If you are looking to start a new hobby, and you are good with your hands, why not think about learning woodworking? Woodworking is now very popular and seems to be something almost anyone can do. However, how do you even get started with woodworking?
What is Woodworking?
Woodworking is probably one of the oldest crafts in the world. It is basically, creating things out of wood. Because you are creating something and have an end result, it can be extremely fulfilling. If you like making things, you will find it is a relaxing hobby.
Although it appears you need a lot of tools and equipment, it is all easy to find. You do not need to buy everything when you are starting out. Just some basic hand tools until you are sure you will enjoy this as a hobby.
Is it Dangerous?
Of course, there is the potential to hurt yourself as you are dealing with sharp tools and power tools. Even wood can give you splinters. However, people work with wood every day, even as a profession. If you follow the basic safety rules, you will be quite safe. Just take the time to learn the procedures and always obey them, even when you are in a hurry.
Here are some basic pointers.
- Read the instruction manual for each piece of equipment.
- Learn to use your tools correctly.
- Check each piece of equipment before you use it.
- Always wear eye protection.
- Wear gloves.
- Wear suitable footwear.
- Wear a dust mask.
- Be careful so clothes and hair do not get caught when using tools.
- Keep your work area clean.
- Tidy up when you have finished.
What Hand Tools Do You Need?
As I have already said, don’t buy lots of tools at the beginning as you don’t really have the knowledge to be able to choose correctly. The few basic hand tools you should probably start off with are:
- Claw Hammer
- Tape measure
- Work table and bar clamps
Once you have experience and you are certain you are going to keep up this hobby, you can add to your collection. However, always seek advice or research the tools you are going to buy. Things like saw blades are one of the most important things you can buy. You may not realise how many different types of blade there are. There is an awesome site called Saw Blades Onlywhere they explain the several types of blade and review the best ones. You may not have the expertise to choose the right blade, so find someone who has.
As you gain experience, you can add to the tools above.
- You probably need additional chisels
- Short and long level
- Sliding bevel
- Block plane.
What Power Tools Do You Need?
Whilst you are a beginner, you may consider buying pre-cut kits which would reduce the number of tools you need. You can either buy pre-cut kits or you could buy pieces already cut to the correct size. You can even buy things like legs or spindles that have already been turned.
Getting more advanced, with these power tools you should be able to complete more interesting projects:
- Power drill
- Circular saw
- Orbital sander
- Table saw. Ensure you buy decent quality blades.
- Mitre saw
Although the adage of buy cheap buy twice is certainly true, you may want to buy cheaper tools first. You will find they should be perfectly suitable unless you are using them everyday.
What Wood Should You Use?
Clearly, a major component of woodworking is wood. Be careful as this can be expensive. When you are learning, use cheaper wood. Then if you make mistakes, they will not be as costly. You will learn better by using a mix of woods so start with pine which is a soft wood, and poplar which is a hardwood.
Now that you have your tools and your wood, you need to find something to build. As a beginner, it is better for you to use woodworking plans. You can learn a lot just by following the plan. You will be able to find some online for free, so find an interesting project and get started. One of the best projects for a beginner is to build your own workbench. This is something you will use every day and can be truly proud of.
Make sure that you understand your plan before you start anything. Ensure that you have all the equipment you need. Double check everything before you make your first cut. Don’t rush but get it right first time as you will save yourself money and avoid frustration.
However, don’t worry if you really mess it up. Providing you learn from your mistakes, you will benefit from what you have done. Don’t lose your temper, or give up. Just see where you went wrong and try again.
Learning woodworking may seem to be a daunting task as there is so much to learn and so many tools you seem to need. But as you have seen, it is not that difficult to learn woodworking. Try and read up as much as you can and find some videos online. There is lots of information about woodworking available for free. Learn all you can about wood. The better you understand it, the better you can work with it. Once you have learnt the basics you can start producing things. What have you got to lose? Just give it a go.