Let me give you a short history on how I got here – I discovered woodworking about 6 years ago while looking for a fun table and chair set for my daughter. That led to an Ikea hack which was followed by a stream similar hacks for friends and family. Then someone wanted a table in a different size and I discovered Ana White! My very first build was a Clara table and the rest as they say is history! I have since designed and built many little table and chairs for sale and hence the company “Little Free Monkeys” was born! That’s what this site was called for a while so you may see that in some of the older posts. I have been an ardent follower of the Shanty Sisters and Jen Woodhouse for almost 5 years! You can find a check out a few of my woodworking builds I have shared on the blog.
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Now lets get started with my favorite woodworking tools and tricks –
ONE – Baby wipes
Yes! You read that right! I use them for everything – to wipe off extra wood glue, clean up paint drips and even wipe down my tools! It is awesome to have a moistened towel at hand whenever you need them. I use these wipes from Costco since thats what we used on our babies for the purpose they are originally intended and I love their pop up lid. And bonus, if you ever forget to close the lid and they dry out, they make excellent lint free cloths and I have used them for staining projects and wipe down sanding dust too!
TWO – Kreg Jig Pocket hole joinery
The Kreg Jig is the coolest most awesome woodworking tool ever! Its the very first woodworking tool I ever bought and built that Clara table. I didn’t even own a miter saw at that time. I had Home Depot cut up the lumber to size for me. I have never looked back! It is amazing how easy it is use and makes so many things possible while building furniture. It is so addicting! I practically use it anywhere possible, even small projects – like this desk phone holder and ruler pencil holder. I own the K4. I love the fact that you can take out the spacer and also use separately on lumber that is too big to fit in the clamp.
Two things that go hand in hand with the Kreg jig are the face clamp and the right angle clamp. They are like having an extra pair of hand!
THREE – Corner Sander
I own a regular orbital sander too but the corner sander is just awesome with that little nose and getting into tight spaces! I love to use it on small projects too. Imagine sanding these tight spaces – the corner sander was such a help! It is also the perfect sander for distressing.
FOUR – Caulking
Caulking makes me and everything look perfect!! I first learned about it from the Shanty Sisters. It is the most important part of the process, if you are going to be painting the piece. I use this acrylic latex caulk from DAP. I love that it is Fast Dry and I can paint within 30 minutes! See it in action for yourself- all those gaps between the boards of my Lattice bedside table…
I simply applied the caulk with my finger and wiped away the excess with my favorite baby wipe! This is what it looks like after caulking and painting!
I could never show off my furniture on the web if it were not for caulking 😉
FIVE – Miter Saw
I didn’t own a Miter saw until about 2 major projects in. One of them was building the workbench to hold the miter saw. The saw was my first “tool gift”. My husband wouldn’t let me get the saw unless I had a work bench, so I built one just before my birthday ;). The model of my saw has been discontinued, but this miter saw is pretty much the same. A sliding compound miter saw would be even better! Someday soon, when I outgrow this saw, I will get one!
Before the saw came, I used to get the lumber cut at the store. They are not always super accurate and when you start doing a ton of builds, you need to have more control on the cuts. I have this very basic miter saw but I love being able to whip up projects as needed. Also, you need the saw if you are cutting angles. You could always get a cheap miter box, but if you are doing a lot of cuts, you definitely need a power tool! I can also cut up scraps when I need to create simple projects like this phone holder and desk organizer.
BONUS – Homeright Finish Max Paint Sprayer
This has nothing to do with building furniture but I love it so much! If you have read my previous furniture painting posts you probably know I am in love with it! I mostly end up painting my furniture and having this Homeright Finish Max paint sprayer is a dream! It makes priming and painting such a breeze and the finish is to die for. I don’t have to worry about brush strokes or paint drips! To give you an idea of how awesome it is – I painted 1 coat on this entire patio set within 1 hour including set up and clean up of the paint sprayer. I can’t even begin to imagine how long it would have taken me to paint it by hand with a paint brush.
There you have it! These are my top 5 (+1) Favorite tools and/or tricks that help make my life easier while I build my furniture. Of course, there are other things basic tools like a drill/driver, tape measure etc, that are needed but I wanted to cover the major tools…
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