Not sure where to go from here?


Senior User
I have been in this hobby for about 18 months. I’ve invested in a whole slew of tools to set up a pretty good hobbyist shop that might even rival shops that see daily professional use.

My dilemma is that I have no idea what to do next. I’ve made this great space for woodworking and have nothing but ‘writer’s block’ woodworker style when I go down there. I’ve made my share of cutting boards, completed several projects around the house, and a few other shop improvement projects. But, I have no clue where to proceed from here.

Is this at all a common theme?


I have the opposite problem with more ideas /projects /requests than time.
With the holidays approaching why not make some gifts? If you need some project ideas go on etsay or pintrest and look around. You could always take requests and ask folks what they want you to make.


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There are plenty of ideas for doing something in this hobby. When I’m on a dry spell I just practice techniques like cutting to the line with a handsaw, trying different joints. I also just build something just for fun, like look at the scrap pile and look for a piece of wood that has some character or a flaw that is pretty and make it a focal point in a let’s say a box lid. Just to get out and do something without a reason to do so. Have fun with it. If all else fails check out some Pinterest ideas or find a book of projects and play those as ideas. Most of all have fun with it and challenge yourself.


Corporate Member
I would consider starting with "shop furniture", such as about storage cabinets (floor and/or wall), workbench, assembly table etc. When I use the phrase "shop furniture" I am not talking about items that are crudely cobbled together, but some nice "furniture" grade items. Years ago, when I was in a situation similar to yours, I built a lot of shop furniture to hone my skills and prove to myself and my family that I had the skills to to build items worthy of the house. That said, you may already have the necessary skills...I did not. Whatever direction you take I wish you well on your woodworking journey.
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Corporate Member
To me, learning the basics is key. Joinery and finishing are tops on my list. Spend a day with Mike Davis and learn how to cut dovetails. See Chris Goris on how to tune your plane. Make a small table with mortise and tenon joints and tapered legs. Then work on finishing. I have never thrown away a scrap piece of hardwood that hasn't received a finish of some sort - try something new or different every chance you get. Inspiration will come with knowledge of what you can do. Look at the members projects on this forum. If those don't inspire you nothing will!


Small boxes fill in the spaces for me. Wood hinged boxes would be a good project because you have to make the parts to make the hinge dowels, etc. You end up using the pieces of wood that are too small for anything larger and people like to receive them as gifts. They are easy to set aside if you come up with something you need all of your space to make.


Corporate Member
So many different directions. I am looking at Komico, relief carving, and detail carving of small turnings like the Chinese vase bases. But I have several furniture requests to do first.

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
A couple projects I finished recently you might want to consider.

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A couple of bedside night stands. Those are always handy
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these are shoe shelves for the closet. Roughly 24" x 24" x 11" deep. One sheet of birch plywood will give two of these units. this project will give some practice with iron-on edgebanding trimming.


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Try making a square, a Tee square, make a jig to hold a chisel and make a simple bullnose plane. Make a mallet.
While you doodle on these, think about things you want to make for your home/shop/friends. Like Graywolf said, practice skills. Funny how going random brings clarity.


Like many others, I have more projects than time right now. It might be helpful to scroll through the member gallery to get ideas. It is incredible how much talent this group has.....


Senior User
Typically not an issue, the bigger issue is finding time to build the things I want instead of the wife's list :D

Bill J

I share the problem of too many projects right now but a few years ago I had filled our house with furniture and had a significant stack of cutting boards so I started making small boxes. They are also a great way to practice joinery techniques and make great presents. You can do a lot with scraps and small bits of exotic wood so its not expensive.

Wiley's Woodworks

Corporate Member
Here's another direction to approach your project selection: start by choosing a tool you want to get better at using and then find a project that requires using that tool. For me it was the router. I started making round top side tables with scrolled legs. The top had to be rounded using a template and router, and the legs were final shaped (after close-to-line cutout on band saw) using a template and pattern router bit. Then the edges were shaped using a 1/4" rounder bit. After two tables I was no longer afraid of using a table mount router, and when I started doing hand held routing my confidence level was high enough to attempt it.


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Senior User
I tend to burn out on projects too.

An example is bandsaw reindeer-i made a bunch of these to learn the technique, then made a bunch more for XMAS, then bought about 200 bd ft of used 2x4s and have slowly been making even more for this XMAS. All told its probably 250+ reindeer lol. I can say I've mastered making reindeer though :)

After something like this, i tend to avoid the shop for a few weeks or more and take a break. Watch some maker channel stuff / youtube stuff and normally something will peak my interest for the next round of feeding the demon.

I feel similarly though- "man i bought all this expensive equipment and I aint using it !" . Hard to break that mindset. I think you gotta decide if the path is toward a business or a hobby. If its a hobby, you are allowed to spend as much as you want without a return ...i try to keep my mindset as it being a hobby :)


Mike Davis

Corporate Member
My projects seem to come in waves, a few years ago I was thinking about giving up and doing something else like collecting sippy cup lids or tying shoelace knots. But then one after another I was inundated with things I had to get done. Even now I have at least ten projects on my white board. Oh, there's one for you. Buy a white board or chalk board and mount it where you have to see it every time you go in the shop. In no time you will have it full of projects to do.


Senior User
I suggest you build a small side table and let your mind be free. You can try different designs and joinery. I like to use construction lumber for such experiments. It’s relatively low in cost and easy to work. Where are you located?
Good luck.
bobby g
Hi Bobby. Thanks for your reply. I am in Asheville, you? I did make a small side table for my wife's office. I have attached a photo to this reply. It was a fun project and was pretty happy with the outcome!

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