Jointer: I use my jointer a lot. When preparing rough lumber it sees as much action as the planer. As a matter of fact, almost every piece of lumber in my shop gets surfaced on the wide face to straighten things out before it even heads to the planer. Without the jointer, my life would just be a crooked, twisty mess of painful attempts to make things seem straight.
Finally, properly preparing your wood surface is super important. It will make a huge difference when it comes times to stain, paint, or finish your wood. There are a lot of tips for wood surface preparation, but sanding the wood is one of the most important steps. And I find it really helpful to do the bulk of my sanding before I start ripping (cutting) and building with my wood since it’s still in whole pieces. You can check out my simple tips for how to sand wood in my how to stain wood tutorial, which is also good to reference if you need to learn how to stain too!
Happy bench building folks. I hope you make it your own and not worry too much about what someone else thinks it should be. Use the rules as a guideline, they have validity, but make it your own in the end. If the rules fit you that’s great, if they don’t quite fit you then make it to fit yourself. It’s you using it, not some guy making a nice living off of telling you how he thinks you should do it. One size does not fit all. Never has, never will.
After you have all the holes clean, set things up for your glue-up. You want everything on-hand before you start - drill, driver bit, glue, roller or whatever you're going to spread the glue with, and four clamps for the corners. You'll need a flat surface to do the glue-up on - I used my hollow core door on top my bench base - and another somewhat-flat surface to put the other panel on. My folding table was still holding my oak countertop, which makes a great flat surface, but I want to make sure I didn't drip glue on it so I covered it with some painters plastic that was left over from the last bedroom we painted.
Hard to determine which stain you need in that bespattered collection of cans? An easy-to-make “stain index,” courtesy of reader Bob Jacek, solves the problem. Section off boards of your favorite woods into squares with masking tape, and apply the different stains across the width of each wood type (pine, oak, birch, etc.). When the stains are dry, brush on lengthwise your regular finishes—polyurethane, water-based polyurethane, oil, orange shellac, etc. You’ll be able to tell how each stain looks with each finish. Label each one. Use both sides of each board, and you’ll have a wooden encyclopedia of stain and finish combinations. Plus: How to stain wood evenly.
Simply soak a washcloth in water and ring it out a bit so it’s not sopping wet. Put the damp washcloth on the affected area. The water will wick through the wood, and that’s fine. Now, with your iron on its highest setting, place it on the damp washcloth over the affected area, and make small movements back and forth and in circles. Press down firmly and continue until your wash cloth is dry. It won’t take long to evaporate. At this point, the wood fibers are absorbing the water and should expand back to where they were originally. Continue this process and repeat by adding more water until the dents rise up to be flush with the rest of the material.
The next power tool you should purchase is a power drill. Now, many people swear by cordless drills, but they’re more expensive, and they can’t do everything that an electric drill can do – that’s where the term “power” comes in. Power drills are not as expensive, and they’re more powerful than cordless drills, which do have their place in your shop. The steady power that comes with a corded drill makes it a better tool for extended use, especially when using large bits such as paddle bits.
A small oak table is a very useful wooden item for every household. You can yourself make a nice, strong and beautiful oak table suitable for any purpose. See the image below. As you can see, it is a small, yet good enough table to be used as a coffee table, lamp stand, breakfast table, etc. You can also find many other design variants on the internet. Choose the one you want for yourself and start making it now.
A good circular saw is one of the most versatile tools you can own. Most people consider the circular saw to be a carpentry tool but combined with proper clamping of your materials, they are just as accurate as any table saw. Plus, you can use a circular saw for tasks that you could never attempt with a table saw. It makes a lot more sense to set up a couple of saw horses and get out the circular saw to cut a sheet of plywood or MDF than to try to maneuver around in your shop to cut them on a table saw. A high-quality circular saw should be the first power tool in your shop.
If you know that the blades of your saws are right, but are still having trouble getting the cut you want, the moisture content of your stock may be wrong. Wood that has a moisture content level that is too high for your area will “feather” when it’s cut, regardless of the size or sharpness of the blades. Wood that is too dry will crack and split when you cut it. If it seems that no matter what you do to your saws, you still don’t get satisfactory cuts, use your moisture meter to check the moisture content levels of your stock.

This self-clamping table saw fence takes only seconds to put on and lets you crank the blade into the fence to create both angled cuts along board edges and extremely thin rip or rabbet cuts. With a hand- or jigsaw, cut pieces from a 1×4, making the inside width of the “L” a hair under the thickness of your saw’s fence. Drill 5/16-in. holes in the L-blocks and plywood fence and join them with two 1/4-in. x 3-in. countersunk machine screws, washers and Wing-Nuts. As always, use extra caution when you’re sawing without a blade guard. Our thanks for this new sawing angle to professional furniture maker George Vondriska. Check out these 16 genius tool hacks you need to know!
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