WOOD101 - UPDATE: 2/3/2020 - Enc Makes a GM Screen

EncEnc A Fool with CompassionThe Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
edited February 3 in Help / Advice Forum
So one of my dining chairs broke this week, bringing me down to 3 now from the original 6 that went with the table. Rather than replace them, I want to make a pair of simple wooden benches with basic tools/woods.

While DIY project videos and sites are everywhere, I wanted to reach out to folks here on any tips or suggestions to what I should look out for or any resources for a budding furniture carpenter moving forward. I have no tools yet, and will be buying (at least) a sander and drill, but what else should I look for.

The one thing I will not be buying is a saw or joiner, going to have the lumber store cut my planks for me for my first few projects.

What tips, good people?

Updates: 1/23/2020
Getting wood cut at the hardware store is a terrible idea! Also: I am terrified of power saws. I'm going with a Miter Box and handsaw for my cutting needs. Sweat and effort, ho!

Planned Tool list:
Definitely going the miter box route. That should get all my cuts I'll need without needing anything cut at Home Depot. Right now my list is:
Planned Build:
https://krusesworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/04/simple-indooroutdoor-rustic-bench-plan.html
(with some changes to the height and width to match my dining table

Planned Finish:
Going to torch the wood and stain before construction, doing a shou sugi ban effect with a gunstock varnish. After I finish drilling/assembling everything I'll touch up again with the varnish for anywhere that needs it.

Enc on
Feral
«1

Posts

  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    I have spent most of my adult life looking for an excuse to buy a wood lathe. Seize this moment! Make the dopest chair legs! And then make some baseball bats or candlestick holders why not.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
    Ringodavidsdurions
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Lumber stores love to claim their saw is busted to avoid cutting plywood down to size.

    Ryobi One+ is a pretty sweet system and Home Depot always runs sales on it.

    Don't skimp on hearing, eye or respiratory protection.

    EncElvenshaeRingoSyrdon
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Haha, maybe in phase 3 or 4. :)

    Right now, I'm looking to make something fairly simple. This is my rough idea for the benches (not to scale).

    [edit - old bad plan]

    The goal is to have two benches that are really, really heavy and sturdy to hold 500+ pounds of weight. On d&d nights we might have 3-4 people sitting on these chairs.

    Enc on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    You can never own too many clamps.

    I know someone who has one side of the kitchen table as a bench seat and it's actually pretty great.

    dispatch.o on
    EncMegaMan001Ringo
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Current tool plan is:

    UPDATED - SEE BELOW

    Plan is to get my wood cut, then burn it for the Shou Sugi Ban look, brush it down, sand it, and stain it with a gunstock coat, then assemble.

    Enc on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    I'd call around. There's a good chance you'll have to do a lot of the cuts yourself.

    Most important part of DIY is making friends with people who have tools you don't!

    dispatch.o on
    ElvenshaeThrosee317
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    The main problem with having cuts done for you is that any home improvement store employees don't give a shit, and will just be doing slop cuts. This is mostly just to get things roughly to size, but could have variances of an inch or more, which just won't work for building furniture. Well not any furniture that doesn't look like Ralph Wiggum took shop class at least. I have serious doubts that they'd even attempt a miter cut (your 45 degree cut).

    Just get a corded circular saw and a speed square . Clamping, or even just firmly holding, the speed square against the edge of your lumber will allow you to to use the square as a fence and get a perfectly straight cut when either cross-cutting or doing a 45 degree miter (I'd use a clamp for the miter cuts). You can google/youtube how to use a speed square as a fence. One thing to keep in mind is that your blade isn't a laser and has an actual width, and which side of the mark you'll be cutting on or you could be 1/16" off. Cut on the non-keeper side and you'll be good.

    I also recommend getting a drill/driver combo kit rather than just a no-name cheapo drill. Without spending $texas on Milwaukee, I like the Bosch 12v combo, it's usually about $100, and as low as $80 on sale. The impact driver makes driving screws about a million times easier than the drill.

    Edit: also just looking at your plans, I'd go with 4 individual legs rather than a full runner base like you've got there. Framing lumber is cheap but often is warped, twisted and bowed. And since it's not kiln-dried, can further warp, twist, or bow even if you buy what you think is a straight piece. If a full runner base like that bows or warps after construction, you're going to have an unstable base that can rock back and forth. Maybe consider some self-leveling feet. This is your first project so, I expect things won't be perfectly square and even. Also avoid screwing into end-grain (the end of a board), this isn't a strong connection, you'll want to screw into edge or face grain for the best hold. You could pickup a Kreg Mini Pocket hole jig for $10 to allow you to make pocket holes which will be much stronger joints.

    Simpsonia on
    EncElvenshaedispatch.oThrotinwhiskers
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Ok, so if I'm going to be cutting these boards my ownself, what is the minimum, safest tool a beginner needs to start?

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Ok, so if I'm going to be cutting these boards my ownself, what is the minimum, safest tool a beginner needs to start?

    a miter saw would be your best bet.

    most brands are pretty good. I'd maybe avoid General International and Skil though

    Radiation
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    The Skil Saw is probably the cheapest I'd go with, outside of buying a refurbished saw (don't rely on that laser, it won't be accurate out of the box). Otherwise I like Hitachi (now Metabo HPT), a much better saw than the Skil, which you can get refurbished at Big Sky Tool. Other than that you're looking at a little higher price tag to go to the more well known brands like Makita, DeWalt, Bosch, etc. I'd avoid Craftsman, Black & Decker and some of those brands for something like a saw, as they are just shells of their former selves selling the same no-name Chinese crap that's not powerful enough (dangerous when a saw binds up because it doesn't have the power), or will break in a year. Note, I own that exact Metabo saw (well the prior Hitachi badged version), and it's been great for me.

    But important to note you won't be doing a full cross-cut on a 4x4 with a circular saw (most can only cut about 2.5") so you can use two sistered 2x4s there. Though I doubt you'd need that much support. Even just the six 2x4 in place of the 4x4 support should easily handle 500+lbs.

    Simpsonia on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Not gonna lie, I am terrified of owning a power saw. I lost the top of a finger as a kid and really don't want to lose another.

    If I take my time with a really fine-tooth handsaw/hand plane I'm wondering if I can get to the same endgoal. Time isn't so much of a factor over safety for me.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Look in to the brand Sawstop if that's a big concern. They are very impressive.

    It runs a low current through the blade and upon contact with anything conductive drops a metal block and retracts the blade. I've only seen table saws, but they're awesome.

    YouTube has a lot of videos of people putting fingers/hotdogs into them.
    https://www.sawstop.com/why-sawstop/the-technology/

    dispatch.o on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    At that price point I might as well just buy all the furniture I need from a high-end retailer. 3.5k is way out of my price range as a beginner looking to make a few benches.

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Not gonna lie, I am terrified of owning a power saw. I lost the top of a finger as a kid and really don't want to lose another.

    If I take my time with a really fine-tooth handsaw/hand plane I'm wondering if I can get to the same endgoal. Time isn't so much of a factor over safety for me.

    If you are that concerned with power tools, then you can always go old school and use a miter box and hand saw. They are cheap too, albeit slow and exhausting. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-14-5-in-Deluxe-Clamping-Miter-Box-with-14-in-Saw-20-600D/100034395

    Don't even both looking into the SawStop. Those are $2k+ table saws for professional woodworkers with a full shop.

    Elvenshaedispatch.oXaquinEnc
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Simpsonia wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    Not gonna lie, I am terrified of owning a power saw. I lost the top of a finger as a kid and really don't want to lose another.

    If I take my time with a really fine-tooth handsaw/hand plane I'm wondering if I can get to the same endgoal. Time isn't so much of a factor over safety for me.

    If you are that concerned with power tools, then you can always go old school and use a miter box and hand saw. They are cheap too, albeit slow and exhausting. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-14-5-in-Deluxe-Clamping-Miter-Box-with-14-in-Saw-20-600D/100034395

    Don't even both looking into the SawStop. Those are $2k+ table saws for professional woodworkers with a full shop.

    I've got that miter box, and my one complaint about it is that I wish the saw itself were about an inch or two longer, because otherwise it's too easy to pull back too far and slide the saw out of the guides.

    Otherwise, I lock it down to my table with a couple DeWalt trigger clamps (like this) and then use the included pins to lock the wood to the box, and it works fantastically.

    omgbfz5lzi1s.png
    Steam: Elvenshae // PSN: Elvenshae // WotC: Elvenshae
    The Disappearance of Inigo Sharpe: Tomas à Dunsanin
    Ringo
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Definitely going the miter box route. That should get all my cuts I'll need without needing anything cut at Home Depot. Right now my list is:
    Going to think about some non-runner designs for the benches as well. Runners are structurally hella sturdy and the style the wife wants, but I'm definitely not wanting to do that much planing by hand.

    Enc on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I also wouldn't pay $3,500 but the technology exists and perhaps one day in your woodsmithing adventures something lower in price will be on market.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    [edit - old bad plan]
    Revised plan currently:

    Enc on
    Elvenshae
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Should be a basic bench, I'd possibly add some short 2x4 crossbeams under the seat panels to take the load from those legs and stabilize the box (between the two yellow beams). Those 4x4 legs in the middle will need something else to secure them beyond a couple screws through the face of your box. Someone hopping on the bench sideways and they'll torque and sheer those screws right off as they are currently. Alternatively you build some stabilizers low and tie the legs together with something like a stretcher (long 2x4 beam running the center length about 6 inches off the ground and tied to the legs with smaller pieces).

    One other thing to keep in mind, try to get your lumber from an actual lumber yard if you have any near you. Framing lumber from big box home improvement stores is essentially bottom barrel, and it's going to be very hard to find quality (straight) pieces.

    Simpsonia on
    Encdispatch.o
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    keep in mind a miter saw/box isn't going to work for long cuts.

    Also, look for consignment/thrift stores/pawn shops since Florida. You can sometimes find good tools cheap.
    ALso if going cordless stick to a system so your batteries are universal. I like ryobi + as mentioned. I also agree about the drill and driver combo. drill for holes, driver for uh filling holes with screws.

    you want clamps.
    maybe a circular saw or jig

    camo_sig.png
    Elvenshae
  • RadiationRadiation Registered User regular
    I'm in a meeting so will read better through thread before suggestions., but summoning @minor incident as well since he's done furniture building.

    PSN: jfrofl
    minor incident
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    Simpsonia wrote: »
    Should be a basic bench, I'd possibly add some short 2x4 crossbeams under the seat panels to take the load from those legs and stabilize the box (between the two yellow beams). Those 4x4 legs in the middle will need something else to secure them beyond a couple screws through the face of your box. Someone hopping on the bench sideways and they'll torque and sheer those screws right off as they are currently. Alternatively you build some stabilizers low and tie the legs together with something like a stretcher (long 2x4 beam running the center length about 6 inches off the ground and tied to the legs with smaller pieces).

    One other thing to keep in mind, try to get your lumber from an actual lumber yard if you have any near you. Framing lumber from big box home improvement stores is essentially bottom barrel, and it's going to be very hard to find quality (straight) pieces.

    yea it definitely needs stabilizing to keep it from going cartoon horse walking on ice

    camo_sig.png
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I'm running a plan by Mrs. Enc I found online which seems doable and looks a lot nicer than that thing. Specifically this guy:

    https://krusesworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/04/simple-indooroutdoor-rustic-bench-plan.html

    It's the wrong dimensions for our table, but that's easily fixable. I don't really want to use a kreig jig for assembly though. Would metal corner brackets hold the same degree of weight?

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    that jig is more for creating nice even support screws and you could probably rig something up to get around it

    camo_sig.png
    Elvenshae
  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    I showed this to my buddy who does woodworking on the side as I've been thinking of doing the same as you. He's pretty adamant that getting your cuts done at the store is recipe for failure and that you (and me) should probably go the route of at least getting a chop saw. I'm likely going to get a chop saw and a circular saw.

    Do you have friends you can borrow tools from for your first project?

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    I'm getting a miter box and a hand saw now, rather than getting cuts at home depot. I've updated the OP with the current build plan.

    Re: borrowing tools, while I have many friends who are engineers, I have few who have their own tools outside of their work.

    Enc on
    SatanIsMyMotor
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Enc wrote: »
    I'm running a plan by Mrs. Enc I found online which seems doable and looks a lot nicer than that thing. Specifically this guy:

    https://krusesworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/04/simple-indooroutdoor-rustic-bench-plan.html

    It's the wrong dimensions for our table, but that's easily fixable. I don't really want to use a kreig jig for assembly though. Would metal corner brackets hold the same degree of weight?

    Just get the Kreg Jig Mini, it's like $10-15. Either you're going to end up screwing into end-grain and the joint could potentially fail because this is a weak joint, or you use about 40 brackets to avoid end-grain screws so it looks like an MC Escher painting underneath and on the sides, and still have to worry about weight ratings of each of the brackets that will actually fit up in there. Try to think about where you're actually drilling and screwing, and how you'll avoid end-grain, then you might see the problem and why pocket holes are so commonly used (outside of real woodworking joinery like rabbets, dados etc).

    Simpsonia on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    My worry is mostly that it will wreck the burn effect, though I guess it is on the underside of the bench so who would even notice.

  • RadiationRadiation Registered User regular
    edited January 23
    Do the pocket holes first before burning.
    Edit: if you were to use the pocket holes.

    Radiation on
    PSN: jfrofl
    Encminor incident
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Hey, something other than medical questions I know something about!

    I'm in the third year of wood working and I've learned four things.

    1. The relationship between tool cost and time is inverted. From my experience, the more expensive the tool the more time it saves.

    2. Buy cheap buy twice.

    3. Having the store cut things is imprecise at the fifth time you have to explain to the kid at the saw what the difference is between a cross and rip cut you will wish for death.

    4. "Jig" is just a name for some kind of brace or shape made up for a particular task.

    I respect your fear of powered saws and you're not wrong. They're dangerous and to be respected. However, you should get one and exercise some basic safety protocol and you won't have an issue. I say this as a nurse anesthetist where even a minor injury to my left hand or wrist could end my career.

    A great sweet spot brand is Ryobi or Kobalt from any big box store. Not nearly as expensive as Milwaukee or DeWalt but still great. Pick a brand and stick with it once you find what you like so th batteries are all interchangeable.

    A Kreg Jig is a great way to skip a lot of basic woodworking techniques, but if you wanna go handheld please check out Tom Carpenter who wrote the book on basic joinery.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
    ceresminor incidentdispatch.oJebus314SatanIsMyMotorJaysonFour
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    edited January 24
    I teach a class on building a pretty similar bench on a regular basis, so I typically build 2 of these a month. Here's the best advice I can offer:

    If you have room for a cheap, small mitre saw (and if you have room to use a blowtorch, you have room for a mitre saw), get that instead of a hand saw. You'll use it for at least a dozen cuts on that bench design. Each cut will be cleaner, more accurate, and only take literally 3 seconds compared to the rougher cuts with a handsaw. The handsaw will also take at least a couple of minutes to get through two-by material per cut and takes a bit of finesse to keep things smooth and straight. I watch people every week use a handsaw for the first time and their first 4 or 5 cuts are usually a disaster. In contrast, everyone's first mitre saw cut is almost always perfect.

    I promise you, a mitre saw is nearly impossible to hurt yourself with. It's the only tool in the shop beyond a power drill that I'm comfortable letting first timer students use without constant supervision. We have a Sawstop table saw and I legitimately feel safer when they're using the mitre saw. Setting one up with a stop block for repeatable cuts will save you tons of time on making matching legs.

    A kreg jig isn't 100% necessary, as you can just screw into the endgrain with regular butt joints, but it will make everything a little sturdier and it'll keep the finished product looking much cleaner. With careful layout and filling pocket holes you'll never be able to see how it's fastened together if you use a kreg jig. The cheap $20 version is fine if you're not doing tons of furniture builds, and it's great for attaching stretchers on benches/tables in place without much hassle. It will require a special clamp or two, but those are super handy in general, so that's not a big deal.

    For the drill, I'm generally pretty gun-shy about these cheap no-name ones on Amazon. We've used a few in our shop and they always die on us. The chucks break, the triggers break, the motor burns out, etc. And when the batteries shit the bed, you can't get them locally. Probably not a huge deal if you're just going to do this once or twice, but if you wanted to make this a hobby, I'd urge you to subscribe to the "buy once, cry once" mindset and consider picking up a big box brand like Ryobi (Home Depot) or Kobalt (Lowe's). Both brands tend to have an entry level 18v drill with a battery in the $50-$70 range. And yeah, then you can buy other tools from the same brand and use the same batteries.

    I'd also recommend building and then burning/finishing. With burning especially, pieces may warp enough to fuck up your assembly after the burning. You run less of a risk of fit issues if it's already assembled before you burn. Also you're bound to nick and scratch things as you assemble pieces and that will fuck up your stain/shou sugi ban finish (not to mention if you realize during assembly that you mis-drilled a screw hole and have to drill another one and fill the mistake, etc). The charring and finish will also negatively impact the glue-up (unless you absolutely need to disassemble it, I strongly recommend combining glue with whichever screw construction you use for better long term stability).

    In general your process when building furniture should always be: measure, cut, sand, assemble, sand some more, finish.

    Good choice for the sander. A 5" random orbit is the best workhorse you could opt for. Don't go crazy with grits, though. 80 is only really necessary if you need to really grind down some wood. I start at 120, then move to 150-160, then 180-200. Maybe go to 240 if you want to get really fancy, but I almost never do unless I'm only finishing a project with a coat of Danish oil or some other fairly light finish. If you're putting a varnish or lacquer on, 180-200 is plenty fine.

    WEAR A DUST MASK WHEN YOU SAND. Seriously. It's easy to say "eh, I'm outside, it's fine", but don't. Wear a mask. The cheap paper ones are fine if it's an occasional thing.

    As someone else said, even for two-by construction lumber, go to a real lumber yard. It'll be straighter and cheaper than bigbox stores. Make sure you eyeball the length of every board to make sure you get moderately straight ones. A little warping is fine, but watch out for any really nasty ones.

    And if you're anywhere near North Jersey, you're more than welcome to borrow tools.

    minor incident on
    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
    HappylilElfSatanIsMyMotorXaquinDaenris
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Pocket screw holes ("Kreg jig") are shit. Dowel your joints instead.

  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Pocket screw holes ("Kreg jig") are shit. Dowel your joints instead.

    They're definitely not shit, my dude. Virtually every piece of decent furniture in a Crate and Barrel or a West Elm is built with pocket hole screw joinery. They're fantastic for the time and skill required, and generally stronger than dowel joinery. People shit on it because screws=not "real" woodworking, but that's just pointless snobbery. It's not "fine woodworking", but it doesn't mean it's not the ideal type of joinery for lots of applications.

    Obviously dowels or dominos or mortise and tenon's look better, but we're talking about the underside of a bench being built by a first time woodworker here. The trade-off is 110% sensible.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
    SatanIsMyMotorMegaMan001
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    @minor incident where do you find the time to teach woodworking also?

    I have always wanted to build nice stuff. I have built a bunch of work benches and stuff like that but more practical than pretty.
    Though I did make a barn door that is on a slider in our bedroom.

    camo_sig.png
    minor incident
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    I might spread myself a bit thin. :D

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Yeah, it's looking like the cost sink to make these benches might be way more than I can afford. I'l looking at 4-500 in tools alone before lumber just to get started and do the project right.

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    You can probably find rentals. Home depot and Lowes rent out stuff though that may be limited.

    camo_sig.png
    minor incidentElvenshae
  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    edited January 24
    Pawn shops, my dude.

    Generally half the cost, break in is done for you, and you can generally test things in the store.

    Thinking, my miter/slide chopsaw and circular are both pawn specials that have cut miles of plastic and wood with just a couple new blades and a set of brushes or two.

    Anon the Felon on
    minor incidentElvenshaechrishallett83
  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I promise you, a mitre saw is nearly impossible to hurt yourself with.

    As long as you don't use it wrong, that is. I've scared the _heck_ out of myself with a miter saw when trying to make cuts in bits of wood that were not clamped down quite properly because they were too short, and I reckoned "ah, I can just hold it in place with my hand, it'll be fine".

    I haven't had finger-close-to-the-blade problems, I know better than that, at least, but I have had blade-catches-the-wood-and-flings-it-away problems, which are in some ways more frightening.

    (but that said, I've also had my 8/10-year-old kids use the miter saw to help when we were cutting down 2x4s and fence boards, because in those cases the wood was supported and clamped properly and in that case it's fine)

    Thro
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    At this point, y'all have successfully convinced me that I'm not in a place to seriously embrace this hobby. Thank you for the insights! Maybe in a few years when I have more money I'll take another look. For now, I think I'm just going to hit up ikea for something that will work well enough.

    Ceres, this can be closed.

Sign In or Register to comment.