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How to start a Woodworking Hobby?

October 2, 2010 by  
Filed under General Discussion

I have had many people ask me to help them build the living room coffee table or a dining room hutch I even had a perspective customer come to one of my live seminars with his wife asking how to make the Kitchen cabinets. I asked him what kind of experience and tools he had at his disposal. His response was he had a Black and Decker 1/4″ shank DIY Router, no Saw, Planer or Joiner. His next answer was to the question of experience, which was that he had very little experience building projects.

As our conversation continued I glanced at the better half of this group to see a very disappointed look. This conversation wasn’t going well and she had something to say. She piped up and asked if the 1/4″ router could make raised panel doors for the kitchen cabinets. My quick response was not really but I mentioned that if you had a lot of experience you could make the panel doors with 1/4″ shank bits as done in episode 301 of the Router Workshop.

Here is the kicker part of this story, this guy had taken it upon himself to rip out all the old cabinets without the prior knowledge of his wife. He has little or no knowledge of the woodworking hobby and has put both himself and his family under the pressure of having no kitchen. In the end these folks were at the local lumber store and building a new kitchen with the modular cabinets. Not sure how it turned out but it wasn’t off to a very good start.

All beginners want to build the Dining Room Hutch as their first project but this is not where to start in my opinion. During my teaching years I was teaching woodworking to grades 7 to 12 and during the first day all students want to build that Hutch as their first project.

My response was and is now how about you build a few projects that I want to build first then when you have become successful building my first 10 projects we work on that Hutch. So now we have the idea of building the large and complicated project as the first project out of the way next we need to identify what the first projects should be:

Here is my list with (the TRW show numbers as reference),

1) The Picture Frame, (Show 101)
2) The Linear Dovetail Bookstand, (Show 102)
3) The Magic Box, (Show 103)
4) Box Joint Drawers, (Show 104)
5) Pen Storage, (Show 106)
6) Standard Raised Panels, (Show 109)
7) Standard Drawers, (Show 113)
8) Raised panel doors with standard Router Bits, (Show 301)
9) The Night Stand (Shows 302, 303)
10) Book Shelving. (Show 401)

Please note, you can see the photos of the projects at the Router Workshop episode guide. Click here to see the project photos.

So what are you going to learn in the FREE Live Video Chat…

The cost of entry into this hobby can be as little as $100 to as much as the unlimited costs. I think the first steps should be built around the router and this series of free Live Video Chats, which will be featuring the router applications that are used to build my first 10 projects outline above. I will be doing these live video sessions once a week at the same time of the day, currently I am thinking about doing these Live Video Sessions on Saturday @ 4:00 PM Central Standard Time. Click here to see the LVC browser viewer.

In Conclusion to this post,

The table mounted router is the most powerful power tool in the woodworking business and should be your first tool to purchase. All the local lumber yards can cut to size your project pieces so having a table-saw is not necessary to start your hobby. The more important part of the hobby is the ability to rout the molded edges, cut the rabbet joint, making linear dovetails, make that special box, etc…which can only be done with the router table-mounted. Click here to see the poor-man’s router table article.

P.S: These Live Video Chat programs will be advertised through the free email posts so if you haven’t signed up to our “free email router tip” system then you should do so now…The sign up form is in the right side menu bar in this website.


One Response to “How to start a Woodworking Hobby?”

  1. PutnamEco on October 6th, 2010 10:55 am

    I can sympathize, I get asked on numerous occasions to build furniture. My pet peeve with this is that people assume what I build will be less expensive than IKEA,since I only have to buy the wood, and then they tell me they want it made out of solid mahogany or oak….
    Or even worse, could you come over and help with a little project? Get there and find out they are having trouble getting their second story height deck addition to remain standing when they have ledger board nailed to the siding of there house and the support posts sitting on pavers, with absolutely no thought of plans or permits.

    So how did you get your start in woodworking?

    I got mine building forts as a kid. My first “woodworking” project were gas powered model airplanes, followed by a spice rack in wood shop at school.
    My first routing experience was not having a tablesaw and needing to have dadoes for shelves in a cabinet. Which I did successfully with a Craftsman 1 hp router.