Friday, June 09, 2006

Make Woodworking More Enjoyable With Quality Tools

by Philip Humfrey

People everywhere are discovering the joy of woodworking. Today, when furniture and other types of wood-based manufacturing is moving overseas, getting old-fashioned quality is often next to impossible.


And of course, the high price of fine already-made wood products can also be prohibitively high. The good news is more and more people are either getting into woodworking or are expanding their skills and shops.


As a leading manufacturer of woodworking tools, our customers range from the weekend hobbyist with a set-up in the garage, to shops that turn out growing quantities of quality wood products.

One thing that will make your woodworking efforts far more productive and enjoyable is having the proper tools. Often we point to a professional's skills as what separates him or her from the amateur, but skill isn't the only factor. A pro usually has a well-developed collection of quality tools, with the right tool for every job.

And that's a BIG advantage. Just about any job goes faster and gets better results when you have the RIGHT tool for the situation.

One constant challenge for woodworking shops is to keep dust under control. Super-fine saw dust can accumulate on floors, walls, in air conditioning, clog up tools, and even serve as fuel for fires. Worst of all, breathing saw dust can have a serious effect on your health. Most cities now have requirements that all commercial woodworking shops have dust gathering and removal systems.


An over-arm blade cover with dust collection for your table saw can be just what you need to control dust. Coupled to an appropriate dust collection system the blade cover will collect the dust as it flies off the revolving saw blade, keeping your shop and the air you breathe clean.

A sliding table will be a definite asset to your woodworking shop. Available in four sizes and designed to fit most table saws, sliding tables make it easy and safer for one person to cut large, heavy panels or long stock accurately. Plus, each sliding table has a two-part quick release-mounting bracket. With this you can quickly remove the sliding table from your table saw and attach it to your spindle shaper, router table or band saw.

If you're serious about woodworking, don't be afraid to spend the money to get really good quality professional tools. The price is often very affordable, and you'll get years of enjoyment and productivity from your arsenal of well-chosen tools.

About the Author

Philip Humfrey is president of EXAKTOR Tools. Win EXAKTOR's popular woodworking tools each month in their continuing Monthly Sweepstakes. Register to win now at http://www.exaktortools.com Reach Philip at p.humfrey@exaktortools.com.

A Guide To Woodworking Plans

by Peter Wilson

Woodworking plans are an essential component of any project. Wood working patterns and scroll saw patterns are needed to plan a project and create accents in your piece. Good plans give step by step instructions, diagrams and illustrations to guide you through from start to finish. You can buy plans, find them for free on the internet or make your own plan.

Finding Woodworking Plans

Free woodworking patterns can be found on the internet. Many are free, but others need to be purchased. You can search for general plans or for specific projects. Patterns are available for everything from a simple box or bird feeder to elaborate furniture projects. Several websites offer plans for making children's toys and decorative items. Enter the project you are looking for in your favourite search engine or just enter free woodworking plans.


There are books available that are devoted to wood working patterns. You can find these at book stores, on the internet or in your local library. Often, woodworking magazines will contain plans for a wide variety of projects. Purchase a few of these at your local news stand. After you have found one you like best, you may decide to subscribe and receive new plans month after month.


If you are new to woodworking, it's best to start of with a simple pattern. This will help you learn to read and follow the plans. As your skills increase, you can move on to more difficult projects. Start off with a simple toy or bird feeder before attempting to make a dining room set. Look for detailed and thorough plans to help you create your project.

Good plans include detailed instructions. The instructions should take you step by step through the entire project. Look for plans that have detailed diagrams as well as illustrations of the project at each stage. Print out your plans and keep them in a binder. This will help keep you organized and prevent pages from getting lost or damaged.

You can follow the plan step by step or you may decide to make a few changes to the plan. Changing a few details is a great way to make a generic plan more personal and original. For example, you can change certain designs or accent pieces and give the project a whole new look. Another option is to paint the finished product, rather than staining.

Creating Woodworking Plans

Once you become more experienced, you may decide to try to create your own plan. Start by sketching how you want the finished product to look. The first sketch doesn't need to be too technical or detailed. You will add the details and dimensions later. Once you have made your original sketch, determine the dimensions of the total finished product.

Determine what type of wood you will use in your project and how much wood you will need. It's important to use accurate measurements when ordering the wood to avoid running out before the project is finished. Determine what other materials you will need to complete the project. This will help you estimate the total cost.


Create a detailed list of all materials needed and the quantity of each material. Include items such as paint, stain or polyurethane. Consider the tools that will be needed to complete the project. Do you have all that you need? With this information, you can then determine the overall cost. Take this list with you when you go out to purchase supplies.

You will then draw a more detailed sketch of your design. Create diagrams like those found in woodworking plans on the internet. Draw each stage of the process in detail. Write out detailed instructions that will take you step by step through the project. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you don't skip any essential steps along the way.

About the Author


Peter Wilson writes articles for http://www.inside-woodworking.com a website with resources. He is featuring woodworking plans and various articles in the field.

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