woodworking tools, table saw, antique, shelf plans, woodworking project



Your Woodworking Project — Only As Good As The Tools You Use

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Carpenter’s Chisels and Square for Woodworking

Woodworking takes the right tools and equipment for the jobs you want completed with satisfaction. The right tools lead you on a path to creating things you never imagined. Right now, if you are just starting out, you might just want to make a few things. But as you move on, you will be surprised by your creativity and imagination. You will be shaping and making the projects of your dreams. Having the correct tools at hand makes these dreams come true sooner.

The chisel is one of the most common tools in a woodworker’s workshop. It helps in cutting and shaping edges of many different types of materials. Chisels work on wood as well as on stone or metal. When shopping for a chisel, make sure it’s the right fit for you. Name brands usually offer a good quality of steel for your work. Look at the structure of the item to make sure it is made properly. Ask a salesperson or bring along an expert when shopping for a chisel.

Squares are also important when putting together various projects. They help you with accuracy when you are designing sizes and lengths. A variety of squares are available to take on many different jobs. Use two or three different squares to make sure the right ones are always available during your work.

woodworking tools, table saw, antique, shelf plans, woodworking project

Antique Table Saw

You have plenty of different saws to choose from for your woodworking shop and it is a good idea to have variety. A trim saw may work for some projects or a router saw or handsaw may work well for others. You will learn the type of saws you need as you become more familiar with the projects you work on. Look at the different sites on the Internet to find out more information about particular saws or other items. This will give you an idea of what you need, depending on what projects you have in mind.

Find tools at hardware or home improvement stores. But you can also get good quality tools at yard sales or discount stores. Check out these products yourself for durability. Also be sure to clean and take care of your new tools regularly to keep them lasting a long time.


shelf plans, no time, slow down, hobby, woodworking, practical, useful, stress relieving
shelf plans, no time, slow down, hobby, woodworking, practical, useful, stress relieving

Trying to Catch Some Extra Time

Woodworking Is My Hobby and I don’t Have All Day!

I absolutely love woodworking, but the time I have to spend on my favorite hobby is frequently limited. Lack of time has never dampened my enthusiasm, but it has certainly made me more efficient.  Our title today sounds more like a hair coloring commercial, but when you stop and think about it, time is not only money but time can also be opportunity.

In today’s atmosphere, it seems we are all looking for something free, and I will be the first to confirm there are tons of free plans for all sorts of woodworking projects on the web.  I actually use some of them for examples for this website, but I rarely do so when I am serious about one of my personal woodworking projects.

Part of the reason is the unbelievable amount of time you will spend looking for the exact shelf plans and design you need while pouring through the millions (literally) of websites out there with free plans on them.  Woodworking is my hobby not my day job unfortunately.  Given this, if I want to enjoy my hobby when I can, then I don’t want to be spending hours and hours looking for something on the web when I could be building it already.

Other more subtle reasons exist too, that bear mentioning.  If you do decide the time spent searching for shelf plans is of no concern to you, then be aware there are sites which require you sign up to get plans, sometimes free, sometimes not.  Other sites, charge for more complete instructions or printable ones, etc.  Just be careful, and remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

If you are fairly new to woodworking and to following the directions of shelf plans or any other type of woodworking plan, you’ll be well advised to stick with those which give you the most and best information possible.  Be sure there are step-by-step instructions with illustrations as well as lists of the tools and exact types of materials you will need to

A "safety first" sign to remind woodworkers to protect the ones they love by using and following quality shelf plans and woodworking plans

Safety First – Protect the Ones You Love

complete the project.

While I’ve said it before, it bears repeating that safety is a major factor in many of the woodworking projects you may decide to try.  These concerns invariably center around the quality of the construction and materials used.  Whether you are building load bearing storage or pantry shelves, a piece of outdoor furniture, or a loft bed for the kids, you need to build these projects with the materials that will hold up under the use for which these finished items are intended.

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Illustration from a set of shelf plans exploding the parts so the user can see how each part relates to the whole

How the Parts of the Shelf Relate

How To Build Shelves Is An Easy  First Woodworking Project

Most things are easy to start if you follow three steps, which I call the keys, to your success in woodworking.  A contractor knows he needs

plans before he builds, the tailor knows he needs a pattern before he makes a suit, and a good woodworker knows he needs a set of shelf plans before he tackles a shelf building project.

Shelf plans can be found virtually anywhere.  Free ones and ones for purchase are on the web, there are books in the reference sections of the major home improvement stores, and books abound at your own public library.  If this is your first shelf project, you would be well advised to buy a set of quality shelf plans which will guide you step-by-step through project and will also include lists of the materials and tools you will need.

Some would tell you to pick the design first, but given these trying times, my advice is to determine your budget first.  Once you have determined the price range of your project, then you are ready to begin your basic research for designs and materials.

Your second task will be selecting your design.  Literally, thousands of woodworking designs are available at the click of your mouse.  Your design will be dependent in greatest part on two factors.  The location of the shelves.  Are you planning to build garage storage shelves or furniture quality book shelves?  What will the weight or load be on the shelves you  are planning?  Knowing these facts then frees you to begin evaluating shelf plans for your exact purpose.

Pictured are three small boat hulls standing upright on the sterns' transoms with additional cross members from port to starboard creating shelves.

Books and Ships Ahoy!

Last, but certainly not least, learn all you can about the project you will be building and practice with the tools you’ll use if you are rusty or have never used a particular tool before.  You’ll often find too that you can learn a great deal from family members and/or friends who have shelf building experience.  Asking for and receiving help from others is a wonderful way to solidify bonds with them too.  It opens the door for reciprocal give and take in the future and allows for the sharing our most precious assets, our  time and our knowledge.

Have fun with your project and do take a minute to evaluate the quality and the many choices you will have when you purchase your shelf plans from this premier woodworker from Iowa.


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