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.
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 us cover what you need to know about woodworking.
Before you continue, you may want to check out this video by Olie Zelaya on YouTube that gives a quick overview. Afterward, you will want to read the rest of our article for a more comprehensive review.
Woodworking 101 Woodworking Coffee Table Project Plans
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. Many people find woodworking a way to express their creativity. Many people find it relaxing to just focus on the task at hand.
Woodworking is easy to understand. 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.
You have many options to learn more about woodworking thanks to the increasing popularity of online communities and the affordable tools and materials.
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. 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. 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? You can’t work in an area that has unstable surfaces. Unfixed electric cords can cause a trip hazard. Lack of adequate ventilation also will not 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!)
It is a great idea to have a permanent workspace. You don’t need to prepare your power tools or other machinery each time you set up 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.
Over time, you learn how to optimize the space you have to fit your tasks.
The tape measure is a must-have tool for woodworking. 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. Sometimes, it looks fine from afar but close-up leaves much to be desired. Sometimes it is a poor fit.
Accurate execution starts with getting accurate measurements. You don’t want days of labor to lead up to an unsatisfying result. Practice with a tape measure. You will rarely get exact measurements like 7 1/2 inches or 7 1/4 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. For beginners, a 16ft tape measure should be suitable to cover all bases.
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 can be purchased in 1/4 inch 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.
You might use hardwoods like oak or mahogany for your DIY projects. 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. With it, you won’t have to be confused with where to begin.
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.
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. Take note that humidity and temperature may affect your lumber in storage. Keep them in a way that accounts for it to prevent warping, twisting, or bowing.
Woodworking is a bit like 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. Woodworking Coffee Table Project Plans
I’m sure there is a great variety of manual hand tools and power tools at various price ranges. 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. This will make your learning experience more efficient and less expensive.
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. But, it really gives your project a polished finish. Choosing to sand your pieces or not matters when it comes to the time to stain, paint, or finish your wood. Woodworking Coffee Table Project Plans
It is quite common to find cracks, chips, or splinters after butting your wood. You will need to sand and smoothen the wood as much as you can. 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. 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. 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. 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 Woodworking Coffee Table Project Plans
When it comes to woodworking, it can be messy, loud, and time-consuming. But, you could say the same to a lot of other hobbies. You can certainly adapt the more that you pursue this.
Don’t be too pressured when you start a project. Always remember your basics, and you will be fine. It is not easy. But, you will get better at it. Enjoy the process as you build familiarity with your tools and experience. Eventually, you will find yourself chasing after more challenging builds.