I'm no craftsman. I had trouble building a bookshelf in wood shop. After committing such gaffs as trying to sand the shelves against the grain, several coats of paint were required to save my project. Fortunately, you needn't endure such embarrassments. Before you try and set your first dowel, you can learn about everything from sanding to chainsaws at several encyclopedic woodworking sites on the World Wide Web. Just don't forget your safety goggles.
Woodworking now defunct, instead try WoodNet.net
Woodworking is an online ‘zine presented by hobbymall. The site boasts thousands of suppliers listed in their Better Woodworking Guide & Directory. It is one of the most extensive listings of woodworking resources currently on the Internet. You easily list your own company on the site too. There are over 70 supply categories from which to select. But there's more. Woodworking also features shop projects for the do-it-yourselfer and is currently featuring a Shaker-inspired doll cradle. If you're really handy with the sander and stains, check out the money making tips section and turn that elbow grease into cash. In the instruction section, Ben Hobbs, an expert in architectural restoration, has contributed techniques and advice on refurbishing that special piece. And every hobby has its history so here you'll find historic moments in woodworking history carved into a time line. (If you think you're a real craftsman yourself, you can submit your own event and become part of history.) Finally, when the shop talk gets boring, check out the woodworking jokes or other craftsmen's tall tales. There's also plenty of product information, tools for sale, clubs to join, and even a bookstore.
The Woodworking Catalog
Rich with wood grain graphics is the Woodworking Catalog. To start, you can drill through back issues of The Woodworking Times. Topics include how to make your own stain, the ABCs of veneer, and how to built a solid four poster bed. The forum contains many woodworking questions and answers from Web surfers all across the United States. For example, Alex Solomon from the Bronx, New York, is looking for a hinge used for bifold doors. And there's a business exchange and a place to buy and sell wares. They also suggest that you check out the rec.woodworking newsgroup where skilled woodworkers exchange their opinions and tips daily. In addition, the site offers a forum where you can advertise at no charge. And for those who still can't tear themselves away from the desk, Woodworking Catalog can hook you up with woodworking software, such as a shareware program on raised panel doors and a downloadable DOS program called Woodpro that's a lumber database. Lastly, there's a plethora of resources listed by category such as power tools, chain saws, and big machinery as well as links to other wood and tool related sites.
With its animated plane gliding across the screen, the Woodlink webstation was created for the Victorian Woodworkers Association of Australia. The primary goals of the Association are to bring woodcraft to a broader spectrum of society, provide a venue where other woodworkers can communicate, and to help professionals with the marketing aspects of their trade. One additional group the Society strives to reach is young woodworkers. Recently added is the kids and woodworking section that has activities for children ages 5 to 15. You can also order tools for small hands and teach kids the importance of safety in the shop. There are also plenty of health and safety tips, like the dangers of wood dust. The timbers and forests section contains information on rare Australian timbers from the desert and forest. And even if you aren't in the market for furniture, you may find it enjoyable to browse through the numerous craftsmen and their specialties where you can order custom made furniture, clocks, dining room sets, and more. You can say you bought your furniture from down under.
W5 now appears defunct; instead try Woodweb
W5 stands for Woodworking on the World Wide Web and is the product of the exhaustive efforts of one Robert Brown. With its sprawling yet intuitive layout, W5 is a great resource for helping you find the right woodworking tools on the Web, as well as in your community. Brown has had the foresight to place the commercial sites in a separate section, a nice touch. If the site looks a little on the bare side it is because he has removed many of the GIF images that used to slow things down. Also, catalogued with a brief synopsis, is the longest list of CAD software and shareware titles pertaining to woodworking I have yet to find. For example, you can check out 3D furniture renderings at the CAD Visualizing 3D Model Rendering Homepage. And while you're at it, you can even download a complete R13 AutoCad-model of a lovely glazed cabinet. Brown has even written an extensive how-to article to help you get started with your digital wood shop projects. The links section has been recently updated, and I found several interesting sites, such as the Swartzendruber Hardwood Creations with its Prairie style furniture a la Frank Lloyd Wright. Overall, W5 is a wide-ranging site where you'll find every joint expertly finished.