Few hobbies can offer the fun and satisfaction of woodworking. Other ways of spending your spare time might be interesting and entertaining, but most can’t yield the tangible and functional results woodworking can. We’ve got a short list of woodworking tips and tricks that will help a beginner to get started in this great pastime.
1. Understand the basic tools you’ll need.
You’ll find that woodworking will turn you back into a little kid at birthdays and holidays. You’ll be flipping through catalogs and marking pages that include the tools you want to own. There are hundreds of neat and useful tools that make woodworking even more exciting, but only a few basics are required to get started.
• Tape Measure and Pencil
• A carpenter’s hand saw
• Sanding blocks and sand paper
• A carpenters hammer (and maybe a wooden or rubber mallet)
• Some screwdrivers
• A set of decent chisels
• Circular Saw
• A Good Driver/Drill
• A small table saw
• Power Sanders are very helpful
With these basic tools you’ll find that you can make just about anything, from small dainty decorative or art items, to large outdoor structures such as a trellis or pergola.
2. Decide what kind of work you’re most interested in.
Woodworking encompasses a whole range of possibilities. You might decide that you want to focus on children’s toys, or maybe building furniture. A great place for a beginner to start is with outdoor items. These are a wonderful way to hone beginning skills because the call for perfection in the work isn’t as high in a wooden planter box as it might be in, for example, a new dining room table.
3. Get some inspiration, ideas, or pictures of what you want to build.
There has never been a better time for people to learn woodworking from scratch. The internet is full of wonderful projects for inspiration. Its often very easy to find free downloadable plans that give specific step-by-step instructions. These usually explain the tools required, the cuts that need to be made, the measurements, and often even include a materials list for your trip to the lumber store.
4. Set aside a clean and safe work area.
One of the most common causes of injuries to woodworkers is an unsafe work area. Too many extension cords running every which way, unstable work surfaces, and a lack of proper ventilation for finishing work are among the top culprits. If you don’t have a good workshop area, work outdoors. On a nice day it can be a real pleasure and it’s not at all difficult to spread your work out safely.
A good set of sawhorses along with a half-sheet of ¾” plywood can make a great work surface at very little cost. Another great addition to your “tool” collection if you plan to work outdoors is a collapsible roof canopy. These are the ones you see the artists under at art shows, so you’ll already have yours when your skills are so great that you’re ready to sell your work!
5. Start working and be patient
Woodworking is a great endeavor because it will reward you immediately with some respectable levels of success. You will find, however, that reaching those next levels of perfection in your work can be a bit more of a challenge than you expect. Just be patient and try not to make it too complex.
Many a woodworker has gone out and bought the fancy tools for making perfect square mortises or joiners for creating perfect furniture grade lumber out of rough stock, only to find later that they early and simple techniques they learned were the most effective and the most enjoyable.
The final step is to just have fun! Wood is a wonderful and forgiving material with natural grain and color that gives it automatic beauty without you doing a thing! With that kind of starting point, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can create works you’ll be very proud of!