This is an easy one. About 6 months ago I stumbled upon Ana White and Shanty-2-Chic's site and was in awe of all the pictures of furniture on the sites, then was stunned when I discovered they built the things themselves. I'm very thrifty and was in need of a dining room table and chairs to fit family & friends during the holiday season (no more sharing dinner trays), so I started searching the stores for something I would like and the sticker shock knocked me off my feet. I went back and forth to Ana's & Shanty's site and saw some things that attracted me and figured what the heck...bought a small Kreg Jig and went to work. I was hooked, bought myself a K4, Rip Cut, Multi-Mark & Shelf Pin Jig because I knew I would be building more and more. Now I have something I've always wanted...quality, well built furniture at a fraction of the price, plus the satisfaction of knowing it was built for me, by me. My next major project, custom closet shelving for 4 bedrooms.
I have been working with wood for many years but recently tried the pocket hole system. While it will not replace other options I use. I do find that for projects where the pocket holes do not show I am using pocket holes more then I thought. I recently used them for a drawer on a night stand as one set of the holes were in the rear of the drawer and ones in the front were covered with a overlay piece
When I was first divorced, I found myself needing to learn what was normally considered "the man of the house" chores. Over time, a needed project or repair had come up and skills learned. My largest undertaking was a kitchen remodel that required a wall to be removed! I stumbled on pocket hole joinery during the months of doing the kitchen remodel. Once the kitchen was complete I started tackling furniture building and now love that I can build pieces that fit the spaces required and the look that I hope to achieve. If someone had told me years ago that I would some day be attempting to build my own furniture I would've told them they were nuts! Now I cannot imagine any other way.
It all started back in 2005, when I became disabled and could not work away from home. I found myself doing puzzles and I was wishing I could go back to work. I came across a Woodsmith Magazine and started to read it and I also remembered helping my dad with his Soap Box Derby entrees back with I was in high school and college. I remember how fun it was to make things and watch them run. I did remember a few that I was really happy with. They were a horse jumping over a bale jump of hay bales and the paddle wheel boat they all delivered candy and bubbles as they went down the hill. I still enjoy building projects like my big project that I am still working on right now my shed/shop. I do have other things in the fire during the real cold days when it will be too cold to work outside in my shed/shop. I am glad I bought the K4 Master jig system it helped me with putting in the gable uprights in the gable where I couldn't get with a hammer. I am still using my Master jig right now with my wall cabinets I am building in the shed/shop.
I built my first piece of furniture in the mid nineties. There was this Southwestern style four poster bed in a specialty shop at the mall my wife and I fell in love with. However we didn't love the several (and I mean several) thousand dollar price tag. I drew up a design for the bed and started researching Southwestern or Santa Fe style furniture. It took over a year, but I built one in our garage with only a portable table saw and assorted hand tools. Its still in use today in our bedroom along with other pieces I built to match. I got bit by the racing bug and woodworking went to the back burner. After several years and more dollars than I care to count, the racing bug had been satisfied. About this time I retired and had a lot of free time. After twenty or so years the builders grade bathroom vanity was showing its age. As luck would have it bathroom vanities come in 36 and 42 inch lengths. The alcove where ours sat was a shade under 41 inches. I decided to build one and purchased a Kreg jig along with the wood (I was going to use dowels to join the face frame). It turned out great and I haven't looked back. What was once the garage is now known as my wood shop.
I quit sailing after 13 years non-stop and had to do something with my spare time so thought I'd try woodworking. So over a couple of years while I messed around building tables, shelves and setting up my shop I also started purchasing all the different floor model tools one needs like tablesaw, sliding miter, drill press and so forth and on. Not to mention the hundreds of other tools, tapes, clamps, gauges, clue's, hand planes,squares etc and everything I thought I'd need to have a well stocked shop. Didn't have a clue what I was going to concentrate on but by george I'd be ready whatever I decided on.
Then a life turning event happened almost 8 years ago and I sold everything I owned figuring I'd never have the heart to build anything else again - until now. So now I am finally wanting to get back into a little woodworking so instead of buying everything again which I can't afford :-) I thought I'd mess around with the Kreg process and see what I could do.
Anyway, that's kinda my story. :-)
I watched an advertisement for the Kreg Jig and used it to start building kitchen cabinets. I was not able to cut a straight line with the new table, circular, or jig saw (all cheap Skill models) until someone showed me how to use them properly. My 1st project was kitchen wall cabinets based on the garage cabinet training video. I used 1"x12"x48" red oak boards from Lowes. I used glue and Kreg'd it all together. It looks like a book shelf on the wall as it waits for a face frame and doors. I then built a kitchen counter because we did not have one. I used 8' 2x4 and 2x6 lumber and it turned out really nice. It is extremely strong, but lacks walls, front face, and doors. The sink is in it and it worked out well. I will be using it for a workbench and building the entire kitchen cabinets\counters next month. I planned the projects for the least amount of wood cutting, but now 6 months later, I have more wood cutting experience. The Kreg Jig is as simple as they say it is, much easier than cutting a straight line with cheap tools and no experience! The new cabinets will be built similarly, but completely finished and I will take photos along the way.
When I was in the 7th and 8th grade I took wood shop classes and I built a couple of things. The first was a water pump lamp and then a small chair table. I had forgotten most of what I learned at that time because I had not done any woodwork since that time. Then I married a man who likes to build things and as I have watched him do this over time I have become more interested in doing it myself. The only problem I have is too much injury to my shoulders, arms and hands with added arthritis to boot. This makes it hard to do much of anything and I came across Ana White's blog and could not believe what I was seeing. Such beautiful furniture that I wanted in my home but knew I couldn't do that myself. I bought my husband the Kreg K4 Master system a few years ago and thought it would be perfect for me as well. He has only used it a couple of times for things because at the time we didn't have a house. I have since found that holding a drill is really too much for me to get all those pocket holes drilled and it made most of the work done by my husband once again.
In comes the Foreman Pocket Hole Machine advertised not long ago and I thought to myself, "hmm, I bet that would be far easier for me than holding a heavy drill and I could also help my husband with the woodworking again". So we bought one and I can't wait to use it when the weather is warmer. I am also looking at getting a roller table to hold the wood so that I am not standing there with heavy plywood, or long 2x4's while my husband cuts some large monstrosity which takes me out because my shoulders can't handle it for very long and it takes weeks to heal.
I explained to my husband the other day that I am a handicapped person without my tools, like someone who needs a wheelchair to get by day to day. I need tools to help me along so that I can function in his world which makes me so happy to be out there with him and gives me pride knowing I helped build it. I need to sit often too which means I must have a comfortable chair to sit in or I won't be walking well.
I am so excited to be able to do so much more now with the new tools we added to our garage.
I am no master carpenter but I very much enjoy simple woodworking projects. I have a router, drill press , mitre saw, palm sander a couple of saw horses and a Kreg JR and a several bar clamps. An individual can actually create quite a bit with just those items. I have recently retired and plan on extending my shop soon.
I built a large kitchen island years ago... that was my first free standing piece...http://www.pinterest.com/chriskauf/just-beachy-aka-my-design-build-... this is my pinterest board with most of the projects I have completed over the past 8 years or so...
Beautiful, great work.