measure ,  shape  smooth

measure , shape smooth

We have smoothed a pre-assembled wooded box. And have decided that is not enough, now we wish to begin with a couple of boards and make out own thing. There may well be saw dust in  your blood after all.

  When you decide to make your simple project, costly and over blown measuring technology is not necessary. A ruler, metre stick or length of string will do the job for a while. I sharp pencil is useful. If you must buy something, I like a folding wooden ruler as a starting place. They are solid, low cost and no tech.

  The next step can be intimidating and/or confusing. Shaping wood can be done with dozens of different tools, similar tasks can be completed with many different tools that require different skill sets. You know the old saying 'there is more than one way to saw a board'. At this point, the beginner in a small space with a limited budget needs to basically drill holes and cut the boards to size. Nearly all wood working can be done with very basic hand tools. If you search the internet you can see excellent wood working done by people is distant countries.  However, you need to be aware they often have skills that they've developed over many years, and they are spending hours on each aspect of the task.

  I know local wood workers that do lovely work, all by hand and for them the process is where the satisfaction lay, so they're happy to spend all winter making a jewelry box. I use a mixed shop because I enjoy the process but also enjoy sharing the finished project. If you read my blog you will also see that I try to match the quality and refinement of the project to its intended use. Out door flower boxes are not a carefully crafted as jewelry boxes. Storage boxes in the basement are less refined than things featured in our living room. 

  So, this is an easy 'made from scratch' project:


 Practically speaking you buy a length of dowel or use bamboo skewers  from a craft store or a big box supplier. The square wood my be free pallet wood from behind a neighbourhood store. (with enough time and tools you can make your own dowels, if you are a purest, I guess)
  To begin your wood working journey you need to drill 8 holes and make a few cuts followed by sanding and finishing.  This stand was the prototype and so it sits on my desk, roughly sanded and unfinished. Don't fear painting wood. Not all wood grain is worth showing off.
  To drill.  A couple of generations ago you could buy a reasonably priced egg beater type hand drill


egg beater drill
  Now, this type of drill when cheap is not worth buying. There are quality drills available but...they are for serious hand tool workers, are a life time tool and cost lots of money.
  The alternative is a corded electric drill. I suggest buying one from a name brand company and a 3/8 variable speed/reversing corded drill will do most of what you want and need for a long time.  Buying a drill with a cord also means that you do not need to decide what battery system to join. I'm on my fourth battery system since beginning wood working seriously 25 year ago. A beginner, small time DIY person will do fine with a corded drill, which will last their whole life and can be had for reasonable money. Also it will be  cheaper than any brand name cordless drill.
  Once you get your drill you find that there are tonnes of specialized accessories for grinding, sanding, pumping what ever.  I used my drill with a disk sander accessory for ages before buying a dedicated sander. Again, on the internet there are many how-to videos showing tips and tricks for using your hand drill. 
Now, we've bought our drill and a small set of drill bits. The square wood needs to be cut to size, how to do that best.  For straight cuts a back saw with a mitre box is not a bad place to start.
  There are plenty of good basic hand saws for less than $50.00. These saws only cut straight lines. ( and are worth owning if you  are going to continue to play with wood) This project has no curves but the next one may be more stylish and cry out for flowing curves. I think a corded jig saw is a good place to start. A jig saw can make adequate straight cuts with care and especially can make curves and shapes. Also jig saws have many different types of blades available  designed to cut wood, metal and plastic.  While not being the very best saw for all jobs it is easily the most versatile.
  Again a jig saw with a cord will not become obsolete and will last many years and projects.
  Once everything is cut, drilled and sanded it is assembled with white glue.  Most projects do not require high tech water proof rapid setting costly glue.
  At this point  you have around $200.00 including taxes invested in your new hobby and gifts for everyone one you shopping list.   Little kids like cut out toys, (lots of curves). 

You are on your way to a rewarding and cost effective hobby. 
  What tools you need next has everything to do with what direction you want to go with your wood working projects.
 cheers ianw 
Back to blog