Minimal tools for basic wood projects
August 3, 2014 12:19 PM Subscribe
I'd like to become more adept at basic
wood working/carpentry skills, but I'm pretty clueless. My first project is to modify an existing wood work bench by removing a portion of the cabinets and extending a plywood countertop over the open space. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on tools, but I'm unclear what the minimal set (especially of saws) is for doing this job reasonably right.
posted by primethyme to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have the really basic stuff like hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, cordless drill, etc. I also have a fairly cheap (Home Depot cheap, not Harbor Freight cheap) circular saw and jigsaw. And a hand saw and a hack saw. But that's about it.
At the very least, I think I'm going to need to be able to make fairly straight long cuts on plywood for the countertop. And I'm going to need to make pretty precise cuts on smaller pieces of wood for trim pieces. I also will probably need to cut away some pieces of the existing bench without destroying the part I'm keeping. Thankfully most of the part I'm removing is separate pieces, but there's a long faceplate along the floor that's continuous and I'll need to cut it cleanly.
So, what do I need? A table saw? A miter saw? Both (I hope not)? In the past I've tried to do straight cuts with just the circular saw and sawhorses, but I've never managed to do a good job. And when the pieces get too small for the sawhorses, I'm stuck. As for the jig saw, well, that's been a disaster every time I've tried to use it....
Also, if there are any good books you'd recommend to help me learn this stuff, I would love to hear about them. Preferably real books, not Internet sites, as this is a hobby I'm using to try to use the Internet less... I'm not planning to build houses or fine furniture. Just stuff like this work bench, maybe a dog house, etc. Basic stuff.
 The current work bench has cabinets all along the front. Good for storage, but when I want to sit there at my stool, there's nowhere to put my legs under the bench, so I have to lean over awkwardly and keep hitting my knees on the cabinets. There's one area where the cabinets are separate, and the counter top is lower. Removing those and extending the higher counter across will give me a perfect place to work.