When you buy a drill bit set, it most likely will come in a storage case. This case will help you figure out which size bit you need to use. When drilling holes for a pilot or lead hole for a nail, find which slot in the bit case the nail will fit in. The next size down is the bit you should choose. When drilling a pilot hole for a screw, you need to choose two bits. One for the starter hole and one for the pilot hole. Find which slot in your bit storage case the screw will fit in. That is the size of bit you should use for the pilot hole. For the starter hold, use the next smaller sized bit.
When it comes to buying tools, don't compromise on quality. Inexpensive tools may seem like a bargain at the store, but will almost always cost more in the long run.
Making perfect dovetail joints can involve some shop practice, so consider starting out with a less-expensive jig that is designed for making only one or two types of joint styles. Then you can later work your way on up to the more expensive and versatile jigs that will let you make up to four or more styles of dovetails. With any dovetail jig, try to avoid using a router that is very light; heavier routers will produce crisper and cleaner cuts.
There are several adhesive glue sticks to choose from for your hot glue gun. Here's a description of the most common to help you determine which is right for the project you're working on: 1) General purpose glue. Dries to a clear finish. Like its name, it's a good general purpose adhesive to have available. 2) Fast bonding glue. Will dry within 20 to 30 seconds after you apply it. 3) Wood glue. Specially formulated to bond with wood fibers. Dries to an opaque tan color. 4) Caulk/sealant. Formulated to resist heat, cold and moisture. Ideal for sealing windows, doors, and exterior surfaces. 5) Glass and ceramic adhesive. Dries almost instantly to a clear, almost invisible coat. 6) Decorative adhesive. Available in a variety of colors. Ideal for matching colors of your decorative craft project.
When going to buy lumber, eliminate the guesswork by taking along the right gear. Take a good flashlight to be able to see wood in dark lumber sheds, plus a pocket knife to scrape rough-sawn boards to check grain. Also take along a good measuring tape, small square, pencil, notebook, and a pocket calculator if you will need to do much figuring.
If you drop one of your favorite steel planes and dent the sole, metal displaced from the dent will likely leave a raised ring around it that can scratch wood. Simply rub the surface with a fine honing stone to remove the raised area. Once done, you can ignore the remaining dent, oil the unplated surface, and put the plane back to work.
Warm vinegar will generally soften the most stubborn old glue on old furniture. Dipping the parts to be reglued in warm water, and then letting them dry out completely, will help to open up the wood pores and allow the new glue to enter the wood more freely. Warming the parts on top of a heater or in the sun will also help open up the pores of the old wood before regluing.
If your smaller projects call for clear pine without any knots, you can save money by buying a lesser grade, then cutting out what you need from the clear areas between the knots. Also, when buying wood, remember that face grain is not critical for structural parts which won't show. You can likewise save on lumber costs if you can use shorter or narrower boards, or if you only need one good side of lumber for your project.
When you need to duplicate multiple measurements on a larger project, it can be helpful to use a length of 1x2 or similar stock as a story pole. Cut or select a piece that is longer than the longest cut required. Carefully mark the height, width, depth and length of various parts onto the 1x2. The story pole will speed up marking for cuts, and matching parts will be cut the same.
If you are about to start a carving or turning project, don't take wood from cold outside temperatures into your shop with high heat and low humidity and immediately start working on it. Give the wood a chance to equalize with your shop's climate, preferably for at least two weeks. Also don't leave large areas of end grain exposed to heat and low humidity. If the project can't be completed through a final finish, use some type of temporary sealer, such as paste wax or shellac, which can easily be removed before finishing.