Ideas for the Woodworking Beginner

Woodworking is an ancient and valuable skill, one that has been passed down from generation to generation for as long as history has been recorded. Fortunately for those just now looking to get into the craft, there are many projects that can be done that are not complicated or difficult even after so much time. Some things just do not change very much, and the beginning woodworker can start with these types of projects and hone their skill before they move on to more extensive projects, such as building a house or fashioning their own wooden boat.

One simple project is the building of a clock. The woodworker will of course need to buy the actual implements of the clock — the hands and the motor. Other than that, there is a lot of leeway into how one wants to design one’s clock. A basic box can be constructed to start, a process that requires just cutting appropriately-sized pieces on a table saw, running them through a planner to clean up the edges, and sanding them down until they are smooth. From there, the box can be constructed using common wood glue. Nails or screws are advisable if the clock is large, but a standard mantel or desk clock needs only glue. Numbers, or markers to be put on in place of numbers, can be constructed also out of wood, or purchased at the store. If just using markers such as basic squares or circles, having them made of a darker wood than the clock face is often a nice touch. Also, using dark wood for trim or a unique design for the clock face can give the clock a very distinguished look despite its being such a simple project.

Another thing a beginner can built easily is a chest. This can be used to hold all manner of things, from blankets to games to photographs. The chest is almost easier than the clock, as there is no need to drill a hole and insert moving parts. A simple chest only requires that a large box be built, with the top separate from the rest of the construction. Hinges will then need to be attached to the top. Two hinges should be plenty, and these generally attach with six screws each. Again, using a light wood for the body and dark wood for the trim will often look very nice, especially after one has varnished the chest so that it shines. In the top, different woods can be used to create an artistic pattern, or perhaps the initials or last name of the chest’s owner.

A third project that a beginner could tackle with no trouble at all is a bookshelf. These are very simple, as boards just need to be cut to length: two long boards for the sides, two shorter boards for the top and bottom, and as many short boards as are needed for the shelves. Particle board can be used for the back; alternatively, and for a more robust construction, long boards can also be cut and fit into the back. the most complicated part of building a bookshelf is that one needs to make what are called dado cuts. These are wide cuts on a table saw that do not go all the way through the board. These will need to be made in the long sideboards, and need to be cut to the width of the shelves. The shelves will then fit into these grooves when the bookshelf is assembled, giving them strength.

Woodworking is really much easier than most people think. Some basic tools are required, to be sure, but a woodworker can start with simple projects and work their way up to more complicated ones as they get better at their craft. As with anything, woodworking becomes even easier with time, and it is a very enjoyable and rewarding way to spend weekend afternoons.