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4 Tools Essential for Getting Into Woodworking

4 Tools Essential for Getting Into Woodworking

Woodworking isn’t just for those looking to make a living out of it. Many people love woodworking as a hobby, while some actually get into woodworking to be able to make their furniture. As a matter of fact, you can even consider making a side income as a woodworker if you get good at it.

And the best part is that it’s a lot of fun. That being said, if you’re a novice looking to get into woodworking, you need to get familiar with some essential woodworking tools.

We will be guiding you through four of the most important woodworking tools, as well as assist you with buying the right products.

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1. Circular Saw

Contrary to what some believe, a circular saw is not just a carpentry tool.[1] In fact, it’s probably the most versatile hand-held tool for woodworking. It’s also surprisingly portable, which makes it stand out from the other heavier, bulkier tools. A circular saw is basically an electric saw that comes with a disk or blade that turns in a rotary motion to cut different types of materials, such as wood and metal.

As a beginner woodworker, you might find yourself spending quite a bit of time with this tool. So make sure you go with the best one your budget allows. The bigger ones with a greater range of saw adjustments and a good balance of safety and advance features might turn out to be your best bet.

2. Power Drill

A power drill is one of the most versatile woodworking tools out there.[2] It comes with a replaceable drill that you can use to drill holes into wood, metal, and plastic. It can also be used as a much more efficient alternative to a screwdriver by replacing the drill with the tip of a screwdriver.

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A power drill usually consists of an on/off switch, a long handle, a safety latch, another switch that allows you to reverse the rotation direction of the drill, a chuck to hold the drill in place, as well as a torque adjustment. There are two types of power drills: cordless and corded.[3]

Most beginners would want to go for the latter (corded) as it comes with more power. The former (cordless) offers more mobility, but unless you’re looking to get into professional woodworking, it’s not going to help you much.

3. Table Saw

Once you get familiar with some of the basic woodworking tasks, you will want to include the most important woodworking tool in your arsenal: a table saw.[4] It’s the heart and soul of a woodworking shop and something that will help beginners get to the next level of woodworking. As the name suggests, a table saw is a woodworking tool with a big circular saw blade. It’s installed in a table that provides support to the wood being cut.

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A table saw isn’t going to be an easy purchase, and if you’re a beginner, you will likely be overwhelmed by the range of options you will find on the market. Hence, you will want to do some serious research before even considering any products. You can check out some expert table saw reviews, compare the best products on the market, as well as go through the customer reviews to find a few products that would be most likely to best fit your needs.[5]

4. Nail Hammer

As a woodworker, putting pieces together is going to be an important part of your job. And while glue might seem like a more convenient option, it would probably not work for most projects. This is where a nail hammer comes in. You can even go with other types of hammers, but a nail hammer usually turns out to be ideal while working with most types of nails, especially the 16d ones.

When you’re out in the market looking for a nail hammer, you would find many different ones with varying sizes and weights. As a beginner, however, you should stick to a 12-oz nail hammer.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] How Stuff Works: Circular Saw
[2] How Stuff Works: Power Drill
[3] Lowe’s: Power Drill Buying Guide
[4] About: Table Saws – the Workhorses of the Wood Shop
[5] Table Saw Guru: Table Saw Reviews 2017 – Compare the Very Best Table Saws

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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