Basic woodworking is fun and generates a sense of accomplishment and achievement!

Having owned a cabinet shop for ten years, I enjoy both building furniture and gifts, making useful items for friends and around the house.

In addition to great resources on the internet, acquire a “reading library” of woodworking books.  My favorite read is the John L. Feirer “Cabinetmaking and Millwork”  (Here is the Link at Amazon: Cabinetmaking and Millwork: John L Feirer: 9780684132778: Books ).
While the Feirer book may seem dated to some, the basic principles are the same, and you will get a piece of usable information every time you skim through it.
Beyond educating yourself, you will need a basic toolbox, patience, a good tape measure, pencils, and a working plan of what you want to build.  You can buy this in a kit. 

25 piece beginner tool set, from Amazon

Most items can be built out of basic 3/4″ pine and plywood for cases, 1/2″ plywood for drawers, and 1/4″ plywood (or paneling if you are on a budget) for backs of cabinets and boxes. I like Pine as it is affordable, readily available, easy to cut and sand, and takes a painted finish well.   Stick to these materials to start, while you learn the basics.  Hardwoods and exotic species are expensive, and good for high-end projects.
In addition to basic hand tools, I suggest getting a cordless screw-gun/drill, skilsaw, palm sander, power miter saw (10″), sawhorses, and a small table saw.  (This list is just basic, buy things as you need them – and don’t forget glue, clamps, screws, etc. etc.).

1000 piece fastener set, from Amazon
1000 piece fastener set, from Amazon

While there are many joining systems for wood, basic furniture can be glued, nailed, and screwed together.  I have biscuit fasteners, Krieg drills, air powered nail-guns, and more in my work shop. this depends on whether you will be “blind fastening” (no exposed fasteners) or using exposed fasteners (nails, screws) and filling or covering the holes.
Woodworking is a challenge, as you are the mechanic, building functional pieces using your methods and tools.  Don’t worry if you have some pieces that are “less than perfect” – as your skills improve, you will be able to build some really good pieces.

The attached pictures are an oak desk for my 8 year old grandson, and a great Tiki Bar on wheels!

Oak and Pine desk built for Authors grandson
Oak and Pine student desk built for Authors grandson
Tiki Bar on wheels
Tiki Bar on wheels, made with shop scrap, left over paint, and some old casters.
rear view of Tiki Bar
rear view of Tiki Bar, showing shelves for buckets, and plastic barware!

It’s always fun to build for fun.

This is a footlocker/toybox:

Footlocker Toybox
Footlocker Toybox

Be creative, be safe, and enjoy woodworking – where you get a real sense of accomplishment building, fixing, or even working on a new project!

Take your time, “Measure twice – cut once“, and enjoy building your own cabinets and furniture!

Don’t let this happen to you!!



What Sizes do Table Saws Come In?

Table saws come in many different sizes and configurations.

Light duty portable saws come in 10″ models, and are meant to be placed on sawhorses or a folding stand.

10 Benchtop ang Portable Contractor Table Saw Rip Fence Mitre Gauge Push Sticks

Typical Benchtop Table saw, available on eBay. 

Note: there are “mini” table saws, you can see them on eBay too.  They are usually for craft and hobby work.

Jobsite saws are heavier, with 10″ blades, folding stands and sometimes wheels. Usually 1.5 to 2.5 horsepower.

Hitachi C10RJ 10" 15-Amp Jobsite Table Saw with 35" Rip Capacity and Fold and Roll Stand
My Hitachi Jobsite Saw, available on Amazon.

Stationary saws have 10″ or larger blades, larger power draw, and multiple configurations. Fence systems, sliding tables, dust collection, power feeders, stackers, and more are available as options. Cabinet saws may have scoring blades, and additional features for making clean and accurate cuts.

Powermatic PM23150K 3HP 1PH 230V, 50" RIP
Powermatic PM23150K 3HP 1PH 230V, 50″ RIP – available on Amazon or your favorite machinery dealer.

Another way to approach this is based on the work your saw needs to do for you. Is portability important? Do you make a lot of varied cuts? Do you make dadoes or angle cuts? You can configure a stock table saw with aftermarket fencing systems, shop wheels, dado inserts, and more.  Here is a link to popular table saw accessories on eBay, and Amazon.

Some of the newer saws have “slow start”, safety stop braking systems, and good connections for dust collection, blade guards, and anti-kickback features.

Buy the right size saw for the job, and you will be getting the best bang for your buck.  The table saw is the woodworkers primary wood cutting tool!

Thanks for the A2A! Fyi – I own a Hitachi 10″ jobsite saw, with a shop-made two stage dust collection system.

Should woodwork/home maintenance classes be mandatory?

In preparing a teenager for life, understanding the physical nature of things – by taking classes in woodworking, metalwork, Electrical shop, etc. – can better prepare that student for the “real world”.
It will also expose students to fields that they may not have an interest in, but will be valuable in their future.
There is no question that Many will find it boring or not germane to their lives, but how often do you use trigonometry in your daily life?
Since schools have cut shop and industrial arts from many of their curriculum’s, many graduates are compelled to learn everything from hanging a picture to building a deck from internet “how-to’s” or an orange vested clerk at a “Big Box” hardware store.
They really need to have some practical experience and understanding of tools, so that they can plan a project and see it safely to completion. Most important, when hiring a skilled handyman or contractor, they will have a better understanding of what they need, the actual work involved, and what it will cost.
I would love to see more schools with shops and courses in woodworking and basic home maintenance, but that is a factor of budget and the needs of the student population. We need more graduates who excel and basic math and have fluency in English, as well.


I was fortunate to have parents who were educators.  My mother was an art teacher in Brooklyn, at the Ovington School, PS 176, and my Father taught Shop at Thomas Edison High School in Queens.  This gave me a strong belief in the power of public education.  I also learned that building more schools is much cheaper than building more jails, in the long run.
Woodshop 101 For Kids: 21 Woodworking Lessons: Teach the Basics of Woodworking. 14 Woodworking Projects For Parents and Kids To Build Together
I hope my opinion and the other items I presented give you the basics to form an educated and informed opinion.