Do you want to try something new? Do you like working with your hands? If you do, try woodworking. A hobby can bring you joy and lower stress.
It is a creative craft that can help you improve your creativity and create practical pieces for your home.
If you are curious about it and don’t know where to begin, you have come to the right place.
Let’s talk about everything you need to know regarding woodworking.
Before you continue, you may want to check out this video by Olie Zelaya on YouTube that gives a quick review. After, you will want to read the rest of our article for a more comprehensive review.
Woodworking 101 Paragon Woodworking Planes
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. A lot of people enjoy the process of woodworking as an expression of 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. If you are someone who enjoys problem-solving and figuring out how wood pieces fit together and which materials produce the outcome you want, you’ll enjoy the challenge.
It can be gratifying to see the finished work of your hands, especially when you can display them around 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. For beginners, woodworking may appear to be an intimidating process. 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 start 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. These are great options but be careful: Is it safe? You can’t work in an area that has unstable surfaces. A place with many unfixed electric cords can be a tripping hazard. Also, inadequate ventilation will make it impossible to work.
You should also consider whether the space is large enough to be able to work comfortably. 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!)
Having a permanent workspace is a fantastic idea. 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. Setting up in the backyard with a pair of sawhorses and a plywood board makes for a nice, decent workspace.
You will learn over time how to maximize the space available to you for your tasks.
The tape measure is a must-have tool for woodworking. You may have all the finest cutting tools available, but if you can’t precisely cut wood pieces according to your project needs, your project parts end up fitting like a cheap suit. It’s a mixed bag. It can look great from far, but it leaves much to be desired when you get close up. Sometimes it is a poor fit.
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. Use a tape measure to practice. 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 are available in lengths from 10 ft to 25 ft. 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.
The wood dimension is another important thing to remember. 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. Ted’s Woodworking has detailed woodworking plans that include information on wood types and how to construct the projects. It will make it easy to know where to start.
Straight Wood Selection
When you are picking out wood for your project make sure it is straight. 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.
Now, it may seem at first glance that a board looks straight. 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. You would have to learn how to select the suitable materials to use, cut said materials, fit them and glue them together to make your idealized project a reality.
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. I would recommend getting a basic toolset and a few power tools to get started. This includes a drill, hammer, drill press and drill bit sharpeners. It also includes nails, miter saws, clamps, sanders, and a drill bit. Paragon Woodworking Planes
There are many power tools and manual tools available at different price points. It can be overwhelming and expensive to try them all. You don’t have to buy everything immediately. 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 can be used to build many things. It is important for beginners to learn how to sand wood surfaces before they start a project. 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. Paragon Woodworking Planes
Especially after butting your wood, it is pretty common to find chips, splinters, or cracks that may take away from the surface of your project. To fix these issues, you will need to smooth and sand the wood as best as possible. Continue sanding until you have removed all visible imperfections, such as dents, gouges and deep scratches. You can do this manually or with a machine. You may also use both.
By manually sanding wood with something like sandpaper, you have better control to smooth out the wood surface. It is possible to reach difficult-to-reach areas that would otherwise be impossible with 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. Imperfections like scratches are hard to see when they run 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. Enjoy!
Final Thoughts Paragon Woodworking Planes
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.
Do not feel pressured to start a project. You will be fine if you remember the basics. It is not easy. But, you will get better at it. As you gain experience and familiarity with your tools, enjoy the process. Eventually, you will find yourself chasing after more challenging builds.