it.

My wife got me a lovely wooden work bench for Christmas and I went out and bought myself an orbital sander, a jigsaw, an electric planer and a router.

Now here’s where I could cry.... cutting straight cuts is killing me. I got some nice oak and wanted to cut a long strip 6 inches wide and cut that strip down into 2 pieces to make a watch stand.

Could I cut a straight cut?! Could I hell.

Am I going to need to buy a table saw? I feel like this is the only solution but I really don’t want to spend anymore money.

I tried planing and sanding my crappy jigsaw cuts down to a straight finish but it was just useless and this happened:

709011FF-05F9-4C4C-AE12-CC957BB8A11D.jpeg


So I guess my (stupid) question is..... do I need a table saw?!
 

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AJB Temple

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I would start with hand tools. You do not need a jigsaw, table saw, or electric planer to make a watch stand. Focus on learning basic skills first. Learn to mark out and use a tenon saw and chisels.

If possible, see if there is someone on the forum near you who knows what they are doing, and see them for a bit of guidance.

Power tools are fine. But you need the basics first.
 

Primer

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Thanks. I think you’re totally right. I’m going to try to fix the mistakes from above with my trusty hand saw.
 

Trevanion

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Welcome to the forum,

As AJB said, work in slow motion with hand tools first to nail down the basics and learn how wood behaves before you move onto bigger, faster and more dangerous equipment. There's only so much damage you physically do with a hand saw to the tool itself, the workpiece or yourself, if you don't understand how wood works when you go to use a circular saw and the wood closes on the spinning saw blade because of internal tensions in the wood it could cause serious damage to the tool, to the work and there is a large risk of serious injury, which from first-hand experience with spinning saw blades, it ain't pretty.

Your main problem right this second is that piece of wood though, it's a laminated (glued together) piece both in its width and its thickness and the a layer of wood in the thickness is rotated through 90-degrees so that end-grain is on both sides. End-grain is the literal end of a board, imagine cutting down a tree and looking at the stump with all the rings, that is end-grain. It is very difficult to hand plane end-grain to a smooth finish and it's liable to chatter/vibrate the tool while it's cutting (which is the washboard effect you've got on the surface) and break out just like your piece has done because there is no support to the material at the edges.

You could do worse than to watch a few videos from Paul Sellers, Richard Macguire or Matt Estlea who have excellent videos aimed at the beginning woodworker on preparing materials by hand, cutting joints, etc... without spending a small fortune on tools to get the job done.
 

Blackswanwood

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Hi Primer

I won’t repeat what has already been said but thought you may find the free ebook on Chris Tribe’s site useful as it gives some useful guidance on getting into woodwork.
http://www.christribefurniturecourses.c ... ewsletter/

Another good place to go is Richard Maguire’s site

https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/

I bought one of Richard’s first online courses (he also has a load of free stuff) for about £25 a couple of years ago and it was money well spent.

Cheers
 

Primer

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Thanks for the tips everyone. Must admit I’m feeling pretty silly right now...
 

Trainee neophyte

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Primer":2792qpqi said:
Thanks for the tips everyone. Must admit I’m feeling pretty silly right now...
I do the vast majority of my learning by cocking up. You won't do it like that next time = instantly improved technique.

If I could just slow down, and work carefully, my output would look less agricultural. Apparently I cant. Maybe one day...
 

ED65

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Primer":1qdi454n said:
I tried planing and sanding my crappy jigsaw cuts down to a straight finish but it was just useless ...
Plenty of guidance online about how to plane end grain successfully, in short it's generally one of the following: planing in from both ends, chamfering the far edge, clamping on a sacrificial scrap to the far edge. But this is geared to doing it with a hand plane. A planer is not the thing to use for what you were trying to do.

Planers are more a rough shaping tool than a fine finishing tool and you wouldn't normally use one on quite small pieces, in fact it's quite dangerous to use it for certain jobs outside its remit.

Primer":1qdi454n said:
So I guess my (stupid) question is..... do I need a table saw?!
God no. No reason you won't need a table saw at some point but you don't need to start with one. A couple of hand saws would be a very good buy at this point. For rough cutting especially larger pieces I'd recommend the Predator saw from Spear & Jackson, I think the second fix model would probably suit you best.

Then first project should be to make a wee thing called a bench hook which is a sawing and planing jig. You won't believe how much you'll use it. So make it well (the two stops/fences dead square to the edges and well glued on) and it'll give you sterling service for the next few years. Then you can make its successor in posher wood if you like although they're perfectly serviceable made from pine or MDF.
 

AES

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Welcome to the Forum. As you've already seen, there's a load of help freely given (and in a friendly way) here.

As to "feeling pretty silly right now", why do you feel that?

My dad always said the man who never made a mistake never made anything, and my wife always reminds me that no one arrives from "up there" already knowing how to do whatever it is.

The key to success is, IMO, making a mistake and then looking carefully at what you've done so that you can "make a better mistake" next time :D

Happy New Year and just keep it up - if your experience is anything like mine it WILL all get better.
 

John15

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Welcome Primer.
As said above, get mainly hand tools, a couple of planes, some chisels and saws etc etc. Regarding machines a bandsaw is very useful for long rips.
John
 

nev

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Welcome :)

What they all said ^^ plus, good news!

Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw especially in real wood and thicker than a few mm is nigh on impossible. The blade bends and wanders of its own accord regardless of skill or tool quality.
 

Primer

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Amazing advice here. Thanks so much.

I revisited my piece today and trimmed off the break out with a hand saw. It took an age, my hand was sore, it was far from perfect but I really felt like I achieved something! I sanded it down and although not perfect it’s perfectly acceptable given it’s my 2nd ever project!

“Work in slow motion with hand tools” was great advice.

@aes the reason I feel silly is because I watched some YouTube videos about “the five things you need to start wood working” and went out and spent £250 on tools. I should have started with a saw and a chisel. Although to be fair the sander is awesome.

@ED65 - regards planing in from both sides and meeting in the middle; I thought of that myself after it happened but didn’t know if it was a legitimate solution so thanks for confirming! Sacrificial Wood is Also great advice.

Also, I’ve just ordered two of the saws you recommended. Could you point me in the direction of a good video to make the bench hook thing you suggested?

All very much appreciated guys! What a great community.

BTW I l Live by Loch Lomond in scotland if anyone knows it.
 

woodbloke66

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Take heed of all the excellent advice offered thus far, no need for me to add anything - Rob
 

ED65

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I was going to say, "You purchased plans, for a bench hook??" but that is a much more elaborate one which you couldn't figure out how to build just from looking at a picture :)

I meant something much more basic, just to get you started. Even this simplest type, made from only three pieces, is already surprisingly multi-use as it can function as a holder for sawing, a small planing board and shooting board in one. Oh and you use it as a chiselling surface too which is why you'll often see the old traditional ones chewed up on the top surface especially. With the design you've chosen you'll want to keep the top pristine so I suggest you throw together a basic one from scraps solely for use as a chopping hook as they're called.

BTW to somewhat disagree with something Stumpy says in the vid, you don't need a plane with its right or left cheek perfectly square to the sole. This IS desirable, but it's not essential. The reason is you can adjust the angle of the iron in any plane (in a Bailey-style plane using the lateral adjuster or lateral-adjustment lever, two names for the same thing) until the cutting edge is square to the cheek, which is what is actually needed.
 

AES

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@Primer: You wrote, QUOTE: @aes the reason I feel silly is because I watched some YouTube videos about “the five things you need to start wood working” and went out and spent £250 on tools. UNQUOTE:

Yes, I understand exactly what you mean (Who hasn't done the same/similar? Certainly I have!).

But what I meant was, having made that mistake you should look at it as a positive learning experience. For example, you now know that although there's a lot of helpful stuff on the internet, not all of it is useful, and indeed, some content is counter-productive. For example the bloke who posted that advice you took should probably be put on to your future "ignore" list!

One of the things you need to do is to "evaluate" the people who post such stuff. You do that mainly by spending a bit of time looking at several - many posts - of the content these people put up. Some of them clearly don't have much of a clue at all, some of them are trying to be helpful but their stuff just doesn't apply to your particular situation/stage of progress, whilst some stuff is literally like golden nuggets. And oh yeah, some posts are by people clearly trying to sell something.

But many (most?) of the posts that appear on this Forum are in that genuinely helpful category IMO, but it does take time to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. All part of the very enjoyable learning process.

AND another "silver lining" for you to consider: You may have spent 250 quid "unnecessarily", but you still have those tools in your shed, they still all work, and they will at some stage come in useful I'm sure.

So really, it's a win-win all round (though looking at next month's credit card bill, it certainly may not feel like that straight away)! ;-)

All the best mate (and the reason I haven't added my twopenneth re cutting and planning wood above is that I (still) don't have much of a clue! But I have been/am going through a pretty similar learning curve to you), AND am enjoying every minute of it - mostly :oops:

ATB
 

MusicMan

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There's one mistake in Stumpy Nubbs understanding of the shooting board. It is not essential to worry about having a plane with the side really accurately perpendicular to the base, as long as both are flat. What is essential is to set the blade (square ground not cambered) accurately perpendicular to the side. Of course, if the plane itself is perpendicular it is easy to achieve this, but anyway it is a good idea to check the blade itself against the surface of the shooting board, using a good square.

[Edit] Ah this crossed with ED65 saying the same thing, sorry!
 
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