Learning a new craft, picking up a new hobby, the start of any process of acquiring a novel skill is always filled with excitement. It is akin to embarking on a brand new adventure. There are undoubtedly periods of utter bewilderment and hopelessness. It’s followed by moments of joy and fulfillment when your new hobby or skill bears fruit. Delving into woodworking , as it is with any craft, can be extremely rewarding once you have the basics down.
The final product of your newly acquired skill is a piece of work that you have sourced for and made yourself, by your own hands. It is a product of your imagination and resourcefulness, a piece that can be functional and absolutely unique.
The term woodworking itself implies the application of some manual labor. And we understand that for a novice, this conception, combined with the sourcing of appropriate raw-materials, the process of honing the skills to use the tools and bring your idea to life can be quite a daunting task. It does have a bit of a steep learning curve.
With that in mind, we have four useful tips for the newbies to the woodworking trade.
Start Small and Keep It Simple
You might be an overeager and extremely ambitious human in general. But when starting to learn any new craft, it helps to keep your sights low and projects simple. Do not set yourself up for failure from the get-go.
No matter how artistic you are and how boldly your creative juices might flow, aim to create something modest, small and uncomplicated when you start out.
You must realize that as a beginner, you will not have enough knowledge about the craft to produce an elaborate piece of work. Imagining anything otherwise will only disappoint and bewilder you. So much so that you could even give up on your new hobby out of utter frustration.
It is prudent that you remain realistic and understand that for a completed woodwork item to be a success. A long list of techniques and hurdles must be overcome.
A lot of time goes into research, design, procurement of the correct wood for the type of project envisioned. Acquiring and honing the use of all of the necessary tools and materials, learning joinery, gluing the components, surfacing, finishing, and so on.
Enjoy the process. Appreciate how all of the steps interconnect to produce the final product. An object that you made by hand, from scratch.
Woodworking requires the use of tools that are probably heavier and sometimes sharper than most of your previously attempted DIY projects.
Sawing, hammering, sanding, everything involves cumbersome and sharp-edged power tools and hand tools that call for practice, mindfulness. And, also, some basic safety equipment like goggles to protect your eyes.
Try to do ample research before you embark on your woodworking journey. Familiarize yourself with the tools. Be aware of their correct use and all potential hazards due to handling them.
Know Your Tools
Now that we’ve iterated the importance of practicing caution while handling your tools, let’s talk about the tools themselves.
Woodworking, as you can surely imagine, is a craft that is time-consuming. It involves a series of processes before the project is complete. Almost all of these processes call for a variety of tools.
As a novice, you could be intimidated by the number and expenses of the tools concerned. Especially if you simply leaf through woodworking catalogs or browse your local hardware depot. Bob from Inspire, Design & Create recommends asking an employee at your local hardware store to show you how to work each tool and the differences between them so you can choose exactly what you need for your first woodworking project to make it a success.
Our first advice here is to have a clear idea about what you wish to build. Visualize your design, make sketches and understand your limitations regarding skills, costs and time. Then make a distinct plan about how you are going to build your project and the steps you’d need to take to accomplish it.
Finally, decide on the appropriate tools to make your idea come to life.
The second piece of advice on this matter is to invest in a few high-quality tools over a large number of low-quality ones. Choose top-notch, versatile gadgets over-hyped and highly specialized ones.
Specialized tools generally require higher degrees of expertise. They may not be useful for every woodworking project that you take on. The five most important tools that are almost universally used in woodworking these days are the power-drill, miter saw sander, jig, and clamps.
The power drill is an extremely versatile tool that can be used all around the house. It’s not just for your hobbies so choose one that you would be comfortable handling for a long time.
Miter saws are the most frightening of the lot of gadgets you’d need to acquire. That is especially true if you intend to construct furniture and precisely cut the edges of your wood.
However, once you learn to use it, albeit safely, it can produce the sleekest, most professional-looking results.
The jigs and clamps are tools that will facilitate your woodworking process and are excellent investments for beginners.
Jigs will allow you to join the different components of your project together with ease and clamps will provide you with much-needed stability and accuracy.
Last but not least, think of buying a power-sander. Sanding is one of the most important steps when preparing your wood. It smooths the surface of the wood, removing debris, old layers of paint, resin or glue, and produces a pristine surface for staining.
Sanders comes in many sizes and varieties so you should pick yours while keeping in mind the size and elaboration of your project.
Sanding curves, especially in hard to reach areas can be difficult, thus if your woodworking project comprises of more curves than straight edges invest in a tool that can do detail work.
Pick the Right Wood
Wood, being an organic material, can be extremely varied and somewhat temperamental. Every piece of timber or wood board is different, owing to its place of origin, its species and the environment where it has weathered. These in turn make the selection of the appropriate wood quite a daunting task for a woodworker.
The trick here is to read and learn as much about the different genres of timber before you start your project.
Good lumber tends to be expensive, so start practicing your craft on reclaimed wood and pallet wood and move on to better quality timber once your skills have developed.
Enjoy the process. Cherish and take joy in your craft. Even if you do not end up with the most beautiful or utilitarian results, they will no doubt be utterly unique and special.