How to Get Started Woodworking.
Woodworking is one of the best hobbies around, and it will provide a lifetime of enjoyment, but for beginners, getting started can be frustrating. Please use this guide and get the basics you need for a smooth start.
Many people get started woodworking because they see a wooden piece of furniture, a wooden box or woodcraft planter, and they say to themselves, "I could make that"… especially once you take a look at the price tag
Knowing how to get started woodworking begins with what you want to make--once you have a clear woodworking idea in mind, bringing it into reality is easier. So, what do you want to build?
Woodworking plans for beginners
A great way to get project ideas is to get a set of high-quality woodworking plans. There are a lot of plans available on the Internet. And of course, some are better than others. Be wary of the word "free," remember what you pay for, is what you get. Those "free" plans may end up costing you time and money because they may not mention everything you need. Many free and low-quality patterns assume you have all of the tools and supplies on hand.
Good woodworking plans will have:
- Clear Step-by-Step instructions
- Easy to read and see all the details of the project
- Detailed materials list
- List of required tools
Why it's good to own a lot of good woodworking plans:
- Save time searching for projects-spend more time woodworking
- Learn woodworking faster by reading plans and understanding the process
- Save money by getting a lot of projects at once
- End frustration by having a lot of options at your fingertips
Woodworking plans are a critical part of getting started with woodworking success. They will help you develop the foundational skills that will make working with wood a rewarding and enjoyable hobby for years to come.
Recommended Woodworking Plans
Here is a list of books I have reviewed in another article. Read about them here.
- Build Stuff with Wood: Make Awesome Projects with Basic Tools by Asa Christiana
- My First Project: Easy-to-Build Woodworking Plans for Beginners by Andy Duframe
- How to Build Anything: With 3 Tools, 3 Boards, and 3 Steps by Andy Duframe
- The Big Book of Weekend Woodworking: 150 Easy Projects by John Nelson and Joyce Nelson
- Projects for Your Shop: Building Your Own Workshop Essentials by Matthew Teague
- Woodworking 101: Skill-Building Projects that Teach the Basics by Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk , Aime Fraser, & Matthew Teague
- The Complete Book of Woodworking: Step-by-Step Guide to Essential Woodworking Skills, Techniques, and Tips by Tom Carpenter & Mark Johanson
Beware of Ted’s Woodworking Plans! Read my review here before you buy it! Click Here!
Benefits of using quality woodworking plans
- You learn an excellent order of work for completing projects efficiently.
- You learn to think like a professional woodworker.
- You learn the reasons for doing project tasks in a particular order.
- You develop essential foundational skills that will help you create projects in the future.
My recommended sources require a one-time purchase that will provide a hearty supply of high-quality project plans. Save a ton of time by having them at your fingertips rather than having to search for good ideas for each project.
How much space do you need to set up a woodworking shop?
The space that you have available to work will determine which projects you're able to do, and what kind of tools you can use with them. With almost any challenge in life, if you have the will, there is a way to accomplish your goals. I read about a guy in a New York City apartment who used his small second bedroom as a woodshop. Although this can work, your choice of tools and some clear communication with understanding neighbors is essential.
Bare-bones woodworking method:
- Use your driveway, sidewalk or patio
- Use sawhorses, an old table, or any improvised means of holding your woodworking project safely for cutting and assembly purposes.
- Your kitchen counter or dining table can work for small projects, but be sure to protect them. See how here: Thanks to David Stanton's YouTube channel
1. Place an old beach towel or blanket over your table.
2. Make sure it will cover the area on which you intend to work
3. Place your Work surface on top of the blanket, and you are good to go. Any solid flat material will work, such as melamine, particleboard, MDF, or plywood.
Best Woodworking Method:
- A basement or garage with good lighting and ventilation.
- For every project, a suitable workbench is not necessary but will save you a lot of time and aggravation.
NOTE: If you do not have a solid workbench or table, this is a great first project. A solid workbench is foundational to your ability to securely manage your wood project and work efficiently and safely. Even a bare-bones beginner can build a handy workbench for very little money. Be creative and scavenge from friends or buy cheap wood at the lumberyard.
Beginner Woodworking Tools
You have a lot of options as to how you accomplish the work part of woodworking. Of course, if you have taken my advice, your high-quality woodworking plans will tell you what tools you need. Since we are talking specifically about "getting started." Please realize the term "beginner tools" doesn't mean cheap or poor quality, it just refers to those tools you need...at the beginning.
Ask yourself: Do I want to use Power Tools or Traditional Hand Tools? (Realizing that many "Power Tools" are "handheld," I make the distinction that "Traditional Hand Tools" are those that do not require electricity to function.)
Something to consider is how much time you have to accomplish your goal?
There is something beautiful and relaxing about working wood with quality Traditional Hand Tools. It is incredibly satisfying to me personally to do work in this way without the dust and noise that accompanies all of the woodworking machinery.
However, traditional hand tools require more time and skill. Because I am frequently short on time, I find using Power Tools to be necessary on many, if not most occasions. There is no right or wrong here; it's just personal preferences and available time to accomplish your goals.
You can, of course, have tools for both methods of work, but when you are just starting, you'll have to make a decision about which type of tools you will use first.
Where To Get Tools For Woodworking
Find a friend and borrow: When borrowing tools, it is crucial to return them in the same or better condition than you received them. Drill bits or saw-blades are particularly essential to replace if they are broken or dull. Just be sure to maintain your friendship by replacing anything you damage.
Renting: This is a terrific option if you are starting out and perhaps have an ambitious project in mind. Sometimes the rental of necessary power tools will give you a good idea of what you would like to buy without the initial cost. Make sure you do the math if you keep the device for more than 24 hours. Sometimes the cost of renting is not that much better than the purchase price of new tools that you can own.
Second hand: Many of the essential tools you will need can be picked up for very little money if you shop garage sales, Craigslist, or any other outlets for used tools. Of course, it is always a good idea to take along an experienced woodworker with you to make sure the equipment you buy will be a help to you rather than a hindrance.
New tools: This is my favorite because, well, I'm picky, I mean really, really, picky about my tools. Early in my woodworking experience, I would always choose the cheapest thing available to get my project done. Several of my furniture projects were damaged because the tool I was using was of such low quality. Poorly made tools create a lot of extra labor to remove the scratches and problems they cause.
Many beginning woodworking projects where fine detail is not the real concern can be completed very successfully with inexpensive tools. Think birdhouse or outdoor planter or picnic table. Just keep in mind the limitations of the tools.
Project Wood And Materials
Each project will require specific materials. A trip to the lumberyard can be confusing, so if you're brand new to woodworking. Check out my post on buying wood.
You should find all the information you need in the quality plans that you purchase.
Frequently, you will have leftover materials like nails screws and glue that can be used from one project the next. It's an excellent idea to start your woodworking hobby with a screw and nail organizer like this one (26 Drawer Plastic Parts Storage Hardware and Craft Cabinet) or something similar.
Vegetable cans, coffee cans, or plastic tubs work well too. Just know that being organized is one of the professional's secrets to doing work efficiently and eliminating frustration. You don't want to be like my old friend who had a big disheveled workshop and frequently said, "I have three of everything… if I could only find it!"
Take your time and ENJOY the woodworking process!
Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post! I hope you learned the importance of good plans when choosing your first project and understand more about the workspace you need for a woodworking hobby.
I have found that acquiring woodworking tools is one of the most fun aspects of woodworking. Don't forget to let all your family members and friends know that you're starting this new hobby so that they can add tools to your birthday and Christmas wish lists. I will be posting more about specific tools to help and inform you as you go.
There are so many varieties of wood and materials that will inspire you to create new and beautiful wood projects for your home. I hope you genuinely enjoy this fulfilling craft.
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