"Helping woodworkers online for 20 years"

Welcome to Sawdustmaking 101, it is my hope that this site will help novices better understand the fundamentals of woodworking.

It is not necessary to spend a fortune on tools to enjoy this hobby, many projects can be done with a minimum investment.

I have included links to two valuable resources, a Glossary with basic definitions of the terms commonly used in woodworking and an online reprint of Carpentry for Boys, a book written for woodworking apprentices in 1914.

Frank Campbell

Getting Started

Try to select projects you feel capable of doing but will also offer a bit of a challenge so you continue to gain additional skills, many simple plans can be found on the Projects page. Softwoods such as pine or spruce are good woods to practice with, when you become more confident move on to the more exotic woods.

Making shop fixtures and jigs is a great way to hone your skills, many of them can be made from used or recycled material, our Shop Jigs and Fixtures page has a lot of handy ideas.

Add tools as you need them, always buy the best tool you can afford. There is usually more than one way to accomplish the same result, tools are often a matter of preference than necessity. Consider buying used tools, the build quality of older tools is often superior to many of the new tools on today's market.

I have included sections on hand tools and power tools with basic information on using them along with links to suppliers that can supply you with further information on specific brands. Any purchase from those links helps keep this site online.

Never forget how dangerous a power tool can be, if you have any hesitation as to the safety of a situation stop and check out your options.

If it doesn't feel good don't do it.

If you are looking for more plans and ideas check my other site: Absolutely Free Plans

If you are still one of those among us that likes to have an actual book in your hands ask for a Free Catalog from Rockler.


This page sponsored by Vintage Patent Prints

patent in

Printed on acid free parchment paper, sizes available to fit stock frames.

Large selection of categories to choose from, something for every decor!

Browse Vintage Patent Prints


Carpentry For Boys by J.S. Zerme, M.E. - online reprint

A 1914 book which treats, in a most practical and fascinating manner all subjects pertaining to the "King of Trades"; showing the care and use of tools; drawing; designing; and the laying out of work. The principles involved in the building of various kinds of structures, and the rudiments of architecture. It contains over two hundred and fifty illustrations made especially for this work, and includes also a complete glossary of the technical terms used in the art. The most comprehensive volume on this subject ever published for boys.
Note: By "boys" he refers to apprentices.


Basic Tool Chest

With only the tools listed below many projects can be built and general household repairs made. Starting
out using hand tools will give one a better understanding of the characteristics of wood before moving on
to power tools.


Power Tools

Never forget how dangerous a power tool can be, always do you research before using a tool you are not familiar with. Read the manual, if you don't have a manual check online for information on using the tool.

Information, safety tips and accessories.

Information and safety tips on using a radial arm saw.

Information and safety tips about band saws and accessories for them.


Information and safety tips on using a radial arm saw.

Information and safety tips about circular saws.

Information and safety tips about routers and accessories for them.

Information about CNC routers.

Information and safety tips about sanders

Information and safety tips about drill presses

Information and safety tips about scroll saws.


Information on Dust Collectors, Shop Vacuums and Air Filtration Units.

Information and safety tips about shapers.

Information on corded and cordless drills and accessories.

Information and safety tips about table saws and accessories for them.


Information on corded and cordless jig saws.

Information and safety tips on using a thickness planer.

Information and safety tips on using a jointer.

Information and safety tips on using a wood lathe.

Information and safety tips on Miter Saws

Work Area

Whether your work area is a dedicated shop or a temporary cleared space in the basement or garage safety has to be the number one concern. A clean shop is a safe shop, spend a few minutes at the end of the day picking up and sweeping the floor. This not only cleans your surroundings, it also clears your mind, the solution to that problem you had earlier may suddenly appear.

If you must use an extension cord try to run it overhead and drop it down at the machine so you are not tripping over it. Plan to have a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Organize your time so you are doing the complicated parts of the project at the beginning of your work session while your mind is fresh. If you work all day at your job and then spend several hours in your shop you will get "silly tired", this is when mistakes are made and accidents happen.

Most importantly enjoy your shop time, often it is the journey, not the destination that gives you the most satisfaction.

Joiners Bench

- Plans for a work bench from the early 1900's.

Shop Safety

- How accidents happen.

Woodworking Charts

- Handy Reference Charts

Shop Jigs and Fixtures

- Shop jigs, fixtures and info to aid building your projects.

Building your own workbench is an excellent way to improve your woodworking skills.

Browse through the free workbench and router table plans

at AbsolutelyFreePlans.com

Woodworking Clip Art

This is a selection of public domain artwork that could be used for Yard Art or Scroll Sawing with a bit of modification. Each image is on a squared backgroud to make them easy to transfer to your project.

- Birds

- Cats

- Cattle

- Christmas

- Dogs

- Fowl

- Flowers

- Horses


Free Vintage Plans

Reprints from 1912 Popular Mechanics Handbooks, includes material list and design drawings, limited instructions. Free plans for book racks, buffets, tables, chairs, piano benches, desks and more.

How To's for the Projects, this also is dated information:

For many more free project plans and shop jigs visit:

General Information

About Joints 101

These are dated pages taken from a book written in the early 1900's, few power tools are mentioned, but a gold mine for hand tool use.

Bridal Joints ? Dovetail Joints ? Dowel Joint ? Glued Joint ? Half Lap Joints ? Hinged Joint ? Joints for Curved Work ? Mitre Joints ? Mortise and Tenon Joints ? Puzzle Joints ? Scarf Joints ? Shutting Joint ? Tongued and Grooved Joints ? Miscellaneous Joints

A Woodworkers Bench Notes covers several popular joints and the power tools to make them.

About Nails 101

What is a "2 d" and more.

About Screws & Screwdrivers

Choices of styles of heads and slots

A Course in Woodturning

An edited reprint of a 1919 school shop text book.

Bearings 101

Kinds of bearings and understanding the number system of bearings.

Breadboard Ends

How to trim a panel with breadboard ends.

Cabinet Scrapers 101

How to use and sharpen a cabinet scraper

Characteristics Of Commonly Used Wood

Color, Density, Grain, Machinability, Finishing & Uses.

Cutting Inside Corners

How to cut notches, rectangles and circles out of a panel

Dados 101

Types of dados and how they are made.

Drawer in a Table Apron

How to install a drawer in a table top apron.

Drawer Construction Basics

How build a basic drawer.

Drawing a Large Curve

What to do when a compass is impractical.

Electric Motors

The basics of universal electric motors.

Finishing Information

Different kinds of finishing products.

Glossary of Woodworking Terms

Common terms and what they mean.

History's 40 Chairs

Descriptions of the basic 40 chair styles throughout history.

Hardwood 101

Characteristics and properties of common hardwood trees.

Laying Out An Ellipse

Two Simple Methods.

Lumber Dimensions and Terminology

Calculating board feet etc.

Keeping It Square

How to build and measure square corners.

Making and Mounting Shelves

Methods and tips for shelving.

Measuring Tools 101

About Steel Rules, Tape Measures and Calipers

Raised Panel Doors 101

The basics of  making raised panel doors.

Softwood 101

Characteristics and properties of common softwood trees.

Types Of Wood

Common materials used in building projects.

Using a Coping Saw

The use of, and how to make jigs for a coping saw.

Using a Kreg Jig

How to use handy butt joint jig.

Selecting a Power Saw

Covers the advantages and disadvantages of the various power saws available.

Tablemaking 101

What to know about making a table before you start the build.

Wood Glues

Properties of common wood glues

Workbenches 101

Tips on building a workbench

About Me

I have been involved one way or another with woodworking for the last six decades, it began when I was about ten years old, my father built me a jigsaw by modifying an old Briggs and Stratton engine. Looking back I don't believe it cost him anything more than the price of a few welding rods to give me hours of entertainment cutting doodads out of apple box wood. The last three have been limited due to health reasons but I still do small projects when necessary.

I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm so I learned from a very young age how to improvise to get a job done. I have owned several businesses over the years ranging from making toys to custom fireplace mantels for luxury home builders.

Frank Campbell

If you have comments or suggestions drop me a line,

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