If you’re new to woodworking, knowing how to get started is very important to success and safety. Here are some woodworking tips that will get you off to the right start so that you can enjoy your new hobby and produce good results from your work.
Before you even begin on your first woodworking project, make sure that you take all the necessary steps to stay safe. Even when using only hand tools, you can still be in danger from splinters and wood shavings, and if you’re using power tools you’re at risk of being cut so using protective clothing such as cut-resistant gloves, ear plugs, a work apron and safety glasses is essential.
Getting Your Toolbox Equipped
If you’re new to woodworking you can get a lot done with only a few basic hand tools. You don’t actually need to progress to power tools at all if you don’t want to since in the old days everything was made manually, however you’ll probably want to consider investing in power saws once you’re more advanced.
Before you buy anything to stock up your toolbox, think about the type of projects you’ll be working on and choose the right tools to get the tasks done efficiently and to a high quality. Don’t be tempted to buy poor quality tools just because they’re cheap. A higher quality tool may cost more but will be more versatile and will last longer.
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As a bare minimum you need the following basics:
- Claw hammer
- 6” layout square
- Retractable tape measure
- Utility knife
- Sliding Bevel
- Nail Sets
- Crosscut hand saw
Choose Your Projects Wisely
When you’re just starting out with woodworking you need to choose the right projects to make sure that you don’t get put off your new hobby. Woodworking isn’t always easy and if you over-reach yourself and try something too complicated you might end up being deterred from trying any other projects.
Make sure you select projects which are challenging enough to keep you interested and engaged but also which are easy enough to make sure you’ve got a decent chance of being successful. Simple projects which you can complete relatively quickly and easily are the best choice to keep you encouraged and positive and you’ll have some lasting pieces which stand testament to your work.
Remember, even when working on simple projects, you still need to go through lots of different stages, from design to research through acquiring lumber, configuring the tools, joinery then surfacing, treating the edges, gluing together and finally, finishing the project. Master those simple skills before you move on to anything more complex.
Choose The Right Wood
Unlike clay, glass or metal, wood offers you a lot of different choices and options. Every tree, species and board has something unique to offer. For your first few projects it can be tempting to use cheap lumber, however once you advance to the next level you gain a better understanding of the materials that you are working work and you’ll come to understand that using better quality wood gives your work a more attractive and professional look.
If you use the right wood for the right project, you’ll be able to work with different types of woods and gain more experience that will prove invaluable as you progress in your hobby to bigger and more complex projects. You will find out more about how the various kinds of wood respond to nails, screws, saws, sanding, staining and painting so that you can make more informed choices in future.
There are many ways that you can cut wood from using a jigsaw, hand saw, table saw, band saw and circular saw. Circular saws, jigsaws and handsaws are the most affordable of these and can be used for the vast majority of home DIY woodwork projects.
A handsaw is the best choice if you need a quick cut that doesn’t have to be entirely straight. Since they’re not powered they take a bit of muscle power, however they’re ideal for fast working.
Jigsaws with their reciprocating blades are ideal for many purposes. They’re especially perfect for odd shaped curving cuts and as the blades are interchangeable, cheap and small, you can easily and rapidly switch them out.
Circular saws are a heavy duty option and are perfect for making straight, long cuts. Although they are a little dangerous they are fine once you have a bit of knowledge and experience and as long as you take care to always use the proper safety gear when using one.
You’ll need to choose the right screws for your project and there are several types to pick from. These include:
- Wood screws – with an unthreaded shank and coarse pitch, wood screws have a flat head and fit into the wood so that they sit flush for a smooth finish. You’ll need to drill a pilot hole first before using one of these screws.
- Sheet metal screws – shorter than a wood screw, these self-tapping screws need pilot holes too but have threading right up to their head and have a fine pitch.
- Drywall screws – longer and with coarser threads than wood screws they also have unthreaded shanks.
- Machine screws – available in several shapes and types, these precisely machined screws have a higher strength than other kinds of screw and need to be secure with a nut or bolt.
When choosing the correct screw for your job you will need to consider the materials that you are working with. As long as you choose screws which have been designed to meet the needs of your application and material connection problems will be a thing of the past.
If you love your new woodworking hobby, make sure that you give it the time that it takes to develop and hone your craft. By making space for it within your life, you’ll be able to obtain plenty of fulfilment and happiness and you’ll also have the great satisfaction that comes with producing useful and beautiful things that will make your home and your life even better. Enjoy yourself!