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My 14 year old daughter and I just completed our first DIY woodshop project.  We did build the Kreg workbench but have not painted it yet.

You can see the project here:

We built a shelf system for my oldest daughter’s dorm room.  Along the way we learned several things that we want to share with the beginners here.

  • Having two drill motors, one for the Kreg jig and one for the Kreg screws is useful and saves time. We use a battery powered drill motor for the Kreg Screws. That one has a force clutch that is indispensible for dialing in the right amount of force.
  • I attached the k2 jig to a 24” x 24” x ¾” plywood base. This made drilling the pocket holes easy.
  • My daughter said that she really was glad we planned this project on paper. She said she would have done this from a design in her head and she realizes now she would not have thought of everything.
  • A great miter saw blade is worth the price.  Cut surface is so smooth and no burn marks. We upgraded from an old delta blade and wee are so glad we did.
  • Wood from the big box stores is not dimensionally consistent. We used their highest quality of pine and the thickness varied more than we would have hoped for.
  • Precut plywood (24” x 24”) is not accurate. Okay so I knew this but I did not want to be carrying a full sheet and cutting it. I decided to buy the precut for now.  I wanted to teach my daughter a few things at a time. Next up will be using a circular saw and cutting plywood to dimension. Someday I will have a table saw.  A Freud blade will be in the circular saw from day one.  
  • A well-stocked lumber yard is a must.  We have about 13 miles away.  We will eventually buy our lumber from them. The prices are cheaper and the selection is fabulous. We assume that the wood will be dimensionally more consistent but only time and experience will tell. We could not use them this time because I don’t have a way to carry 10 foot long boards.  I may have to break down and buy an old pickup someday.
  • Having plenty of clamps around is a good thing.
  • Ear protection! Eye protection! Safety first! Of course!
  • A few times my daughter was tired and we stopped working. Safety first!
  • We need to think through the stability of the shelf system better. We drilled holes ever two inches in the leg so the shelves could be adjusted. This was great but since the shelves had one bolt inserted per leg the whole thing could be skewed a lot. We added a cross member with two bolts on each pair of legs and that helped a bunch. But still we probably need some cross members that are pocket holed attached for more rigidity.  Well we are learning.
  •  We decided not to use hardwood until we start to perfect our technique. Just too much $.
  • Fun! This is so much fun.  We are going to build some shelves for the garage next.

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Looks like you and your daughter are learning quite rapidly.  Your project photo look very good and well planned out.   It is truly nice to read about how you and your daughter have set out together on a jounery of aquiring knowledge and being happy building more than projects but best of all memories.   Working safely.

My Best to you both. 

You have done great.  It must have been a fun time! 

Eric, I'm acquiring tools and a little wood, have yet to cut anything; whoa, I take that back... I used the Kreg jig to repair a sagging sofa. I put some braces on the bottom and walla, no more sag... but I've yet to do a real project and I thouroughly enjoyed reading your experience. Thanks! You were entertaining and very informative. I appreciate all of the tips to newbies like myself.

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