DTaN – Woodworking

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April 26, 2017 by dleecox

Fundamental Concepts and Tips

Safety – be safe.

  • When handling unfinished wood, wear gloves even if they make you look like a sissy. Its all fun and games until you put a 2″ splinter in your palm or run a chisel through your fingernail – ask me how I know…
  • Always. Wear eye protection ALWAYS.
  • Trigger Discipline (not just a gun-nut rule!) – keep your fingers away from the trigger of a power tool until you’re ready to make it go.
  • Be aware of your hands while using a power drill or a saw. Make sure they are out of the way and dont move your hands until the saw or drill comes to a full stop.
  • Always unplug your power tool when changing / adjusting blades, bits, etc.
  • Wear hearing protection.
  • Never use a body part as a fundamental tool. e.g. Dont hammer nails with your fist (unless you’re Bruce Lee 🙏 ), dont use your hands as clamps when using power saws, dont use body parts as a brace or saw horse, etc.

Have level space like a board over saw horses or a kitchen table on which to work.

When using a measuring tape, most tapes will have what looks like a loose tab on the end that hooks onto stuff. That tab is not loose. When measuring from the outside of an object, the tape moves out the distance of the thickness of the tab, thereby not throwing off your measure by 1/16″ or so.

After marking a line, cut on the waste side of the mark. You can always make less, cant make more. Store-bought wood is expensive. Even a small table will cost you $20-30+ in wood.

Keep all your scrap – particularly anything over 3″

Jigs. Learn to make jigs. Do not avoid making a jig when you realize you may need one. Keep your jigs. Bonus: scraps are great for making jigs.

Fundamental Tools:

  • Hand tools
    • Screw driver set
    • Hammer
    • Hand saw
    • Clamps (x2 minimum)
    • Tape measure
    • Level
  • Power Tools
    • Circular saw
      • If you’ve never used a circular saw do NOT use it your first time without the immediate presence of someone familiar with using a circular saw. Just dont. In fact, dont buy or rent one until you’ve had hands-on help. Of course, if you dont like your fingers or knees (yes, knees. I knew a guy that almost cut his leg off because he was using his leg to hold the board) then simply disregard safety tips. Keep dry ice nearby as someone might need a hand transplant. They can do that now, you know.
    • Drill
      • a powered drill can send a metal bit into wood at upwards of 1,800 rotations per minute. This causes friction. Friction makes things hot – like drill bits. Hot enough to blister you. Ask me how I know…

Off you go! With these fundamentals there’s no reason why you cant build your first box! (everybody makes a box first)

May your chairs and tables sit level and may you keep all your fingers. Amen.

Related: Dont Tell a Newb – an Introduction

You’re more than welcome to make suggestions about this DTaN or suggest another DTaN. Just contact me or post a comment.

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