Wood Working Projects - Introduction

    The result is always the product of going through the process. In this case, the process of sanding out the welding burns from this scrap piece of plywood.

     

    Welcome to my projects page.

    Here are some of my projects.... It might seem odd that I've taken so long to put some of my own work up here.

    Now, I don't pretend to be a professional carpenter, and the one thing that many wood working newbies out there do, is dwell on the "mistakes", perhaps even go so far as point them out to all who'll listen.

    Want to know something?

    Most people won't notice a mistake, unless it is particularly noticeable. Don't tell them, and most people will be happy that you made something. That's more than most people will ever do. Also, if you make something in a "rustic" fashion, then things that are normally considered mistakes actually add "charm".

    Now, I'm not going to lie, there are going to be times when things go wrong, kind or somewhat-less-kind words will be uttered. Self recrimination, and frustration are part of this noble hobby. However, to contrast all this, is a sense of achievement, the overcoming of obstacles, and creative problem solving. I'm trying to inspire and prepare you, dear reader, not "lord it over" or mislead anyone.

    Most of what I've built come in the forms of boxes, cabinets, shelves, tables, trolleys, drawers, jigs, the occasional wood carving, work benches, soap mould, and even a soap cutter. But don't let me dictate what you should make. The reason I don't make anything "fancy" is because I have way too much furniture already, and I literally have no room to keep anything I'd normally make and use. However, my goal for the last few years is build a garage/workshop that is both highly functional and spatially efficient. So most of my projects are things you'd find in a workshop.

    Just remember the twelve (or so) wood working truths:

    1. A clean and organised workspace is a safer, more efficient, and more fun place to work.
    2. It's ok to practice every cut before the real one. Get comfortable with the actions and tools required. Practice on scrap first. Make sure it'll work safely, and then proceed.
    3. Take your time, and check your calculations. Draw a picture (even badly), it'll help you to visualize your goals, and spot problems.... usually with your calculations because you forgot to consider something.
    4. Never assume wood is square, straight, and that any edge is at right angles.
    5. Cheap tools used creatively will outperform expensive tools used badly.
    6. Mistakes will happen. Keep your scrap, and make something amazing with it.
    7. Problems, can almost always can be fixed, adapted, or hidden.
    8. Help is always useful. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but show appreciation for that help whenever it is given.
    9. Putting things on wheels (with careful consideration of potential "tipping over" and brakes for lateral forces/sloped surfaces) is almost always a huge benefit.
    10. Obtaining safety equipment should never be done half-heartedly. Have enough for any potential helpers too. Oh, and you have to actually use the safety gear whenever possible, not just when it's convenient.
    11. I'm sorry, but Ikea/second hand furniture will probably be cheaper than making it... unless you have the time, the skills, access to free wood, and/or the tools to use rough very low grade wood.
    12. Build things your way... just make sure that it works at the end. In short, don't give up and get it done.
      1. A lot of people will look down on certain types of wood working, whether that's pocket hole joinery, or using a CNC router to cut your wood. There's always someone who thinks: "That's not real or fine wood working". Pocket holes are used in most kitchen cabinetry because it is both strong and quick to assemble. A CNC router enables you to precisely cut wood, carve shapes, and make projects that look great and function smoothly. Guess what, so does a chisel and sandpaper, and I don't belittle any who uses them. They're effectively just another tool in your shop and you should use the tools you have when it suits.
      2. Similarly, don't think you can't do wood working on a budget. I've built a work bench using nothing but a $2 shop saw, screwdriver and a chipped chisel. Sure, it's not a french polished mahogany table, but most of what I do is functional, fits in the space, is stronger built and any Ikea piece, and will probably out last me. If it doesn't, it's more likely I've converted it into something else, or repurposed it entirely.

    Recognize your own style, habits, and what that means for your wood working:

    I have an ever-so-slight tendency to over-engineer things because if I'm going to the effort of building stuff, I don't want to be disappointed by it down the track. This makes things more expensive to build as more materials are used. It also means that things get pretty darn heavy... so I put nearly everything on wheels. When I don't put something on wheels, I have probably put it on adjustable feet instead :-)

     

    I've added a gallery of shots below, but I plan to add detailed build information for some of my projects in separate articles.

    Enjoy & safe wood working!

    Ham.


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