Today we’re talking to woodworker Dominic, AKA mancld, who frequents the popular Reddit woodworking community r/woodworking.
He recently returned to woodworking after taking a 10-year break from the craft, but his years of experience beforehand gave him the knowledge he needed to get the right tools and hop back in right away.
Check out the full interview below!
What do you make? What do you consider your favorite work?
I just started back up again but I am aiming at making smaller, more practical items – particularly for the kitchen. Examples are cutting boards, trivets, spoon rests, and utensil holders.
My favorite work is the wood puzzle I made for my wedding ceremony that I turned into an end table.
How long have you been doing your craft? Who taught you or where did you learn?
My dad was a carpenter and home builder prior to finding work in the paper mill. I learned primarily from him so I have been doing some level of woodworking for 30 years.
I took about 10 years off due to lack of time, space, and funds among other reasons.
Tell us about your tiny workshop
I have a 2’ by 5’ (ed. 60cm by 150cm) approximate work bench in the basement that I can use for glue-ups and assembly – anything that does not create sawdust or smells.
My primary workspace is a Dewalt DW7350 Mobile Thickness Planer Stand that I roll out onto the back patio. I will then transfer whichever piece of equipment I need to use onto it.
I also have a couple of folding sawhorses for staining and finishing. I have been using them for a few months now.
What tools are most important to your work?
- Random Orbital Sander: If you are going to have one sander this is the one to have. I have the Craftsman CMEW231. Get a corded one, but it doesn’t have to be top of the line.
- Table Saw: I have a DeWalt DW745 Compact Job Site Saw. If you make a crosscut sled and a miter sled you probably don’t need a miter saw.
- Router and Router Table: I have the DeWalt DW618. The time savings and consistency on edge round-overs is something I greatly underappreciated before I bought it.
- Jigs for anything you will need to do repeatedly: If you can’t/don’t want to buy it, make it.
Above is my cross-cut sled and my router planing sled. I added measuring tapes to the design which is something I hadn’t seen before.
Any advice for beginners to your craft?
If you see clamps on sale, buy them. You will always need more.
Spend on the correct quality tools. Think about what you plan on doing and what tools are most important to that, then spend extra money to have those tools be better quality.
For me, I would not want to have an off-brand table saw but my drill press and bench sander are cheaper models and they serve their purpose perfectly.
No one tells you how much time you’ll spend sanding, but it will be a lot. Don’t skimp on this step or you will be unhappy with the finish.
Any shoutouts to fellow creators? Who inspires you?
I watched a lot of Steve Ramsey’s videos to help shed the rust. My dad still inspires me.
Other than that I just check out popular mass produced items and try to make them better.
Check out more of Dominic’s work as well as other project ideas, tips, and inspiration on the r/woodworking subreddit!
More woodworking Tiny Workshops interviews
Henry Neville infuses narrative into his detailed wood carvings to give them a mysterious, other-worldly feel.
Dominic’s years of experience helped him make the right tool choices for his return to woodworking.
Stephen’s small 8 ft by 6 ft workshop doesn’t restrict his woodworking thanks to some ingenious organizational strategies and careful planning.