Are you looking for something new to do? Do you like working with your hands? Woodworking is a great option if you like to work with your hands. A hobby can bring you joy and lower stress.
With it being a productive craft, you can improve your creativity while creating practical pieces for your home.
You’ve come to the right place if you are interested in it but don’t know where you should start.
Let’s talk about everything you need to know regarding woodworking.
Before you go on, you may want to watch this video by Olie Zelaya on YouTube that gives a quick overview. Afterward, you’ll want to read the rest of the article for a more comprehensive review.
Woodworking 101 Fine Woodworking Plans
Woodworking is a useful skill. It involves creating usable and/or decorative things from wood by cutting, shaping, and joining pieces together.
There is more diversity now more than ever. Woodworking is no longer just a career. Many people find woodworking a way to express their creativity. Some even find it stress-relieving to focus on the task at hand.
With woodworking, the basic concepts are simple to learn. You can work at your own pace and there is no pressure. You will enjoy the challenge if you enjoy problem solving and finding out how pieces of wood fit together.
It is gratifying to be able to show off the work you have done, especially if they are displayed in your home. At the end of the day, you get to see the hard work you put in.
Thanks to the growing online communities and the affordability of tools and materials, you have many sources to help you dive deep into woodworking.
When I first started, it was a fish out of water experience. It took a lot of trial-and-error to get me here. While everybody goes through that, a little boost from the internet and exposure to a network of woodworking communities is always appreciated.
Don’t let me scare you off. Woodworking can seem intimidating to beginners. But trust me, with the best knowledge and tips, it can be a delightful experience.
Here are some things to help you have a smooth sailing journey:
Let’s begin with the basics. A workspace is essential for woodworking. When choosing a workspace, people immediately think to set up one in their basement and garage. While these are great options, consider the following: is it safe? Unstable surfaces are dangerous and you can’t do work there. A place with many unfixed electric cords can be a tripping hazard. Also, inadequate ventilation will make it impossible to work.
Another thing to consider: is the place large enough for you to work in? In an ideal scenario, you’d have a large enough workspace where you can create noise without disturbing other house inhabitants (and maybe neighbors too!)
It is a great idea to have a permanent workspace. If you have one, you would not need to prep your power tools and/or other machinery every time you set up to work.
You don’t need a fancy or expensive workspace. Since I live in a small apartment home, I chose to set it up in the backyard. A pair of sawhorses, a plywood board and some other tools make for a great workspace.
You will learn over time how to maximize the space available to you for your tasks.
When it comes to woodworking, learning how to use the tape measure is essential. Even though you have the best tools, if your woodworking project requires precise cutting, it will end up looking like a cheap suit without having and knowing how to use a tape measure. It’s a mixed bag. It can look great from far, but it leaves much to be desired when you get close up. Other times, it’s an ill-fitting piece.
Accurate measurements are the first step to accurate execution. It is not a good idea to waste days on labor just to get a disappointing result. Practice with a tape measure. Measurements rarely fall within precise numbers like 7 inches or 7 1/2 inches. It is possible to get fractions of the number, or even an eighth of it.
Tape measures usually come in lengths ranging from 10ft to 25ft. A 16ft tape measure is sufficient to cover all bases for beginners.
Wood Types and Dimensions
There’s a lot to cover about different types of wood, but you get to learn them along the way as you work through other pieces. Broadly, wood is classified into two: hardwood and softwood. Each wood species has its own quality that is suited to particular wooden products or furniture.
Another thing to take note of is the wood dimension. Hardwood lumber is often measured in the quarter sizing system. The boards are sold in 1/4 thickness increments.
Wood dimensions are expressed as 2×12, 1×2. Knowing proper dimensions come in handy when it comes to purchasing wood from the store. It will guide you when you read woodworking build plans, shop for lumber, and understand general measurements for your projects.
For your DIY projects, you may find yourself working with hardwood like mahogany or oak. Other times, softwood like pine and cedar is preferred. If you’re looking for some woodworking plans with thorough details on materials (like what kind of wood to use) and instructions on how to build the projects, I’ve come across Ted’s Woodworking. It will make it easy to know where to start.
Straight Wood Selection
When it comes time to pick out the wood for your project, try to make sure that your wood is as straight as possible. Straight wood is easier to work with than bowed or bent wood.
Although it can take some time to sort through all the wood in the store, the end result is worth it.
It may appear that a board is straight at first glance. But even milled lumber has its flaws that can give you headaches when your start working.
You can hold the board in front of you, one end facing down, and then look down at it. This method will allow you to see if it is bowing at all.
When you have chosen your wood, leave them at full thickness until you are ready to use them. Keep in mind that temperature and humidity can affect lumber storage. Keep them in a way that accounts for it to prevent warping, twisting, or bowing.
Woodworking can be compared to going back to school. To make your dream project come true, you will need to know how to choose the right materials, cut them, and fit them together.
Now, there are a few tools that are essential when it comes to woodworking projects. For the beginner, the tools depend on the scale of your project and your skill level. To get started, I recommend a basic toolkit and some power tools. That includes hammer, drill, drill press, drill bit sharpeners, nails, miter saw, clamps, sanders, etc. Fine Woodworking Plans
I’m sure there is a great variety of manual hand tools and power tools at various price ranges. It can be overwhelming and expensive to try them all. It doesn’t mean you have to purchase everything right away. Take the time to get comfortable with your basic tools before buying more advanced tools. This will make your learning experience more efficient and less expensive.
Take advantage of some how-to videos made available on YouTube, and make sure to thoroughly review the tool manual and safety guide for your own tools.
Wood is a very versatile material for building all sorts of things. When completing a project, it is also crucial for a beginner to master how to sand the wood surface. Sanding wood can seem tedious and boring. Sanding wood gives it a polished look. Choosing to sand your pieces or not matters when it comes to the time to stain, paint, or finish your wood. Fine Woodworking Plans
It is quite common to find cracks, chips, or splinters after butting your wood. To fix these issues, you will need to smooth and sand the wood as best as possible. Continue to sand until all the noticeable imperfections in the wood, like dents, gouges, and deep scratches, are gone. This can be done manually or by a machine. Both can be used.
You can smoothen the wood’s surface by manually sanding it with something like sandpaper. You can reach the hard-to-reach places that are otherwise not reachable by a machine. You have the advantage of working faster and getting results quicker if you use a power tool such as a belt sander (or an oscillating handheld sander). Remember to sand with the grain. It is difficult to see imperfections like scratches if they are parallel to the grain. It becomes much more obvious if the imperfections are against the grain, especially after staining.
Take the time to find out which method appeals to you more. I prefer to sand the majority of my wood while it is still whole. I find it helps me to streamline my woodworking work by removing the most tedious parts.
Once the wood is all smoothed out, pick out a stain or paint color you’d like to use. Have a go at it and enjoy!
Final Thoughts Fine Woodworking Plans
Woodworking can be messy, noisy, and time-consuming. You could also say the same for many other hobbies. It is possible to adapt your hobby the more you do it.
Don’t be too pressured when you start a project. Always remember your basics, and you will be fine. As I said, it is a period of trial and error, but the more that you do it, the more your skills get polished. Enjoy the process as you build familiarity with your tools and experience. Eventually, you will find yourself chasing after more challenging builds.