Beginners starting off in woodwork need to learn about the tools, the type of woods, and how to join, measure, sand, and store wooden pieces while maintaining safety precautions.
Woodworking has become a very common hobby for many people. Apart from being just a hobby, it can also be a source of side income if you want to go down that route.
As far as hobbies go, woodworking is fairly cheap and easy to begin. For starters, you can begin in your garage with small tools for small projects. As you develop your skills, you can progress to bigger tools and even make your own furniture. Woodworking is satisfying and can be stress-relieving. Your projects will reflect your creativity and be something to be proud of.
So, if you are thinking about starting woodworking, consider the following 10 tips.
1. Know Your Tools
As a beginner, you do not need to have expensive or advanced tools but you will need a woodworking toolkit. The tools you will mostly need are a handsaw, hammer, chisel, measuring tool, and some sanders.
As you develop your skill, you can start using power tools for advanced woodwork. Power tools, such as a miter saw, table saw, circular saw, drills, and screw guns are very handy for large projects.
2. Decide the Type of Work You Want to Do
Wood can be transformed into small sculptures, decorative items, or even large furniture pieces. It all depends on your preference. Pick one and try to improve your skill on that.
Each style requires a different set of skills so if you try to learn them all at once, you will not be able to do any of them properly. If you have a lot of spare time, then try making furniture. If time is not on your side, making small decorative items is a great way to sharpen your skills.
Making wooden sculptures is very difficult for beginners. You will need to put in the time, patience, and a lot of practice to become good at it.
3. Have a Fixed Workplace
Woodworking can be stress-relieving, but it can also be very messy. You will have dust, broken wood pieces, and splinters flying around everywhere.
If you do not want to make a mess throughout your house, pick a fixed place for your work. It is a good idea to start in your garage. You can store your tools, your materials,and your incomplete projects safely there. For big projects, take your equipment to the backyard.
4. Learn More about Types of Wood
Not all types of wood are perfect for woodwork. You need to know the sturdiness and the textures of the wood you will be using.
The most common that are used for woodwork are pine, cedar, cherry, redwood, maple, etc. Out of all of these, maple is the easiest choice for beginners. This is because maple is not as rough as others and cutting it is much easier.
5. Measure Wood Accurately
If you do not know how to measure wood properly, you will often find pieces longer or shorter than they are supposed to be. You need to have good precision and accuracy if you want your woodwork to be sturdy and long-lasting. The golden rule is this: Measure twice, cut once.
You can use tapes or rulers to measure the length and width. For measuring angles, use squares. Do not forget to mark your pieces of wood from time to time. You will not be able to remember all the measurements so it is best to write them down in a notebook and keep them in the workspace.
6. Learn How to Join Pieces
Joining wooden pieces together takes the most time to master. Beginners can use nails to join two or more wood pieces together. But professionals create their projects in a way so that each piece can fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
To do that, you need to keep one side of the wood extended, and join it with another side that has its sides carved inwards. This takes a long time to master, so you will have to practice and watch a lot of tutorial videos.
7. Attend Woodworking Classes
To get better at it, you should attend woodworking classes. There are many professionals out there eager to teach woodworking skills. If you do not want to join a physical class, you can simply watch online tutorial videos on YouTube.
Many woodworking professionals also stream their activities live. Watching these live streams will help you understand how professionals actually work.
8. Always Take Safety Measures
In your workspace, you will use a lot of tools that can hurt you if you are not experienced or careful. Stories of woodworkers injuring themselves while working are very common.
So, wear gloves to protect your fingers, goggles to protect your eyes, and an apron to protect your torso from flying splinters.
Always work with patience when using electric saws to prevent accidentally chopping off your fingers. And make sure you keep the place clean because splinters or leftover wooden parts can also cause workplace hazards.
9. Practice on Perfecting a Finishing
Wood does not have a smooth texture but a rough one. To smoothen it up and give it a shiny surface you need to give it a proper finishing.
This is probably the easiest part, but it is also very time-consuming. You must take a sander and rub it across your wood until it becomes smooth. Do not do it all at once since sanding puts a lot of pressure on your wrists. Instead, take breaks and don’t wear yourself out.
10. Stain Your Finished Projects
Staining your woodwork will mark the end of your project. This is easy to do, but you need to be careful to not stain too much on one particular spot.
Staining brings out the rich wooden color from your woodwork and makes it look lively. Without it, your work can look like an ordinary lump of wood pieced together. You can also use colors that are wood-friendly such as acrylic colors.
Woodwork is a hobby that requires a lot of patience. If you are persistent and work on improving your skills, you will be able to reward yourself with some magnificent wooden artwork.