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Even as you advance to more complex projects, don't worry about planning and sizing your own lumber until you feel comfortable and confident. You can buy lumber already prepped and cut in many different widths. And table legs, chair spindles, and other turned pieces are also readily available pre-made. Ease into some of those more difficult projects over time, adding greater levels of difficulty to each project.
Tool Tips The suggestions to keep it simple applied to woodworking tools as well. Most people interviewed recommended buying tools as you need them and adding to your selection as required for new projects. If a project is purchased as a kit, or with printed instructions, list of tools needed is included. Depending on what type of projects you choose to start with, you will typically need hammers, tape measure, clamps, a square, saws, hand drills, and a set of chisels. These will probably cost you around $200-$300 dollars.
Some woodworkers said that investing in a good table saw early on was important, but only if you will be doing projects with many cuts, especially those with different types of angles. For most beginner projects, a handsaw, or perhaps a circular saw will suffice.
It is strongly suggested that you begin by buying good tools, but not top grade until you decide for certain that you want to stick with woodworking. If it becomes clear that this will be an ongoing interest, then consider buying best quality tools you can afford. Best quality doesn't always mean most expensive, and you will have to do your research.
Kevin Warner, who has been teaching high school shop for over twenty years, had this to say about woodworking tools. "At school, I have a limited budget for tools, but I would rather buy a few high quality tools and have kids share them than spend my money on cheap equipment. There's nothing that will turn a young beginner away from woodworking quicker than a crappy tool that doesn't do what it should."
The same is true for home woodworking. Our experts recommended spending as much as you could afford on basic tools like hammers, saws, screwdrivers, drills and bits. "These are tools you will need around house even if you don't pursue woodworking," Sarah Greeley pointed out. "If you spend money up front, and care for them correctly, these tools will last you a lifetime because you bought quality to begin with."
If you have a tight budget, consider purchasing tools at an estate sale, auction or garage sale. Some may have worn handles or look like they are rusty or dirty, but if they are quality tools and generally sound, you can clean and repair them for less than it would cost to purchase new.
In general, you get what you pay for with woodworking tools, but sometimes you pay for name, or for features that you may not use in your particular type of woodworking. So again, you will need to refer to books, magazines, Web sites, and other woodworkers to learn more about different types and brands of tools. And so you see, tips have brought you full circle, back to research and learning, which is what so many woodworkers stressed most.
There is much to learn and, as has been said, it is an ongoing process. But thanks to wealth of information out there about different aspects of woodworking, and many Web sites and Internet resources, it is easy to research your questions. You just have to take time.
Copyright © 2005 by Ferhat Gul. All rights reserved. Ferhat Gul is the publisher of the brand-new "Woodworking Beginner's Guide - Tips From Experienced Woodworkers to Help You Get Started". This comprehensive, yet compact woodworking introduction for beginners is easy to read and helps to save time, money and effort.