How to Start Woodworking as a Hobby? — Learn the Basics of this Craft as a Beginner (2023)

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Starting woodworking as a hobby requires more than handling power tools or selecting a good piece of wood for your project. Learning its basics is crucial before you create furniture for your home or starting a business out of it.

So before you proceed to build, let our woodworking experts help you every step of the way and share essential tips on how you can start a woodworking hobby.

What Is Woodworking?

Every woodworker needs to know more than a thing or two about learning woodworking, which includes having a good understanding of where to start and what they’re getting into. 

In general, woodworking can be defined as a form of construction using different kinds of wood, accompanied by fine woodworking gears like power tools and hand tools. 

Contrary to the common misconception, new woodworkers necessarily don’t need tools and materials worth thousands of dollars to start and begin  this hobby.

garage turned into woodworking shop

Although some woodworking process like restoration takes time, there’s a reason why learning this is popular among home improvement enthusiasts. It brings a different kind of fulfillment that not anyone could explain—from the thrill of cutting a piece of wood and turning it into simple furniture.

Find Your Niche

Woodworking project can range from easy furniture-making and home carpentry to complicated wood carving and turning. With these varying types, it takes time to learn how to measure, cut, attach and assemble a project. 

However, there are a lot of design any woodworker can venture and learning into with the use of basic tools and simple materials like finding some scrap wood you can cut. It all depends on your desire to take it as an occasional hobby or turn it into a lucrative career. 

If you’re planning to make woodworking project in the long-term, you can invest in specific set of tools you need to use to ensure a continuous and efficient construction process.

Learn the Basics

Basic Woodworking Techniques

sawing wood board with BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX

If you want to know how to get started with woodworking, nailing down the fundamental techniques is key. Trust us when we say that mastering these skills will help you produce better output according to your desired specifications and designs: 

Sawing

Most woodworking projects include cutting materials into specific shapes and sizes. Because of this, a newbie woodworker like you must learn how to execute sawing techniques based on the tool you’re using. 

Jointing

This woodworking technique is commonly used when joining two workpieces together. It requires glue or other adhesive materials to connect flat surfaces and joint angles. 

Routing

You can execute this method using a router tool that works well in finishing edges and shaping materials. We recommend its usage for making furniture or cabinet grooves.

router on wooden surface

Planing

After you cut the material into your desired shape or size, the next method you must do is to smoothen its edges. It removes waste materials cut from the wood with planer equipment or a hand tool. 

Sanding

This technique comes in handy in the finishing process, where you’ll use sandpaper to make the surface smooth. For best sanding results, we recommend using ones with medium grits.

You Might Want Check This Out: Best Sandblasters to Buy for Your Project

Drilling

This process involves drill drivers that make holes by driving bits and screws into the surface. 

Gluing

It’s a process of connecting two wood materials to form a bigger layout or design. You’ll need to glue these workpieces firmly, or the joint won’t be as strong as the material. 

Lathing

This woodworking technique involves the use of lathe tools. It executes the wood-turning method and allows the tool mechanism to generate different shapes and forms. 

setting up Grizzly G0602 Mini Metal Lathe

Finishing

After all the cutting, shaping, and sanding, the last process your workpiece needs to go through is finishing. This method includes applying a finishing product to protect the material’s surface. 

Basic Woodworking Terms

Workpiece

It’s the term woodworkers use when referring to the material you’re working on. 

Grain

You can use this term for the pattern seen on a wood piece. It’s a part of the material that’s unique and crucial for cutting.

Milling

It’s a method for cutting wood materials into a specific width and length.

milling black walnut

Crosscut

This term is a cutting technique that involves milling against the wood grain.

Rip Cut

It’s a cutting method that includes milling with the wood grain.

Square

The term relates to the wood’s edge angled at 90 degrees. You can refer to a workpiece as a square if its edges have 90-degree angles.

Swanson Tool Combo Square

Pilot Hole

A pre-drilled hole to ensure that the bits or screws are driven in the right location.

Proud

It’s a term for a protruding piece in the material’s face side. 

Reveal

It’s a term referring to the visible side of the workpiece.

Butt Joints

It’s the most basic joinery technique, where you press two wood pieces together and connect them using the best glue or screws to create a 90-degree angle.

Butt joint

Type and Dimensions of Wood

One of the most critical aspects of woodworking is making sure you’re using the right type of wood related on your design. There are ideal places where you can purchase wood for wood turning projects. Each piece of wood varies in characteristics and sizes. 

From softwoods like pine to hardwoods like mahogany and oak, the materials you’ll use pretty much depend on what kind of product like table, cabinet and more you intend to get out of this hobby. 

Even for professionals who consider woodworking more than just a hobby, selecting wood for any project can never be easy. Although straight woods are more convenient to use when working than warped and bowed lumber, it takes skill to know how to tell them apart.

operating table saw

It’s also essential for one to know how to discern wood dimension expressions like 2×2, 1×1, and more. This way, you wouldn’t be confused when purchasing lumber suited for your woodworking project. 

We suggest looking up nominal and actual lumber sizes and wood-related terms for you to get the right measurements of materials. 

Getting the proper dimension with top woodworking squares also determines your output’s accuracy and will save you from unnecessary measurement miscalculations during the entire project construction.

Tape Measurements

People who just got into woodworking tend to forget that measurements are one, if not the most, crucial step to consider when working with lumber. Some might think that using a tape measure is easy and simple, but it can be tricky.

If you’re still learning how to read the marks on a tape measure, we recommend getting the most basic type available. On its surface, one can see printed numbers that will indicate the measurements that could serve as a guide for your cuts[1].

Wood Joinery

When starting a woodworking project, one of the first things you must settle is the kind of joints you’ll use to properly drill your chosen material together. There are a variety of wood joinery techniques to get the exact output you need. 

These step-by-step procedures need to be finalized before beginning the design. Doing so will establish the entire structure’s durability. Using many woodworking tools, one can get started in making various types of wood joints.

woodworking joints

It can range from basic ones like butt and dowel joints to complicated structures like through-dovetail and tongue-and-groove joints. Many people who are used to making furniture will find this easy, and our team definitely encourages you to take your time to start in learning the step-by-step procedure if you are a beginner.

Finishing the Wood

Aside from making accurate cut, wood sanding is one of many steps that require some time to execute. For instance, if you are making a workbench top, the wood’s surface needs to be smooth through this process before declaring it ready for painting or staining.

You have the option to use a sanding machine or keep things clean with sandpaper. It doesn’t matter which one you decide to go for because both offer similar results. And although a belt sander can get the job done faster, you must learn how to operate it first.

Acquire Essential Tools and Equipment

When it comes to gears and tool used to build well-made wooden masterpieces, there are two options you can go for. First, you can opt to use a power tool, an essential requirement in any outlet, especially when dealing with extensive and labor-intensive woodworking project.

Electrical-powered woodworking tools like circular saw, miter saw, table saw, and drill equipment make the wood cutting operation more accurate. Although power tools can be intimidating and take a bit of time to learn, they can be handy for projects that need fast results.

woodworking cabinet for tools

If you’re unfamiliar with woodworking power tools, here is rundown of the basic ones you should know as a beginner:

Saws

As previously mentioned, woodworking projects require cutting different materials, and that alone justifies why you should buy reliable cutting tools. 

Blades

When buying cutting tools, you should have blades suitable for the cuts you want to execute. 

Planers

You can opt for electric-powered planers to remove excess wood materials quickly on larger surfaces. If not, the best hand planers are great options for making smaller wooden areas smoother.

Drills

You can choose between hand and powered drills depending on how massive the job is. Nevertheless, we recommend utilizing the best drill press if you intend to make deeper and bigger holes, as they require more force and power. 

power drill and wooden boards

Clamps

These are handy tools in the workshop if you want to get started with woodworking. They help keep the materials in the correct position to prevent inaccurate cuts or drills. 

Chisels

These tools work best with mallets and hammers to shape wood or remove excess materials. While some chisels are light and handy, mortise options are more effective when handling heavy-duty materials. 

If you’re beginning he recommend you try using manual hand tools first. Woodworking tools don’t have to be electric-powered. Despite being more labor-inducing, tools like chisels, hand saw, and carving knives work effectively when used correctly.

(Other essential tools that you can consider are topnotch Japanese woodwork tools we picked here.) 

Set Up a Workplace

Before you start with a woodworking hobby, you’ll need to set up the place where you’ll be doing all the wood activities. Everything from here depends on the specifications of the projects you need to accomplish.

You need to prepare things ahead of time to prevent interruption during construction. 

workbenches in a woodworking shop

Thus, our team recommends carefully considering the tools you will need and pieces of wood to work on, up to the available space where you’ll start the project. Preparing a conducive environment will make a hassle-free work station.

(If you want to profit from woodworking, here are the proven ways to sell your woodworking projects)

Take Woodworking Classes

Woodworking is an activity that requires long practice and skill. If you find yourself really confused related with all the work, you can take a step back and consider enrolling in woodworking classes near you

Although many DIY enthusiasts encourage beginners to work independently, woodworking classes can be a good option for people looking for additional guidance. There are well-instructed lessons where you can study how to operate tools like a table saw, miter saw and drill properly.

woodworking class

Aside from tools, woodworking classes also tend to offer reliable guides about choosing the right type of wood and other essential materials you’ll need for your project. It’s also a great way to be updated with the latest woodworking trends.

Easy Projects to Try

There is a bottomless list of projects you can try to make using wood as your base material such as high-quality pallet projects. For beginners, constructing simple furniture like a small table or a chair can make you get the gist of the entire woodworking process. 

If you’re slightly oriented in dealing with wood projects, you can try to make a shoe rack. This project is relatively easy and makes a good woodworking project idea for your home, but it requires constant wood measurement before you cut your board, which is a good practice if you want to make woodworking a regular hobby.

FAQ

How do I get started in woodworking?

To get started with woodworking, you have to make sure that you have the basic requirements laid down ahead of time. From the right type of wood to suitable tools, you need to determine everything based on your project demands. If you feel like you need additional help, you can try joining woodworking classes. 

Interesting Read: Beautiful Chainsaw Man Tattoo Ideas 

How much does it cost to start woodworking?

Starting woodworking project can cost from a hundred to a thousand dollars; it depends on the specifications you intend to achieve with your output. If you have thoughts of doing this for a long time and venturing into your own woodworking business, then investing in power tools can help you in the long run.

Conclusion

Dealing with wood and different tools can be quite challenging, but it also gives you a chance to nurture your creativity and display your love for craft-making. There are many ways to discover how to start a woodworking hobby; all you need to do is have the courage to make a move.

However, suppose you find yourself stuck to make the first project you have in mind, you can always seek assistance through different woodworking classes. Learning with a tutor can help you be more confident about your skills and develop techniques that can help you create better wooden pieces.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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