Have you always wanted to work with wood? Getting started in woodworking can certainly be intimidating for those who have little to no experience in the field. There are many different types of tools to consider, techniques, and even types of wood to learn, and it can sometimes seem impossible to know just where to start. Fortunately, just about anyone can get involved with woodworking and when you have the essential woodworking tools and good woodworking tips, it can become much easier.
Woodworking for beginners doesn’t have to be a complex affair. When you are just starting out, it tends to be best to start simple and work your way up from there. Let’s start with some of the basics.
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Beginner Woodworking Tips to Keep in Mind
As mentioned, it is fine if you start out simply with your woodworking setup. You do not need to have a massive shop. You can begin small, and it can even be a temporary location if space is limited. You simply need to make sure you have enough space to complete the project and to remain safe while you do. A small setup can work well. It just means that you might have to stop and clean/prep the area for the next step in the project rather than just going to a different workstation.
Keep your expectations in check when you are starting out. Woodworking for beginners can feel frustrating when you aren’t able to produce the same level of quality in your projects that you see from others. It’s not a reflection of you. Rather, it is a reflection of the amount of time you have spent learning the craft. As you continue to practice the trade and get to know your tools and lumber better, your skills will improve. Do not get frustrated if you don’t have perfect projects when you are beginning.
By taking some time to learn more about lumber, you will find that it can improve the quality of your projects even when you are still learning. Choosing the wrong lumber is one of the biggest issues that plague those who are new to woodworking. There are many types of wood that fall into the hardwood and softwood category. For example, pine and cedar are softwood, whereas oak, walnut, mahogany, and cherry are hardwood. They have different characteristics and feel different when you are working with them.
When you are first starting out, follow guidelines on the projects you are working on. If they say that you should be using a hardwood for the project, choose a nice hardwood. Once you have more experience with different types of woods, which comes in time, you will be able to experiment more freely. For many beginners, though, it is a good idea to begin with pine, as it is a relatively inexpensive wood. It’s better to practice on inexpensive lumber than it is to spend a lot on something like mahogany only to find out that you have to scrap the project because of mistakes.
Understand how to take measurements. You have probably heard the adage that you should measure twice and cut once. It’s very true when it comes to woodworking, and this is an area where many newbies have a problem. They are excited to get started and they do not take proper measurements. When they cut too much from a piece of wood, it’s not exactly easy to fix that mistake without getting an entire new piece of lumber. Take time with your measurements and measure at least twice.
Safety Is Not an Afterthought
Woodworking is a lot of fun, but it has the potential to be very dangerous, as well. Even when you are careful, there is the risk of injury, so you need to pay close attention to your safety and what you are doing at each step of the project. Wear protection for your eyes and your hands. Be sure to wear hearing protection when you are working with power tools such as circular saws. Follow basic safety rules each and every time you step into your workspace and instill those safety habits.
The Essential Woodworking Tools
When it comes to the tools that you will be using for woodworking, they can be broken down into two broad categories – hand tools and power tools. While you may not need to go out and buy all of these items right now, you will want to start with a few of the most important. When you are choosing which tools to start with, in addition to the basics, you will want to consider the project you are doing. Consider the tools that you will need for the project and then add those to your setup.
Let’s start by considering some of the most important hand tools that should be in every woodworker’s toolbox.
Hand Tools Every Woodworker Should Own
- Tape measure
- Screwdrivers – flathead and Phillips
- Utility knife and extra blades
- Block plane
There is a good chance that you already have some or all of the tools mentioned above. If there are any of these that you don’t have, you might want to make them some of your first purchases. This is because you will likely be using these tools quite often regardless of the project.
In addition to the tape measure and level, you might want to consider some of the more interesting technological options that can replace these tools, such as laser measuring devices and levels. They can be nice to have, and they can make many projects faster and easier. However, they are not necessarily essential woodworking tools. They are luxuries that you might want to get. It is still a good idea to have the analog equivalents of these tools in your toolbox for those times when the batteries are low on your power tools.
Now, let’s move on to some essential woodworking tools that fall into the power tool category These types of tools will make your job far easier and more efficient, even though it might be possible to get some similar results working only with hand tools. After all, master craftspeople from a hundred years ago were able to create beautiful woodwork with only hand tools and time.
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However, hand tools will make things much easier. The following are some of the tools that you will eventually want to bring into your setup.
Power Tools Every Woodworker Should Own
These are only some of the various power tools available. The ones listed above should help you immensely in your woodworking projects, but you can always add others as time, finances, and space allows.
When You Buy Tools, Choose Quality Over Price
One of the mistakes that many people make when they are buying their essential woodworking tools is trying to find the cheapest options available. They figure that if they spend less on each of the tools, they can buy more tools overall and have a better and more complete setup faster. However, buying low-quality tools is going to become a problem sooner or later. These tools are not going to last as long, they won’t be as reliable or as powerful, and your projects are going to suffer.
It is far better to buy the best quality tools that you can afford, even if you are buying fewer of them at the start. This way, you can be sure that they are going to last longer and that they will do a good job when you are using them. Even if you are building your set of tools slowly, this is the better choice.
Take the plunge now. Woodworking for beginners should be fun and not intimidating. Find a nice and simple project that appeals to you, get the tools you need, follow the safety guidelines and create something!