As any Toolmonger knows, opinions are like, um, cheap screwdrivers: every “old tool guy” has a drawer full. And while the advice of “old tool guys” can save your ass, sometimes it’s just based on the tool-guy equivalent of old wives’ tales. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that I received an earful from the peanut gallery when I told them about my recent 8′ x 3′ bookcase project — and how I made the 8′ cuts with a Skilsaw instead of a table saw. Based on all the guffawing and laughter, you’d think I told them I was trying to hammer nails with a pencil.
Why is it that so many people believe that you can’t build furniture without a $20,000 wood shop? Incredibly, folks have been building furniture since long before electricity was available to drive power tools.
Yes, a table saw is better for sustained long cuts. But I didn’t have one on hand when I decided to crank out the bookcase, so I managed with a straight-edge clamped to the wood and a circ saw. After a bit of set up and tweaking, it worked just fine without a single hitch.
And now I have a nice, inexpensive oak bookcase. The naysayers have, well, whatever they have.
The lesson: you have to decide what’s best for you yourself. Never let anyone tell you what you can accomplish. Often you’ll find that the very same people raining on your parade haven’t done it themselves. Or that they’re rehashing advice they got from someone else. Or they’re just scared to try the project.
Don’t let naysayers — or a lack of expensive tools — stop you from trying and learning. Give it a go! That’s really the best way to learn anyway.