Woodwork is can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Putting time and effort into crafting something from scratch takes as much ability as it does patience. If you’re a novice looking to get into woodworking or a seasoned woodworker just browsing around for fundamentals, this article is a guide on exactly that.
How to get started
When beginning, try to only start projects you believe you’re capable of completing. Don’t underestimate yourself and pick something too easy though. A challenge is always good to force yourself to grow as a novice. If you’re not sure what you should start on, beginner project ideas are available online.
Starting off with shop fixtures and other small projects is a fantastic way to hone your craft in the beginning. Because they’re small projects, it won’t take much planning and you can whittle away at your materials until you’re comfortable moving forward.
Pine, spruce and other softwoods are good to practice with. Remember to give yourself time to adjust to your new craft. This includes learning to use the tools and the appropriate techniques and methods. Once you’re confident, you can move on the tougher or more exotic types of wood.
When it comes to tools there are multiple trains of thought. What I would suggest is only buying the tools you need for the project you intend to do. If you’re not certain about a tool, rent it and keep in mind that there are multiple tools that can be used for the same job.
If you’re positive about buying a tool and sure that you’ll be woodworking consistently, buy the highest quality tool within your budget. If you’re really looking to save, consider buying older used tools. Their build quality is often better than modern equipment, you’ll save money and as long as it was top notch in its day, you’ll likely get the same or a better result.
One thing you should never, ever be half-hearted about is safety. Power tools can be, incredibly dangerous if used incorrectly or procedures are ignored. If you’re unsure about how to use a tool, don’t. Contact a professional and learn or have them do it. Just be smart and know your options.
Basic tools for building and general repairs
The option to go big and start off on a bench is there, but you’re smarter than that you’re going to start small. Once you’re comfortable, fixing little things around the house or crafting small projects is a good move towards gaining more experience. There are some simple tools you’ll need for these tasks.
Chances are you already have one of these lying around. They’re simple and can be used for most things. If you have one with interchangeable bits, you’re even better off.
Electric drill and bits
A screwdriver is nice for small projects, but harder woods and bigger projects are always made easier by an electric drill. The speed and efficiency alone make the purchase worthwhile. Your set likely came with a variety of bits. You’ll need these as some projects require more than just your average screw.
Tape Measure and level
Being precise in your measurements and place is paramount to success as a craftsman. A tape measure is important for all builds and a level is necessary when building anything that stands. If you want to make sure your tables or benches aren’t lopsided, you may want to invest in one of both.
When doing big projects like renovation or even building decks or benches, a hand saw and a drill may not cut it. There are tons of option that you can pick depending on the job, but there are some that you’ll use more often than not.
Miter saws are a commonly used piece of equipment. They’re used to make accurate crosscuts and miters in wood by pulling a large, usually mounted circular saw blade down onto a board in a quick motion. If you’re interested in buying one Straight Kerfs has reviews of several.
A circular saw is the most efficient way to cut a sheet of plywood down to manageable sizes. There are a plethera of styles and makes with different feels and weights, so pick the one that works for you. When buying a circular saw, be sure to get the one you really want because chances are you’ll have it for a lifetime.
The drill press is fairly simple. It’s a fixed drill that can be mounted on a stand or bolted to your workstation’s floor. It’s used for precisely drilling to depth. It’s far more efficient than hand drilling.
Get to work
This guide doesn’t even scratch the surface of woodworking. But, you don’t need this guide to become a master craftsman. You just need experience and a safe place to work.