Nothing compares to taking the furniture you see in your mind’s eye and transforming it into a tangible work of art in your woodworker’s shop. Even better is the sweet satisfaction of seeing someone show off and use your handcrafted product with pride. #priceless
If woodworking is your labour of love, you’re in good company. Research shows that nearly 17 million households engage in woodworking as a hobby.
The question is, how exactly do you get started if you’re new to the craft and feel intimidated by it? Or, how can you elevate your woodworking skills to simplify jobs, save time, and create even more spectacular products?
Here’s a rundown on the top five lessons from different woodworkers that will help you perfect your craft for those future projects.
One of the most important steps you can take before embarking on woodworking projects is to learn about the various kinds of wood available to use. For instance, take into consideration how wood has been dried and the length of time it took to dry. When wood pieces dry, they lose their moisture and will ultimately change shape and shrink.
In light of the above, it is best to stick with lumber that has been kiln dried. That’s because this type of wood is carefully dried in such a way as to prevent unwanted warping. Working with wet wood is a mistake, as the wood will probably warp and won’t work well with mechanical equipment.
Also, be sure to check your chosen lumber for any imperfections. Wood defects may lead to aesthetic issues or a weaker final product overall. You should also check for metal materials, such as staples or nails, as these may end up damaging your woodworking tools.
If you’re just beginning your woodworking journey, note that every woodworking starter set should include high-quality hand planes. These planes are handy for sizing your workpieces to precise levels of thickness, lengths, and widths. They are also invaluable for fine-tuning joints for the perfect fit, as well as easily removing saw marks.
For instance, shoulder planes are necessary for shaving off thin bits of tenons that don’t fit well to achieve lasting, strong joints. Meanwhile, block planes are great for bevelling edges. Bench planes also have their place, as they have long bases for better enabling the levelling of sizable areas, like doors and tables. All of these planes are indispensable for effectively shaving and shaping the wood to get you the results you want.
Having trouble accurately measuring material for cutting? Woodworkers’ advice: place a small tick mark on the side you plan to do your cutting on. This will keep you from having to re-measure again and again, and it will also help you to take into account your blade’s kerf, or thickness.
If you cut on your marked line directly, the kerf will simply eat into the measured piece, which means your cut will ultimately be inaccurate. Even an ⅛” off can lead to subpar results for your project. So, pay special attention to your marking and cutting to avoid unnecessary and potentially costly do-overs.
If you want to create comfortable wood furniture, you’ll need a good hand sander to smooth your wood surfaces. Sanding sheets can be placed on a palm sander to scratch up your wood surfaces with finer grits until all marks that are left are too small to detect.
During the sanding process, be sure to keep your sanding sheets flat on your wood pieces. In addition, move in the grain’s direction, as this will help to camouflage those unavoidable scratches.
Finally, use coconut oil to seal your wood at the end of your project. Coconut oil offers the benefits of being warm and not too shiny, yet simple to care for. Simply put, it’s a lot easier to work with compared with retail wood oil, and this makes it the perfect alternative to traditional oil. Coconut oil will also leave your product glowing, and hides scratches and imperfections. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or a newbie to the field, you can easily join the ranks of other DIYers who have fallen in love with this type of oil.
When using coconut oil, apply it to all parts of your wood, including any hidden parts. This will make certain that your wood will react to humidity changes uniformly. A single coat or two coats is generally sufficient in hidden areas.
Woodworking can no doubt be an exciting, stress-reducing, and fulfilling pastime. However, the process of honing your skills can also be frustrating if you haven’t mastered the leading tips and tricks of the trade.
Fortunately, with the right strategies, you can easily take your woodworking skills up a notch. Follow the above-listed tips from various woodworkers to increase your efficiency and elevate your woodworking project results in the month and years ahead.
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