Not sure where to go from here?

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
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 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.T
Great idea. I have built an outfeed table and some cabinets for the Festool systainers, but I think some 'nice' cabinets and a proper miter saw counter are in order. I am working on the skills, but am still, like you say, proving to myself that I have the skills to build items worthy of inside the house!
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
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!
Is Mike Davis a local NC instructor? I've somehow missed seeing or reading about him. I tried to get Greg Paolini to teach me, but was a bit late to that party, as he is no longer offering classes. Nice guy though! I visited him at his cabinet shop and he gave me a proper tour!
 

Boomvader

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

View attachment 213581
A couple of bedside night stands. Those are always handy
View attachment 213582
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.
Beautiful work, Bob! On the shoe shelves, how do you get the plywood to look like that? What is the finishing steps and product(s)?
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
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 :)


b
You nailed it. This is exactly how I feel. It is merely a hobby, but one that I dove into for the long term. I think I just need to slow down and climb the learning curve at a slow, but steady pace. Like many above have recommended....learn some new joinery and techniques to hone the skills. I am glad to read that you also felt/feel this way.
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
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.
Thanks, Mike! The whiteboard idea is a keeper.
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I am humbled and blown away by the responses. Cheers!
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Is Mike Davis a local NC instructor? I've somehow missed seeing or reading about him. I tried to get Greg Paolini to teach me, but was a bit late to that party, as he is no longer offering classes. Nice guy though! I visited him at his cabinet shop and he gave me a proper tour!
I think he meant me. Yes, local to NC. Not famous.
I teach at the Sawtooth Center for Arts in Winston-Salem and at my home in Walnut Cove, about 20 miles North of Winston.
I'm sure there are some good mentors near you in Asheville. Not sure who is available now.
 
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Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
When I started there was no one to teach me. I went to books and magazines.
I would find something I liked and thought I could do and I did my best.
I have made tables, some chairs and benches, some for outside, some for inside, as well as shelves and different types of cabinets.
If I want inspiration, I open a book, always have.
 

JNCarr

Joe
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.
Along these lines I have four cheapy "composition books" that school kids use laying around the house - one in my shop, office, next to my armchair, and a floater that winds up all over the place. Not only random ideas, but project development from start to finish. The only issue is I often cant remember which book has which project! If you havent done so already, spend some time learning to quickly sketch orthographic and isometric projections of your ideas - VERY useful in helping formulate your concept.
 

John J

JJ
Senior User
Nice job on the side table! I like the idea of making a mallet for yourself or a marking gauge….I have a backlog of request for tables but in between, I like making picture frames as gifts. Anything to get you into the shop making saw dust.
 

Jim M.

Woody
Corporate Member
I find inspiration from woodworking magazines, some things you see are silly but some strike a chord. Looking at things online is fine, but something about flipping through the pages of a magazine can be both inspirational and cathartic. I've left more than a few around the firehouse from time to time, I've been blamed a few times for starting some down the path of woodworking, not ashamed either!
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I'm 66 and have been building things out of wood for about 50 years. My tool collection has gradually increased. I have a 14x24 shop garage packed with wood and tools. I have always made things we needed. Some early projects were used for a few years and then replaced by something better. Some projects got moved from our bedroom to the basement for use in storage. Initially I used a lot of screwed and glued joints with wooden plugs to hide the screws. I still use them sometimes now but also do a lot of mortise and tenon (domino way) and half blind dovetails (for drawers). I don't think you need to learn to make any particular joint to make something useful. But you do have to be able to cut pieces square and to the size you need. One of my favorite tools is my track saw. I use it about as much as my table saw. Being able to cut accurately to a line is very useful. With jigs, I don't even need the line.

I have always found Woodsmith designs balance nicely between being nice enough for us and being easy enough to make that I do not get frustrated. I bought their back issue thumb drive a few years ago. It's a relatively cheap way to get a lot of plans.

I sometimes hesitate to get going and sometimes that is a good thing. But at some point I have to get busy and get something done. My kids and some of my grandkids sleep on beds I made. I have two beds I didn't make in my house but also 4 I did. I made a 10 foot dining room table and 10 chairs fairly recently (Woodsmith design on the chairs). But my most recent project was a fairly simple built in storage cabinet for my son and daughter in law out of maple plywood and solid maple. The screws don't show but that cabinet is glued and screwed together. I allowed 1/4 inch for inaccuracies in the walls it mounts to and that was barely enough. The face frame was applied after the cabinet was screwed in place and hides the gaps.

But the way to start is pick a plan for something you need and get busy. As you get experience you will fine tune the plans and then make things without published plans (I usually just use a dimensioned sketch). If you have to undo something and try again forget about it. I do it too. Anybody that says they don't either doesn't do much or is fibbing. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
I'm 66 and have been building things out of wood for about 50 years. My tool collection has gradually increased. I have a 14x24 shop garage packed with wood and tools. I have always made things we needed. Some early projects were used for a few years and then replaced by something better. Some projects got moved from our bedroom to the basement for use in storage. Initially I used a lot of screwed and glued joints with wooden plugs to hide the screws. I still use them sometimes now but also do a lot of mortise and tenon (domino way) and half blind dovetails (for drawers). I don't think you need to learn to make any particular joint to make something useful. But you do have to be able to cut pieces square and to the size you need. One of my favorite tools is my track saw. I use it about as much as my table saw. Being able to cut accurately to a line is very useful. With jigs, I don't even need the line.

I have always found Woodsmith designs balance nicely between being nice enough for us and being easy enough to make that I do not get frustrated. I bought their back issue thumb drive a few years ago. It's a relatively cheap way to get a lot of plans.

I sometimes hesitate to get going and sometimes that is a good thing. But at some point I have to get busy and get something done. My kids and some of my grandkids sleep on beds I made. I have two beds I didn't make in my house but also 4 I did. I made a 10 foot dining room table and 10 chairs fairly recently (Woodsmith design on the chairs). But my most recent project was a fairly simple built in storage cabinet for my son and daughter in law out of maple plywood and solid maple. The screws don't show but that cabinet is glued and screwed together. I allowed 1/4 inch for inaccuracies in the walls it mounts to and that was barely enough. The face frame was applied after the cabinet was screwed in place and hides the gaps.

But the way to start is pick a plan for something you need and get busy. As you get experience you will fine tune the plans and then make things without published plans (I usually just use a dimensioned sketch). If you have to undo something and try again forget about it. I do it too. Anybody that says they don't either doesn't do much or is fibbing. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
Thanks for this reply, Jim. Lots of great advice! I have the track saw and domino tools. I’ve only used each a few times, but they are sure great to have when needed!

I will make it a point to check out Woodsmith.

I appreciate the honesty in the last paragraph. Of course, I make mistakes with every project. I am discovering that how you deal with overcoming a mistake, whether a workaround or having to undo the layers is a big part of woodworking.

I truly love building things for my wife and sons. I am sure you derive much pride and enjoyment from those projects you made for your kids and grandkids.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Don't know your family situation, but some of the most rewarding projects I have made were for extended family members: Hope chests, old time rocking cradle, small step stools for the 5 yr olds, etc. You can add to that list with things like a crib to be passed around as needed, or TV trays for the older folk. Things like cribs and rocking chairs can become family heirlooms.

Just some ideas.
 

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