OK we’ve all been there at some point, you know you want to do it and you know you’ve got it in you to do it but you are completely new at woodworking and have this overwhelming feeling that you might just mess it up and you are going to end up with another pile of wood.
Start off with something small and simple like a box or a small table or even a work bench for your new hobby or if you like career.
But before you begin lets stop for a second and consider some basics
Woodworking involves owning tools and machinery if you do not already own them, you will at some point need to get the necessary kit. Here are some basic hand tools you should get before starting out, the rest you can get as you can.
Claw hammer, 6″ Square, 25′ tape measure, Utility Knife, Set of Chisels, Level, Screw Driver Set, Sliding Bevel, Nail Set, Block Plane, Cross cut Saw, Tenon Saw, Coping Saw and a Drill, this can be a manual one but electric would be better and a set of drill bits with counter sinks. This is not an exhaustive list but just really what I would say as the bare minimum. If you can afford it go ahead and visit your local DIY store and ask them to supply you with what you need or look online. By the way, this exercise does not have to cost an arm and a leg, you can buy top brand tools online at heavily discounted prices. It may pay you to visit my blog site as I occasionally have information on available discounted tools.
Do you have the wood and materials for the project and is the wood the correct type to use and like wise for the materials. Knowing which wood type to use is a daunting thought in itself, but don’t worry if you don’t know because most woodwork plans if they are worth anything should come with a cut list as well as the type of wood and materials required for the job; having knowledge on the subject beforehand will definitely help you
Safety is a big factor to consider not only for yourself but for others around you. If you are not familiar with handling woodworking machinery and tools, I would suggest getting yourself booked on a course that will teach you the basics and safe use of woodworking machinery. You can contact your local education centre for more information on this.
Safety First (please note: this is very important and should not be over looked)
If you have not already done so please consider the safety aspect of woodworking, you should always wear safety gear when using woodworking machinery, you should have hearing protection and safety goggles or glasses, in fact there really is no time in the workshop that you should be without your safety glasses.
If you are working with wood finishing chemicals or wood restoring chemicals, use the appropriate protective latex gloves to protect your hands. Avoid loose-fitting clothes and don’t wear a tie.
Other things to consider is making sure that the tools are fit for purpose, such as make sure that the your drill bits and blades are sharp not only is it safer to have sharp tools but it is also more efficient, a sharp blade makes a cleaner cut..
When working with reclaimed wood, make sure you check it for old nails and other bits of metal first before working on it, if you find any please be sure to remove them as you really do not want to be mixing old nails or other bits of metal with high-speed blades.
When working with machinery like the Mitre Saw and the Table Saw, please never put your hands near the moving blades under any circumstances, rather wait until the blades have stopped moving completely. It is best with this type of machinery to have a push stick that you can use instead of your hands. Always remember to unplug the equipment when changing out blades.
Make sure that are you familiar with the tools you are going to use, are the tools safe to use, are you going to create a trip hazard for someone else in your proximity, if using electrical equipment are the electrics safe and are hazardous chemicals out of reach of children and away from sparks and flames.
The list of safety goes on and on but make sure that you consider all aspects of safety before commencing any woodwork project and that you are not going to cause harm to yourself or others in your quest to complete the project.
A great site to get all the health and safety information you will need to adhere to is as follows:
UK Version: URL –> www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/woodindx.htm
US Version: URL –> www.osha.gov/SLTC/woodproducts/tech_woodworking.html
The Woodwork Project idea
Let’s say that you have decided that you want to build something small like a work bench. Draw it on piece of paper or old chalk board if you have one; the idea here is to form a rough plan nothing fancy, just a basic sketch with some measurements and if you can, try to do it in 3D as well to give it a perspective.
I know that I can’t draw very well and I am sure there is a lot of you out there who can’t either but you have to do something that will give you some idea of what it is going to look like try to think of it as transferring what you have in your head on paper. I guess that’s how every project plan starts, as a concept or idea.
If you have a thought about your project just draw it, no matter how pretty or ugly it looks just draw it, get some basic measurements to it and there you have it, an Idea on paper or chalkboard as the case may be. You will find that once you have on paper, things will start coming together you will start adding small changes and adding things on generally you start becoming more creative with you sketch. Once you know what you want to build and have drawn it you will need to get a woodwork project plan that for it, now you can take your plan down to your local DIY centre and ask them to make a plan for you with cut lists etc or you can search the internet for one that is similar to your idea and use it.
The Woodwork Project Plan
The next thing is to think about is the plan, every woodwork project must have a plan no matter how big or how small it is. The reason you need a woodwork plan is so that you can work out what you need for the task, things like the wood, what type of wood how much wood, the tools for the job, screws, nails, glues, measurements, space to build it etc.
These days there are thousands upon thousands of woodworking plans and projects available online, some of them are available for free and some you have to pay for but remember the free ones tend to come with a catch, either you have to sign up for something or go on a mailing list or whatever it is but they are available. The ones you pay for provided they are from a good source, come with a lot of details and instructions like such as the Woodworking4home woodwork plans and projects, they are probably one of the best I have come across so far and that would be my choice as a beginner because it gives you the full plans, the cut lists and step by step instructions to complete the project to a professional standard they also provide ongoing updates to your list of plans, videos and they cater for both beginners and advanced alike.
Once the planning is out the way, the next thing to do is getting everything you need for the project AS PER THE WOODWORK PLANS, that is why you get the plans together so you don’t get caught short mid way through and find you don’t have the right screws to secure the legs or you don’t have enough wood or the right wood at that.
Putting the woodworking project into action
Almost every woodwork project plan is different so the next steps you take are really down to the project itself. Start with making sure you have everything in place, If you are using reclaimed wood for the project then make sure it is properly prepared before you begin, remove any old nails and check the wood for obvious flaws that will make you project look bad and if you can, do the repairs to the wood first as this will save you lots of hassle later. You may need to get the wood planned or have paint removed so go ahead and get started with that.
OK now you have everything in place, your wood is prepared so now just lay it out and check it against the plans itself. Once you are happy that you have everything you need then it’s time to get started.
Often woodwork plans come with useful tips, look for any of those as they are generally there to save you time and hardship, if there is a step by step guide start at step one and go from there, try not to rush it as this will show in the result. Remember safety is paramount, don’t ignore the rules as they are there for a reason, woodworking is a dangerous hobbie!
Make sure you pay particular attention to the finish, sand off any rough edges and decide on the protective coat that you are going to use, if your project is going to stay outdoors exposed to the elements then you will need to protect it but be sure to remove any saw dust present on the project before applying the finish coat that you will use.
Source by Michael R Clements