Woodworking: Where To Start - Tips From Experienced Woodworkers
Woodworking encompasses a broad area of skills, specialties, and applications. Some beginners take on too much too soon or blow their savings on expensive woodworking tools and machines that they don't know how to use and might not ever need. And even some basic techniques can be confusing or easy to do incorrectly. Experienced woodworkers have some simple, but insightful tips to help you get off to a good start.
Do Your Research Initiative, courage, a sense of adventure, these are all good things, and many fine woodworkers learned their skills by just jumping in and trying to build something. Chances are whatever they chose for their first project, it came out better than they thought, but not really nice enough to use or display. Even those brave souls that start from scratch with no preparation often end up seeking out some books, magazines, or experienced woodworkers to figure out how to do it right.
The woodworkers we talked to stressed that a person can save themselves some time and frustration by learning about different aspects of woodworking before starting a first project. Many suggested finding some good books or magazines, either at library for free or at bookstore. Start with basics and learn about different forms of woodworking, types of trees and woods and how they are used, various tools, etc. - just kind of information presented here in this article.
"I have an entire corner of my garage filled with books and magazines," shared Paul Johnson, who has been woodworking since he was a young boy. "I subscribe to a couple and keep those that have projects or techniques that I would like to try. I also buy a couple new books every year. When I first started woodworking, I bought them left and right; whenever I came across one that was recommended or had information I wanted to learn. They help give me ideas for projects," he added. "I especially like those that come with patterns."
After learning about basics, you should have an idea of what type of woodworking interests you, and you can move on to books or even classes that teach hands on skills in that particular area.
Take Some Classes In fact taking classes was recommended by several of our experts. Whether it's a beginning class through local college or something taught by an experienced woodworker, it will typically give you a good overview of different tools and woodworking safety. Some building centers and lumberyards also offer classes on basics or teach you how to make a specific project.
If you aren't big on classes, but you know a person who is skilled in woodworking, ask if they would let you assist them with a project, or perhaps just sit and observe. Most woodworkers are pleased to talk about their art and share it with others. Chances are they will be happy to oblige.
Keep It Simple The answer, "Keep it simple," came up over and over, when asked for advice for new woodworkers. Start with simple projects, preferably those that use only hand tools. This way, you will learn how to do important things like measure, cut, shape and join. Getting good at those basic skills is extremely important.
If you are brand new to woodworking and haven't used tools much before, you might want to consider starting with a precut kit. Most kits consist of wood that is already cut in appropriate shapes and sizes. It is up to you to follow directions and put pieces together. These kits typically require nailing, screwing, gluing, sanding, and finishing. You can make birdhouses and feeders, benches, plant holders, and many other fun items to get you started.