Do you want to try something new? 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.
It is a creative craft that can help you improve your creativity and create 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 review. After, you’ll want to read the rest of our article for a more comprehensive review of Woodworking.
Woodworking 101 Plank Woodworking
Woodworking is a productive 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. You will enjoy the challenge if you enjoy problem solving and finding out how pieces of wood fit together.
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. I got here through a lot of trial and error. 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 begin with the basics. To do some woodworking, you’d need a workspace. 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? Unstable surfaces are dangerous and you can’t do work there. Unfixed electric cords can cause a trip 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. 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. 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 is a hit or miss. Sometimes, it looks fine from afar but close-up leaves much to be desired. Other times, it’s an ill-fitting piece.
Accurate measurements are the first step to accurate execution. You don’t want days of labor to lead up to an unsatisfying result. Use a tape measure to practice. Measurements rarely fall within precise numbers like 7 inches or 7 1/2 inches. You would also get fractions of a number or an eighth of it even.
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 Dimensions and Wood Types
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 usually measured in quarter sizes. The boards are sold in 1/4 thickness increments.
Wood dimensions are expressed as 2×12, 1×2. When you are buying wood from a store, it is important to know the correct dimensions. It will guide you when you read woodworking build plans, shop for lumber, and understand general measurements for your projects.
You might use hardwoods like oak or mahogany for your DIY projects. 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 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.
While it may take time picking through the piles of wood at the store, it makes a huge difference when you start the process.
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.
The trick is to hold the board towards your face, with the other end on the ground, and look at it at a downward angle. 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. This includes a drill, hammer, drill press and drill bit sharpeners. It also includes nails, miter saws, clamps, sanders, and a drill bit. Plank Woodworking
There are many power tools and manual tools available at different price points. It can be expensive and overwhelming to try all of them. It doesn’t mean you have to purchase everything right away. Before you buy more advanced tools, take the time to become familiar with the basics. In this way, your learning process becomes more effective and less costly.
You can find some great how-to videos on YouTube. Make sure you thoroughly read the safety guide and tool manual before using your 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. Plank Woodworking
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 to sand until all the noticeable imperfections in the wood, like dents, gouges, and deep scratches, are gone. You can do this manually or with a machine. Both can be used.
By manually sanding wood with something like sandpaper, you have better control to smooth out the wood surface. You can reach the hard-to-reach places that are otherwise not reachable by a machine. Of course, if you use a power tool like a belt sander or an oscillating hand sander, you have the advantage of being able to work faster and achieve results quickly. Remember to sand with the grain. It is difficult to see imperfections like scratches if they are parallel to the grain. However, if you go against the grain, it becomes pretty apparent, especially after staining.
Take the time to find out which method appeals to you more. Personally, I prefer to do the bulk of my sanding while my wood is still in whole pieces. Doing away with the more tedious parts of my woodworking process helps me streamline my work more.
After the wood has been smoothed, choose a stain or paint color. Have a go at it and enjoy!
Final Thoughts Plank Woodworking
Woodworking can be messy, noisy, and time-consuming. You could also say the same for many other hobbies. You can certainly adapt the more that you pursue this.
Don’t be too pressured when you 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.