Home furniture building

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Amello, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Amello

    Amello Member

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    I've dabbled with woodworking on and off for years until just a few years ago I began getting serious about it.
    Now I have acquired enough tools and equipment to build just about any furniture I want short of highly upholstered stuff. I'm not real good with a needle and thread.
    Since most hardwoods are pretty pricey most of what I build is made of yellow pine, mostly 2x8s cut down into workable pieces.

    It's not the best wood on the planet, but pound for pound, dollar for dollar it's tough to beat.
    From a single 10 foot 2x8, about $4.75 I can build a nice, sturdy dining room chair and a table can be built from 2..
    Recently I built a table and 2 chairs to donate to the local furniture bank.
    Anyway, I've acquired a decent used table saw, used bandsaw, lathe, planer and many other tools through both ebay and craigslist. I have few new tools and equipment, mostly used, but in great shape for cheap.
    You can buy a pretty nice and expensive plane for a few hundred dollars or a good used Stanley #4 for around $35. They both do the same job.
    I'm not one for pretty workbenches that make me afraid to get it dirty, but a working bench durable enough that I could work on an engine on it if needed. Mine is built from 2x lumber with tenon and mortise joinery with a laminated top and 10" aprons that double as the inside jaw of the face vise..
    None of this is expensive. My income is pretty low so I can't afford to go shopping at the fancy woodworking stores and I'm not wild about harbor freight except for clamps..They have some very good deals on clamps..
    I dunno..just curious about what type of woodworking others are doing. What tools and equipment you are using.
    I can't afford to join the ranks of Festool owners so most of what I own are from a bygone era of affordable and durable tools and equipment.
     
  2. po boy

    po boy Saltine American

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    Watertown, Tn.
    Welcome to the forum. Please share your projects with photos,
     

  3. Bellyman

    Bellyman Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a nice setup you have been accumulating.

    I started out using a lot of scraps that my dad had collected from a sawmill many years previous. It was mostly red oak with a little white oak and poplar mixed in, occasionally a piece of ash or walnut. A bit later, I found a local sawmill that had 8/4 poplar for pretty cheap that I used to slice out slats for making crates. But I also found that this sawmill had a lot of other kinds of lumber available. They had a run of 4/4 knotty pine that I got a bunch of to make little stuff. It was cheap, and I got a lot of use out of it. (And the shavings out of the planer were nice and soft, the chickens loved that stuff in their nesting boxes.) They had odds and ends of a bunch of different woods, some of which were pretty expensive. I remember getting some nice figured cherry for a couple of projects (one being a crib for my nephew), and a couple of small projects.

    Anyway, if you can connect with a local sawmill that has some hardwoods, maybe even kiln dried, the prices aren't nearly as bad as going to Lowes or Home Depot, and a lot of sawmills don't really do much with pine. I've never tried to get anything much shipped except some specialty stuff, and that was VERY expensive. (I was rebuilding pianos at the time, stuff like 5' wide 3/8" thick panels of sitka spruce, or 9/4 planks of laminated hard rock maple... $$$$) Local is nice if you can go and see it for yourself and pick out what you want. They often have pieces that maybe only a 3' or 4' section of an 8" or 10" wide board is good but you have the perfect use for that little piece, at least that's what I would find sometimes.

    I'm a little envious, I haven't had a place to set up a woodworking shop in years. I miss it.
     
  4. Amello

    Amello Member

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    Here in South Carolina there are quite a few sawmills, large and small time operations. Mostly they deal in pine being there's a few gajillion pine trees in this neck of the woods, but one guy I know does a lot of yard tree removal and mills whatever he can get his hands on. Unfortunately whenever he has hardwood available it's usually when I'm broke and when I'm not broke he's out of stock. Go figure, huh? We've been trying to cut a deal, but the timing is always screwy.
    I'm currently working on making small hardwood boxes for sale on various online venues. I'm looking for a decent branding iron for a specific logo I want to use, but again it's usually my lack of funds getting in the way.
    I do have a good supplier who supplies me with thin stock, 1/4" walnut and maple which is far less trouble than resawing it all.
    Yellow pine here is plentiful and cheap and even cheaper than it is via the box stores and makes decent furniture if you use the right construction techniques.
    For my chairs I generally use oak dowels hand cut and spiral cut as opposed to the store bought fluted poplar ones.
    Anyway, here's a set I built for the furniture bank..Total cost to me about $24 give or take a few bucks. Took the picture in the driveway obviously and yes I do have trash cans..
    https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/media/20170912_115643.62/

    I haven't figured out the procedure for posting media images yet..
     
  5. Amello

    Amello Member

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    I'm getting ready to build a small bench/lumber rack for small offcuts, etc..
    I had been using the small table above to stack things on, but it's gone so now I have everything kind of piled up on the floor around the saw..Not the safest idea I ever had..
    By the way, if anyone is interested the next time I build a chair I can post all the various steps and techniques I use. I'm always glad to share what I've learned. Every project is a learning experience for me..I learn something new each build.
     
    IMFoghorn likes this.
  6. po boy

    po boy Saltine American

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    Yes, please post all the various steps and techniques I use. I'm always glad to share what I've learned.
     
    IMFoghorn likes this.
  7. GTX63

    GTX63 Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I bought nice professional equipment and began building tables, outdoor furniture and accent pieces using oak, cedar, a little pine, barnwood, etc. Had some really great customers and enjoyable experiences, but the truth is I could neither make furniture in the timeframe or for the cost of the asian competition. A piece that would take me 2 painstaking weeks to knock out could be done on a cnc machine and a short assembly line of robotics in hours. So, no I simply build for neighbors, for friends, family and for myself. It is an enjoyable pastime but not so profitable.
     
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  8. Steve_S

    Steve_S Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree, Enjoying something you are doing and producing a nice result IS profitable... maybe not in terms of cash, but more importantly, personal satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment and most of all, the enjoyment factor which is good for you in more ways that cash itself can be...

    Ever notice the difference when you / someone else does a job they enjoy ? and when the job is NOT enjoyable... the quality of the result, effort & time invested... Always comes out better when you enjoy doing something, regardless of what it is.
     
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  9. GTX63

    GTX63 Well-Known Member

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    I'll clarify. I made money but it was not going to pay the bills, and I only meant profit in the monetary sense. Wood working is to me, relaxing, enjoyable and it is always a nice payoff to see the appreciation from a client of a job well done.
    My mother told me at a young age to do for a living for I enjoy doing for a hobby. Well, I liked working on cars; that was fine for the first 10 years until I tired of dirty hands and a thin wallet and I burned out. What I do now is fulfilling and keeps the lights on at the same time, but what I do is a little of this and a little of that. That means I can tire or fail at one thing and continue with another.
    I lament that fact that fine carpentry skills have been stunted by cheap copies massed stacked in the big box stores, but then again, there is a market for everything, one just have to dig a little harder.