Working on wood based on wood plans is great fun. However, many times, the enthusiastic beginner is faced with so-called woodworker-block. On what to work, exactly? Indeed, it can be quite difficult to start a project without the proper guideline. We scoured the web in search of good websites that offer free woodworking plans for beginners. They are excellent guidelines to help you work on a project from start to finish.
Each issue of Wood News , our online woodworking magazine, features a different home workshop, and we've compiled 10 of these features here. Browsing them is a great way to find new ideas on how to set up your own shop, or if you just want to see innovative ways other woodworkers have approached the various shop setup issues we all face. From space considerations and smart storage ideas to the various tool combinations and approaches to woodworking, you'll find something here that's really interesting. Click each image to take a look!
So that takes care of the center of my shop. I’ll work my way around the perimeter starting at the right wall and moving left. The first item is my rolling plywood cart. I built this a few weeks ago to replace my unsuccessful stationary plywood rack. It’s an 8′ plywood cart that stores full sheets of plywood on one side and off-cuts on the other side. Because it’s on casters I can easily push it outside next to my truck to load it up and also push the entire cart behind the table saw to reduce the distance I need to carry full sheets to be cut down. It’s the design in issue 205 of Wood Magazine.
I love a good shop tour, but it’s super motivating to me to hear you say that you built it all in a few years on good old-fashioned hard work. About 8 years ago, I lost an office job and began working with my hands, first doing siding and windows, and now installing home media systems. It has completely changed my work ethic, and my motto now is, “If you ain’t sweating, you ain’t working.”
Their plans are delivered in a PDF format as part of a vlog series. They have regular episodes in the form of “seasons” and “episodes”. Your head will spin with the sheer number of “episodes” on the website. At the time of writing, it is at season 9, episode 933. A small caveat, though, is that you have to subscribe to their newsletter to download the free plans. No biggie. It’s just something to keep in mind.
But, there’s nothing wrong with showing people what’s possible if they work their butts off. Too many people expect immediate success when they start an online woodworking channel or website. It truly has to be your passion in order for someone to be successful in it. If they’re only doing YouTube or online stuff expecting to get rich quick or even to earn a little bit of income, I believe they’re in it for the wrong reasons and will get burned out quickly.
Have you got an old whiskey barrel at home that you haven’t used for ages? If yes, this project is for you. You can make a really beautiful coffee table from that old whiskey barrel in a few easy steps. Apart from a coffee table, whiskey barrels can also be used to build several other furniture items. But that is a talk for later. Here, we will discuss how to make a coffee table from a whiskey barrel.
Right in front of my finishing supply rack is my welder and welder cabinet. It’s a Hobart Handler 140 mig or flux core wire feed welder. I learned how to weld several years ago on an old manual adjustment arc welder and I very much like the convenience of the wire feed in this one. It’s sitting on a Harbor Freight welding cabinet. I have only used it in one video so far (metal vise build) but have used it a few times since then on stuff around the house. Having a welder isn’t a necessity but it is very convenient at times.
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I think you can see from all of these choices, the best solution is the one that works for YOU and your home. Just make sure you create an environment that makes you feel creative and excited to work. And while there are amazing workshops online for inspiration, don’t go crazy thinking your work area needs to be a renovation in and of itself! Use bits and pieces of inspiration, then get going on your projects!
Drawers are really useful in a wood shop – you can’t have enough. They keep out the dust and with dividers or compartments they can help organize as well. A drawer that is too deep ends up getting filled with anything that fits and becomes a junk drawer, so multiple shallow drawers are better than one deep drawer. However, drawer slides can be expensive so I make my own drawers with built-in drawer slides. In addition to saving costs, if I make multiple cabinets the same width, I can move drawers from one cabinet to another quickly and easily.
I recently came across this beautiful wooden swing set, which was made in the shape of a boat. Cool, isn’t it? The very first look was enough for me to start loving it. Although I haven’t yet tried building one myself, I am definitely going to. Later I realized that you can also build a baby cradle with the same idea. After all, what can be more calming than the tender rocking of a boat? This swing set will surely help your child get more gentle sleep.
Likewise, I keep all the tools nearby that are required to make adjustments to my machinery. In the center of my machine shop, I keep metric and imperial wrenches and hex keys, a machinist’s square, a stepped height gauge and a multi-bit screwdriver. I try to store machine-specific accessories such as blades and wrenches within a step of the machine. My table-saw blades are stored on the wall to the left of my table-saw, but I prefer how editor Rob Brown stores his blades.
The best thing about this wine rack is that it is very easy to build. All you need is the basic understanding of woodworking and a few tools to get started. You can modify your wine rack any way you want or build in a design or color different from this one. The basic steps to build a wooden wine rack are the same for all variants. I have included here the video tutorial that I followed in order to build myself a pallet wide rack.
Jay, You gave some vital advise- not to go into debt over a tool. Unfortunately I do owe a little for some of my things about $300.00 worth, but I went from $60,000/year income down to $25,000/year when I retired due to bone CA I had as a teen.( I was only suppose to live 3 month and I am now 54, so guess they were wrong about that.) But with age comes arthritis in the arek9a of surgery and was force to give up my job as a mail carrier. The income drop was and is huge for me. I have paid cash for 90% of my tools, but some i have had to charge. I really only need one more tool which is a Thickness planer. I’m holding out for a sale on the Rigid Planer which has all the features I want. Enough about me. I have watched your shop grow from the first video to this video and it has come out beautifully and a model for others to follow, especially your Miter station. Anyone with that amount of space could easily make it with your plans,or just watching the build video’s. You have utilized every inch of that garage perfectly, and I love the idea of having a rolling storage rack for sheet goods that can be moved to you truck to unload and move back into place. You have come along way in a years time. Maybe I should start making bigger item and sell them out front on my lawn, instead of on Etsy. Best of luck always Jay. PS.- I’m wearing your shirt that say’s” Nothing works unless you do”. It’s my motto now.~Dolly
A lot of woodworkers share their projects through their own blogs or YouTube channels. In fact, we’ve shared many of them here before, including, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, The Wood Whisperer, Matthias Wandel, April Wilkerson, Sawdust Girl, House of Wood, FixThisBuildThat, Pneumatic Addict, Build-Basic, Rogue Engineer, Her Tool Belt, and Ana White. The best YouTube woodworkers create great videos, but also provide a complete blog post with a cut list, tools, materials, and instructions. Find your favorites and save them for when you’re doing your searches.