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I know what you’re thinking. You’ve read all those lifestyle magazines about crafts and DIYs, and I’m willing to bet that you’ve got a Pinterest board full of wood projects. And your heart is racing with excitement as you imagine sanding down the first plank you plan to cut out: but do you know where to start?
I certainly don’t blame you for wanting to get into DIY woodworking, even just as a hobby. Woodworking looks like an extremely rewarding craft that can be done by anyone willing to learn and put in some effort – whether it’s making new furniture or even starting on larger scale carpentry jobs such as building houses (which is probably not within the scope of someone who has never worked with wood before).
Woodworking also has a certain mystique to it in a way that, say, painting or pottery doesn’t. The fact alone that you can create something tangible and solid with just your hands is pretty fulfilling. There’s the pride you feel in creating something from scratch, being able to say, “I made this.” You buy furniture for hundreds of dollars at Ikea – but wouldn’t you instead have put those hundreds of dollars towards building your own? And after all, isn’t it more fun having something uniquely yours than anything someone else has designed? It sure is!
The first thing you should do if you want to get into woodworking as a beginner is to take stock of what you’re letting yourself in for. As I said before, Woodworking is not an easy skill to acquire, but it’s also not impossible. You have to be dedicated to learning how to do it well because the only way you’ll know is if you do so by practice.
It sounds self-evident. But what makes this craft difficult is that there are plenty of ways to go about it wrong. Even buying a piece of wood and seeing where it takes you could lead you down the wrong path if your measurements are off or if the tools you’ve chosen aren’t suited for the job. So make sure that you…
1) Understand your skill level
This may sound obvious too, but… …you need to make sure that you are willing to commit the time and effort necessary to learn how to use power tools safely. You don’t need a workshop full of woodworking machinery, but you do need to be ready to put in some work.
2) Know what kind of projects you want to do
This is another obvious-sounding step, but it’s essential nonetheless – think about what type of woodwork would interest you most. There are so many different things that can be done with wood, from making fine furniture all the way to building simple birdhouses or coffee tables. And knew projects open up as you get better at working with your hands…you may have started out wanting nothing more than a simple bookshelf, but now find yourself wishing that you could start working on more intricate things like guitars.
3) Know what type of wood is best for your projects
This question makes sure that no one gets lost when looking for work to do. Woodworking is an art. It’s not just about getting the right tools and putting them to use – it’s also about choosing the right kind of material for the job. Wood comes in many different varieties, each with its unique properties, which you’ll need to consider when making your purchase. For example, if you’re building a simple chair seat, you might start by using pine because it’s cheap but strong…but oak would probably be better suited if you want something that lasts longer or finer detail in the cuts (like when crafting furniture).
…and how to use them. There are all kinds of power tools out there, each one suited for an other task – so you must know what each of them can be used for or where they should not be applied. For example, using a circular saw on the hardwood will likely result in more damage than good, whereas using it on softer plywood might have the opposite effect. And if you don’t want to spend money getting help from someone who’s gone through this before you, then at least read up on what mistakes people tend to make along these lines!
5) Build your workbench
…or at least a sturdy table. This is a big one – it’s tough to do good work if you don’t have a stable surface to place your tools onto, even more so if that surface isn’t completely level. You might think that you can prop up whatever device you’re using with its stand, but the truth of the matter is that this causes many safety problems because these props aren’t held in place securely enough – not to mention which, you need a flat surface for things like nailing or gluing. If you want everything to look professional and safe, invest in building or buying a suitable workbench before starting any project!
6) Improve your workspace
…because, let’s face it, not every workshop is going to be movie-grade perfect. But if you want to work with wood and do so in a professional and organized fashion, then at least make sure that your workspace is clean and tidy – especially if you share the area! This means making sure that there’s enough room for your tools to function correctly (meaning leaving ample space around machines), as well as keeping the dust under control. And don’t just focus on the floor – getting shelves installed or using hanging racks for storage can help keep those pesky odds and ends off of the ground where they’re difficult to reach.
7) Make sure that your woodworking tools are top-notch
…otherwise, all of these steps will be more or less pointless. You might be thinking that purchasing tools are simple and straightforward, but there are actually quite a few different types to choose from – not to mention which you’ll also need to figure out how much it will cost you, in the long run, to keep them running correctly. If your budget limits what type of equipment you can buy, then at least make sure that whatever you purchase has good reviews – that way, you don’t waste money on something sub-par! And if you really want something more efficient or durable, consider investing in pricier items…it’s often better to spend more money now than have to replace inferior products later!
8) Don’t neglect safety precautions
For example: learn how to identify hazardous materials before handling them. This is an easy step to skip because it’s not very exciting, but it’s also one of the most important ones – especially if you’re working with chemicals or power tools that can injure or even kill you if they malfunction! And even though wood isn’t hazardous during the early stages, knowing how to keep yourself safe around powerful equipment is still a good idea – so read up on what sorts of things can go wrong and be prepared for them ahead of time.
9) Build your projects
…as this will help give you direction when looking for future tasks. Even if you don’t have much experience, following tutorials online or reading through tips from fellow woodworkers should allow you to build something fairly decent-looking without too much trouble – and if you’re working with a limited timeframe, then this is the best way to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed. Just make sure not to bite off more than you can chew or work on too many different projects at once; otherwise, your focus will be compromised, and it will take much longer for you to learn everything!
What do you think? Did we miss any tips? If so, share them in the comments section below!