Do you want to try something new? Are you a person who likes to work 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 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 Woodworking Plans Reviewed
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. A lot of people enjoy the process of woodworking as an expression of 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 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. 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. 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? Unstable surfaces are dangerous and you can’t do work there. A place with many unfixed electric cords can be a tripping hazard. Lack of adequate ventilation also will not 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. 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.
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’s a mixed bag. 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. Use a tape measure to practice. 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 usually come in lengths ranging from 10ft to 25ft. 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 are sold in 1/4 thickness increments.
The wood dimensions can be expressed in the following formats: 2×12, 1×2. When you are buying wood from a store, it is important to know the correct dimensions. This will help you to read and build woodworking plans, find lumber, and calculate the general dimensions for your project.
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 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.
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.
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 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. 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. Woodworking Plans Reviewed
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.
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. It is important for beginners to learn how to sand wood surfaces before they start a project. Sanding wood sounds like a boring and tedious ordeal. 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 Reviewed
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 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. 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 Reviewed
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. 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. You will eventually find yourself seeking out more difficult builds.