Author Topic: Basics tips for this beginner  (Read 1333 times)

Mgood1845

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Basics tips for this beginner
« on: June 19, 2017, 01:58:31 PM »
Hello everyone , I am a shiny new Member of SAPFM, and as well as on these forums. I am just starting my woodworking career, and have never made anything from case/carcass style before. Fortunately I have many tools that most 30 year olds do not have access too. My question to the members here, is where is a good place to start. I contacted Ed Stuckey because his plans are so accurate and well thought out, everything being to scale makes me feel like I can make the Chipman Block front, but with any project I undertake I want to make sure I do not bite off more than I can chew. Wasting shop time, beautiful lumber is the worst!

Members of these forums, where should I start? I have made several beds, a Mission Style (Woodsmith) plan, and a Pencil Post also plan from Woodsmith. So I am familiar with mortise and tenons, but have not done dovetails, case constructions etc.

Any input you guys have for me would be greatly appreciated. The photos of what you guys can make are absolutely amazing, I hope to one day master this hobby as well as you have. 

Thanks Everyone!

-MG
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"

Mark Maleski

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 04:30:48 PM »
MG, welcome to SAPFM!  From your description of past projects, you don't seem like a beginner and the skills you built from those prior projects will serve you well.  My observation is that the ambition to see a project through to the end, and work through problems encountered to get to the finish line, is the most important skill.  You obviously have that, so now all that's needed is to apply that same approach to new areas, and build new skills as you go.  My advise is to pick projects that only add one or two new skills in at a time, so you don't get overwhelmed by the challenge.  A block-front will require carving, but you can lower the challenge by picking a design with bracket feet rather than ball and claw.  You can pick a high-style design that begs for high quality genuine Mahogany, or lower the investment by picking a more rural design for which lower-price cherry or maple would be suitable.  Etc...
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 01:27:12 PM by Mark Maleski »

Mgood1845

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 08:33:46 PM »
Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. As a younger woodworker, I understand I will need to rely heavily on this group, its members and the folks who wish to take the time to help someone like me out. My grandfather used to make Bartley Collection Kits, Highboys, Lowboys, block fronts etc, so i grew up admiring the pieces he would build, now that Bartley has come and gone, I am left with learning to build these from scratch. My love for working with wood is something I have had since I was little, making a simple photo frame for my grandparents in 1995 when I was 9. So the passion and patience is there, I just need some help and guidance.

I have been blessed with the ability to set up a shop, and start working on these projects. If case construction is something I have not yet started, what would you suggest a good start would be? The simpler legs with the spline to joint them look like i could do them I own the Period Furniture Details book by Lonnie Bird, and Carving 18th Century American Furniture Elements by Tony Kubalak , which i was able to carve some great shells after reading.


To anyone and everyone who takes the time to read, and reply, I can not thank you enough. You all are helping me set a foundation for a wonderful hobby that will last the rest of my life. :)
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"

Jeff Saylor

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 08:36:01 PM »
Welcome aboard MG!  I agree with Marks comments and will add a few of my own.  SAPFM is a group of unbelievably talented  craftspeople who are genuinely willing to share their skills and experience with other members.  I see you are from Pittsburgh.  If you log in to the members only section, you'll find at least 3 other members from Pittsburgh.  And going through the list, I'm sure you'll find others within an hour's drive from your shop.  These guys and gals can aid you in just about any construction questions you may have.  And if they're like me, if they can't give you help, they will know someone else that can!  Also, watch for chapter postings that you might be close enough to attend in the future.  Some of the more complex skills can be a lot easier to acquire by simply watching a "master" demonstrating the process.

I'm in Mifflintown, PA.  If you are ever in the area, give me a call and stop in.

Jeff Saylor
SAPFM #211  Hobbies include hunting, fishing, making furniture, searching for old tools at flea markets.

Kirk Rush

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 08:39:36 AM »
MG,  Since you have not done a case piece I would recommend starting out with something a little less complicated than a block front, perhaps a nice Philadelphia chest with ogee feet, a nicely molded top, and maybe fluted quarter columns.  You could use either mahogany or walnut. By all means practice the dovetails to get them down pat before you start. I have been making furniture since before you were born, and if I am going to do something I have never done or haven't done in a long time I will practice before I start the piece. There are a lot of good woodworkers who are willing to lend you a hand.  Best of luck.

Kirk

Mgood1845

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 02:32:51 PM »
MG,  Since you have not done a case piece I would recommend starting out with something a little less complicated than a block front, perhaps a nice Philadelphia chest with ogee feet, a nicely molded top, and maybe fluted quarter columns.  You could use either mahogany or walnut. By all means practice the dovetails to get them down pat before you start. I have been making furniture since before you were born, and if I am going to do something I have never done or haven't done in a long time I will practice before I start the piece. There are a lot of good woodworkers who are willing to lend you a hand.  Best of luck.

Kirk

Kirk,

Thanks for the suggestion, as a beginner I have really only worked off of plans, do you have any suggestions on where to find something for this Philadelphia Chest? I am "googling" examples as we speak.  Again, its great to be able to draw off your many years of experience. My passion for making things with my hands is something in my blood. I really hope to gain a lot of great knowledge from you guys, the amount of respect for what you guys can do is not under appreciated. Thanks again for commenting Kirk! Look forward to your reply.

- Matt
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"

Mgood1845

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 02:36:29 PM »

I'm in Mifflintown, PA.  If you are ever in the area, give me a call and stop in.



Jeff,

I see you were an industrial arts teacher, and I can't tell you the effect that my industrial arts teacher had on my life, he gave me a lifelong hobby and the skills to start a good journey. I hope you realize that you have impacted someones life for the better with your choice to be an educator. So thank you!

Id love to stop by and chat the next time i am over your way, google says only 3 hours. Has any members decided to start a chapter in the 3 rivers area? It might be worth looking into.

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post, Look forward to hearing and meeting members eventually!

- Matt
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"

Kirk Rush

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 08:25:03 AM »
Matt,  

      Larry Mauritz has a plan for a Chippendale 5 drawer chest in the members plans area ( #10 on the left on the home page). It is a nice size and has good proportions and details. As an option you could use cock beading around the drawer fronts instead of the lip molding if you like.  Hope that helps.

Kirk
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 08:37:24 AM by Kirk Rush »

David Conley

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 03:08:16 PM »
Matt,

I have two guys from Pittsburgh area that regularly come to the Ohio River Valley Chapter meetings (which I run).  

I will echo Jeff’s comments, sometimes it is a lot easier to learn a skill by watching a Master do it.  Many times, they have little tricks, or solutions to a construction detail that makes all of the difference in the world in being able to, and not being able to do something.  The main reason I run the ORV Chapter is to have these talented people teach me how to make period furniture.  By running the Chapter, I get two or more opportunities each year to watch these guys.  Over the last 14 years, I have learned a lot from them.  I also go to Colonial Williamsburg (Woodworking in the 18th century), as well as several of the SAPFM Mid-Year conferences, and a class on making windsor chairs.  Finally, there are also many, many fine videos out there.  Pick up a few of those.  

The Chapter meetings also provide you an opportunity to discuss problems you are having, or get advise on something you have been thinking about.  

The MOST important woodworking skill is how to sharpen your tools to a razor sharp edge.   Without sharp tools, your woodworking experiences can be terribly frustrating.  For example, if you try and plane a beautiful piece of curly wood that you greatly admire, and your dull plane causes lots of tear-out, and just destroys the board.  You are not going to enjoy the experience.  It is not the plane’s fault, and it may not even be the best tool for the job.  None the less, that plane is still in danger of becoming a boat anchor.  Selecting the proper tools for the job, and having them REALLY sharp, makes a huge difference in the quality of your woodworking, and your personal satisfaction.

Cheers,
David
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 10:48:44 PM by David Conley »

Mgood1845

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2017, 10:37:54 AM »
David,

Please Private Message me more info on the ORV chapter. How to join, the details i would need.  I would love to learn as much as i can!

Thanks,

Matt
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"

Mark Maleski

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 05:14:50 PM »
Matt, I was going to point you toward the ORV chapter too, but David beat me to it.  I believe it's your closest option for chapter meetings, though the Chesapeake Chapter does meet in York, PA each spring (honestly not sure how far that is from Pittsburgh).  I've thought for awhile that our organization could use a Keystone State chapter, but someone from that region would need to start it (hint hint).

BTW, there is no separate chapter memberships - all SAPFM members are eligible to attend any and all chapter activities.  Even though I run the the Chesapeake Chapter, I often attend Blue Ridge meetings since they're fairly close for me (and they have some great meetings).

David Conley

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Re: Basics tips for this beginner
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 08:29:04 PM »
Matt,

Your are now a member of the ORV Chapter!!

Cheers,
David