Home & Garden

Basic "support" tools for first woodworking builds?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 5th, 2020 6:02 am
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
May 6, 2005
10995 posts
1165 upvotes
Squamish

Basic "support" tools for first woodworking builds?

I want to avoid buying a million little helpful accessories or gadgets, and also learn to use stuff properly.

I recently bought a kit of power tools, and my very next purchase will be safety glasses.

My first two (expected) projects are some garage shelving - against the wall and hung from ceiling, and eventually a bench+table for my patio. For me, I think this will be quite a challenge but want to use it as a learning experience too.
  • I guess I'll need a stud finder for the garage shelving - how do I also ensure I don't end up drilling into wiring?
  • I don't have a workbench or sawhorses yet... I was figuring I could start off working on cuts off the ground with mitre saw and circular saw. I guess I still need SOME base/elevation going on - saw some people using cheap foam insulation for a safety cutting base?
  • When I am building the vertical support bases and crossmembers for the shelving, I'll need a level - but what size should I be going with? Or do I in fact need multiple levels?
  • Similar to above - how do I ensure that my wood is being attached at proper 90 degree angles? This isn't mission critical, but I also want to understand and learn to do it right
  • If I'm making multiple same-size cuts to a 2x4 with the mitre, I've heard of bump stops. I imagine I could just use... the wall? Or how would I have a secure bump stop so each piece sliding through would end up same length?
  • I guess I should have a proper N95 or some sort of respirator? What a year to try and get a proper mask... what should I be looking for?
  • A carpenters/mechanical pencil I guess!?
  • - Already have tape measure :)
Any other basics I need to pick up to get going? I want to avoid tons of visits to home depot, outside of picking up extra lumber :)
11 replies
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jan 3, 2008
976 posts
267 upvotes
W.GTA
•I guess I'll need a stud finder for the garage shelving - how do I also ensure I don't end up drilling into wiring?
- A good stud finder will tell you there's wiring.
•I don't have a workbench or sawhorses yet... I was figuring I could start off working on cuts off the ground with mitre saw and circular saw. I guess I still need SOME base/elevation going on - saw some people using cheap foam insulation for a safety cutting base?
- I use 2 x 4 on the ground with a circular saw and angle square.
•When I am building the vertical support bases and crossmembers for the shelving, I'll need a level - but what size should I be going with? Or do I in fact need multiple levels?
- I have too many levels kicking around, start with a 10".
•Similar to above - how do I ensure that my wood is being attached at proper 90 degree angles? This isn't mission critical, but I also want to understand and learn to do it right
- An angle square will do you well.
•If I'm making multiple same-size cuts to a 2x4 with the mitre, I've heard of bump stops. I imagine I could just use... the wall? Or how would I have a secure bump stop so each piece sliding through would end up same length?
- You would need a mitre saw stand or build a custom stop some how.
•I guess I should have a proper N95 or some sort of respirator? What a year to try and get a proper mask... what should I be looking for?
- Old t-shirt wrap on your face will be fine.
•A carpenters/mechanical pencil I guess!?
- Any pencil or pen will be fine.
•- Already have tape measure :)
- You are all set Smiling Face With Open Mouth, don't forget screws.
Koodo/Public Mobile
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1203 posts
914 upvotes
Hopefully this reply isn't too long....
Kaitlyn wrote: I want to avoid buying a million little helpful accessories or gadgets, and also learn to use stuff properly.

I recently bought a kit of power tools, and my very next purchase will be safety glasses.

My first two (expected) projects are some garage shelving - against the wall and hung from ceiling, and eventually a bench+table for my patio. For me, I think this will be quite a challenge but want to use it as a learning experience too.
What tools do you have thus far? Garage shelving can be done easily enough with a circ saw, the the bench+table you may want something that offers a bit more accuracy and repeatability of cuts. This said, you could also be fine with just a circular saw, and drill for these projects.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]I guess I'll need a stud finder for the garage shelving - how do I also ensure I don't end up drilling into wiring?
A decent stud finder will tell you when there is electrical nearby. Generally speaking just make sure you hit the center of the stud, and if there is electrical nearby and you need to drill there, maybe choose a screw that willnot penetrate as far into the stud.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]I don't have a workbench or sawhorses yet... I was figuring I could start off working on cuts off the ground with mitre saw and circular saw. I guess I still need SOME base/elevation going on - saw some people using cheap foam insulation for a safety cutting base?
If you want a really decent, and large work bench that packs away nicely, I would advise buying 2 sawhorses (I like my dewalt ones), then get 2x 2x4s and a sheet of plywood. You will have a nice sturdy workbench. I think I cut mine back to 3x7' for the ply or something, but you can see what you need.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]When I am building the vertical support bases and crossmembers for the shelving, I'll need a level - but what size should I be going with? Or do I in fact need multiple levels?
I will always recommend Stabila, and they have some nice more affordable packages out now, but the cost might just not be justifiable for you. Empire levels are pretty good all round, and you probably want a 4ft and then a smaller one (2ft, torpedo, whatever), basically, you want some selection in levels, you always want to use the largest level you can. Also, don't be 100% attached to empire, just look for sales and see what is good out there.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]Similar to above - how do I ensure that my wood is being attached at proper 90 degree angles? This isn't mission critical, but I also want to understand and learn to do it right
Buy a square, or a few. But generally, make sure your cuts are square and when everything butts up it will do most of the work for you.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]If I'm making multiple same-size cuts to a 2x4 with the mitre, I've heard of bump stops. I imagine I could just use... the wall? Or how would I have a secure bump stop so each piece sliding through would end up same length?
This is when things get more complicated, or you need more setup/jigs. If you have you mitre saw on a surface or stand you will need to build wings/tables on either side which are level with the mitre saw top. Then you can clamp a piece of wood to the exact measurement you need. There are other ways you can use a mitre saw stand or other stuff to do it, but it probably wont be as precise and is prone to slipping. I know my dewalt mitre saw stand has side supports that you can flip up as a stop, but I just don't trust it, but if you are just using it for 2x4s and framing pieces it could be fine.

I'm pretty sure my portable mitre saw fence was quite expensive when I break it down, Kreg Fence + another dewalt stand + a piece of plywood brings the total up a fair bit, but it is pretty invaluable for speeding up work.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]I guess I should have a proper N95 or some sort of respirator? What a year to try and get a proper mask... what should I be looking for?
There are lots of good N95s out there. Just need to find something that is comfy and has a good seal.

I find myself using P100s more depending on what I'm doing, I find they are more comfortable, better fitted, and doesnt get as stuff in there or fog up glasses.
Kaitlyn wrote: [*]A carpenters/mechanical pencil I guess!?
For your purposes, the thinner the lead the better. When you need precision and knife is always better than a pencil.

Kaitlyn wrote: Any other basics I need to pick up to get going? I want to avoid tons of visits to home depot, outside of picking up extra lumber :)
I see no mention here of clamps. I would buy some, you can never have enough clamps. You will probably need a 3rd or 4th hand at some point in time.
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
4260 posts
4416 upvotes
GTA
Get some hearing protection as well. Either ear plugs, or ear muffs. Using power tools can be very loud and damaging to your hearing.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4891 posts
1491 upvotes
Honestly, you're going to end up buying it all at some point, so you might as well just lurk around on the Home Improvement & Tools section for deals hot-deals-f9/?c=5140

Power tools, hand tools, vacuums, ladder, safety gear, etc. Just look at the Home Depot tools section and you're probably going to need several things in each category.
Let's hug it out
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
May 6, 2005
10995 posts
1165 upvotes
Squamish
RCGA wrote: Honestly, you're going to end up buying it all at some point, so you might as well just lurk around on the Home Improvement & Tools section for deals hot-deals-f9/?c=5140

Power tools, hand tools, vacuums, ladder, safety gear, etc. Just look at the Home Depot tools section and you're probably going to need several things in each category.
I bought the Ryobi 6pc combo kit + mitre saw, so I have a ton of power tools to get started... already aware of a few others I can pick up, but no need yet - might look out for used/sale.

Vacuum I didn't originally even have on my radar, but seems I might indeed need something. I guess mainly what I was wondering is what "accessories" do I need to effectively get started to assist in a project that may not be necessary (I.e. safety glasses!) but seem pretty much invaluable (i.e. speed square). Seems you can get so many niche products, some do multiple things, some are just unnecessary... hard to know, but also hard to know what could be helping me out in some of my building
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
May 6, 2005
10995 posts
1165 upvotes
Squamish
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: If you want a really decent, and large work bench that packs away nicely, I would advise buying 2 sawhorses (I like my dewalt ones), then get 2x 2x4s and a sheet of plywood. You will have a nice sturdy workbench. I think I cut mine back to 3x7' for the ply or something, but you can see what you need.
Tons of good info to digest! Thanks so much - in terms of a workbench area... I could certainly see it being a lot easier and more useful longer term (for more than just woodworking even) but yeah, would want it to be able to collapse away as well. I know sawhorses (what makes them any different from each other!?) but what do you mean by the 2x4s+plywood? Don't I just... lay the plywood on to the saw horses and clamp it down or something?

SubjectivelyObjective wrote: This is when things get more complicated, or you need more setup/jigs. If you have you mitre saw on a surface or stand you will need to build wings/tables on either side which are level with the mitre saw top. Then you can clamp a piece of wood to the exact measurement you need. There are other ways you can use a mitre saw stand or other stuff to do it, but it probably wont be as precise and is prone to slipping. I know my dewalt mitre saw stand has side supports that you can flip up as a stop, but I just don't trust it, but if you are just using it for 2x4s and framing pieces it could be fine.

I'm pretty sure my portable mitre saw fence was quite expensive when I break it down, Kreg Fence + another dewalt stand + a piece of plywood brings the total up a fair bit, but it is pretty invaluable for speeding up work.
Yeah I just started off with their small mitre saw I got in a package (P553 - https://www.homedepot.ca/product/ryobi- ... 1000734787) - having never used one before I'm really not sure how to "set them up" efficiently, especially in a non-permanent way. I see it has a screw clamp on the left side... but I'm also not sure why that would be needed vs holding it against the back frame? Surely not a fast process that way. And yeah - to get a platform off to the side, to i.e. cut multiple ones at even 2' long would... seem complicated for me :S
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1203 posts
914 upvotes
Kaitlyn wrote: Tons of good info to digest! Thanks so much - in terms of a workbench area... I could certainly see it being a lot easier and more useful longer term (for more than just woodworking even) but yeah, would want it to be able to collapse away as well. I know sawhorses (what makes them any different from each other!?) but what do you mean by the 2x4s+plywood? Don't I just... lay the plywood on to the saw horses and clamp it down or something?
The better saw horses have slots in the sides to put 2x4s in. Like this one: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dewalt ... 1001024769

What I do for a temporary table is put 2x4s in on their side, and then lay a piece of plywood on top, that way the plywood won't sag over a long span when you put weight on it. I'll usually put 4 screws, 1 in each corner to fix the plywood to the 2x4s which makes it nice and sturdy.

I generally use this table for my track saw to process sheet goods and assembly.
Kaitlyn wrote: Yeah I just started off with their small mitre saw I got in a package (P553 - https://www.homedepot.ca/product/ryobi- ... 1000734787) - having never used one before I'm really not sure how to "set them up" efficiently, especially in a non-permanent way. I see it has a screw clamp on the left side... but I'm also not sure why that would be needed vs holding it against the back frame? Surely not a fast process that way. And yeah - to get a platform off to the side, to i.e. cut multiple ones at even 2' long would... seem complicated for me :S
Although I have never used the screw clamp, I think its primary use is to hold down small pieces that you're cutting so your fingers don't get to close to the blade.

Honestly if you need it to be portable, and you probably don't need production stops set up at this stage, I would probably just invest in a good stand.

I used 2 of these: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dewalt ... 1000169305 with a fair bit of custom modifications to make a completely portable system with a fence and production stops. If you look at the material supports on these guys, they have stops that can flip up. Its not perfect, but its pretty good for a rough stop to do repeated cuts of framing material. I noticed most of the Ryobi and other stands don't seem to have any stop. This said, you could just build a L and clamp it to the stand as a stop as well. Again, its not perfect, but for rough lumber its good.

Edit, pretty sure you can easily PM that saw stand and get it for $180.

Another hack that I've used in a pinch, is to attach (clamp) a piece of hardwood to the front of the mitre saw fence. Then cut it with the sawblade, then you can measure exactly where the blade will cut, and clamp or screw blocks onto this piece of wood to get repeatable cuts. I used this for bulk cutting trim a number of times and it works great.
[OP]
Deal Guru
User avatar
May 6, 2005
10995 posts
1165 upvotes
Squamish
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Another hack that I've used in a pinch, is to attach (clamp) a piece of hardwood to the front of the mitre saw fence. Then cut it with the sawblade, then you can measure exactly where the blade will cut, and clamp or screw blocks onto this piece of wood to get repeatable cuts. I used this for bulk cutting trim a number of times and it works great.
I thought I followed... but then I lost ya. Any more clarity/video on this method? Seems like it could work for me... I think? haha

Thanks for the reco's too - MORE to look into :)
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1203 posts
914 upvotes
Kaitlyn wrote: I thought I followed... but then I lost ya. Any more clarity/video on this method? Seems like it could work for me... I think? haha

Thanks for the reco's too - MORE to look into :)
Google auxiliary mitre saw fence and you should be on your way.

Come in lots of shapes and sizes and can do it for lots of uses. If you're just going to use it for a stop, really just need the one piece against the fence.

Image
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
13359 posts
8048 upvotes
Markham
Going to chime in to recommend you get a Jawhorse.
If you're doing stuff alone or need extra hands, this is an amazing "helper". I clamp a piece of plywood into it and use it as a temporary work table, mitre stand. The one foot clamping mechanism is amazing and strong etc.

There are several manufacturers and for the most part they are similar.

This is just one vid, of possible uses, there are many other vids to see how ppl use them.




There's even a QVC vid

We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 12, 2007
5642 posts
3229 upvotes
Ottawa
Garage shelving is carpentry, not woodworking. I get that it involves working with wood but the tools that a carpenter needs are different from those of a woodworker / cabinet maker. Okay, now that that is out of the way...

I think that the OP is getting good advice above and I want to echo the recommendation for a vacuum but I would add the recommendation to think about it as dust collection. Where you intend to work matters as dust is a problem - not just the stuff that falls on the ground, but the stuff that gets in the air. A good shop-vac with a proper filter bag AND tools with dust ports (that you can connect directly to said shop-vac) are literally life savers. If you are working in an open garage, a large box (or other) fan to direct the dust outside is also useful; I have one of these in my garage to help keep the dust from getting everywhere plus a shop-vac and a box-fan and I use a respirator - and dust is still a problem, just not as big a problem as it would be if I didn't have these things. If you're working outside, a shop-vac, respirator, and leaf blower (or hose) might be all you need.

OP: good luck with the project!

Top