There are lots of clear finishes. But for a combination of usability and durability, you can’t beat polyurethane. Oil-based poly, which dries slower than water-based, is best for beginners because it allows more working time. The other important difference is clarity: Water-based poly is absolutely colorless, while oil-based has an amber tone, which can be good or bad depending on the look you want.
For an artisanal look, you can use woodworking hand tools. These are easy to use, lightweight and require no batteries or power cords to operate. Many hand tools are covered by multi-year or even lifetime warranties for extra protection and value. Set up your pieces with the most expertly crafted woodworking hardware, such as hinges, pulls and knobs to create a final product that you can give as a gift, sell or just display proudly.  

If planks are slightly cupped or twisted, have them planed at a local millwork shop or borrow a tabletop planer and tackle the job yourself. If planing yourself, first check planks for and remove nails and excess dirt*. Run planks though the planer, stripping a small amount of wood from each side as you plane. While the board is going through the planer, manually adjust the depth of the cut to compensate for irregular thickness (or twist) over the board’s length. You can hurt yourself or damage the board or planer if you do not manually adjust as you go. Keep running boards through the planer until the blade has lightly stripped each surface. Next, rip boards on a table saw to create straight edges; planks do not have to be identical in width.

Leave your tabletop longer than necessary until the sanding is done, then cut to final length. Most tabletops are too wide to trim on a tablesaw, even with a crosscut sled, and this is where I use a hand-held circular saw. Clamp a guide strip so it’s square to one edge, then follow it with your saw. Repeat the process on the other end, then carefully use your hand-held belt sander to remove any blade marks on edges. It sounds like a coarse process, but you can get great results this way.
There are lots of clear finishes. But for a combination of usability and durability, you can’t beat polyurethane. Oil-based poly, which dries slower than water-based, is best for beginners because it allows more working time. The other important difference is clarity: Water-based poly is absolutely colorless, while oil-based has an amber tone, which can be good or bad depending on the look you want.

I am so glad to see this. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I have had a similar idea in my head for years but didn't know how to bring it together, and I wasn't sure how it would actually turn out. Yours is beautiful. It is nice to start with an idea of how the project will actually look when I am done. My table is 25 years old with a laminate top. The reason I want to cover instead of replacing it does that it is the first purchase my husband and I made together. It has seen 25 years of abuse by three little (now big!) boys and by me, the messy crafter. But I cannot imagine ever getting rid of this table. Plus it's not like I'm going to get less messy, so investing in an expensive table would be crazy. I love how I can take this top off and still do the messy damaging things on it. I am bookmarking this and if I ever get around to actually doing it LOL, I will send you pics
Most chisels are beveled on the 2 sides and on the cutting edge, but specialty chisels may only be beveled at the cutting edge. This bevel will be at 20 to 25 degrees down the length of the blade on one side, and flat on the backside. The blade will be between 4” and 7” long. Make sure you get chisels with a grip that fits your hand. If the grip is too small, you won’t be able to hold the chisel steady as you work. Be sure to use a mallet or wood hammer when you work, so that you don’t destroy the head on your chisel. Keep track of the edge caps, keep them sharp, and oil the metal now and then after you’ve used them, and they should be good for years. If you don’t have the edge caps, get a roll to keep them in. This will prevent them from bouncing around in your tool box drawers and getting damaged.
Or if you are in the search for a protectant that is specifically for woodworking tools, then you should check out the Restore Blade and Bit Cleaner 500. Not only is this cleaner one of the best woodworking accessories, it’s also environmentally friendly and safe to breathe in while using. This cleaner is the perfect companion for circular saws, miter saws, router bits, drill bits, as well as a variety of woodworking tools. While protecting your tools from rust and corrosion, it’s liquid form will not damage any wood materials that you may be working on at the time.

If you don’t intend to finish the wood, you can probably safely skip this step. But for me, it was crucial to sand each board, not only to ensure a level tabletop, but also to give the stain a surface to which it could easily adhere. Of course, no matter how much sanding you do, some woods (2x4s included) are not milled for finish work and may never get totally smooth. But that was fine with me, as I figured that any imperfections that remained in the end would work to underline the rustic quality of the piece. It was in that same spirit that, in the process of sanding the boards (with fine-grit paper, always in the same direction), I opted not to sand down a few of the chatter marks left by the sawmill. I knew the stain would take to the wood a bit differently in those spots than elsewhere, lending the tabletop a further layer of charm—or so I hoped. Once I was done sanding, after thoroughly cleaning each board with a moist tack cloth, I let enough time pass for the wood to dry out completely.
When you buy the wood, look for pieces that aren’t warped, excessively longer or shorter than the others, and, if you can get lucky, don’t carry the telltale “new wood” planer marks. We purchased the most inexpensive wood that we could find. You’ll likely find them in 2- and 4-ft pieces. If you have a saw at home, you might consider getting the 4 ft pieces to decrease the cost of your project a bit.
Even with the most careful glue-up job, there will be at least a little board-to-board misalignment when your tabletop comes out of the clamps. This is where cross-grain sanding helps. With an 80-grit abrasive in your belt sander, level your tabletop by working across the grain instead of parallel to it. This removes wood more quickly, making it easier to create flat results. Move to parallel-grain sanding with the 80-grit belt when all joints are flat, then switch to 120- and 180-grit belts, also run parallel to the grain.
Turning over the sturdy tabletop, I felt a thrill of vindication. Clearly, it wasn’t a mistake in the end to use all three stains for the same project. Before I could consider the job done, though, I would need to apply sealer—Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane—to protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and the wear and tear of day-to-day life. This was my first time experimenting with a spray-application sealer, and I loved it. Obviously, it’s important to have proper ventilation in your work area, and you’ve got to shake the can vigorously before spraying, but so long as you remember the basics, spraying couldn’t be more straightforward. Holding the Helmsman Spar Urethane can about a foot from the surface, spray in a series of even strokes, always in the same direction, until you’ve completed the first coat. Let the sealer dry for about four hours before applying any additional coats, and for best results, sand the entire surface before each application of a new layer.
Diablo's 6-piece Starter Bit Set includes a variety Diablo's 6-piece Starter Bit Set includes a variety of profiles ideal for the beginning woodworker. Featuring TiCo carbide with titanium these bits provide a long cutting life and ultra-fine finish. Perma-Shield Diablo's high performance coating reduces friction and build-up on the bits. The bits kick-back reducing design allows for safer ...  More + Product Details Close
A lot of woodworkers share their projects through their own blogs or YouTube channels. In fact, we’ve shared many of them here before, including, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, The Wood Whisperer, Matthias Wandel, April Wilkerson, Sawdust Girl, House of Wood, FixThisBuildThat, Pneumatic Addict, Build-Basic, Rogue Engineer, Her Tool Belt, and Ana White. The best YouTube woodworkers create great videos, but also provide a complete blog post with a cut list, tools, materials, and instructions. Find your favorites and save them for when you’re doing your searches.
And the fact is that you can make your own patio chair with several old but still good pallets. Here we are providing a tutorial that everybody can follow easily – it is very well-written and also self-explanatory, which is great for those who are a beginner at woodworking and have never completed a DIY project before. As you don’t need to be a professional woodworker or a handyman to complete this project, so it is not a difficult task – all you need is a bit of determination!​

Add the ultimate in convenience, power, and safety to your router lift! JessEm's new soft-start, 3.25hp router motor puts the variable speed control and power switch at your fingertips. The control panel attaches directly to INCRA Router Table Stands and is easily adapted to other router table installations. Compatible with router lifts designed to accept the Porter Cable 7518 motor. This router is not for hand held use.
If planks are slightly cupped or twisted, have them planed at a local millwork shop or borrow a tabletop planer and tackle the job yourself. If planing yourself, first check planks for and remove nails and excess dirt*. Run planks though the planer, stripping a small amount of wood from each side as you plane. While the board is going through the planer, manually adjust the depth of the cut to compensate for irregular thickness (or twist) over the board’s length. You can hurt yourself or damage the board or planer if you do not manually adjust as you go. Keep running boards through the planer until the blade has lightly stripped each surface. Next, rip boards on a table saw to create straight edges; planks do not have to be identical in width.
Adirondack Chairs in Tennessee Cedar Wood Growing up in Central New York and spending years in the Adirondack Mountains, I grew up seeing all types of Adirondack chairs. But it was not until I moved to middle Tennessee that I attempted to build Adirondack chairs myself. I found plans that gave me the basic design to build the adult chairs. I made some adjustments in order to fit them into my style and the type of wood that I have available. I found a cedar mill within an hour of my shop that allows me to purchase rough cut lumber. Because of the nature of rough lumber I am buying wood that is actually thicker, wider and longer than wood purchased at a brick front store.  Where a nominal 2”x 4”x 96” bought at a local lumber store is actually 1.5 x 3.5 x 96. The cedar I purchase is 2 ¼ x 4 ¼ x 102 inches. Once run through the surface planer to clean up the roughness and sanded, I am able to build with actual 2” x 4” or 2” x 6” lumber. This makes the chairs heavier, sturdier and more durable. Because of the size of the wood I assemble the legs and main supports with 3/8” carriage bolts. The arms, seat boards and backs are all assembled with 2” to 3” exterior screws. I predrill all the holes prior to inserting any screws. I do this because cedar, or any wood for that matter, can split at any time. The actual finished chair stands 38” tall x 39” long and 33” wide. They weigh about 35 lbs. and can seat a large adult very well but also comfortable for my tiny framed wife. The rise of the seat from the knees to the ground for your feet is 13 ½ inches. The seat reclines backward naturally but not so much that it is hard to stand from a seated position. The back is curved to support the natural curve of your back allowing for a more comfortable fit. The back is 32” tall to support even a taller person. The arms have been described as looking like whales so they are narrow where they fasten to the back of the chair and wide in the front for a cup, a book or even a laptop if you choose to work outside. *DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you chose to click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you. It helps compensates the business for the time spent creating these posts. THANK YOU! Child’s Chair: The smaller child chairs are added to match the adult chairs to finish the family. These also are made with rough cedar milled and sanded to size to make the chairs sturdy. As with the adult chairs the wood will be thicker, wider and stronger than nominal wood. I use all true 1” lumber for the

As your interest in woodworking grows, you’ll want to subscribe to a woodworking magazine. This will help feed your new found obsession with articles on tools, techniques, and woodworking plans. As a print magazine subscriber you’ll also gain access to their database of plans on their websites. Popular magazines include, Woodworkers Journal, Fine Woodworking, and Popular Woodworking.
Google is probably the first place where most people would start searching for woodworking plans, but often the top results can be a mix of articles and how-to pieces that just aren’t detailed enough. Sometimes they’ll link to the plans (like we try to here at Lifehacker), but other times, they’re just showing off a cool project. There are better, more precise ways of finding what you’re looking for.
Example Entertainment Center: $25 for plans + $750 for materials + $1200 for good quality tools = $1975. Less than a few grand! Of course you don't have to buy brand new tools; search the sale lists online (i.e. Craigslist, Freecycle.org, etc.) in your area. You are sure to find some good deals on power tools and even materials! (A good set of tools includes a table saw, miter saw, nail gun and compressor and four piece cordless tool set.)
Crisp, tight joints are key to any great tabletop, and this is where the jointer comes in. Get help supporting boards longer than about five feet as you work. Also, if some joints don’t come together tightly, despite your best jointing efforts, try moving the boards to new locations if grain patterns permit. Some edges just naturally fit together more tightly than others. Don’t own a jointer? Pieces of planed lumber sometimes fit together just fine without jointing. Try different boards as neighbours to see which ones get along the best.

There are YouTube videos that show how to attach tabletops using both of these tried and true methods. If you don't have a router or a biscuit joiner to make the holes for the z-fasteners, you can always use a drill. For the figure-8's, you need to recess them so they're flush with the apron...so for that, you would need to use a router. If that's not somethig you can do, I suggest sticking with the Z-fasteners. Best of luck!
Screwdrivers are another must-have in the woodworker’s set of hand tools. Not only will you need Phillips and slot, or flathead screwdrivers, you’ll need star drivers and Torx drivers, too. A quality construction is vital to a good set of screwdrivers. So many of them are made out of soft metal, and the first time you put any “oomph” behind them, they strip out, becoming absolutely useless.

Finding the right diy woodworkers project ideas via the internet is simple if you know where to look. If you are a beginner, you might want to look for packages that provide a huge variety ofoptions. The best ones will include clear instructions, text, diagrams, and tips. A good online plan will help you learn the skills you need much more quickly, so you can maintain speed and keep making fun projects.

Hey Cara – We bought MinWax wooden stain in Cherry (the teeny, tiny can) and one other color, but it has been misplaced in the garage somewhere. We picked up sample sized containers of paint in Satin finish (we bought them at Lowe’s so it was Olympic brand). I just found pretty blue and dark red paint chips and the paint counter guy did the rest! Hope that helps – happy to answer questions if you need any more info


Diablo's Adjustable Rail and Stile Router Bit Sets Diablo's Adjustable Rail and Stile Router Bit Sets create perfect fitting rail and stile doors for 5/8 in. to 1-1/4 in. stock. Featuring TiCo carbide with titanium these bits provide a long cutting life and ultra-fine finish. Perma-shield Diablo's high performance coating reduces friction and build-up on the bits. The ...  More + Product Details Close
To corral shelf-dwelling books or DVDs that like to wander, cut 3/4-in.-thick hardwood pieces into 6-in. x 6-in. squares. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut a slot along one edge (with the grain) that’s a smidgen wider than the shelf thickness. Stop the notch 3/4 in. from the other edge. Finish the bookend and slide it on the shelf. Want to build the shelves, too? We’ve got complete plans for great-looking shelves here.
If you don’t intend to finish the wood, you can probably safely skip this step. But for me, it was crucial to sand each board, not only to ensure a level tabletop, but also to give the stain a surface to which it could easily adhere. Of course, no matter how much sanding you do, some woods (2x4s included) are not milled for finish work and may never get totally smooth. But that was fine with me, as I figured that any imperfections that remained in the end would work to underline the rustic quality of the piece. It was in that same spirit that, in the process of sanding the boards (with fine-grit paper, always in the same direction), I opted not to sand down a few of the chatter marks left by the sawmill. I knew the stain would take to the wood a bit differently in those spots than elsewhere, lending the tabletop a further layer of charm—or so I hoped. Once I was done sanding, after thoroughly cleaning each board with a moist tack cloth, I let enough time pass for the wood to dry out completely.
Do you have older 18V DeWalt tools that are still near and dear to your heart but need new batteries? Consider firing up those old tools with 21st century technology. Now, 18V tools can be run on powerful 20V lithium Ion batteries with DeWalt’s new battery adapter. The adapter slides into the tool and the battery hooks onto the adapter. It works on most 18V DeWalt tools but not all. It’s sold two ways: the adapter alone (DCA1820), or the adapter with two compact 20V, 2.OAh batteries and charger. Now you’ll be able to hold on to your favorite cordless reciprocating saw forever!
While every beginning woodworker focuses his/her budget on the woodworking tools necessary to outfit the shop, there are a number of shop accessories that are not only useful but in some cases, absolutely necessary. In this article, learn about the top shop accessories for every wood shop. As you'll see, some of these are items you can build yourself, while others are tools that aren't always associated with woodworking, but useful in the wood shop nonetheless.
The next hand tool every woodworker should have is a nail set. In fact, you should have several sizes. They look like awls, and you use them to drive nail heads into the wood so they are flush or right below the surface. This allows you to fill the holes and prepare for staining or painting. The nail setter will usually have either a convex or concave surface to grip the nail better and keep it from sliding off and marring the wood.
I am so glad to see this. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I have had a similar idea in my head for years but didn't know how to bring it together, and I wasn't sure how it would actually turn out. Yours is beautiful. It is nice to start with an idea of how the project will actually look when I am done. My table is 25 years old with a laminate top. The reason I want to cover instead of replacing it does that it is the first purchase my husband and I made together. It has seen 25 years of abuse by three little (now big!) boys and by me, the messy crafter. But I cannot imagine ever getting rid of this table. Plus it's not like I'm going to get less messy, so investing in an expensive table would be crazy. I love how I can take this top off and still do the messy damaging things on it. I am bookmarking this and if I ever get around to actually doing it LOL, I will send you pics
×