We cannot really say what it is, but there’s something elemental and healthy about using both your brain and hands to build something, and woodworking is a great mix of the two. Building something is a hobby, so all you need to do is to pursue it and have fun in the process.
As in any craft, starting out can be very exciting and filled with hope, but at the same time a little bit scary. If you’re not sure where to start, having some guidance can help, and in this article you’ll find some tips to get you going on the right path.
Even if you dream of building complex pieces of furniture right away, the truth is that here, as well, you will need some time in order to master the techniques and your own creative flow. This is why choosing projects that have a good chance of success is better than getting overwhelmed and disappointed by an elaborate one.
Challenges are good if they build confidence, so keep the early ones realistic, and take your time to learn the many interrelated stages, such as designing, researching, purchasing materials, using the appropriate tools, joinery, surfacing, edge treatments, choosing glue or finishing.
Get to know the materials
To be successful, you need to know how to choose the right piece of wood suitable for the project you’re undertaking. If, for example, you want to build an Adirondack chair, you want to know what type of wood is best suited to make it both comfortable and durable.
Each tree and each board is different, and in this craft, the differences matter. This is what makes it interesting and appealing, but it is also what you will need to learn, especially in the beginning. Take your time, do all the research you can, and experience with a wide variety of wood.
Invest in tools
Woodworking does require many tools, and the beginning can be overwhelming in terms of both costs and tempting catalogs. Remember that you don’t need every single shiny tool, and that they are used to make things, not for mere acquisition.
Keep in mind that it’s always better to choose quality over quantity and that a top versatile tool is better than a highly specialized gadget, especially if it requires little skill. You want to build confidence as well, so go for good tools and learn how to properly use them.
Take your time to learn about your tools and what not to do. Safety should always come first, no matter how small a project might seem. Make sure you always wear safety equipment, especially for your eyes, and for your ears and hands, as well. Beware of baggy clothes as they can get stuck in different tools.
Moreover, always pay attention to electrical tools and make sure that the power is disconnected before changing blades or other parts. Another idea is to use a single heavy-duty extension cord to power all your tools. This way you are sure that you switched off the power for each tool and you don’t get confused.
One more thing to bear in mind in terms of safety is to check your stock to make sure the piece of wood doesn’t have nails, screws or other pieces of metal lodged in it. A spinning blade and other metals don’t mix well together, and it can lead to a damaged stock or cutting head, and even cause injury if anything kicks back.
Methods differ from person to person
Once you learned how to use the tools and the basics of the craft, you can work on mastering your own technique. The beauty of woodworking is the there isn’t a single way of doing something, so you can have fun while developing your own way of work, secret solutions and style of construction.
You can always work with what you have and know that the final piece represents your work and effort. If you are into healthy choices in your everyday life, you can even challenge yourself to build a standing desk. This way, you can work on the design of your projects while maintaining an improved body posture.