In this episode, Cara sits down with Sam of DIY Huntress to chat all things woodworking. Sam shares how she got started woodworking to create custom pieces to fit her small apartment.
She shares some tips for the beginner woodworker including tool essentials and strategies for planning out a project. We also chat small spaces and some ways to make DIY happen if you don’t have a huge dedicated garage space.
what i’m loving this week
super cute hanging pendant light.
This is another amazon find — are we surprised!? ?
I snagged this because it was super unique and I fell in love with the chunky beads — they’re kind of coordinating with the mid mod spindle table I was loving a couple weeks ago.
You can totally change the vibe of the light by swapping out different vintage style light bulbs. I went with an oversized round bulb for a simple overstated look.
This pendant light is under $30! It’s also available with diamond beads and goes in and out of stock pretty frequently so I’d check back if you click over and it’s out of stock.
stuff we just need to talk about
did you know i have a free downloads library??
I was chatting with a follower and realized that not all of you know about this. I have an entire library filled with DIY templates, DIY Guides, and home and interior design guides that I’ve made for you guys!
Hop over here to browse and pick your favorite ones. Then just click the link and enter your email to download! Check out the clip below for a little peaky at what it looks like.
You can browse at neverskipbrunch.com/downloads
let’s talk about it!
What do you think!?
Sam is a full time psychologist and dedicated weekend warrior from Long Island who spends all of her free time creating fun things in her workshop and sharing them with others. Sam started her woodworking and content creation journey in graduate school and since then has embraced her side hustle and turned it into a full blown business. Sam’s goal is to make woodworking, home improvement, and DIY approachable for all levels of doers. Especially those who spend their weekends creating, like she does!
get in touch
podcast hotline: 720.319.7438 — Leave a voicemail!
Email Us — Podcast@neverskipbrunch.com
EP 37 TRANSCRIPT
…just in case you wanna read
Cara Newhart (00:00):
You are listening to the MakeSpace podcast, episode number 37
Welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces you truly feel at home. In Cara, new heart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pin worthy rooms. To tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design, tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like PEOPLE style watch and Denver style magazine as an influencer, Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon, H & M, Twitter, and Thrillist. Here’s your host, Cara Newhart.
Cara Newhart (01:20):
This episode is brought to you by our amazing sponsor, crazy glue. I’ll tell you more about it later in the episode, but if you want to check it out, hop over to bit. Dot Lee slash crazy glue, wood glue. So today I’m sitting down with my friend Sam from DIY Huntress. She is an amazingly talented maker and woodworker. She has over a hundred thousand people following along with her projects on Instagram and even more across YouTube and her blog. She’s a psychologist by day and a weekend DIY wire. And I really love this conversation because not only do we dive into woodworking and hear all her tips from her vast experience, but we also talk about balancing DIY with a full time job, like making the time to do it and then also making space for your creative hobby if you don’t have a lot of space in your home, which I think is a really, really important thing to discuss.
Cara Newhart (02:15):
Like if you really want to be able to DIY and be able to make things, but you’re living in a small space, whether that’s an apartment or just a small house or even just somewhere where you don’t have a dedicated space for like tools or supplies, it’s still possible. You might just need a creative solution like Sam has. And we also get really into designing projects for small spaces like how to design things that you’re making that are multi-use and really customized to your space. So those are just some of the fun topics that we touch on. I cannot wait to dive into this episode because Sam is seriously amazing.
Cara Newhart (03:03):
okay. So what I am obsessed with this week is this lamp that I found on Amazon. It is like a hanging lamp, so basically like a light bulb and a cord, but it has these like giant wooden beads on it that give it really good texture. And I really like it because basically you could change the style of the lamp based on what light bulb you use. So they have it pictured with one of those like triangular ish vintage bulbs. But I put a really, really big vintage bulb in it and I love the way it looks. I have it in my office. Um, it comes with hardware and it’s only like 20 bucks. So really, really good steel, but it’s good for like you could hang it off of a wall or you could get like a Korbel, like one of those triangular pieces of wood if you don’t know what a CorVel is and kind of have it sticking out a little bit or hang it coming up down from the ceiling, which is kind of what I did at hangs down from my ceiling in my office and it’s just really pretty.
Cara Newhart (03:57):
It’s really cute. It’s really good texture and it was like under 30 bucks, so I just have to share it with you because whenever there’s like a really solid home decor find on Amazon, it kind of surprises me. Like I shouldn’t be surprised because they have amazing things but, but sometimes they have like really interesting or really unique pieces for cheap and it always catches me off guard. So just decided to share that Superfund vine with you.
WAIT, WHAT? (04:28):
Cara Newhart (04:32):
So this week’s, wait, what has a little bit of a backstory? So I was dealing with the follower and she was asking where she could get the template for that Monstera leaf rug. Where you cut your doormat into a leaf shape and spray paint it and it makes it super cute. And I was like, well you can download it on the downloads page. And she was like, what is the downloads page? And I realized I’ve never really like shared this on the podcast and I’m really bad at sharing this across social media. Um, so if she didn’t know about it, chances are you guys probably don’t know that I have an entire page filled with free downloads, like templates that you can print at home and use and guides for DIY projects. It’s broken into categories for like DIY guides, DIY templates, and then there’s like home and design guides and then a couple of hosting guides, like a perfect tablescape checklist.
Cara Newhart (05:21):
So this is fun because it’s like shopping, but for free you get to like browse the guides and just enter your email for the ones that you want. So if your online shopping has got out of hand and you need some free fun things or you’re just looking for project ideas and templates and stuff where you’re not starting from scratch, this is an amazing resource you can go to. Never skipped brunch.com/downloads and download away. Let me know what you think of them. If you try any of these projects in, be sure to let me know if there’s a guide you want, like if there’s something you wish was out there and you haven’t found anywhere else or something that would just nice to have, like a little PDF or a little checklist or something you could print at home. Cause I would love to make it for you guys.
Cara Newhart (06:02):
Um, I love helping you out like that. So downloads page for the win. Thank you guys so much for tuning in this week. I hope you really enjoy this conversation with Sam. She’s such an amazing maker, so talented and such an amazing human. Just literally has that heart to help people and help teach people. Um, so she’s obviously a great follow on Instagram, a great person to um, help inspire you on your DIY journey. And if you’re not really in the DIY power tool space, she’s also getting a lot more into like home decor. So a lot of the projects like watching how she styles them, um, might just be great inspo there. Even if you don’t want to make things or if you want to like find something similar on Etsy that you can just purchase. So either way, check her out, give her a follow and let her know, like if you have questions from this episode about something she said or a specific part of the episode, like really inspired and spoke to you, like shooter idea him and be like, Hey, I heard you on MakeSpace podcast and you said this and I just like have this question.
Cara Newhart (06:59):
She’s really amazing when it comes to being receptive to that kind of stuff. So
Sam Raimondi (07:08):
Cara Newhart (07:09):
Hello. Oh my gosh. I’m so excited to have you on today. Thanks for coming.
Sam Raimondi (07:14):
Hi, I’m so excited.
Cara Newhart (07:16):
Okay. So I just want to start out, first of all, giving everyone a little context. So just for the listeners out there, um, Sam was one of the first ever DIY accounts I followed on Instagram like way before I even owned a power tool. And it was funny cause I followed you with no intention of actually making any of the things you were making, but I was just like really invested in your projects and excited about how you made it look easy and you made it look like something I could do. Um, but all that to say fast forward to February, I got to meet you in real life and um, now I’m just super pumped to sit down and finally chat all things would working and making with you today. Um, so let’s just dive into like how you first got started with woodworking.
Sam Raimondi (08:02):
Okay. Well first of all I’m going to start with, I’m so honored and excited that you’ve been following me for that long, so thank you. I had like really no full clue or full picture of how long you’ve been part of my journey. So thank you so much. But, um, but yeah, so I, when I was a teenager, uh, I hated every job that my parents made me get. Um, so, uh, at some point my, my dad was like, well, you know, you are going to have to get a job doing something. So he brought me to his job sites and he taught me how to do little things like painting and trim work and tiling. And I was just like hooked like so hooked on helping him build and I just craved going to job sites with him and um, he showed me how to flip houses and do a state lead outs and like all these really cool things.
Sam Raimondi (08:49):
And now fast forward like I guess I was comfortable enough with basic power tools that now I’ve been, you know, learning new and improved tools and more, we’re working techniques and now I get to teach him, which is even cooler. Yeah. That’s so cool. And that’s really funny cause like my dad was a contractor growing up, like built houses. So my like high school job against my will really wants to like install like electrical outlets and crawl around in hot attics and like, I knew how to wield a drill, but that’s so funny cause that’s amazing. That common. Um, so then like kind of started out making and building and then what like drew you to woods specifically? Cause I feel like you do have like a range of projects, but a lot of the stuff you do is like really wood focused. Yeah. So, um, you know, I definitely started more in like the home improvement realm with things.
Sam Raimondi (09:40):
Um, but I did find myself like really, really enjoying doing like molding work or trim work or middleware with my dad. Um, and then, you know, I don’t know. So basically just, I lost track of that for a while because I went to college for like a really long time. Um, and at some point when I was in college, my, my now fiance was like, Hey, I know like I’m doing this local music thing. He was in a band. He was like, can you, he’s like, I know you know how to do this. Can you just make me a wooden sign for my band? And I was like, yeah, sure, whatever. So I made him, I’ve found a pallet on the side of the road. I shoved this pallet in my 500, um, which was amazing. And then I built him like a wooden sign for his band and the day he put it out, it just had support local music.
Sam Raimondi (10:27):
The day he put it out he had like dozens of people being like, Oh my God, where did you get that sign? I need one. And so then that started like the small little sign business and from there I was just so, so hooked on making anything out of wood and sharing that process and selling things. And that ended up being really like my part time gig while I was in college and grad school. Yeah. That’s amazing. So, um, I liked that you kind of did it during that period of time. Cause I feel like many of us, at least from my experience, like it wasn’t, it was something I found later. Um, but to make it work in that phase of life I feel like is kind of challenging for a lot of people cause they’re in apartments or dorms or small spaces, whatever it looks like.
Sam Raimondi (11:10):
Um, and I think like most of the listeners tuning in are kind of looking for advice on home decor and learning how to make pieces and design projects like for their own home. Maybe not turning it into a business. But one of the major questions I get, and I’m sure you get this too, uh, when it comes to woodworking is like, what do you do if you don’t have space for a shop? And I know you kind of have a pretty unique solution going on. Can you dive into that a little bit? Yeah. So I never really had a formal shop until about, actually it’s crazy enough this summer is going to be two years that we built my new shop, which I’ll elaborate cause that sounds way more grandiose and amazing. I mean it is amazing, but it just sounds like huge. But basically I needed a small space to store some of my simple tools.
Sam Raimondi (11:58):
I shared a lot of tools with my dad and um, I, so I got, I got my PhD and I was in school for nine years and during that time I lived with my parents because it was just too hard to juggle finding a job that fit my schedule and paying rent. And so I stayed with my parents. Um, and while I was with my parents, my dad had this little eight by 10 shed basically, um, in his backyard and I took over like one side of it. So it was super small and I basically just had like a little work bench that he had essentially handed down to me. He’s like, this is broken. You can have it better than nothing. I was stoked. And then a couple of sheets of pegboard and I started just storing some of my small tools in there.
Sam Raimondi (12:40):
And as I began to grow my collection, I took up a little more wall space and then added another work bench. And soon his eight by 10 shed became completely 50% mine. And I would really just honestly keep my tools in there and then wait for really nice day with sun and no rain and no clouds and I would pull the tools out of the shed and work outside. Um, so that was awesome because I did have a space, but at the same time it is definitely difficult when you can’t have this dedicated garage space or somewhere to really work all the time, especially when the weather sucks and it rains a lot along islands. So there were tons of days that were total wash. Um, but I was grateful to have that and you know, that’s just my biggest thing. If you can find somewhere to store a couple of tools and then pull them out when it’s nice, then that’s kind of where, where the starting point is super awesome.
Cara newhart (13:32):
That’s such a good tip. Like you don’t really need a dedicated workspace yet. You can figure that out later. Let’s just start with like storage and yet like a slab of concrete to work on. That’s perfect. Exactly. So do you have any tips for like, planning out a project?
Sam Raimondi (13:48):
Like where do you start and how do you determine like sizing and materials, um, when you’re planning something out? So everything that I build right now, um, is something that I have wanted to build for my own space. And, um, you know, that’s really hard too because, so originally for instance, um, my other half and I, we had our first apartments at 325 square foot studio apartment, um, which was massive. So for that space, like I was finding, I couldn’t find furniture that was multipurpose and fit our needs. So I would plan some bills around what fit in our space and what could be multipurpose.
Sam Raimondi (14:32):
So like a storage coffee table or, um, you know, uh, converting a dresser into a dresser slash entertainment TV center type deal. So everything that I was building for a really long time was out of necessity. Um, a blanket ladder, a storage cabinet, a wine rack. Like these were things that we needed that I couldn’t find that could fit in our apartment. Um, and then so we were there for three years. We, we definitely outgrew the space, but things here are really expensive. So my parents are awesome. We moved back in with them for a little bit and while we were with them, I wanted to challenge myself to do more traditional things or use better materials. Um, and so I just started making things that I wanted to make. Um, things that I was inspired by online or things that were like, bucket list builds.
Sam Raimondi (15:24):
Like you, everybody sees river tables all the time. I’ve been, as much as, you know, people love them, people hate them. I had been wanting to build one for the longest time and so I was like, this is my chance. Right. Um, so I basically started thinking about things that I would want to keep for years and years and years in like our future space. Um, and started building those things while we’ve been living with my parents. And now we actually just signed a new lease on a place and I’m so excited cause I’m in the process. Right. So I’m in the process of now swapping out those things that I, I built a couple years back for our studio apartment with pieces that I actually love and adore that had been on my bucket list. Um, so really, you know, my planning process is mostly just things that are necessities, but things I’ve been wanting to build for so long and I, and I try not to like limit myself, but I also know like I don’t have all of the space in the world and my parents don’t have all the space in the worlds in their place either for me to build things.
Sam Raimondi (16:23):
But um, for the most part I’d say about 90% of the things I build are, are pure necessity items that I have really wanted to make. Yeah. I really love that cause I feel like, well people have a lot of different reasons for DIY and some people it’s like I want to save money, but I feel like we have something in common where it’s like I want to make something that doesn’t exist and I can’t get it anywhere. And it’s like so custom and so like straight out of my brain and exactly what I want that like I have to make it cause there’s no other way to get it. So that’s, yeah, that’s super cool. And that’s the thing I think sometimes too people think well like, well you know there are so many of this thing that exists. Like that’s how I felt about my river table.
Sam Raimondi (17:03):
Right? I’m like, you know, there’s so many river tables, people are, I are either super 16 them are super pumped about seeing them. But the way that I found to make that specific project my own was okay, well I definitely knew that I didn’t want this bright blue river table. Like I wanted this gorgeous rich Walnut river table, jet black resin. And I also knew that I wanted to challenge myself to make it with, with handheld power tools because all of the tutorials I was seeing for it, there were, you know, industrial size shops being used, industrial size tools being used. And I realized like that that’s what was holding me back was I was like, I don’t have these tools in my shop to make this table happen, so I guess I can’t do it. And then I realized, well no you can, I can do it. I just have to get creative. And so that’s what I ended up basically doing for that project. And I ended up making it using strictly handheld power tools that I had in my shop. And like that made it even cooler.
Cara Newhart (17:59):
Right. And there’s, yeah, there’s something to be said for like taking something that’s trendy and making it your own. Like your twist is totally different than like everyone else’s making the blue resin and it all looks similar. But when you make, make your own and you challenge yourself to, yeah, try techniques that you haven’t yet. Like that’s when it becomes special and it’s way more than something that you’re seeing around or something that’s trendy, which is right, exactly.
Cara Newhart (18:33):
As we stay at home, a great way to dive into making is with some scrap wood projects. You don’t have to get out and go to the store and you get to make use of the supplies you already have, which is a great creative strategy. In fact, I actually just teamed up with Sam and a bunch of other amazingly talented makers for the build at home challenge where we made all kinds of decor projects out of scrap wood and created an entire playlist of tutorials so you can build with us. One of my very, very favorite products for small wood projects is crazy glue, fast dry wood glue. It packs enough power for strong bonds on smaller woodworking projects. Curing in just six minutes. I found myself using it a lot on these types of projects to lock boards in place while I insert pocket screws or to even reattach small pieces that have chipped off when it comes to working with materials like scrap plywood. The glue is also paintable and Sandoval. So if you get it anywhere outside where you intended, fine tuning your project for finishing is pretty easy. If you want to give crazy glue, fast dry wood glue a try in some of your upcoming wood projects, head over to bit dot Lee slash crazy glue, wood glue. That’s crazy with a K. And then each of those words capitalized.
Cara Newhart (19:57):
So what is it, what’s your like favorite wood to build with? If you had to pick like one favorite
Sam Raimondi (20:03):
for a long time it was pine because it was so easily accessible and there’s so much you can do with it. And um, sometimes I feel like it’s one of those materials that people are like, Oh, pine, you know, and, and I get it. I totally get it because it’s, it’s not something that everybody loves to build things out of. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten comments on YouTube or my projects of people being like, Oh, this would be great if it wasn’t pine title. Um, but for a long time, like that’s what I like to build with because that’s what I was able to get. Like there are no local lumberyards around me. I, I have, I choose to travel about 45 minutes North in New York in order to find a really good lumber guy that I love and trust, but I can’t always do.
Sam Raimondi (20:47):
Yeah. So, so yeah, so it was pine for a long time. But I will say the more that I’ve been getting comfortable with actually, you know, using expend more expensive woods and not being like, I’m going to totally mess this up. But, um, I definitely am loving working with walnuts so much. It is just so beautiful and I’ve always been drawn to like rich dark wood tone, wood furniture, like everything, you know, I’m going to be sharing, um, this, you know, make-over process of this rental space. Cause I do get a lot of people who ask for that of like, how do you make a rental space feel like your own when you can’t knock down walls or paint or add wallpaper when your landlord is like really specific about what they want. And, and I’m going to show, like I’m going to be using a lot of pieces that I actually built in this little makeover and everything is like dark chocolate wood or Walnut because that’s just exactly what I’m drawn to.
Sam Raimondi (21:40):
Yeah, I love that. So for people that maybe don’t really know like anything about wood, like they’re just getting started, maybe they have some tools. Can we talk about like would one Oh one like what is the differences between woods and like what makes like a good piece versus a bad piece? Like yeah. I love this. I love this question cause like I, I still think about this all the time. Um, so I always recommend like when people are starting with woodworking, definitely pine is a way to go. So a pine boards are very easily found at like a local home Depot or, um, a local home improvement store. They’re often called common board. Uh, and they’re basically, you know, they’re softer woods. They’re not too soft to the point where like they’re gonna, you know, get dented super easily if you like, touch it the wrong way or move it the wrong way.
Sam Raimondi (22:30):
But, um, you know, they are definitely easier to use and they’re not super expensive. So like if you mess up, it’s, it’s usually like fine. I’m like, all right, I’ll just go get another piece for like eight, nine, $10, whatever it is. Um, so pine is definitely the way to go for anybody. Starting a other species of wood that you know, are great to work with that are a little softer, are um, like Cedar wood is great for outdoor furniture. Um, Cedar what is a little softer. So sometimes it can be a little trickier to work with in terms of how you are, um, attaching it to another board. I know that from my pocket hole hole fail from this planter I tried making so and Cedar, right? Cause like you know, you want to work with softer woods when you’re first starting because they are easier to cut and to sand and to attach. But sometimes you run into that trickiness where like a board might be too soft and that’s kind of what happens with Cedar and Cedar. I’ve also found out the hard way that Cedar and pocket holes aren’t always friends.
Sam Raimondi (23:34):
Uh, but you know, I always just like to say, you know, for anybody starting pine is definitely a way to start. Now there are two types of pine that you can go that you can go for. There is the common board which is tends to have a little more. Um, they tend to have little more imperfections in them. Maybe some knots, they’re not always perfectly straight. Um, you definitely want to take time to kind of dig through the pine before you take it home. You know, making sure the boards aren’t curved or wobbly. Um, but if you wanted to splurge a little bit, there is something that is called more of like that premium wood or that select wood and that is just really nice pine. It doesn’t have as many knots. They tend to be a lot straighter. They don’t need as much sanding sometimes to finish so they can be a little more expensive.
Sam Raimondi (24:19):
But if you’re somebody with limited tools or you don’t have um, a power sander in your hand sanding a piece, you know that I tend to like to recommend the select pine instead for those types of projects. Absolutely. That’s a really good tip because when I was first starting out I would do like the more common boards and try to find straight ones but like they’re a little bit curved. Um, and then it would like kind of mess up my project and I’d be like, what am I doing wrong? Like why is it bending? And then yeah I discovered the select pine and everything’s way straighter and it’s almost like easier to learn on if you’re able and willing to spend the money. Cause things are already relatively straight. You don’t have to do as much work to make it perfect. Exactly. And you know a lot of tutorials that are out there from bloggers and content creators, they do use the word common board and that just means that pine board.
Sam Raimondi (25:13):
So you know, you’re ever looking at a project and you’re like, what the heck is common board? Cause like I know I definitely did that the first time I ever saw that. I was like, what is common board? Cause I was just so used to calling it pine. Um, and that’s just all it means is it’s a pine board and then you can just buy it either in common or in, you know, that select and kind of choose your own way with that. Yeah. That’s perfect. So are there any cool tips or tricks that you have when it comes to things like sanding or gluing up a project that just make things like go way more smoothly? You know, one of the things when I first started that I really wish I had more of were wood clamps. Um, I know it’s, it’s like, you know, now you hear what workers, that gal, I never have like enough would clamps are never enough in my workshop.
Sam Raimondi (26:02):
And I’m like, yeah, I totally get it because it’s really true. But, um, you know, I used to try to attach boards with just holding them together with my hands and not checking for square. And then I would put my projects together. Like, why doesn’t this drawer box fit? I’m not understanding like I did everything right. But if there, if there’s anything that, you know, you know, we talk a lot about like what are the power tools that I should start with, what, what I want to talk about is like what are the accessories you should start with because that helps as well. So a carpenter square is amazing because as you’re joining boards together, you can check to make sure that your pieces are lining up perfectly at a 90 degree angle. Um, so that is definitely accessory. That is a must. So I wish I had that when I started.
Sam Raimondi (26:44):
I admittedly did not. Um, yeah. And then the, the clamps are a great one too because with the wood clamps, you know, you can clamp down a piece when joining it together rather than using your hands and you can clamp them, check for square first and then attach them instead of attaching them, realizing they’re not square leader and then having a the worst day ever trying to take those words apart if you use wood glue. So, um, that to me would be my best advice. Like I wish I had a carpenter square and a clamps more clamps when I started. Yeah that’s really good advice cause I totally in the same boat would like hold things and be like, Oh the woods, the edges are square. So if I just put them really tightly together they’ll like be square. Right? Like exactly how it works.
Sam Raimondi (27:28):
And the other thing too is like something that I didn’t learn until I started getting more comfortable was if you keep a carpenter square around, use it all the time basically to just make sure that your bleed on your miter saw is, is completely 90 degrees as well. Because some of the, the entry level miter saws, they’re awesome for what they do, but they always, you know, we’re not, I want to say always, but they can tend to not always stay 90 degrees. Um, and when I was first starting, I never thought about checking that very often. And then as I was building more complex projects, I was like, what is wrong? Like I’m cutting these at 90, I’m using my score, like I don’t understand. And then I realized, Oh my God, it’s my bleed. Like my blade won’t stay at 90 and then that’s my new, it was time to upgrade my saw.
Sam Raimondi (28:09):
Um, so yeah, like really little things like that can make a big difference in your woodworking project. Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that I really, really love about like your video content and your YouTube is that you really take the time to break down the process for each project. And then when things don’t really go the way you thought they would, um, you like show that whole process and show like how you made changes and what you had to like even remake in some situations. Um, so do you have advice for like pivoting or starting over when a project isn’t going as planned? Yeah, so you know, here’s the thing. I mean I know I’m admittedly not perfect. Like there’s no way, like I wish sometimes but I’m not and that is part of the process of, I can’t even think of one project where like I have been like, yes, that went exactly the way that I wanted to.
Sam Raimondi (29:05):
That was so perfect. Like my dad always lasts weeks. My shop, well my shed shop is in his backyard now. Their new backyard. Like I can’t, he laughs at me because he’s waiting for every single project to do. He waits for that day where I’m like, why can’t anything just go onto with that? Right. Because like that’s what really my thing, cause nothing ever goes a hundred percent. Right. It’s just a process. So I always go into projects. Now, I wish I did this earlier cause I used to get so frustrated, but I now go into projects understanding that I am creating something like, you know, 90% of the time I’m creating something that was inspired by something else or that was in my brain, but like doesn’t exist a hundred percent yet on paper. And because of that, like there is a learning experience and I’ve always admittedly said like my job as somebody who is creating plans and content and showing you how to build things is to make those mistakes first.
Sam Raimondi (29:59):
Because when I publish my plans, like I don’t want other people to get their hands on my plans and then be like, Sam, what? Like what I want them. Like I want the plans to be flawless and easy to follow for everybody else. And part of that process means that I have to make mistakes. And so, you know, a lot of times I’ll kind of just go into projects. You know what I’ll do actually, before even starting things, I, I actually always have some extra material on hand if I can. Um, so let’s say I’m building something out of those common boards at home Depot, I will always buy one extra board because I know that at some point in this process I may make a mistake because I’m creating something that, you know, dimension wise or design wise doesn’t really exist quite yet. Um, and so I always have that extra board on hand to for that whoops factor that would have factor.
Sam Raimondi (30:52):
So that’s, that’s one way that I kind of plan for that. But in terms of like that pivoting or that creative thing that I do is, you know, sometimes I find I make my most mistake, most of my mistakes in projects when I’ve had a long day and I’m tired just trying to power through cause I know I have a deadline but then those mistakes start happening and I have to say to myself, okay, like take a step back, revisit this, like think about this overnight and come back. And, and those are some times when I find the most creativity what I do because you, how many times in life do we go into a situation expecting one thing and then it completely throws you off. And then you have to reevaluate like how you responded to that and what you’re going to do in response to that.
Sam Raimondi (31:38):
And sometimes you just come up with these like really creative things and it makes that experience so much better. And so that’s right. So that’s my best advice there is like always go into your creative process knowing that it may not work out perfectly and when it starts getting frustrating, take that step back and then, you know, take that extra time to come back to it later because it could just turn out way cooler than you thought it would to begin with.
Cara Newhart (32:01):
That is so, so true. Like there’s so many little good tips in here. Um, but like, yeah, overall in the show we talk a lot about like experimenting in your DIY journey and how like everything you need to approach with like openness and know that things are going to go wrong. But it’s not even just like when you’re just starting out and learning. It’s like the whole creative process is this like trial and error and experimenting in changing things up. Um, but yeah, I had an example of that recently. I was folding my cabinet doors and I routed out like this, um, rabbit for the back to go in. And then I realized like the wood I bought, I bought like half inch instead of like one inch. Cause I wanted the cabinet doors to be super thin. So by the time I like cut out this rabbit and this groove, I wasn’t even able to like attach the back with nails cause they were, I could not find nails small enough. So I ended up getting these like picture frame, like those little flappy Clippy things on the back. Do you know what I’m talking about? The like the back flapping could be, that’d be Clippy things. That’s the technical term. And then so I used those two a touch the back and now like my cabinet doors interchangeable. So I can literally trade out all different kinds of materials if I cut anything to size. So right now it’s like a metal mesh situation and like I’m going to try some fabric and wallpaper and so now I have this really cool like dual purpose thing that can just be swapped out when really it was a mistake. And the reason I had to pivot and do that. So
Sam Raimondi (33:33):
yeah, those things where I have to say when I saw that door I was like, that’s so smart. I thought that that was so smart also too. Cause like how many times do we want to like switch things up sometimes and like right. So I loved that idea because depending on, I think you said in the caption like you really want to turn those into like, you know, Christmas presents or something so smart. Like I thought that was a great idea. Yeah.
Cara Newhart (33:55):
And that’s what’s so funny. It’s, it’s not like I just sit here and think of genius ideas. Like I make mistakes and then I’m like, Oh, but I could do this instead in. Yeah. That’s just part of the creative process. So I really love how you touched on that cause I think it’s encouraging and like freeing in a way that you don’t have to just follow a plan or be perfect. You get to like, yeah, trial and error and experiment and stay open.
Sam Raimondi (34:20):
Yeah. And that’s the thing is like I can’t tell you how many times too. Like I’ve published a plan and I’ve like triple or double or quadruple check the measurements on my own bills and then publish the plan and then someone will write me and be like, Hey, you know, I tried your plan. It worked really well except for this one thing. I think the measurements off, like I love that. I appreciate that so much because I don’t want to be putting out plans and then like having people try them and wasting their money or materials or I’m not finding that it’s not working. Like I love that feedback because at the end of the day, I’m still human, right? So like at the end of the day I was really bad at math in high school. Like, there are certain things that I think I’m doing the right way and then, and then I get those plans out and I’m so proud and then someone will be like, Hey, by the way, this measurement is totally off.
Sam Raimondi (35:06):
And I, I almost love that in a way because, and I always write back, I’m like, I so appreciate this. Thank you so much because I want to, I want to make it easier for people and if I have to be the person who makes those mistakes first, then I’m okay with that. Because like I said, I’m not perfect. This is a learning experience and no matter how inspired I am to build something at the end of the day, there’s always something you can do in your own build to tweak it enough to where it’s not somebody else’s or something. Someone else’s like, you know, um, a great example I have this is um, I’ve done a couple of, you know, knockoff projects on my website, West Elm pottery barn. And you know, my pieces may look exactly the same but either the material is a little different or the dimensions are different.
Sam Raimondi (35:53):
Cause I need a different dimensions to fit my space. Or um, you know, for instance, a great one is I did a pallet project where I made a, you know, I don’t remember how much the West Elm side tape, it was like a side nightstand thing with a drawer. It was like reclaimed wood. I think it was like four or $500. It was crazy. I ended up making one out of pallets and common board, um, for about $40. And if you look at it and you compare it to the West Elm, it looks almost identical to the West sound build. But I was able to a make it cheaper and um, you know, it’s not a metal base, it’s a wood base. And see I was able to make the dimensions fit my space. So those are three different things right there where I was able to find a process to make it my own. And that was, you know, enough to inspire other people to try to do the same.
Cara Newhart (36:45):
Absolutely. And that’s what’s also really fun about like plans and that people can get access to your process. Like they, it’s a really great starting point where you can take like creative initiative and kind of yeah, tweak it and make it your own, but you have a really solid base in place where you’re not like trying to invent something out of thin air. So I think when you’re just starting or if you’re not really good at the math and the measuring and all of that, um, the planning process, then you can yeah. Use that as your starting point and then have a really solid place to, to build off of.
Sam Raimondi (37:20):
Cara Newhart (37:21):
Yeah. So what was your very first power tool and I’ll say like the power tool that you fell in love with first.
Sam Raimondi (37:30):
So it’s funny you say that because I recently found a photo of me using, it was the first photo ever taken of me using my miter saw and it looked so bad ass. But like for bad reasons, like the blade was really dull and like there was no dust collections. There’s like saunas and smoke and like all this stuff floating everywhere. And like in hindsight, I’m like, man, that was so bad for my health. But yeah, but I will say the first tool legitimately I ever, ever fell in love with was a miter saw. Um, from the minute my dad handed me his old Skilsaw because he upgraded his saw and he was like, you, I’m going to throw it out or you can have it. And I was like, I want it please, I want it. Um, I was just so hooked. Like that to me was the tool that just made everything click and like put everything into perspective and into place for me.
Cara Newhart (38:23):
[inaudible] it’s such a good one. Such a good beginner one too. Cause it’s like, it keeps things mostly straight for you and you can cut angles and do a lot of intricate stuff that by hand would be impossible or dangerous if you’re just starting
Sam Raimondi (38:35):
out. So, and that’s one of the tools. Like I always recommend first and you know, not a lot of other DIY buyers might like, a lot of people would probably opt for like a circular saw instead of Microsoft because the circular saw can cut bigger pieces. But I’ll be honest, when I first started really diving into my own individual wood working without my dad being there, I was really intimidated by projects that use plywood. Um, because I w I’m small, like I’m five, one I had a Fiat 500, like I couldn’t fit plywood in my car. And so what I would do is for projects that required plywood, I would actually find ways to make it work with smaller boards and my miter saw instead of using a circular saw because I had to get comfortable with the idea of being good at dialing things in and being more precise about my woodworking with my miter saw and the tools that I had on hand and could afford at the time before I could get comfortable with then going out of my comfort zone and getting those plywood projects and investing in that circular saw and um, you know, going in that direction.
Sam Raimondi (39:42):
So for me, like the miter saw is such a great entry tool. It’s, you know, there’s very little kickback if you use it correctly. There is a really great guard on the blade if you use it correctly. Um, you know, if you get comfortable using a miter saw, I feel like, at least for me, I was then so much more comfortable diving into other saws leader. Um, because I felt like I had mastered that one first. Yeah, I totally feel that. Like my journey literally started the same way. I was terrified to use a saw. Like I grew up using a drill, but like for some reason I saw unsupervised was just the most terrifying thing. So my first few projects I planned everything out around the fact that home Depot could cut the wood for me and I wouldn’t have to cut anything. And then I could just like say and screw together, finish them.
Sam Raimondi (40:30):
And then yeah, miter saw was my first saw. And once you like really get used to that, then you kind of, you know, the process, you know, like kind of how much pressure and how you have to hold it down. And like all these little details and nuances that when you use a different type of saw you can take that knowledge with you and feel way more confident I feel like. So that’s a hundred percent so do you have any, obviously this will depend on like people’s spaces, sizes, styles, but do you have any just like good starter projects that are kind of perfect for a girl who’s newer to woodworking? Yeah, for sure. Like, um, things, you know, I think, I wonder if I actually, I may have a spot on my website or my channel that has sort of like beginner projects for like simple tools.
Sam Raimondi (41:16):
Uh, perfect. You know, I think for anybody who wants to get more familiar with 45 degrees or working with funky angles, I love to recommend like those geometric artwork pieces. I think that there’s touch amazing learning processes and learning experiences for projects because they’re small enough to where if you make a mistake on a piece, you can learn how to find a new angle or get creative without feeling like you messed up an entire project. Um, so I like starting there for like, if you are somebody who’s looking to not just cut straight line all the time and get comfortable with using angles, um, for, you know, furniture or things like that. I always recommend starting with like, um, a side table or a planter or a coffee table because a lot of the times those don’t have to be anything crazy. There are so many amazing, amazing tutorials for like ones that you can make out of two by fours.
Sam Raimondi (42:13):
Um, or that, that common wood and once that could take maybe a weekend, like for me, you know, I have a full time job so I, I’m like a certified weekend warrior. Like I make things on the weekends. Most of my projects I do take me though that Saturday, that Sunday and then like that’s it. And I have a small space too. Right? So like I started in, you know, basically a four by five space, you know, and now granted I’m in a, I’m in a 12 by 12 shed that I built with, you know, I built with my dad a couple summers ago. But even so, even in a 12 by 12 shed, like I can’t make a lot of things because with all of my tools it’s really hard to fit a larger project in there. So I love making coffee tables. I love making side tables.
Sam Raimondi (42:55):
I love making um, you know, even small scrap wood projects like coasters, the cutting boards, like these are things that anybody can do and get comfortable with. You know, I had somebody recently on my channel who was like, wow, you really love making coasters, don’t you? I was like, yeah, I love making coasters. Are you kidding me? Like scrap wood, easy projects of course. So, um, you know, I just, my best advice is look online, find something you like, look at the plans and um, if it seems like another like a foreign language to you right now, maybe like save that one for later, but find like the next step down where like it’s that happy medium between, Oh yeah, like I totally understand this, but this what this part might be a little tricky, like challenge yourself to get to that tricky spot because eventually then those plans that feel like a foreign language to you will then come to you so easily.
Sam Raimondi (43:48):
Absolutely. That’s something I always encourage people to do is pick a project that like mostly you feel good about, but there’s a little piece that is like not intimidating, but that feels like a stretch where you’re really stretching your skills and having to learn something new to complete it. Exactly, exactly. And you know, like my best advice is like, I always get this gut feeling when I’m working. Um, I’m sure you do too. But like sometimes I’ll be working on a project and I’ll just get this gut feeling like I don’t think I’m uncomfortable making this cut yet. Or like I don’t think I’m comfortable trying this yet. Trust that gut instinct because at some point you will have to challenge it, but when you’re first starting, safety is such a huge thing and safely completing a project is going to be more important than being like, yeah, I got this and like, you know, bulldozing your way through a project.
Sam Raimondi (44:36):
Absolutely. Absolutely. So like take a step back, take everything slow, take those as learning experiences and the more you become comfortable, the more you’re going to realize, okay, now I’m ready to tackle this thing because I’m comfortable and I’ve done, I’ve done the steps leading up to this so many different times. Right. And then like, yeah, with some of those more complicated cuts, there’s so many little nuances that like I’ve had that feeling and then I step away. I go online, I like look at what other people are doing and maybe it’s like, okay, you really need to put a clamp here so that like this is secure because this piece is too small and you don’t want your fingers like whatever it is. But there’s resources that can help you get comfortable. But yeah, you should never use a power tool if you’re not comfortable cause that’s literally how you get hurt.
Sam Raimondi (45:18):
Right, right. Is by being overly confident. Yeah. Yeah. The first time I used a table saw was the scariest day of my life. Like I’m just going to be real. There’s still days that I’m supposed to be doing like a table saw cut and I like do one and I’m like, Oh that felt really not safe and I’m going to just turn this off for today and we’re going to come back later. That’s exactly the way to do it. And like that’s exactly it. It’s like sometimes you just get this gut instinct of like, Nope, this does this. Something about this feels wrong. So I’m going to walk away from it and then figure out an alternative. And usually usually there’s an alternative if, if a table saw feels scary, get comfortable using the circular saw, you know, and then once you’re comfortable using the circular saw, maybe revisit that table saw.
Sam Raimondi (45:59):
Um, you know, for me, I admittedly, so like I was really nervous about using a table. Granted like I had not a good table saw like it was mine I have to use on the ground cause the legs are so cheap. I know it’s terrifying. So like for me emotionally, I did not have a great table saw to work with when I first started, but my dad was very comfortable with table saws and he, you know, would, would show me a couple cuts, how to safely do it, you know, I, and so for me like I would follow his lead until I was comfortable using it. So if there is somebody in your life who is comfortable with tools, don’t be afraid or ashamed to like, you know, say Hey, can you just show me how to do this a couple times and then go from there.
Sam Raimondi (46:40):
And if you don’t have somebody in your life, cause I know that’s a big thing too, is like, I don’t have anybody who does this. Um, then that’s when you get comfortable. I think using other tools first before you feel fully confident using like the bigger, the bigger saws.
Cara Newhart (46:56):
Yeah, that’s really good advice. Okay. This was all super like ridiculously amazing. Um, where can everyone connect with you online and find your tutorials and follow along with your projects?
Sam Raimondi (47:07):
So, um, across every platform right now it’s at DOI. Huntress, Instagram, Facebook. I don’t really use Twitter that much, but if you’re on Twitter, I’m on Twitter. I’m usually just talking about the mass singer on Twitter. But I mean, like, you’re welcome to join me. Um, Pinterest is DIY. Hunter says, well, I’m on Pinterest. I share tons and tons of tutorials and project ideas from myself, from friends, from all over the internet.
Sam Raimondi (47:29):
Um, uh, my YouTube channel is also DIY. Huntress. I started that a couple of years ago and, um, surprisingly it picked up momentum, so I’m going to keep doing it. Um, and then, yeah. And then my website is [inaudible] dot com. Um, I have tons and tons of plans there. Some plans, most of my plans are free, some of them I do sell the ones I sell, I sell because they’ve taken me like weeks to make. Um, and you know, I never asked for more than like $5 for my plans. Um, but if you can’t afford them, I also offer free step-by-step pictures with the tutorial as well. Um, so I, I always have something there for somebody to take home and try. Um, but yeah, you know, feel free to browse my website. Uh, if you’re looking for something in particular, I have a search bar, you can type in like beginner woodworking.
Sam Raimondi (48:16):
A couple of things will pop up there. Um, on my YouTube channel there’s like three tool projects. So if you are starting out with three basic power tools, check those out as well. But, um, I’m always available and open for questions, comments, so please feel free to reach out. Yeah. So perfect. I’m just excited to connect people with you cause I know you have been such a good resource for me. Like starting my woodworking journey too. Seriously. It’s funny cause it’s not something I ever thought I would be into. Like at the time I was a fashion blogger and I was just watching you cause it was interesting and now it’s like wow, I’ve really learned so much. Just like sitting on the sidelines. Never saying anything. Just watching along for literally years. I’ll tell you what, now that you’ve taken some woodworking for, I would like take some fashion advice from you and then if I can’t dress myself for the life of me, I don’t know if it’s a good time now though cause I’m just in leggings 24 seven that’s a whole, that’s a whole other thing because I’m in flannel and black tank tops all the time so it’s fine.
Cara Newhart (49:19):
Love it so much. Well thank you so much again for your time and for all of this. Amazing.
Sam Raimondi (49:24):
Thank you. This is awesome.
Cara Newhart (49:26):
Thank you. Yes.
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