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 really need for an easy 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 build--once you have a clear woodworking idea in mind, making 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 free plans, remember you usually get what you pay for. Those “free” plans may end up costing you time and money because they may not mention everything you need. Many free and poor quality plans 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.
This is a list of books I have reviewed in another article. Please Click here for the book reviews.
- 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 a good 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 certain order.
- You develop essential foundational skills that will help you create your own projects in the future.
The sources I recommend require a one-time purchase that will give you a good supply of really high-quality project plans and you will save a ton of time by having them at your fingertips rather than having to search for good plans for each individual project.
How much space do you need for setting 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 are able to 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 important.
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.
- Some small projects can be done on a kitchen counter or dining table…just be sure to protect them. See how here: Thanks to David Stanton's YouTube channel
1.Take an old beach towel or blanket and place it over the table you are working on.
2. Make sure it will cover the area you intend to work on.
3. Place your Work surface on top the blanket and you are good to go. Any solid flat material will work such as melamine, particle board, MDF etc...
- A basement or garage with good lighting and ventilation.
- For every project, a good 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 an excellent first project. A solid workbench is foundational to your ability to securely manage your wood project and work in an efficient and safe manner. Even if you are a bare-bones beginner, with a little creativity and scavenging from friends or just buying cheap wood at the lumberyard you can build a very useful workbench for very little money.
Beginner woodworking tools for your project.
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" 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 of these “Power Tools” are held in your hands, I make the distinction that Traditional Hand Tools are those that do not require electricity in order to function.)
Something to consider is how much time you have to accomplish your goal?
There is something absolutely wonderful and relaxing about working wood with quality Traditional Hand Tools . It is extremely satisfying to me personally to do work in this way without the dust and noise that accompanies all of the woodworking machinery.
However, because I don’t always have the time to create my wood projects in the traditional manner, 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 out 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 very important to return them in the same or better condition than you received them, particularly if you are borrowing drill bits or saw-blades. Just be sure to maintain your friendship by replacing anything you damage.
Renting: this is a great option if you art just starting out and perhaps have an ambitious project in mind. Sometimes the rental of key 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 tool 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 keep.
Shop garage sales, Craigslist or any other outlets for used tools. Many of the basic tools you will need can be picked up for very little money if you have the time to shop around. Of course, it is always a good idea to take along an experienced woodworker with you to make sure the tools you buy are going to be a help to you rather than a hindrance.
New tools: This is my favorite because well, I’m really picky,… I mean really really picky about my tools. Early in my woodworking experience, I would always choose the cheapest tool available to get my project done. I have had several fine furniture projects that were almost ruined because the tool I was using was of such low quality that it caused a lot of extra Labor to remove scratches and problems caused by a poorly made tool.
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.
The wood and materials you need to buy.
Each project will have its own required materials. You should find everything that you need to be listed in the quality plans that you purchase.
Please note: Very frequently you will have leftover materials like nails screws and glue that can be used from one project the next. It’s a really good idea to start your woodworking hobby with 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 can be used as well. 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 large disheveled workshop and frequently said “I have three of everything… if I could just 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 woodworking. Don’t forget to let all your family members and friends know that you’re starting this new hobby, so they can add tools to your birthday and Christmas wish lists. I will be posting more about specific tools that you will want to know about.
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 truly enjoy this is wonderful craft.
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