What is the best way to learn carpentry?

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panthers67

New User
J
I'm in my 30s and know almost nothing about carpentry, but am very interested in learning. CPCC in Charlotte has a class but the times don't work for me. Any ideas?

Sorry if this is the wrong section
 

panthers67

New User
J
I want to be able to build/repair things that are wood. For example:

- Build a table
- Fix a door frame
- General DIY projects
 

Weekendworrior

New User
Bill
Cut and dry, straight forward to say the least. I like your style.

Next line of questioning:

What tools (powered and hand) do you own?

What kind of budget do you have for tools and how far are you willing to go?
 

panthers67

New User
J
What tools (powered and hand) do you own?
A hammer, screw driver, and a wrench. I'm a little intimidated of more advanced tools, due to my lack of experience with them.

What kind of budget do you have for tools and how far are you willing to go?
I do not have an exact figure, although as long as (1) I am confident in a plan to master the tool and (2) I expect to get good use out of it, I'm willing to invest enough to get what I need.
 

Weekendworrior

New User
Bill
I like your answers. You sound like a new home owner that needs to fix stuff on a tight budget so you'd like to make all the repairs yourself. Am I close?

Trust me brother, if the above is true, I can definitely relate.
 

panthers67

New User
J
Very close. I bought my first single-family home last year and there are certainly odd jobs around the house I would like to be able to do myself (we've been paying a handyman).

Additionally, I own and manage some condos for the last 5-6 years. I do the basic repairs myself (as long as it doesn't require more than my 3 tools!). I want to expand my list of properties, but the fact that I don't even know how to use a power drill scares me.

I wish I had taken shop in high school. These are very relevant skills and I just never learned them.


I guess what I'm hoping for is either:
1) Someone can post a link to an organization that teaches these skills on the weekends
2) Someone in Charlotte wants to trade knowledge for some free (yet obviously unskilled) labor in this field
 

TCAS

New User
Larry
I would suggest you contact the local Charlotte chapter of Habitat For Humanity (704-376-2054) to volunteer. It's a great way to see how houses are put together and helps you develop the skills to maintain and repair your own home. The project managers and many of the volunteers are full-time contractors who are usually more then willing to share their knowledge.
 

smallboat

smallboat
Corporate Member
Larry beat me to it.
I was thinking exactly that, then scrolled up and he was there already.
Habitat would be a great place to start and a win win all around.

Probably meet some new friends who could help you out on those two person jobs as well.
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
When I wanted to learn, I went to the library. Also Popular Woodworking has a section on their site called 'I can do that'! I also would check out the book stores in your area for handyman how to books. Of course you can also post questions here.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
Years ago when I was at where you are I read books and magazines. Today we have the internet and youtube. I just went to youtube.com a minute ago and searched on "how to use a drill". Quite a few videos came up. Spend a few hours doing searches on youtube for things you want to know and I bet you can get a good start on your skills.

Time Life had some good series of books on what you want to know as well. You can find the different volumes of those books in the used book stores quite often for almost nothing.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
+1 to the suggestions above. How about tagging along with your handyman for a little show and tell? A local high school carpentry shop teacher may also be a good resource for some basic learning at your pace and availability; many are quite willing to show you some basics on a Saturday morning.

I don't intend to offend you, but you appear to be lacking in self confidence. Roll up your sleeves and tell yourself that "I can do this too". Get a variable speed drill, a few screws, and a few scrap boards and try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained in my opinion. You'll step back and applaud yourself on a job well done-"yep, BG, I did this so now I'm ready to roll".
 

panthers67

New User
J
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Knowing myself, I'm definitely a 'learn by doing' type of person. I like the idea of finding a high school shop teacher and seeing what I can work out with him/her and the idea of tagging along with my handyman.
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
+1 to the suggestions above. How about tagging along with your handyman for a little show and tell? A local high school carpentry shop teacher may also be a good resource for some basic learning at your pace and availability; many are quite willing to show you some basics on a Saturday morning.

I don't intend to offend you, but you appear to be lacking in self confidence. Roll up your sleeves and tell yourself that "I can do this too". Get a variable speed drill, a few screws, and a few scrap boards and try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained in my opinion. You'll step back and applaud yourself on a job well done-"yep, BG, I did this so now I'm ready to roll".
I agree with Jeff's approach. :icon_thum

Back in the mid-seventies, shortly after I married, my father-in-law suggested I purchase a good VS drill, an 8" circular saw, a jig saw and a 1/2 sheet sander and have at it. We purchased our 1st home in 1979 and believe me these meager tools worked hard for me. Everything from building fences, shelving in the garage to a completed panelled basement family room. Well, I still have these tools and use them pretty often (I did upgrade the jig saw!).

Long story short. Just go for it!

Plenty of resources with todays Internet searches, books, magazines and friends you meet along the way.

Most importantly, have fun doing it!

Wayne
 

DaveD

New User
Dave
In no particular order:
Go to the local Lowes/home depot and get a couple of their basic carpentry books hNdyman books.
Subscribe to a couple of basic woodworking/carpentry magazines
Pick a specific project, lets say build a basic coffee table, search the Internet about it, pick one, buy the basic tools to do it and then actually do it.
Pick your next project, lets say upgrade the door hardware in your own house, research it, buy tools, do it.
you really won't learn until you apply the theory you are reading about.
Ask questions when you are unsure how to proceed or get yourself stuck in a corner doing something.
etc
etc
Buy more comprehensive books. Modern Woodworking and Modern Carpentry come to mind

Find a mentor, preferably someone retired, take him to lunch once a month, pick his brain on your current/next project.
Believe in yourself.
I've even said I'm too dumb to know when not to tackle something. My biggest project to date was building a 1000 sq ft addition on to my last house. Everything except the masonry work.

Dont be afraid to make mistakes. 99.9% of them you can recover from or hide them so only you know you screwed up.

When I was first married I remodeled my own kitchen and built my own cabinets. That was before the Internet. Bought a decent table saw, router, sander or two, vice, and a drill press. First thing I made was a very basic workbench out of 2x4, 2x10 and a few 1x8 boards. All nailed together. Still have it as my main workbench 50 years later. Made a couple of wooden saw horses too. That will get you figuring out angles. Just threw mine away a few years ago.

Bottom line is pick a project, simple at first, research it, buy the tools to make it and then go do it.

Rinse, and repeat.

As my 33 year old son is finding out, theory is great, dad makes it look so simple, yet applying theory and what I saw dad do is something else. He does all his own maintenance. Even the crap ones. Sometimes they teach you more than the 'fun' projects. He lives 350 miles away so I give lots of remote advice to him.

My experience says you probably don't save much money doing it yourself until you have accumulated enough tools over a few years, but you get better quality of product/work and have the tools. Besides you learned something. Even if it was how NOT to so something.

Lastly, don't buy crap tools. Buy good quality and have them for a lifetime. Buy them from Harbor Freight, when they break or frustrate you, buy them from Harbor Freight again, third time around, buy good name brand tools like Bosch, Milwaukee, Dewalt, etc like you should have done the first time. You will also find you never have all of the tools you need. Eventually you start buying tools that aren't mandatory but make the job go faster/easier with less frustration.

Its all a ongoing learning process some of which includes periodic enrollment in 'the school of hard knocks'.

Oh yeah, forget 99.9% of what you see on those crap home remodelling, do it yourself reality programs. Now you can learn from a few programs like This Old House or the woodworking ones that were on PBS by Norm Abrams.
 

Steve_Honeycutt

Chat Administartor
Steve
Corporate Member
Someone gave me the following advice once:

"If you are going to call a repairman, try to fix it first. The worst case is, you will have to call a repairman."

While I may not be as fast as a repairman, I have saved alot of $ using this philosophy. Only a few times have I ended up calling a repairman. As others has said, self-confidence, the internet, and some good tools will get you far.

Steve H.

Steve H.
 
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