The purpose of this class will be to discuss various materials and how to obtain them. We will be meeting at the Home Depot at 4635 Presidential Parkway in Macon. Understanding what is abailable to you, and where to find these items is critical to being able to design, plan and complete a project.

So, we will be looking at the types of things that are available to the everyday woodworker. The first items to review will be tools. Here is my list of the top ten tools for the hobbyist/woodworker.


            Note: I am a Dewalt guy (yellow tools). There probably a dozen choices of manufacturers, including Milwaukee (Red), Skil (also red), Rigid (orange), Black and Decker (also orange), Ryobi (bright green), Kobalt (Royal Blue), Stanley (also yellow), etc. There has been a lot of consolidation in the tool industry – for instance, Stanley owns Black and Decker, Dewalt, Craftsman, Lenox (blades), Irwin (bits and clamps) and Porter Cable (red), among others.

Nonetheless, here is my list of the first 10 tools you should try to have around your shop. Also – I recommend battery operated and corded tools, depending on the application. If you are buying battery-operated tools, NEVER buy anything that says 12V. You need at least a 20V tool to make it powerful enough to be practical.

  1. Dewalt Impact Driver – I prefer this to a power screwdriver for a number of reasons. It feels like it has more torque, it is much easier to remove the drills or bits from the driver and it is smaller than a screwdriver. Negatives? You need to buy drill bits that have a hex end on them, which are a little more expensive than normal drill bits. Actually, I have both the impact driver and the screwdriver, but if I could only buy one, this would be it.
  2. Skil Power hand saw – this is a holdover – my first 5 saws happened to be Skil saws that I bought at various garage sales. I bought one literally for $2.00 over 10 years ago – I still have it and for nasty cuts where I might damage the saw – that is still my go to saw. And for the record, I can cut anything with this saw – plywood, 2x4’s, etc. With the right clamps and straight edges, I can get nearly perfectly straight lines every time.
  3. Dewalt orbital sanders – these come with 5”, 8 hole disks for sanding the actual material. The sandpaper comes in grit all the way from 40 (extremely rough) to 400 (extremely smooth). I generally use 80, 120, 220 and 320, depending on the finish I am trying to achieve. I have recently moved into using 400 to bet an even smoother finish on my newer painted furniture/sculptural pieces.
  4. Japanese saw – This has an extremely thin saw blade that cuts when you pull it, not when you push it – like traditional American saws. It is ideal for flush-cutting inlays or dowels, or for trimming a small amount form an existing cut. I strongly recommend one that has a sharp blade on only one side of the saw. Two-sided Japanese saws are incredibly dangerous, in my view.
  5. Chisels – critical for trimming edges, or getting things to fit, etc. I would recommend a 4 chisel set from Stanley. It typically has widths of ¼, ½, ¾ and 1 inch. These can be struck with a hammer or pushed by hand.
  6. Dewalt Biscuit Joiner - or Kreig pocket hole device. I prefer the biscuit joiner, but many people find the Kreig system faster and easier.
  7. Set of Dewalt Clamps – I don’t seem to have the hand strength to use twist clamps any more – so I have switched to Dewalt trigger clamps. Wait for black Friday sales and buy them 4 at a time for around $30 – that’s like $8 each – a great deal. I recommend a couple bigger ones, like 24” at least for larger glueups, but most could be 12 clamps. Also, I suggest a couple of heavier duty ones when you really need to apply pressure.
  8. Other tools:
    1. Hammers,
    2. set of screwdrivers,
    3. 6” steel rulers,
    4. Stanley 16’ tape measure,
    5. Stanley “99” box cutters,
    6. markers of some sort (pencils, Sharpies, colored pencils?)
    7. Countersinks – used to predrill holes for screws and to provide an opening so the head of the screw will sink below the surface


           For fine board lumber – you need to find a dealer or a friend with a portable sawmill that can help you take down locally sourced trees and turn them into usable lumber. But for most of us, Home Depot covers many of our needs.

One important thing to remember about Home Depot is that they are generally good at using their panel saw to cut down plywood, or their crosscut saw in the back to cut boards to length. Just make sure when you ask them to make cuts you know how big you need them.


           Glue, screws, staples, nails, etc. Lots of options:

  • Glue - Titebond 3 wood glue. Available in the paint section. It is more expensive than type 1 or 2, but takes longer to set up, is exterior rated and is stronger (I think).
  • Screws – start with small quantities of a couple of lengths of drywall screws – (1 5/8” and 3”. But familiarize yourself with the different types and where to find them.
  • Staples – Type 50 Stanley compatible staples. They come in several lengths depending on what you are fastening. 3/8” is a common length to have around.
  • Nails – too many to even consider, but if you need to have some around, get some 4D finish nails (picture hanging, etc.) and maybe some 10d finish and common nails. Finish nails have a small, incented head. You can use a nailset to pound them beneath the surface of the wood if you’d like to hide them. Common nails haver a larger, flat head, and are typically used when you don’t care if you can see them or not when you are done with the piece.