Need help getting started woodworking?

I’ve been a member of Marc’s guild now for many years and it’s his instruction that really got me going in woodworking.  I tried, originally, to take a woodworking class at the local high school shop and just couldn’t find enough help to get me over the hump and going.  Perhaps you can relate?

I don’t get any benefits from saying all of this, its just my honest experience.  And other than that, I like to think of Marc as a friend.

 If you’re just starting out, I double dog dare you to go to his free site and see if you learn anything.  I literally spend a good part of a 10 day vacation just trying to get through all the free stuff.  

After that, maybe you’ll feel OK about investing in a project on his Guild site .. which you can purchase individually .. or not.


Check out The Wood Whisperer Guild

10 thoughts on “Need help getting started woodworking?”

  1. MarC has the ability to explain things better than a lot of supper good woodwork people! I thing may be he has a lot of scientific approach to wood I guess. !

  2. True ‘dat. I’ve been following Marc since 2006. He’s down to earth and relatable. I point everyone to his site when they want to get started in woodworking.

  3. I have been watching the free videos for about two years now, but I have not tried the guild membership because I always find the tool list intimidating. I have invested in some quality tools and I spend quite a bit of time in the shop trying to figure things out, but I am really stumbling. I find that even with the tool purchases that I have made, even the small projects at the Wood Whisperer Guild call for another substantial investment so I end up getting cold feet.

    I tried to contact Marc through YouTube to find out how much of an issue this is and see if I could get through a session with what I have, but because of depth perception issues I cannot get past the CAPTHA(sp?) system he uses (even after at least 30 tries in one of my sessions of trying).

    I don’t mean this comment to be a criticism, I am just stumped and frustrated. I do drive the four hour round trip to the closest Woodcraft class when I can get away to try and get some guidance, but it is minimal. Although, I must say that Woodcraft has also made the trip to my shop to help and that has made me pretty loyal to their store. I am going to be spending a good part of today in my shop, again trying to figure out how to use some of the tools and hopefully things will start to come together. I have to get past buying more tools and get to the point that I can start doing things with what I have, and then I can consider what I might need.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I think Marc (from what I see on the free videos) is doing a great job and I am slowly learning. Part of the issue is that we live in a very rural area and I am working in a vacuum with no latent knowledge to fall back on, so I am very slow. And I must say that even after two years of struggling I have not lost any of the passion. Wood working has intrigued me since I was a small child and I dreamed of getting my first plane.

    Also, I would like to thank you Marilyn for this wonderful blog, I enjoy it thoroughly and get a lot of inspiration here.

    Dayton WA

    1. Hello Catherine,
      One key to beginning and enjoyment is to find projects that you can create with your current tool set (or with minimal new purchases). Marc’s free site does have some projects which keep the tool list minimal.
      Popular Woodworking magazine regularly runs a “I Can Do That” series which uses limited tools, yet are excellent for building experience and confidence.
      In the Guild Marc is pretty good at suggesting alternative approaches to a build. But that may be difficult to take advantage of until you get some projects under your belt.
      Wishing you success in this challenging, yet so very rewarding passion.

    2. Hey Catherine. Sorry you’ve been having trouble getting in touch with us. We don’t check messages on YouTube all that often since, unfortunately, many folks there are downright mean and life is too short to be belittled by strangers. 🙂 But unfortunately, that means we miss some important legitimate questions from folks like yourself. Reading your comments above, here’s my advice: don’t worry about the Guild. No need to plunk down the cash for something you’re not really sure about. We have over 200 videos and countless articles on the TWW website that you can refer to and learn from as you build confidence in your tool collection. The key is to watch the content and identify operations that require tools you don’t have. Then let your fingers to the walking and start doing searches about alternative ways to perform those tasks, hopefully employing tools you do have. I try to remind folks that even when I publish a tool list, it is NEVER a “required” tool list. It’s just the list of tools I used. I do my best to suggest alternatives since there’s always multiple ways to do something in the shop. The more projects you see go together, the better understanding you’ll have of your options in the shop. Certain tools may not appeal to you and some may be outside of your budget. But understanding what each tools does and how other tools accomplish the same thing will certainly help you with your tool and project choices in the future. And with so much free content out there today, there’s no shortage of places you can go for inspiration, ideas, and information and it won’t cost you a dime.

      Only after you have a good understanding of the basics would I recommend looking into something like the Guild or any other paid service.

      Marilyn, if you want to share my email address with Catherine, please feel free. That way she can bypass the contact forms.

  4. I really want to thank everybody for their response, especially as this is Easter and I know many are busy with family. Thank you Marc for answering. I am very excited about moving forward and I do actually have a very good arsenal of tools, but I am missing the expertise to use them, even (often) at a very basic level.

    My projects have been very limited. I built a table to hold my bench planer, it’s not much, but it was fun to do something. I also have been building rolling boxes out of dimensional lumber for my husband to use as storage under his work bench. Two boxes are done and the second one is better than the first and I have two more to go. They were supposed to all match, but I keep figuring out new things.

    I also purchased some maple to make a shaker table, but all the directions have me a little stumped. Much of that is confidence as I keep finding out how my tools can be dangerous so I go through a freeze of a lot of planning and not much doing.

    Most of my time is spent trying to learn how to sharpen tools, and how to make them work, the real basics. Some tools I do have, but don’t count in my list because I have not figured out how to use them. I have watched a lot of videos on making cross-cut sleds, etc., but have not actually done anything yet.

    Marc, I know you are very busy and I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I think you earn your pay and I don’t mind paying for a class, but I am intimidated by the process and when I look at the tool list, I suffer from a combination of not having a tool to I have the tool but don’t know how to use it. If you find the time I will let you know what I have available and I will be glad to try a class if I can get enough guidance to learn something. My project doesn’t have to come out perfect, I just want to learn so I can start putting the pieces together.

    Thank you everybody, Catherine

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