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5 Critical Steps to Planning a Successful Home Remodeling Project

Nothing stirs the imagination like the prospect of a substantial home remodeling project. However, while home remodeling ventures do provide excitement, they can also create anxiety and stress. If you’re planning to invest in a home remodeling project for your house, there are a few steps you can take early in the planning process that will help ensure that your venture is a successful one.

Create an Amateur Blue Print

Prior to a consultation with a designer or architect, you should outline your thoughts and conceive some ideas for your newly remodeled home. If you’re expanding or creating a new room, imagine exactly how the area might be utilized and how the alterations might impact traffic patterns. You should also study how fresh construction might alter the context and layout of your house. A large addition might overpower your home or congest a small-scale lot. An inexpensive home decorating software computer program may help you envision your plans a little easier.

Utilize Online Resources

By analyzing the experiences of other homeowners, you can avoid your own errors and acquire some helpful inspiration. A large amount of Internet sites provide online accounts of home improvement projects. These web sites often provide response forms, discussion forums, and chatrooms that allow you ask for specific advice and get feedback on some of your ideas.

Peek Into the Future

You might be daydreaming about a roomy fresh addition, however, this sort of undertaking might not make a whole lot of sense if you are planning to place your house on the market in a few years. A lavish kitchen or bathroom may price your home beyond the average housing rates in your area. Other projects like vinyl siding could even decrease the overall value of your house. Furthermore, you and your family’s needs might be quite different in a couple of years. You need to make sure your immediate plans will still make sense years into the future.

Set a Realistic Budget

No matter how good you are at planning your home remodeling project, the odds are, it will probably cost a bit more than you can anticipate. Before you fall in love with that expensive ceramic tiling, you need to find out just how much money you can afford to invest. When it comes to remodeling your home, you need to ensure that you have a buffer against unexpected costs. If vital necessities are hacking a chunk out of your savings, try to secure a home improvement loan or explore alternate forms of financing.

Make Sure Everything Is Legal

In most states, a specific permit must be obtained prior to making any structural alterations to your house. A construction permit ensures that the remodeling project adheres to strict local construction codes and safety requirements. Although, most general contractors tend to attend to the usual paperwork, many amateur workers do not. If you are working with small-time professionals, it will probably be up to you to secure the necessary paperwork.

Winner of $250 Gift Certificate

Contest Winner Wetbar

Contest Winner Wetbar

.With 37 votes, Don Zunner is the winner of the $250 gift certificate for his beaded faceframe wetbar entry. Congratulations!!!

His woodwork was featured in the Cabinet Maker’s Supply newsletter viewable here: July Newsletter.

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Must Have Tools for the Workshop

Although his home may be his castle, a man’s workshop is worth his weight in gold- provided he has stocked it properly.  Certain tools should be in every workshop in order to make every task possible without a trip to the store to purchase a specific tool. 

Basic hand tools are essential simply because many repair jobs require them.  Power tools are necessary for projects that are more involved.  Clean up tools are essential to the proper running of the workshop.  Too much mess means less space to work.  Handy lists of the most important tools to have in your workshop are included below.

Ideally, you have a workbench or a workstation of some sort.  At the very least, invest in a couple of simple benches to use for your projects.

Hand Tools


  • Assorted screwdrivers- different sizes
  • Claw hammer
  • Assorted screws and nails
  • Utility knife- several spare blades
  • Wood chisel
  • Tape measure
  • Marking pencils
  • Circuit tester
  • Locking and needle-nose pliers
  • Torpedo level
  • Hand plane
  • Trowel
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire cutter
  • Clamps

Power Tools

  • Electric drill:  An electric drill can create holes in metal, wood, and tile.  Select a model that has both reversible and variable speeds.
  • Drill press:  If you plan on making vertical holes, nothing can beat a drill press.  Purchase either a tabletop model or a floor standing model according to your personal preference.
  • Power miter box:  This tool is handy if you are cutting molding and prefer accuracy.  It is capable of cutting boards that have more width as well as bevels.
  • Circular saw:  Circular saws can shorten the time needed to complete almost any task that involves wood.  This type of saw is handy for creating crosscuts and angled cuts.
  • Angle grinder:  This tool only comes in handy if you are working with metal.  It is great at smoothing and cutting metal, however, if you only work with wood, then you don’t need it.
  • Orbital sander:  An orbital sander can smooth out the roughness of wood with relative ease and in a short time.  This type of saw finishes wood with relative ease.  Moreover, they are less likely to gouge the wood than a belt sander, which is a heavier sander.
  • Belt sander:  Belt sanders are essential if you plan on using extremely rough wood.  It works more quickly than an orbital sander, but it is also more expensive.
  • Contour sander:  The contour sander is a handy tool for smoothing and shaping pieces with relative ease.
  • Table top scroll saw:  A good scroll saw is an excellent tool for cutting curves particularly on smaller pieces.
  • Band saw:  This type of saw is a bit more expensive than a scroll saw, but you don’t need both.  Buy either the scroll saw or the band saw, not both.
  • Jigsaw:  A jigsaw adds a bit of flexibility to your work since it can be handheld.
  • Table saw:  This is one tool that you won’t want to replace frequently.  Therefore, select a good model.  A table saw can do a lot of important work, so you’ll reap the benefits as you use it.
  • Combination miter saw:  This particular type of saw can create cleaner cuts that are more precisely angled.
  • Router:  The router is an excellent tool to have if you are into decorative cuts and edges.  If you can afford it, the addition of a router table makes it even easier to use.


Clean Up Tools

  • Shop vacuum:  A clean workshop is simply nicer and safer to work in.  Additionally, it can motivate you to replace your tools in their proper location so that you can find them.
  • Rags:  Keep these easily accessible and well stocked. 


Proper Care of Your Tools

Once you have your workshop properly equipped, take the time to maintain it.  Properly maintained tools will perform better and make your job easier.

Clean your tools after each use.  Never allow the tools to sit with moisture on them as this can damage the functionality of the tool.  Sharpen the blades on a periodic basis, infrequently if the tools are rarely used, and more frequently if they are used quite a bit.  Properly lubricate any tools that necessitate it.

Woodworking for Kids

A child woodworking

Even if you know little or nothing about woodworking, introducing your child to this craft can be a great way to help your child acquire new skills and develop new ways of thinking about the objects around them. Children who are introduced to woodworking can practice their motor skills, enhance their own creativity and sense of self-esteem, and express themselves in a medium that sophisticated, tactile, and three-dimensional. In addition, woodworking is almost mess-free and can be done in an outdoors environment.

Woodworking might seem like play to children who love pounding nails into wood. However, this simple task not only prepares a child for an important life skill, but can also lead to creation. A piece of wood and a nail will logically follow with two pieces of wood held together by nails, which will, in turn, lead to simple constructions forming boxes and other shapes. With a little help from a supervising adult, the child can realize a huge sense of accomplishment as their new-found skills and goal-setting lead to the creation of recognizable, usable objects – like hooks, shelves, or even a fort.

Other children might like the more delicate – and often more laborious – practice of sanding. While children should not be given carving tools, sanding down cubical or cylindrical pieces of wood can allow imaginative forms and shapes to emerge. Children who are exposed to this type of three-dimensional artwork can develop their appreciation for sculpture and begin to understand how objects inhabit spaces. A sanded form may be faceless until the child is given paint, markers, or glue, but even if the wooden figure is unrecognizable to the adult supervisor, the child may have just created what they see as a doll, action figure, toy, or likeness of the family pet.

Woodworking requires minimal materials and equipment, but children who practice woodworking can develop both creative and practical skills for life. With supervision, support, assistance, and encouragement from an adult, children can become sophisticated artists with this sculptural medium.

One More Saw – For Beginners

My father loved to tinker around the house and he could be found spending hours at his work-bench in the garage.  He never found a tool he didn’t like, and while my mother never quite understood why he just had to have one more saw,  she’d smile indulgently at him as if he were a small child each time he brought home a new ‘toy’ to play with.  One can never have too many saws he’d say…and as a beginning woodworker he advised me to collect the following basics… his number one choice was a circular saw to trim down plywood and perform basic cuts on 2" x 4"s.  A jig saw for cutting curves and outlines was his next suggestion followed by a table saw.  While there are many compact and inexpensive table saws available, my father couldn’t stress enough the importance of a strong, powerful motor. Look for one with a fence of decent length that will lock down tight without movement and expect to pay no less than $300-$400 he advised.  My next purchase was a band saw for cutting shapes, curves and for re-sawing lumber  and to round out the basic saw inventory his suggestion was a compound miter saw. This saw is a lot easier to use for making compound cuts than using a table saw for the job.  Ahh… the sweet smell of fresh sawdust!


Over the garden fence…Welcome to blog of CMS a great place to find out about new products, fun projects and place where you can share, trade ideas and get lots of inspiration.  Now we don’t want this to be a one-sided conversation, so please join us, post a response, tell us what you are working on, share news and ideas, show-off your latest project or throw out a challenge or two on problem project – woodworkers are a friendly and helpful lot, and like a neighborly chat over a garden fence you never know what will come up and what news you’ll hear. So, put down that planer or saw and grab your mouse – other woodworking and DIY enthusiasts are waiting to share and to hear from you, the garden fence has been replaced by the Internet fence and your monitor is the gate!