Woodworking can be an exciting hobby. You can express yourself creatively through this activity. Wood can be shaped using affordable and simple tools. This makes it an inexpensive hobby. You can build furniture items, jewelry boxes, tree-houses, doors, and many other things through woodworking.
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Are you wondering how to get into woodworking?
Getting into the art of woodworking is not that difficult, but perfecting the art will require time, patience, and diligence. I have thought about this for years and decided to finally put down a bite size set of 5 steps to consider in the beginning as you start to learn how great woodworking can be for you!
- Learn the Basics of Woodworking
- Create a Woodworking Space
- Buy the Right Tools
- Take Small Steps
- Have Fun Building
The tips explained further and detailed in this blog post will let you know all that there is to know about how to get into woodworking.
Also, in this video below, you will get a few ideas that can help you save some money as you are getting started.
Further detail about how to take your woodworking interest to the next level
1. Learn the Basics of Woodworking
You should first start by learning the basics of woodworking. There are many woodworking books available online that are geared towards beginners.
You should also consider taking beginner woodworking classes. You don’t have to attend a traditional classroom-based woodworking course. Many online woodworking courses are also available online. Some of the recommended online woodworking classes include Instructables.com, Woodskills.com, and WWGA.com.
Learning basic woodworking skills will help you build confidence. You will be able to create simple woodworking projects even if you live in an apartment. The basic skills will serve as a building block for tackling complex projects later on.
2. Create a Woodworking Space
You need to dedicate a space for woodworking. This space should serve as your woodworking ‘lab’ where you can practice the art.
No need to build an expensive workshop. You can set up a woodworking table in your backyard. You can also turn your patio into a workshop. If you have a shed space or garage, you can use the space for woodworking.
In case you have a small space, you can’t mill your own lumbar. You have to buy wooden sheets in the right width and thickness. You can visit the nearest home center or the lumberyard to buy sheets having the required length. They can cut sheets down to the exact size you want for a small fee.
The workshop should be properly lighted. This is important to avoid injuries. And woodworking injuries can be serious resulting in temporary or permanent disability.
An indoor workshop is recommended if you want to avoid disturbing your neighbors with all the noise. You should sound-proof the workshop to reduce noise. Moreover, you should consider buying low-noise woodworking tools to reduce the noise from your workshop.
The workspace should have a clean and safe layout, and it needs to be well-ventilated. Extension cords should not be running around the workplace.
Also, there should be proper spaces for storing woodworking tools. Keeping a safe work environment is important to avoid serious injuries.
3. Buy the Right Tools
You should buy the right tools for your woodworking workshop. One of the biggest mistakes beginner woodworkers make is buying the wrong tools. You will end up overspending on tools that are not needed for beginner products.
Another important thing that you should remember is not to buy second-hand refurbished tools online. These tools are generally on their last leg and break after a few uses. You can save money (and time) in the long run by buying good quality woodworking tools.
You should determine what tools and (especially buying the right clamps) are required for your woodworking project. In this way, you won’t spend on tools that remain unused in the box for a long time.
Before spending on the tools, you should also set a budget. You can buy basic hand-tools for woodworking for under $500. Moreover, you can buy basic power tools for under $1,000. Let’s review some of the basic tools that you should buy for your woodworking projects including belt sanders, hybrid table saws, and more.
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Dividers and Compass
You need to buy tools to take precise measurements. You should buy a pair of dividers and a compass from your local hardware store. They are mostly used for scribing arcs on wood. You should buy a pair of small dividers (about 3-inches) and large dividers (about 9-inches).
Another important measuring tool is a marking gauge. The tool is used to transfer your measurements. Consider buying a marking gauge with a lock. The lock will prevent the gauge from slipping due to which you may lose measurements.
You should buy marking gauges with a cut or slice features. This will come in handy in many woodworking projects. Buy a mortise gauge with two pins and cutters.
The cutting gauge is particularly helpful in dealing with delicate woodworking operations like working on veneers. Recommended marking gauges you can buy online include Newkiton and Clarke Brothers wheel marking gauges.
A measuring tape is an essential tool for beginners and expert woodworkers. You should by a ‘folding ruler’ for woodworking projects. The tool allows you to take rough measurements. Consider buying a 24-inch ruler that is suitable for most projects.
Sliding Bevel is another important measuring tool. The tool will allow you to scribe angles on the work project. You can use the tool in laying out joints. The tool is made of a movable blade that can be fixed at an angle by tightening a screw. You can use the tool to test the edges at different angles. You can set the angles using a framing square or a protector.
Consider a bevel with a lock that prevents the blade from moving. Good quality bevels have either a butt-locking or face locking mechanism.
A scratch awl is a woodworking tool that is used to make a pattern line on solid objects. The tool has a sharp point that can also be used for locating and aligning holes. You can use this tool along with chisel or hand saw for making joints.
A carpenter’s measuring square allows you to create balanced edges and corners. You can buy different types of carpenter’s measuring squares. A combination square has an interchangeable moving head and ruler that can be clamped to measure angles, depths, and heights.
- Speed squares are triangular-shaped squares with different measurements. You can use the tool to draw a perpendicular line on the wood. Moreover, the tool can be used to guide a saw when cutting the wood.
- Framing Squares are also used for taking measurements. They are particularly helpful in making precise 90-degree angle measurements. The tool has a sliding blade that can be fastened to the wood. You can use the tool to create clean angles and measure planes and joints.
- Try squares are also an important tool that lets you check for perpendicularity and flatness of the wood. The tool is made of a steel blade that is riveted to a wooden beam at an angle. You can use the tool to lay perpendicular lines to corners or edges.
Different types of saws are used in carpentry projects. The common types of saws that are typically used for carpentry projects include the crosscut saw, RIP saw, dovetail or backsaw, hacksaw, and coping saw. Here is a brief overview of the different varieties of saws.
- Cross-cut saw – A cross-cut saw refers to any variety of saw used for cutting wood at the right angle to the wood grain. You can buy a saw with small or large teeth. The saw with smaller teeth can be used for basic woodworking while saws with large teeth can be used for coarse work such as log bucking.
- RIP saws – The saws are used for making a rip cut. You can use the saw to make a cut in the direction of the wood. The tool has a flat front edge that can be angled backward by about 8 degrees. In contrast, the teeth of cross-cut saws are angled backward by about 18 degrees. Edges of the RIP saws are sharpened at right angles. This design makes the saw act more like a chisel allowing cutting across grain lines resulting in straight cuts. The tools also allow orthogonal cutting that is useful in transporting wood-chips.
- Dovetail or backsaw – A dovetail or backsaw has a stiffening rib on the edge. The specific design of the saw allows better control when cutting wood. The tool also allows for more precise cutting. The tool has a toothed blade that cuts wood by spinning in a rotary motion.
- Hacksaw – A hacksaw is a fine-toothed saw that was originally used for cutting metal. The tool can also be used for cutting wood. It has a thin metal blade in a C-shaped frame. The frame can be used for accommodating different size blades. A screw at the end is used to increase (or decrease) the tension of the blade.
- Coping saw – A coping saw is a type of hack saw that is used for intricate exterior and interior cut-outs. The tool is commonly used for creating coped joints. It is also used to create fretwork and other delicate cuts. They can be used to cut slight bends that allow cutting of circles.
A drill is an important tool for woodworking. Carpeting drills are different than normal drills. They have a unique design that allows drilling holes into the woodwork. You can buy a manual or powered drill for woodworking. You should consider different things when buying a power drill such as table size, power, and speed.
Consider buying a power drill with variable speeds. This will help in working with different types of wood. Moreover, you should buy a drill with a cast-iron press table as they tend to last for a long time. Make sure that the drill you buy comes with essential accessories such as foot pads, claims, vices, and hold-downs.
Claims are used to hold the joints together. You can use the tool to hold freshly glued joints until the glue hardens. You should buy a couple of bar clamps and a hand-screw clamp of about 10 to 12 inches.
You need to buy enough clamps that will allow you to put sufficient pressure in different spots. Consider buying five or six clamps to avoid running out of them during a particular carpentry project.
Pliers are a basic woodworking tool that has many purposes. You should buy both slip-joint and needle-nose pliers.
Slip-joint pliers are used for holding and taking out nails. The pliers can also be used to twist metal. The pliers have a pivot point that can be moved to increase the range. You can slide the pivot point into different positions. The slip joint pliers are also available in different varieties. You can buy the tongue-and-groove pliers that have jaws offset from the handles. The other type is the straight slip joint pliers where the jaws are in line with the handle.
Needle nose pliers are used for cutting and holding objects. You can also use the pointer to bend and reposition the nails. Using the tool gives excellent control when cutting the edge near the joints. The long shape of the nose allows reaching into small areas that are unreachable using fingers or other tools.
Vises are used to secure wood so that you can work on them. The tool has two parallel jaws: one is movable while the other is fixed. The vise is threaded in and out using a lever and screw.
Most woodwork also requires claw and finish hammers. One side of the claw hammer is flat for pounding on nails. The other side has a claw that is used for extracting nails. The claw part of the hammer is in the shape of a V that allows the nail to fit at the narrower end.
Finish or trip hammers have a flat surface on one side and a sharp chisel-shaped surface on the other side. Using the hammer minimizes damage to the wood when driving nails through them.
A good quality wooden mallet is important for woodworking projects. You can select carver’s or joiner’s mallet. The mallets are used to hit on a chisel to shape wood and cutting joints. Consider buying a mallet that is made of a rugged wood material such as oak, maple, or beech. The mallet should feel balanced and have enough weight to easily make cuts using the chisel.
Dowling jig allows you to make precisely doweled edges, corners, and joints. The tool allows accurate line up of dowel holes. The jig can fix to wooden boards allowing precise alignment of holes. You can also use the tool to drill matching holes that result in accurate joints.
A plane is used for cutting rabbets. You should buy hand planes for cutting both metal and wood. Make sure that you buy a plane that will allow you to cut rabbets across the grain. Planes with movable fences are recommended as they improve accuracy.
A chisel is a cutting tool with a sharp edge on one side. The tool is used with a mallet for shaping wood material. You can buy beveled edge bench chisels, mortise chisels, sash mortise chisels, and paring chisels. These chisels are used for different woodwork projects.
Other important tools you should buy include a file, rasp, and scraper. The tools are used for shaping wood in different types of projects. You should also buy a steel tape and compass for your woodworking project.
4. Take Small Steps
Once you have the required workshop and tools, you should practice basic woodworking skills. Avoid tackling complex projects at the start.
A lot of newbie woodworkers make the mistake of trying complex projects they see online such as on Pinterest or Reddit. They end up frustrated due to the complexity of the task and even give up the hobby.
The best approach when starting out is to take small steps. You should not rush into complex projects at the start. You should focus on mastering basic skills. The basic skills will serve as a building block for complex projects later on.
5. Have Fun Building
Once you have learned woodworking skills, you should consider adding creativity to your projects. You experiment and add personal touches to your projects. When you keep experimenting, you will eventually come up with something that you will call your own.
While woodworking is an enjoyable activity, it can become a nightmare if you don’t take proper safety precautions. You can sustain serious injuries such as broken arms and even end up on the morgue. Always work with safety goggles and proper gloves. Taking safety precautions will ensure that you are safe!
Check out this video to get another approach to getting started in woodworking.
Conclusion about how to get started in woodworking
Woodworking is a rewarding activity. Your mind is the limit when it comes to creating wooden arts and furniture. You should practice daily to perfect the art of woodworking.
Learning new skills can be challenging at first. But the time and effort in gaining the skills will be worth it in the end.
Always remember to take proper precautions when tackling any woodworking project.
The chances of injuries are high. You can avoid serious injuries by taking proper safety precautions.
You should learn from your mistakes and polish the art of woodworking one step a time.
One last reminder, if you are also new to woodworking, you will find this Ted’s Woodworking guide invaluable in your trek to become a woodworking expert. I have absolutely loved all the plans available and it has helped me so much and I am sure it will help you too.
The main thing, in the end, is to enjoy your time. You should let your passion help you in attaining proficiency in the art of woodworking and maybe even making a living from it.