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Whether you’re interested in developing a woodworking hobby for fun – or to become a professional later on – it’s a unique, long-lasting skill that many aspire to. However, it’s also a relatively complicated hobby to adopt, with a need for serious understanding and all the right tools.
Hoping to take your home to the next level by getting into woodworking?
Here are some valuable tips for total newbies and amateurs. We’ll go over the basics so you can begin your hobby with the right knowledge and accessories.
Regardless of where you live, you’ll need a dedicated space to take on woodworking projects.
This is relatively easy to find if you have a home with a spacious garage or an open basement. Still, you can successfully set up a little woodworking space anywhere, even in a small apartment!
First things first: define your space and decide what you’ll need to make it a working woodshop.
Ask yourself what types of projects you’ll tackle and how much room you’ll need, as well as how you can keep small children and other people away from the sharp, dangerous tools.
The room or space will need to be big enough for your projects, adequately lit, and have access to plenty of electrical outlets.
Another thing to keep in mind: when you work with wood, sawdust, paint, and stain fumes will be a problem. The area needs to have excellent ventilation capabilities and a moderately high ceiling.
Before you begin hunting down tools and picking out projects to tackle, there are certain woodworking safety rules you should know by heart. Some might seem like common sense, but they’re all essential to staying safe.
Be sure to have proper knowledge about woodworking process and tools before setting up your shop – as any oversights can potentially result in big consequences.
As soon as you enter your woodworking area, put on your safety glasses – keep them on until you leave. You may also need some form of hearing protection when using noisy tools, and you should always put on gloves when dealing with sharp tools and rough wood.
Safety gear isn’t the only thing that matters. When you wear clothing that is too baggy or exposing, you also jeopardize your safety. Remove any dangling jewelry and roll up clothing that could become entangled in your tools.
Although you might be used to seeing characters like Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation drink and woodwork, it’s a bad, bad idea. No drugs or alcohol should be used in connection with any woodworking due to the use of dangerous tools.
When you’re plugging in lots of power tools, you might accidentally overload a circuit. Try to only plug one tool in at a time and be cognizant of which tools you’ve left plugged in and when they should be disconnected.
A good woodworker always checks for nails, screws, staples, and other small bits of metal in wood. If you accidentally hit one of these while cutting, you could be looking at a serious kick back with the potential for injury.
As you get comfortable with your power tools and blades, you might start to get sloppy. Never, ever reach across a moving blade. You should always turn off the tool before you reach to push things out of the way. Keep your arms engaged and firm, and only relax once the machine is fully powered down.
Chances are, you already own some of the most basic woodworking tools such as:
- A hammer
- A layout square
- A tape measure
- Utility knives
- A Level
- Nail sets
However, that’s just the starter kit. If you really want to get into woodworking, you’ll need some specialized power tools for most projects. These tools will make your work easier, safer, and quicker.
Here are the first power tools you should invest in:
- A circular saw
- A jigsaw
- A power drill
- A table saw
- A random orbital sander
- A router
- A compound miter saw
Although you’ll see fancy full-size table saws and other exciting woodworking tools while shopping around, start with portable, easy-to-use power tools. As you develop your hobby, you can decide if bigger, more complex tools are worth investing in.
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If you don’t know too much about lumber, you might not realize that there are tons of material types you can choose from for your first woodworking project. A true woodworker learns to pick the best kinds of lumber for their projects, and if you want to succeed in your hobby, you’ll need to do the same.
This kind of wood usually comes from a conifer tree, such as pine. In comparison to other kinds of wood, it’s relatively soft, as well as affordable. Softwood is often used in home construction and farming. It’s easy to work on and simple to cut, making it a good wood for beginners to start with.
When you think of a fine dining room table or woodwork art, it’s probably made of a hardwood like mahogany, cherry, oak, or walnut. These woods are very durable and can be beautiful without being painted or stained. Depending on the specific type of hardwood you’re looking for, the product can be expensive.
A popular, versatile building material, plywood is actually manufactured from pieces of wood, not taken from solid lumber. It’s strong, thick, and used in many furniture products. If you buy the right kind of plywood, it can be easy to handle, but also somewhat expensive.
Ask your local hardware store representatives to help you pick the plywood that best suits your project.
This type of woodworking material is totally manufactured by compressing wood fiber into boards. Think about the types of materials you see from mass furniture shops like Ikea. Although it is very easy to cut and work with, MDF can be fragile and collapse if you’re not careful.
You’ll feel much more skilled at starting this new hobby if you pick the right project to start with. Here are a few ideas that will boost your confidence and help you learn the basics of woodworking.
Floating shelves look impressive, but luckily, they’re not that difficult to make. Using a miter saw, brad nailer, and level, take a piece of reclaimed wood and some plywood to create storage solutions that will impress guests.
Take any old chunk of wood and transform it into something special. A rustic-looking candle holder is an easy project that will give you the confidence to tackle other aspirations. All you need is a saw and a drill, and maybe some decorative elements – like horseshoes or iron shapes.
Tired of having to prop up a cookbook or digital device while following a recipe in the kitchen? In just three hours or so, you can create a wooden holder that any cook would love. You just need a miter saw, two bar clamps, an orbital palm sander, and a drill.
Using a drill and a drill bit, you can easily make a swing for the kids to play on in the backyard. All you need are some wooden planks and beads, braided nylon rope, sandpaper, metal rings, and some rope to hang the swing from a tree.
Developing woodworking as a hobby is a great ambition, as long as you prepare yourself adequately with the right knowledge, protective gear, and tools. Hopefully, these tips will take you far into your initial steps with woodworking.