Home and DIY

Story of how i got started in woodworking

The idea of woodworking, the idea that you could build stuff out of raw materials, using your hands, always appealed to me. My mom tells me that as a kid, i would always be trying to make new tools and weapons out of seemingly boring objects. So i think that somehow, i’m genetically inclined to be using tools. So, once i grew up, got out of college and got decent job, i decided that i needed to try something new. I was looking for new hobby i could pick up, and tried bunch of things – fishing, hiking, hunting – none were for me. Then, one day, my friend was in town and i ended up spending evening with him. He, at the time, was amateur woodworker and kept telling me how much fun it is. I was skeptical at first, and eventually gave in to temptation and spent couple of hundred dollars on tools and protective gear. Even then, i didn’t have everything, but my friend assured me that it was good enough to get started.

But my decision to get into woodworking was just beginning of complicated process. By nature, i tend to overthink, so i take way too much time researching the topic, reading books and watching tutorials than i should have. I didn’t want to get the tools until i was ready, so i wasted few months on that. Little did i know, that woodworking, like most things, can only be learned by practice.  

I went out to nearest HomeDepot store, and bought best worm drive saw that my friend had recommended. It was a little pricey, but it was from great brand – DeWalt. I had heard of the brand, even though i wasn’t into woodworking before, and my friend confirmed that their tools were always top notch and well made. So i figured, tools would be worth the investment.

I also bought some protective tools, as i mentioned above, and also considered buying compact table saw, which went for thousand-ish dollars. But in the end, i decided against it. My friend told me that it was useful, but nothing i couldn’t live without. He told me, and eventually i found out about it by myself, that circular saws can basically do everything table saws can do. It might take more effort and experience, but you’ll get those two in time. Between battery-powered and corded circular saws – i definitely recommend the latter. Check this guide out to help you pick one. Once i decided that, everything else was easy. I had already prepared storage corner in my garage for all the tools, so there weren’t any problems on that front. I got workbench off craigslist, and two years later, i’m still using it now, which was great for my finances. Overall, it’s been great run, and woodworking has brought me more joy than i could ever imagine possible.

How to save on power tools

Woodworking is such a fun hobby to have, but it is also expensive. And that often discourages beginners from getting into it. It makes sense, too, because no one wants to invest hundreds of dollars in various different tools, just to find out that their interest in woodworking was passing craze and they’re not really into it. That’s too big of a risk to take for most people, including myself. There are few solutions to this. For once, you can rent tools and try working with those. But i think that rentals are expensive as well. You pay significant amount of money and you don’t even get to keep the tools. I think that the best way to try woodworking without too much investment, is by tagging along with a friend when he or she works on their DIY projects.

 There is also other way to decrease the risk of losing a lot of money – by reducing amount of money that you have to put in. You see, usually new power tools cost hundreds of dollars, but there are few tips and tricks that you can employ in order to save on those tools. First, and probably obvious method to save on tools, is by waiting for deals. Black Friday and Fathers Day usually have very good deals on tools, Christmas sales are usually worth looking at as well. So be alert for holiday sales.

 Other way to save on tools is by buying whole set of different tools from one supplier. Brands prefer to sell higher quantities, so buying ten different tools packaged as one set will cost you much less than if you were to buy them individually. There’s also battery advantage. For example, Battery from DeWalt will work on all DeWalt tools, so being loyal customer to one brand is rewarding.

  The last, but not least – buying used tools. This is probably obvious to most of you, but some people still look down on used tools and their capabilities. I personally have bought several used tools, and have to say that i’m satisfied with most of them. They cost two or three times less than new ones, and if you’re lucky and have little bit of knowledge in this field, you will be able to pick quality product that will work just as well as new tool. It’s just matter of whether the savings are worth the time investment for you. If you’re on tight budget and have lots of free time, definitely go for it and read Tutorials about it, but if you’re not that worried about money, you should probably just go with best rated tools in brand new condition.

Best place to buy used circular saws

People choose to buy used power tools for many different reasons. For once, they’re much cheaper, and you’re much more likely to find a good deal on used tools. Brand new tools, on the other hand, are usually fixed in terms of how much they cost. Of course, there are discounts sometimes, but they are rare and hard to find. But if you have a lot of experience of using circular saw and other types of tools, it shouldn’t be hard for you to choose very nice power tool that will last much longer than brand new tools of the same price range. If you are a beginner though, i would advise to avoid getting used circular saw. You don’t have enough experience to figure it out on your own, so either do research, or ask for advice. I’d advise to at least read this tutorial on choosing mini circular saw.

 And at last, we’ve arrived to the topic – where can you buy used tools, online or offline? There are many places that sell them, but most of them are not trustworthy or reliable. When you think of buying used stuff, first place that comes to mind is obviously eBay. They’re focused on that segment, so they try to turn themselves into perfect marketplace. But that doesn’t mean they are flawless. eBay has many flaws, but the one that bothers me the most is shipping. All sellers make shipping policies individually, which means that you rarely get free shipping, and even if you do, it usually takes longer than Amazon.

 Amazon, on the other hand, offers free shipping on most circular and other types of saw, which is very convenient. They do offer some selection of used power tools, but i wouldn’t count on it. If you look for it closely, you should be able to find good deal, but i don’t think it’s worth the effort. Amazon is much better at selling brand new tools, so buying used circular saw there isn’t probably the best idea.

 And at last, we have craigslist. There are little to no barriers to entry here, so customer is left on their own to sort through bad listings until you find something worthy. But don’t be discouraged – some of the best deals on used tools i’ve ever gotten were from Craigslist. It takes time and consistency to do it successfully, and if you have both, Craigslist is very good place to look for used tools. If you prefer conveniency, try out eBay and Amazon. eBay has some filters like sellers rating to let you quickly figure out how trustworthy the seller is. Amazon, on the other hand, is much more hands on and thoroughly inspects the products they sell.