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Sandra asks…

Would these be good starter power tools?

I do not have enough money to be upgrading from decent quality tools to great quality tools, so this is why I’am trying to find some of the best tools out their..I’am going to be starting woodworking classes and want some good quality tools are these very good or not?
Corded drill:Milwaukee 1/2 in. Magnum® Drill, 0-850 RPM
Corded Circular Saw:Milwaukee 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw with Quik-Lok® cord, Brake and Case
Cordless Drill: Bosch 18V Litheon™ Brute Tough™ Drill Driver
Jigsaw: Bosch Top Handle Jigsaw
Also, how long do you think these tools could last if properly cared for and used 2-3 times a week or something like that,Thanks!

Dusty answers:

Honestly in later years I am not that impressed anymore with Milwaukee tools, in fact when I went in business in 97 I thought the same way you do about buying tools and bought a Milwaukee Magnum 1/2″ hammer drill, the hammer function failed withing 3 years. I bought a Dewalt to replace it and it still works fine today. I would opt for a Makita circular saw and a Dewalt or Hitachi corded drill. I like the Bosch jigsaw but I would choose the barrel grip model it gives much better control. The Bosch cordless drill is a great tool. Later when it comes to sanders stick with Porter Cable they also make a great plate joiner (biscuit cutter), for routers Bosch or Hitachi. Good luck

James asks…

Want to learn about woodworking?

I would love to take up woodworking as a hobby. Ya know, make tables and chairs and such, but I don’t know where to get started. I dont have a whole lot of extra money to go out to the store and buy wood. I DO have a huge pile of logs in my backyard though. Could I use that, if so how do I make it look nice? What tools do I need? a sander maybe?

Dusty answers:

Starting with natural wood is too big a job as you don’t have the tools or the experience to reduce it to usable shapes and sizes. Even if you could do it, the wood itself may be unsuitable. It is far easier to use wood that has already been made into straight lengths with parallel sides.

If timber is too expensive for you, some timber yards sell ‘off cuts’ cheaply … Bits that are too short for what most people want – They can still be usable lengths. The best thing about wood is that it can be re-used so a good source of decent wood is from junk – yours or other people’s. If you take wooden item apart carefully, you can often make something new from the parts. I sometimes use planks from broken pallets. Old solid wood floor boards are great.

The main tools you are going to need are a hand-saw, a plane, a ruler, a carpenters square, a chisel or two, a drill (not necessarily electric) and some drill bits, a hammer and a screwdriver. You’ll also want some ‘consumable’ bits and pieces like sand paper, screws, nails and glue. A couple of clamps would come in very handy and so would a work bench, but a sturdy table or cabinet would do. As you can see, the cost soon mounts up but you don’t have to buy everything at once and often you can make-do with old stuff that may still work perfectly well. Good tools last well if treated with respect.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a cheap new tool that is also good though hard-point saws are perfectly OK and not expensive. Those of us without money to throw around have to compromise.

To get started without spending much, how about sawing a couple of short lengths from your logs, splitting them into rough planks using an axe, and using nails to make a nest box for birds. The hard part would be making a small hole in the front but, if you haven’t got any way of doing that, you could make the sort that has an open slot just below the roof. Perhaps you could move on to making a tool box for your tools.

Making chairs and tables takes a lot of skill and, if they are going to be half decent, relies on using a workshop full of expensive tools. In the UK, you can take a class in woodwork in the evenings at adult education classes. They are good for learning what different tools do and how to use them safely and for learning the basic techniques for working with wood.

I hope you find a way of achieving your dream. Making things with wood can be very satisfying.

Sharon asks…

How can I build…..?

Anyone here know how to build a wooden notepad holder that uses old printing calculator paper tape ribbons? With basic woodworking tools like saw, miter box or less. There were too many that came up in my search so I was wondering if anyone has come across a plan to make this lately?
Sorry Precious J,

You are most definitely not my therapist!

I happen to believe in recycling. I have a office in my home for years. I want to recycle the paper that goes with the calculator that just broke…Yes, I had a wooden note pad holder that used them but broke years ago….

You must have lots of suicides if you regularly address your patients like that! Licensing board?

Haven’t you heard the phrase if you don’t know, don’t answer…
BTW, maybe this explanins my MIL who refuses meds but has many hobbies….

Dusty answers:

I haven’t seen any plans for such a notepad, but I recall one my parents had that looked fairly simple to make. The paper roll sat in a rectangler box that had a lid with hinges mounted on one of the short edges. The lid had a wire tied tight between two screws across the lid at the end opposite the hinge. The paper came out of the box, over the end of the lid and under this wire. Another wire was tied tight between two screws across the lid at the end near the hinge. Or it might have been a strip of serrated metal tacked to the lid like you might find on an aluminum foil or plastic wrap box to tear the paper.

That was pretty much it, except for some decoration. You would drop the roll of paper into the box and feed the end of the paper out of the box at the end opposite the hinge, under the first wire, down the lid and then under the second wire or metal cutting strip. You would write on the paper on the lid of the box and then pull the paper down under the metal strip and tear it off to take with you.

Lisa asks…

woodworking studio for rent?

hello, i am interested in getting into woodworking but live in an apartment.
are there places where I can pay to use a studio of tools for a few hours or something like that?
perhaps a school or something?
i’m in nyc
thanks

Dusty answers:

One of my fond dreams is finding (or even founding) a membership workshop like that offered at my first college or the craft center in the Army. It is a question of organization and liability and they seem to be few and far between, although there is a lapidary group that comes close here in Dallas.
I would suggest looking up Craft Guilds and woodworking classes and see if the people that offer them have an ongoing operation that lets you do work.

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