Woodworking refers to the process of using wood to make a variety of objects like furniture, cabinets, and decorative items.
Whether you are curious about the the basics of the art of woodworking or want to become a woodworker yourself, here’s a beginner’s guide to get you started in the woodworking industry.
Introduction to Woodworking
Woodworking is the process of making things out of wood. Wood is a natural element obtained from trees. It involves turning raw wood into objects like furniture, decorative items, tools, boards, etc. through cutting, joining, and crafting. It is a popular hobby and a great way to engage in home improvement projects.
Some popular examples of things made with woodworking include cabinets, tables, bed frames, building structures, instruments, bowls and carpentry. A person involved in woodworking is called a woodworker.
It’s not too hard to learn the skills of woodworking, and you can get better at it with each simple woodworking project.
In older times, most woodworking was done by hand, as the tools available were limited. However, now woodworkers have access to modern technology & tools to make more advanced woodworking projects and objects. But you still need creativity and skill to become a good woodworker. Dive into the realm of crafting with wood through our comprehensive guide, tailored especially for woodworking for beginners.
Woodworking Terms Beginners Should Know
Like any other craft, woodworking has some terminologies that every woodworker must be familiar with. This will make the journey easier and exciting for you. Here are some common woodworking terms to get started.
Jointing involves preparing wood for glueing. This is used for both flat and angled joints. The sides of the wooden boards are processed to ensure they have straight lines for a tight and secure joint.
Planing involves smoothing wood surfaces to remove excess material using a planer machine or hand tool. The process of planing can reveal the natural beauty of wood grain, making it an important step in woodworking.
Routing involves shaping and trimming wood to create finished edges. It is done using a router. A common example of routing is cutting grooves in cabinets and furniture.
Sawing is one of the most important parts of woodworking. This involves cutting lumber with a machine or tool called a saw.
There are different types of saws, such as handsaws, circular saws, table saws, chainsaws, bandsaws, and jigsaws, which are used for different projects.
Drilling is the process of creating holes in wood using a drill and bit. Drill bits come in various sizes, materials and shapes, and the choice depends on the specific project or purpose.
Glueing or gluing involves joining pieces of wood together using a wood glue such as Polyvinyl acetate (PVA).
Sanding involves the use of sandpaper to make the wood surface smooth, in a finished or unfinished project.
It starts with a medium grit and progresses to a finer grit for a polished finish.
Finishing is used to enhance the quality, strength and appearance of wooden surfaces by applying a penetrating or surface finish. It adds class and durability to the wood.
Must-Have Woodworking Tools for Beginners
Woodworking tools are the tools that are used to cut, join, shape, and finish wood during a woodworking project.
There are hundreds of types of woodworking tools out there, but for now, here are the most basic woodworking tools you need to know about.
Saws are a very important tool for woodworking. There are different kinds of saws made from different materials and used for different jobs.
Hand saws, for example, are lightweight and can be carried around easily. Then, there are electric saws like circular saws or big table saws.
Saw blades are used along with saws. This is the thing that cuts wood. Some blades have rough teeth for cutting with the grain, while others have fine teeth for cutting across the grain.
Drills are used for making holes in the wood. It can be a hand drill or an electric drill.
For small projects without power, a handheld battery-powered drill is commonly used. For bigger projects or deeper holes, a drill press is used.
Clamps are used for temporarily holding your project or object in place while you work on it.
There are different types of clamps and the choice will depend on the size & type of your project.
Chisels are tools with a sharp blade on one side and a handle on the other. They are commonly used with a hammer or mallet to meticulously shape and cut wood.
Different types of chisels are used for different jobs. Lightweight chisels are ideal for delicate work, while heavy-duty ones are used for tough wood.
Planers are used to make surfaces smooth by removing extra wood. The available options are power planers (used for big areas) and hand planers (ideal for smaller spots).
Sanders like sandpaper are also used to make wood surfaces smooth. The common varieties include rough sandpaper and fine sandpaper.
There are also available power (electric) sanders that are commonly used for big sanding jobs. Hand sanding is better for smaller projects.
Other tools you might need when woodworking include measuring tape, layout square, router, sliding bevel, hammer, utility knife, screwdriver, and workbench.
Types of Woodworking
Whether you’re starting woodworking as a hobby or as a career, you will have to choose from the various woodworking options. As a woodworker, you can choose to do one or more of the following things:
1. Wood Carving
Carving is one of the most complex and difficult-to-learn woodworking skills. It involves the use of a series of tools such as chisels, knives, and mallets to create beautiful art, pictures, and shapes on wooden pieces.
However, today, unlike in old times, wood carving is mostly done using machines for quicker and more efficient results.
This type of woodworking involves the use of a knife to carve objects out of raw pieces of wood. This is a very special woodworking skill and can take months or years to learn.
Wood is one of the materials that can be turned or bent to make beautiful turned objects. A wood lathe is used to create turned objects such as bowls from wood.
This is another woodworking skill or art where curved objects, picture frames, plaques, and 3D objects are crafted from wood using a special machine called a scroll saw.
5. Wood Construction
The most common type of woodworking is the construction of functional objects from wood.
Wood is processed, cut, joined, and shaped to form a variety of objects such as furniture items, boxes, planks, building structures, and decorative items.
Woodworking for Beginners : Getting Started
It is something you can do as a hobby or as a full-time career. You can start learning woodworking right at your home or in your garage using the most basic tools and the least expensive types of wood.
Once you’ve decided on the type of woodworking you want to learn, you need to start learning about the different types of wood, types of cuts and joints, selecting the right tools, screws, glue, etc. for a project, the use of hand tools, and applying finish to the project.
Types of Woodworking Joints
- Biscuit Joint
- Box Joint
- Bridle Joint
- Butt Joint
- Dado / Housing Joint
- Dovetail Joint
- Dowel Joint
- Half Lap Joint
- Miter / Mitered Butt Joint
- Mortise and Tenon
- Pocket Joint
- Rabbet Joint
- Tongue and Groove Joint
Types & Uses of Woodworking Fasteners
1. Hinges – primarily used to make moveable joints for doors and covers in a woodworking project. Common types include butt hinge, butterfly hinge, gate hinge, piano hinge, and ornate hinge.
2. Nails – Used for fastening one object to another. Common types include box nail, common nail, finishing nail, roofing nail, brad nail, masonry nail, and tacks.
3. Screws – Screws are nails with threads. They have the same use as nails, to fasten two or more objects with each other.
4. Nuts & Bolts
Woodworking Process – How to do it
1. Cutting the wood
The raw wood you get for your woodworking project is either in the form of logs or sawn timber. You’ll need to cut the wood down into suitable sizes, planks or boards.
For this, you can either use a hand saw or an electric saw depending on the project size.
Make sure to get your dimensions right and leave some room for wood shrinkage and planning.
2. Moulding/Crafting (Optional)
If you are making a decorative project, you may need to mould the timber into desired shapes before proceeding further.
Different types of moulds include Bolection, Casing, Panel, Frame, Stiles, Rails, Astragal, and Drip Cap.
Next, you need to sand each piece of wood to smoothen out its surfaces, which will also help remove any dents or mill defects.
You can use sandpaper or a random-orbit sander depending on the size of the wood boards. Use sandpaper for corners and intricate carvings and for a final touch.
If you are planning to stain or dye your project, it may be a good idea to stain individual pieces before joining them.
Staining can be used to add a different colour to the wood and also enhances its strength and durability.
Dyeing is used to darken the colour of the wood and make it more prominent. It, however, doesn’t provide protection against environmental damage.
5. Assembling & Joining
Once you have finished and dried individual pieces of wood, you are ready to join them to build the final product.
You’ll need to use fastening materials such as nails and screws and/or glue to join wood pieces together. Use high-quality wood glue for permanent joints.
Do assembling in stages and let the glue dry up properly before proceeding to the next step. Check for any cracks or gaps.
Once you’re done assembling your woodworking project, the final stage is to add a high-quality finish to provide an extra layer of safety to your project. You can use an oil-based finish, varnish, or wax for this purpose.
Woodworking for Beginners : The FAQs
Here are your most common woodworking questions answered by our experts:
What Kind of Wood Is Best for Beginners?
When you are learning woodworking, you tend to make mistakes. To avoid costly mistakes, it is better to stick to inexpensive wood options such as pine, poplar, soft maple, etc.
Or you can source residue wood pieces from a nearby mill. Make sure that the wood you’re using is easy to work with.
What Is the First Rule of Woodworking?
There are many rules in woodworking, but safety should be the top priority of a woodworker, which is why you must always wear safety gear and glasses when working with woodcutters and other tools.
Is Woodworking a Profitable Career Option?
The income of a woodworker depends on many factors such as the type of work they do and the project scope.
Small-time woodworkers who work for a salary make a decent income.
However, big woodworkers who run their own businesses can make really good profits from this business.
Is Woodworking Expensive?
Not if you’re smart about it. As we recommended earlier, you must choose inexpensive wood options when starting as a woodworking beginner.
Work on small projects that require fewer tools. Consider selling your projects to make a side income before you decide to invest more in your hobby.
Can You Woodwork at Home?
Yes, you can learn woodworking at home or anywhere with a small space to set up your shop.
Make sure to follow the safety rules of woodworking, especially when doing it at home with other people around.
Need Help? Consult with a Woodworking Expert!
Need help with your woodworking project or looking to buy good quality wood at a low price? Contact White Knight Consulting Ltd for expert wood consulting services and sustainable timber products with worldwide shipping. Get the best deals on bulk timber orders. Call us today.