Do you want to try something new? Are you a person who likes to work with your hands? If you do, try woodworking. Having a hobby can be a fulfilling activity that lowers your stress and gives you greater satisfaction.
With it being a productive craft, you can improve your creativity while creating 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 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’ll want to read the rest of the article for a more comprehensive review of Woodworking.
Woodworking 101 Woodworking Plans And Guides
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. Nowadays, it is not just a profession anymore. Many people find woodworking a way to express their creativity. Some even find it stress-relieving to focus on the task at hand.
Woodworking is easy to understand. There is not a lot of pressure, and you can build at your own pace. 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.
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 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. While these are great options, consider the following: is it safe? You can’t work in an area that has unstable surfaces. 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. Ideal conditions would be for you to have enough space so that you can make noise but not disturb other residents of the house (and possibly neighbors).
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. 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 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 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. 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 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 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. This will help you to read and build woodworking plans, find lumber, and calculate the general dimensions for your project.
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. With it, you won’t have to be confused with where to begin.
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.
While it may take time picking through the piles of wood at the store, it makes a huge difference when you start the process.
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. 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. 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. The tools you need will depend on how large your project is and what your level of skill. I would recommend getting a basic toolset and a few power tools to get started. That includes hammer, drill, drill press, drill bit sharpeners, nails, miter saw, clamps, sanders, etc. Woodworking Plans And Guides
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. 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 Plans And Guides
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. You will need to sand and smoothen the wood as much as you can. Continue sanding until you have removed all visible imperfections, such as dents, gouges and deep scratches. This can be done manually or by a machine. You may also use both.
You can smoothen the wood’s surface by manually sanding it with something like sandpaper. 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. 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.
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 Woodworking Plans And Guides
When it comes to woodworking, it can be messy, loud, and time-consuming. You could also say the same for many other hobbies. You can certainly adapt the more that you pursue this.
Do not feel pressured to start a project. You will be fine if you remember the basics. As I said, it is a period of trial and error, but the more that you do it, the more your skills get polished. As you gain experience and familiarity with your tools, enjoy the process. You will eventually find yourself seeking out more difficult builds.