I've always believed that if a project's finish doesn't pass the "touch test"—when running your hands over the project, you feel a flawless, satin-smooth surface—that finish diminishes the impact of quality design or construction. So here are a few simple tricks that will make your finish a point of pride.
You can cut large circles with a arouter, bandsaw, or jigsaw. Of those three, only a router with a straight or spiral bit ensures a true circle requiring very little edge cleanup. It only takes about 10 minutes to make and install a trammel onto your plunge router. Here's how to do it.
With two of the next four paychecks, you'll buy the materials to build a set of base and upper cabinets. In doing so, you'll learn pocket-hole joinery, a fast way to assemble face frames and other components of cabinets and furniture. But first, use your set-aside money to purchase a thickness planer to sit alongside your jointer, completing the on-two punch for dressing lumber.
Whether you're a beginning woodworker crafting a few pieces for your home or a seasoned professional making furniture for a living, you'll experience tasks that a plane—with sharp blade, mind you—can do better than any other power or hand tool. And you don't need a fleet of planes of every size to tackle those jobs. For most situations, this trio will do nicely.
Knowing where and how to vary form your plans keeps tiny fractions from leading to big project problems. As face veneers have become thinner (manufacturers get more mileage out of each log), plywood thicknesses have shrunk. So if you rely on the stated thickness when planning or building your projects, you wind up with loose-fitting joints, part dimension errors, and assembly problems. Use these four strategies to prevent those discrepancies from becoming dimensional disasters on your plywood-based projects.