View Full Version : Wife of novice woodworker - need advice pls!!
02-22-2001, 12:51 PM
Hi, my husband just got into woodworking and is setting up a shop in the garage to make indoor bookshelves, lawn furniture, bathroom vanties, etc. He has bought a lot of tools and hasn't even made a toothpick yet (he he) because he says he doesn't have all the right stuff. We are spending a lot of money and I am wondering just how many more big tools is he going to need? Here is what he has so far: table saw, circular saw, scroll saw, fixed router & various bits, drill press, electric sander. He wants to buy a mill and a planer because he said there is now way to buy the cheaper woods, like pine, any thinner than 1". Is this true? Given what he wants to build, what else will he need? Although this sounds like a wonderful, fulfilling hobby, I am quickly losing patience with the situation and need some reassurance that the buying will soon be over. Thanks for your help.
02-22-2001, 01:04 PM
So have him work all he what to it help him let him do it any if he whats ok
02-22-2001, 01:08 PM
He should have been starting projects with just a table saw.
He has enough gear to get rolling. I have projects on my web page that can be made with his level of stuff.
02-22-2001, 01:34 PM
[*****]Your husband seems to have a bad case of power addiction. This is a problem that a lot of woodworkers are unfortunately suffering from. They get motivated to build all of these wonderful things, and then they start accumulating tools that they will need to work on these projects. As they start on these projects they learn of new tools that enable them to make it faster and easier. More projects... more tools. It is a vicious cycle. I know, I am a self diagnosed case.
[*****]The truth of the matter is that there is almost always a way to complete a basic projects with some basic tools. However, a lot of us get excited about new tools and somehow convince ourselves that we NEED these new tools to continue. I know my wallet can't keep up with me.
[*****]As for whether your husband needs a planer, he may need to look at using a nicely veneered plywood. It comes in many different woods and thicknesses. However if you want all of his buddies to think that you are the greatest wife on earth, let him get the planer. He could also look at stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Menards. They usually have a selection of craft woods of different varieties, sizes, and shapes. The craft stock is usually expensive. Either way, there a some other choices besides a $300 to $400 planer. (Even though the DeWalt DW733 is only $379 and comes with a $50 rebate!)
02-22-2001, 02:17 PM
Didn't you know the own with the most tools wins.
That is the rule for all of us...
Mark is right, he has enough to make tooth picks already. And there will always be another tool that I want, I mean he wants. But, Just buying tools for some people is an end in itself.
Lots of great pieces of furniture was built without power tools at all. It takes a lot more time and effort and skill to make things with hand tools but it is possible, may not be cheaper.
The planner is something that most of us want and it is very helpful for making stock the correct size. It makes it a lot easier to make good joints when all the stock is the same thickness. Good joints mean good long term products. Can he start with what he has? Yes, and he should. Will he want new tools? Yes. Does he need new tools...For some projects new tools will be needed. But, cut wood now. Make something. Learn by mistakes and get improve over time.
I am sure that at some point over the last 32 years my wife has had some of the same feelings. I have a shop full of tools, but I do make lots of stuff and I have spent the money we would have give to stores for cheap furniture to build things that our grandchildren will be able to give to their grandchildren, so don't come down on him too hard.
02-22-2001, 02:22 PM
I am also a novice woodworker and have yet to complete my first project, a sweater shelf for my wifes closet. I own a table saw, and a router and a jig saw. Right now I have no plans on buying any new tools until I learn how to use the ones I have, especially the router. (I only got my table saw a week ago so I'm not procratinating)
IMHO - maybe your husband should start and complete a small project with what he has and as his skills grow, so will his confidence that he can actually use the tools he has!
02-22-2001, 03:50 PM
Part of me understands, part of me doesn't. While I certainly want more tools than I can afford, when I do buy a new tool, I can't wait to use it. I common problem (blessing) is that woodworkers often want their projects to be perfect. The fact is that most mistakes will only EVER be noticed by the woodworker.
Here is an easy solution for you. Come up with a small project for him. Make sure that whatever it is can be done relatively quickly and that perfect fit and finish is not important. This can be something for outside or perhaps a rough table for use in the laundry room - anything that doesn't require perfection.
If this doesn't work, perhaps you should try to make it yourself. After a few minutes of watching someone else use his new tools, he will probably rip that wood right out of your hands and declare "let me show you how to do that..."
Good Luck - once he starts, you may not be able to drag him away.
02-22-2001, 05:11 PM
I know my wife agrees with you problem. I have to agree with the other guys. He should have started already. My first project-an oak desk secretary was built with a circular saw and a cordless drill. Moving on to the plainer...Places like Menards sell oak and other types of wood that are smooth on all sides. So he doesn't need a plainer to build stuff. But don't misunderstand he will spend alot on materials. Over time you will spend the money you could have spent on a planer on the more expensive wood. Hope this helps
02-22-2001, 07:09 PM
This happens in a lot of hobbies, not just woodworking. Someone with little knowledge wants to get into the hobby and from watching "Norm" or other sources decides that they have to buy lots of power tools. Then *PANIC* sets in as they look at this 3HP $1500 cabinet saw and they realize they don't have a *CLUE* how to use it. They kick it over a couple of times and the sound and spinning cutters scare the crap out of them (rightfully so without knowledge of good safety procedures).
Now they're *STUCK*. They've committed to doing this hobby and invested a *TON* of money in tools that they're scared to touch. *NOW WHAT?* So they hunt for an excuse to justify not getting started and a good one is "I don't have enough tools".
Assuming your hubby is a tyro and the above is true, what you need to do as a loving wife is call the local vocational school or community college and find a "Woodworking 101" course and enroll your husband in it. Tell him that you know that he already knows that stuff, but you *INSIST* that he take a refresher since he has all new tools. (He'll probably resist just enough to save face and then 'grudgingly' agree.)
Let him get his feet wet and learn some safety and machine operations from someone else. Along with ask for a *simple* project. For example my CD rack design can be made with cross cutting only (no scary ripping) and contains only a couple of dimensions in it so it's hard to screw up. Get him over the hump and then he'll start working.
Get some simple plans from: http://www.netexperts.cc/~lambertm/Wood/projects.html
Men *HATE* to admit they don't know something - especially about a manly skill like woodworking (urr, urr, urr!) He's probably bitten off more than he can chew and is loathe to admit it. If you give him a way to start safely without loosing face, he'll take it in a heart beat.
02-22-2001, 07:12 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. I checked out that website that mentioned the projects that don't need a lot of tools and it looked neat! I also liked that suggestion about trying to make something myself to get him started. I will also ask him to make a step stool for the kids. That doesn't seem too complicated and they need one. Anyway, you all have given me some good ideas and some perspective on the situation. Maybe one day I will start a board called "WOW" (Wives of Woodworkers)!
02-22-2001, 07:23 PM
I'll start it for you now if you'ld like to moderate...
I just started a new discussion forum and that would be a *GREAT* topic.
And if you're interested I'll add it!
02-23-2001, 12:07 AM
The board sounds neat, but I want to learn a few things about this wood stuff before I try that. I really don't have a clue about any of this. Today I learned what a dowel is. Tomorrow I will find out what a biscut cutter is. Get the idea? (heh heh)
02-23-2001, 12:29 AM
No problem. But perhaps having a non-woodworking POV would be a good thing, No? Give the "shop widows" someplace to chat and compare notes. Not really on *woodworking* so much as in how it effects their lives...
Give it some thought.
02-23-2001, 11:16 AM
I've read all of this and can only add: It's better than some things he could turn his intrests to.
The tools won't wear out. But the skills will grow. When he is comfortable he has what he needs he'll start rolling and crank out the projects.
He does have a lot of tools for not having begun some projects yet, according to what I've read.
My wife thinks it's great that she has a husband that comes home and goes out to his shop to putter around, especially after the crap she had to put up with prior to me.
Chin-up girl, gently encourage him to begin making things. But don't get beligerant about his shop. It could become a wedge between you two.
Use your femine charm to get him to make that step stool and when that first project is done never critisise it. Encourage him to make a next and be silent about it until he takes off on it, never nag or bug him about it or you could build a resentment in him over it.
It's a touchy situation. But he's looking for a hobby and an outlet, help him.
And as for how far does it go? It hopefully will not stop and he'll be as near as the shop instead of off on some lessor agreeable venture, or vegatating in front of the TV.
02-23-2001, 01:05 PM
Just thought that you would like to know,we men in London, England are just as bad as the heroes in the U.S.A.
But it's nice to know that the ladies over there want their men out in the workshops too.
03-17-2001, 06:59 PM
It's been awhile since I've looked at this post, but here is an update. I let him buy the planer. He made our toddler the stepstool and it is the cutest thing! He routed all the edges, cut handles in it, and even routed out hearts on the sides. The kids absolutely love it and the toddler carries it around all the time in case he needs it. He also made me 2 quilt hangers (they look like towel racks). His next project will be a small footchest. I am starting to see the fruits of his labors and am feeling a lot better about this whole woodworking hobby. Thanks again everyone for your comments.
Roger S. Dillman
03-18-2001, 12:53 AM
I see two different solutions to your problem.
1> Take his credit cards and cut them up.
2> It might be cheaper to find a new hubby.
03-18-2001, 07:43 AM
firstly u r the best wife , and i would like my wife to be like u , u dont need more tools go to:http://www.stangel.com/crafts/woodworking/wood-plans-kits-01.html , u got enough tools by now and happy proyect
I think that he should get started. I built alot of things when all I had was a skill saw a hand miter box a couple of hand saws and a orbital sander. If you're gonna build you will find a way to make do with what you have and the more you do the better you will get.As you go you can make a better decision on just what tools you will need. I guess what I'm saying is 'a person can have all the tools in the world but that doesn't mean that they know how to use them.
Tell him to fire up that table saw and start building.