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  1. #1

    Want to get into WoodWorking - Minneapolis

    Hi,

    Is there a recommended way to learn the art of wood working? I am thinking about taking some classes or joining a local club but am unfamiliar on what is most common for a beginner. I am in the Minneapolis, MN area. Any thoughts or reco's is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brandon

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
    Posts
    1,798
    Hi Brandon, welcome, woodworking is a pretty broad hobby, there are many different paths you can go down, carving, scrolling, turning, furniture making the possibilities are endless. You can start out doing simple projects with a minimum of tools and expand your horizon as you hone your skills, once you have a feel for where you are going there are many adult classes available that you can take. Others may have different opinions bit I believe woodworking skills are something that you gain mostly through time and experience, once you learn the basics.

    For a start browse through the links at the top of this page under the brown LEARN tab there is a lot of good information right there.
    Frank C

    Sawdust Making 101
    http://sawdustmaking.com

  3. #3
    Hi Brandon - Welcome

    I have been woodworking since I was young. I played around with all sorts of stuff from building decks as I needed them to bird houses for the yard and furniture for the house and family and actual buildings and sheds.

    I have heard it said that the best place to start is by making a box. Any sort of box really, storage box, jewelry box - anything.

    I did take some classes at a local vocational school as an adult, at night after wood, but I had already been woodworking for years. I wish I had done it sooner though. It was fun and I met some people. I took Half Hull modeling, then woodworking 1 then woodworking 2.

    There are literally tone of ways to learn, tons of web sites.

    Woodworking.com has a LOT to offer as well as links to members websites.

    Don't be a stranger with questions either - there are some talented people here too.

    What are you interested in? Do you have any tools to start out with?

    So welcome --

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Minnesota.
    Posts
    4,589
    Welcome to the forum Brandon.

    Not sure about Rockler in the cities, but Woodcraft does have classes. Give them a shout.
    9125 Lyndale Avenue South
    Bloomington, MN 55420
    (952) 884-3634

    Also give Rockler a call. There are four in the TC area. Click here to find the closest one to you.
    Keystone

    One of the Original Charter Members. Circa 2000

    No longer here. Can now be found at WoW.




  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    St Paul, MN, USA.
    Posts
    140
    Hi Brandon,
    I also live in the Twin Cities. I am an intermediate woodworker with about 5 years of experience. When I started, I could barely change a lightbulb.
    I gained a lot of skills through building my workshop. I dedicated 1/2 of my 2.5 gar garage and there were lots of projects. Workbenches needed to be built, as well as cabinets and bases for machines, in/outfeed tables, storage cabinets, etc. This is where I really got started in doing some actual, practical woodworking. The great thing about starting out with shop infrastructure is that you are not facing the awesome and humbling task of creating fine, polished furniture right out of the gate. You want it to look nice, and be functional, but it is WAY more forgiving in terms of the mistakes that happen as you learn the craft. (BTW, mistakes will always happen. Master woodworker George Vondriska once told me "It's not the mistakes you make that count, it's how well you recover from them.")

    So, how do you get started?
    FIRST, I started acquiring tools as my budget permitted. Craigslist is an AWESOME resource for tools. IF you want to know what to buy first, consider this: If you have a tablesaw, a surface planer and a router, you can do a lot, lot, lot of stuff. Those are the 3 beating hearts of a woodshop, IMO. (Of course, you can work entirely with handtools too and never plug in a machine - but those 3 machines are what I suggest you acquire to get started.)
    SECOND, I started reading. I read everything I could get my hands on. I read magazines and books covering everything from wood species and characteristics to advanced design and everything in between. Check out your local library - oh, and 1/2 price Books, or any other used book store will help keep your costs down.
    THIRD, I got acquainted with several fine folks on this forum. There are some unbelievably talented men and women on this forum who are all more than happy to answer any questions you might have - from simple to complex, if you post an honest question, I guarantee there will be some knowledgeable answers to it within a few hours.
    FINALLY, I know of at least 2 fully outfitted shops in the Twin Cities that rent space to people who can't afford to go out and spend a couple thousand on WW machines, or whose living situation will not allow it. (See links below) Also, you can get info on joining a WW guild at most lumberyards - I know Youngblood Lumber in NE Mpls has info on guilds for sure.

    If you'd like to meet some time, I'd be happy to show you my shop, and to try and pass on any knowledge I have through discussion. While I am not a master, my skillset has grown considerably in the last few years and I LOVE to talk woodworking - I could do it all day. PM me if you want to meet up some time.

    Best of luck,
    Doug

    Links to WW shops with room to rent:

    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/an...096629278.html
    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...097216511.html
    Last edited by sotan; 12-09-2010 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Added more info

  6. #6
    What I did when I first started out was I stayed very simple. I used no power tools and just started with a chunk of wood and made things out of it. This allowed me to get familiar with different types of wood and learn to do things without the help of a machine. I didn't get into power tools for at least the 1st year. To become a true woodworker, I think this is how one should start.
    My passion is making wooden furniture. The planning, the drawing, the work with my hands, the end result and the use of the product are all tailor-made to my abilities and enjoyments.

  7. #7
    Hi! Welcome. Good for you. Woodworking is a lot of fun and I'm sure you will enjoy seeing the results of your efforts. You may find a beginner's class at your local Vo-Tech or Community ed. However, I would also choose a project and learn from doing.
    Don't be surprised if your initial efforts don't turn out too well. If your into camping you can always use them for firewood. Be sure to maintain your humor.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts
    3
    I decided to begin woodworking with handtools because I do not have the space or funds for a well equiped powered shop. I did a lot of reading and then bought a used cabinetmakers bench, a block plane, and a miterbox with saw. I just finished building my first "Box". I agree with the members who recommend this approach. Within 20 minutes of working with the small block plane, much of the information that I read on hand planes changed from a deep mystical mystery to something that was very understandable .

    I also learned that wood changes- the trial fit that I did last week no longer fits, but the small block plane saved the day.

    Twin Cities Rockler-Woodcraft. I have visited both. Woodcraft has an actual class room. There is a woodworking school north of St. Paul, but I have only talked to the owner; never taken a class. http://www.schoolofwood.com/

    Best of luck

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