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I apologies if this was already covered but I could only find a thread on books, and it was geared towards someone having some basic skills already.

While I am far from useless, I never had a reason to learn much about home repair when I was around people to teach me. I recently relocated across the country, including buying a house, so now there's tons I want to do. Unfortunately I don't really know anyone here I could ask to help me learn, so I am basically left to learn everything via books and videos. I have been doing pretty good, as I am laying a paver patio and doing it correctly, fixed underground sprinklers, and a replaced a toilet (got help there since it was my first time). However I am now getting to the point where I want to do some basic wood work and I have really never touched a power saw till today to cut a sprinkler pipe.

I have a few books I bought however my lively hood it my hands on computers so this is something I really feel I should be watching to see how things are correctly done rather than read a book and guess off the pictures.

I am not expecting to knock out walls or replace windows by any means. To start I want to do some very basic projects like repairing my fence entrance (looks like I just replace 3 wood pieces), build a 20 gallon fish tank stand, and build a base for a shed I just ordered. These are extremely simple projects that if i mess up a bit, its not a big deal visually. Through them I hope to learn basic cuts, joins, and tool handling. With the tank stand I'm hoping to learn basic staining and painting so down the road I can build a nice 100 gallon tank stand. It just seems these are smart starter projects.

I'd eventually like to then build a nice work bench after i get the basics down, allowing me to build something a lot bigger where a bit of uneven cuts wont be life or death since it will just sit in my garage.

Can anyone suggest a video series or website that is geared at the very basics such as going over the different types of saws and tools you can use with what each are best for and how to use each correctly? I'd love something that covers the most common rookie mistakes so I can learn from others mistakes instead of making my own (sure I will make some, but better to learn the majors off others error). This especially includes something that teaches me all the key safety tips, which surely is important and something that can be hard to learn via pictures in a book.

I found tons of sites that outlines basic projects or go over specific tools but if I don't know what a miter saw is used for, I wouldn't know that I should be watching that video. So to start I would love just a intro 101 type video to get me introduced to all the tools and what not.

Again I am very sorry if this is to "general" for the forum. I am a common stack overflow user and this seemed like the best stack exchange site relating to my topic.

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Do you have any community colleges or adult education programs in your area? –  Tester101 Apr 30 '12 at 11:34
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YouTube. Seriously. You can learn most anything from YouTube these days. Also, Fine Hombuilding (and I'd assume their sister publication, Fine Woodworking) offers video series both on and ordered via their web site. I've been a big fan of Fine Homebuilding for a long time. –  DA01 Apr 30 '12 at 15:43
    
Tester: No clue of adult education programs as I just moved here but a community college is not even a ballpark chance. I work on a normal week 90+ hours between software engineering, meetings, and more. While I agree this is a great option I learn extremely fast and am very good at teaching myself. I just need a solid video that would outline what i need. (in college u will learn in 1 semester what u can teach yourself hands on in 24 hours.) This certainly would not fit in my schedule. I appreciate the suggestion, as its a good one, just not the best for my situtation. –  Anthony Greco May 1 '12 at 3:49
    
DA01: As youtube goes, i have already watched a bunch. finding how tos for very specific stuff is super easy but a general instructional program for all the basics is not. I have browsed many sites, reading tons. I would love a nice course on tape (preferably online) if possible though. Sort of a wood work 101-201 on tape. As for the publications you mentioned I will for sure look into them. thank you –  Anthony Greco May 1 '12 at 3:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As far as books, I highly recommend The Complete Book of Woodworking: http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Book-Woodworking-Detailed/dp/1890621366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335885982&sr=8-1. It's easy to follow even for the uninitiated. It goes over the major tools, what they are used for, and has excellent instructions on some starter and intermediate projects. There are even some workbench projects toward the end, one of which is made only from plywood and 2x4 lumber. I made it with a jigsaw and really uneven cuts, and it's held together well for about a year (it's usable for everything except hand planing). I'm also a software engineer by trade and learn well from books, so I spent a good few months obsessing over this book in my apartment before buying a house and really getting started.

For video instruction, The Wood Whisperer is one of my favorites; he gets into what tools are used for, how to set them up and tune them, and has some videos dedicated to safety. He's also very technical and comes from a science background, so the engineer in me relates well with him. He doesn't leave out many details. Fine Woodworking is also very good and for $5 a month you can get access to a ton of video content.

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com

http://www.finewoodworking.com

SawmillCreek and WoodworkingTalk are nice forums to search through for tips and discussions about what tools are best used for what projects.

http://www.sawmillcreek.org

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com

Most of these will discuss fine woodworking, furniture making, and detailed joinery, which you may or may not be interested in. All of them, however, will give you information you want about tool usage. It may be more detail than what you're interested in for the projects you describe, but if anything you'll be over-prepared.

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thanks man I will def look into all of this. Basically spending all my spare time learning as much as I can before I jump into it so that is def helpful. Thanks again –  Anthony Greco May 2 '12 at 4:27
    
finewoodworking.com seems to be just what i was looking for. thanks! –  Anthony Greco May 3 '12 at 9:07

Youtube is a surprisingly good teaching tool, and any book on the subject will probably be worth reading but if you're serious the best and safest way to learn is to work with somebody that already knows what they're doing. The master/apprentice relationship helps you learn in three ways, 1. Direct Communication: "do it this way". 2. Critical Communication: "don't do it that way!" A good teacher will see you doing something wrong and point it out to you. 3. Osmosis: "so that's how you do it!" A good student will see a teacher doing something (something they might not even be consciously aware of) and learn from it. As Sam Maloof once said "an apprentice must eyes in the back of his head."

Videos,books, and the internet will only give you a dime-store education, but working with an expert will give you the deeper understanding necessary to work safely and efficiently. Now as to how to secure such an arrangement...? Find a working carpenter and bribe them? Stalk a cabinet maker and ingratiate yourself to them? Craigslist personal ad? That could be interesting.

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I learned a lot from watching "This Old House", back in the day when the home owners did a lot more of the work (now get off of my lawn). I also learned a lot by watching the "New Yankee Workshop". However I didn't watch these to learn anything specific, I just watched them because I enjoyed them. I'm not certain how they might suit your needs.

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I will look into them both. Thank you for the suggestion. –  Anthony Greco May 1 '12 at 3:58
    
New Yankee Workshop is great, but Norm has all the toys. Watching that show can put you into serious budgetary problems. –  Chris Cudmore May 1 '12 at 14:39
    
yeh I am only doing basic stuff right now. Went and picked up some books on the tools so i can setup a decent work station. For learning I def dont want to spent over a grand, which I believe is very reasonable off what i already looked into. Without help some higher end tools will surely help, but i def won't be making money off this so I don't need a professional shop in my garage. –  Anthony Greco May 2 '12 at 4:25

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