How can you get into woodworking with limited finances?

Toy chest in Ambulance colors

There are lots of resources for learning woodworking.

You don’t have to apprentice at a shop, you can do it as a hobby. The public libraries have books that you can read on the topic, and free access to computers (for YouTube videos).

You can get free wood from used pallets and boxes, many people are happy to give them away.

Custom Shelf unit

This custom Shelf unit was made from plywood I had “left over”, and some “oops” paint from Home depot’s discount bin. (link oopens to wood project plans on eBay.  You can also get Wood project plans from Amazon.

You can find inexpensive tools (and wood) at yard sales and on-line sites like The Freecycle Network or Craigslist; you can even put out a wanted ad for specific tools.  eBay is a good source for tools as well.

Wooden Chess Table
Wooden chess table with inlaid blocks of walnut and Maple, custom made by Morton Chenkin.
completed Chess table at the Chenkin Man cave

chess table plans on Amazon

You just need to be creative, and find projects that are within the scope of your ability; Just google “how to make a (insert wood project here) from scrap wood”.  This works whether you are planning a birdhouse or a coat-rack.

I hope this inspires you to make the journey into the craft! Please post your progress and (shameless self promotion) keep reading The Chenkin Workshop

Best of Luck!

Keychain Display Cabinet

Finished Keychain cabinet

My daughter collects Keychains, which gave me a great idea – that they would look awesome in a display cabinet.

For her Birthday I made her a Keychain cabinet out of recycled materials (pallet wood, Pine cutoffs, and a piece of plexiglass for the door).

I found a pallet made of #2 pine, and used it for the case and door frame.

the shelves are adjustable with simple grooves on the cabinet sides, and some have 1/2″ cup hooks for hanging the keychains.

Everything was sanded with 100 and 220 grit sandpaper, and painted her favorite baby blue.

Here is a picture of the finished cabinet:

Finished Keychain cabinet
partially loaded with some unique keychains!
keychain cabinet detail
cutting and prepping the parts for the keychain cabinet
Keychain cabinet almost ready
Keychain cabinet detail, almost ready to wrap and gift!

The hinges are simple butt hinges, and the knob is a wooden knob painted to match.  the magnetic catch is a simple one from Amazon (you can order it here).  Of course I put a simple note on the back!

Now my daughter has a unique, Dad-fabricated display for some of the special pieces in her collection.

I hope your projects bring joy into someone’s life too!  Happy Woodworking!

Is carpentry and woodworking a good hobby to start?

Woodworking is a craft that is non-exclusive, and inclusive; almost everyone can do it!

Tennessee six pack carrier with bottle opener, Great gift idea, made in the chenkin workshop. painting by Kathy.

Carpentry has a great breadth – from Birdhouses and signs to elaborate carvings, models, Home repairs and functional cabinets. Carpentry also is a means to acquire tools, videos, books, and friends who share their love of the craft and knowledge of how to make objects out of wood.

  • Carpentry also brings together metal working (signs, hooks, table legs, hinges)
  • Painting – finishes, stains, decals, more
  • Repair work and upgrades
  • Reading and how to books

And much more!

Fireplace mantle with marble trim, Custom built for a client, courtesy of The Chenkin workshop.

The best way to get started is to Build, fix, or plan a project. Pinterest has tons of ideas, if you need inspiration.

Based on what you want to build, you will need to get some tools.

Pallet wood jewelry holder. product of the chenkin Workshop, finishing by Kathy.

Before you know it, you are on your way!

Of course, I admit I am biased. Carpentry is a Great Hobby to start!

Shameless self promotion (from my website):

Best of Luck and I hope to see you posting your projects on-line on Pinterest or Instagram!!

What is the Best home-made woodworking machine?

Alan Chenkin, Owned a cabinet shop for 10 years, is an avid woodworker.
The best woodworking machine is one that gets the job done – Safely! If it has the amusing properties of a Rube Goldberg invention, even better!
Should you ever need to build your own woodworkign machine, proceed safely and carefully!  you may be dealing with sharp blades and fast spinning shafts!  
We are fortunate to live in a time where you can buy affordable, safe, and efficient machines for almost any purpose, and making your own tools and machinery is something we may not have to deal with!

Thank you for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!