On our previous blogs, we gave you the most common wood types, the important woodworking hand tools to the basic tools and, some tips and links where you can get additional information on woodworking. So, how do we really start learning woodworking?
Before anything else, you need to define what interests you into learning woodworking. What do you want to accomplish with woodworking? Is it to create D-I-Y items that you need in your house, to spark your creativity, make use of your mechanical engineering skills or something else? By answering these, you will be able to narrow down your selection of projects to start working on.
Aside from understanding your passion for learning woodworking, you also need to know your learning styles and techniques to enable you to follow the plans and finish it as seamlessly as possible. Learning Styles Online site states that there are seven learning styles and that we use a mixture of these styles. Some prefers using images while some prefers using sounds more and then there are those who likes learning in groups and some who likes to self-study. Knowing your learning styles and techniques best distinguishes where to look for resource materials for your project.
It will greatly help if you have technical eye and visual mind and, are good with math, numbers and measurements since the activity involves reading plans and envisaging each step of the procedures and, an extreme amount of accuracy. As a beginner most especially, no perfection is necessary when learning woodworking. As long as you have attention to details, desire to explore your creativity, patience and the passion to finish a project, then you can do anything and maybe eventually take you to becoming a skilled woodworker.
Learning Woodworking: Ways to Familiarize Yourself
Below are a number of ways to familiarize yourself with all aspects in learning woodworking such as understanding woodworking plans, safety measures, clean up, handling tools, etc.
- Check out YouTube. YouTube is a great resource for the novice even if you just like watching videos. Some beginners prefer watching videos to take lessons and get ideas first before starting. If you intend to make woodworking as a hobby or make it as fulltime, then follow some woodworkers or woodworking accounts to get updates on their latest projects.
The last part of this post are some popular YouTube accounts, which you can browse and follow.
- Look for classes, workshops and maker space in your area. A maker space is a community shop for people of all skill levels. This is helpful especially for those who likes learning in groups.
- Learning woodworking is also learning how to do simple repairs to make use of your logic and spatial understanding. It teaches you to troubleshoot and eventually begin to see problems before it develop. The more problems you see and solve, the better you get at being a jack-of-all-trades. This can be very rewarding and motivating to do more projects.
- Help or get someone to invite you to build something and vice versa. It is a way to learning woodworking by exchanging ideas and sharing each other’s resources/tools.
- Consider buying simple pre-cut or ready-make kits for making birdhouses, feeders, benches, holders for plants, etc. If you buy the kit, all you need to do is match the parts, use the needed tools and follow the instructions to build the item. When you move on to more complicated woodworking projects, you can purchase prepped up lumber, in different widths. You can purchase the ready to use parts (e.g. table legs and chair spindles) separately for your project. Just like the hybrid approach, you build kitchen cabinets but you buy the doors.
- Find something you need that will motivate you to build it within the boundaries of the tools you own. Pick an easy plan that appeals to you and go for it. Plans are free online and will have a cut sheet, which tells the exact dimensions of every cut.
- Take the time to practice, plan and research. Remember, some good measurement practice go into almost every project in learning woodworking. This includes measuring thrice before cutting, straight cutting by hand and solid fitting parts. Be sure to look at more than one source to learn different techniques.
- Choose easy tasks that will use tools without the need for electricity (except for the light in your working area). Get free woodworking plans online, with clear instructions, tips and pictures to make it easy for you. Use traditional joinery to make the dovetails or the mortise and tenon joints. Use no screws or fasteners, except maybe the hinges for the lid. Do not overcomplicate something when it does not need to be. Most often, learning woodworking focuses on finding shortcuts to get the same or better results.
- Practice on cheaper woods when starting to learn on woodworking. Start with soft wood like pine. Afterwards, shift to hard wood like poplar, once you got use to handling tools. If you plan to work with painted projects, choose wood which is convenient to work with. Some woodworkers recommends using MDF or plywood like Baltic Birch.
You will need to know and understand the right type of wood for your project. Woodworkers consider Craigslist as an excellent resource for tools and materials. Check its free section for any building materials (e.g fence boards, scrap wood or any lumber but not particle board) even if you have to tear it out of furniture or cabinets.
- Shop for furniture to disassemble and assemble, and make a different version. After a while, replace it, creating another version of each piece, according to your liking. The furniture can be ugly and cheap but is a useful tool to learning woodworking.
- Part of learning woodworking is to adhere to health and safety regulations at all times, to avoid accidents. Ensure that you read instruction manuals and check each tools/equipment before you operate it. Keep yourself protected by wearing eye protection and gloves whenever necessary. Lastly, keep your work area clean and store your tools and equipment properly after use.
Additional Sites to Learning Woodworking
The following are additional sites which you can check out for more ways in learning woodworking. To browse for more informative sites, filter your Google searching. You may choose filters like learning woodworking and the kind of project that you like to create. There are many online sites and books with numerous ideas and projects, which can give you insights. It is up to you on how to make your woodworking fun and fulfilling.
- In The Spruce, they have several articles for you read, to know the basics necessary to learning safe woodworking.
- Steve Ramsey – Woodworking for Mere Mortals has series of tutorials, which simplifies learning woodworking topics and gives you the basic information you need to get started. In addition, it has artistic to useful projects, which you can do.
- Popular Woodworking Videos is where you can get expert advice (tips and techniques that cover all areas of woodworking) to learn woodworking from some of America’s best woodworkers.
- Check Jay’s Custom Creations to learn more woodworking projects like dimensional lumber projects, French cleat projects, pocket hole projects and shop projects.
- Discover a Hobby compiled some video instructions to learn woodworking, from using basic woodworking tools, setting up a wood shop and bending, joining and sealing woods.
- Youtube features Matthias Wandel who has more than 1 million subscribers and is said to be a genius in wood especially that he is a mechanical engineer woodworker. He has woodworking projects from simple to more complicated projects, which can inspire you. Moreover, he has tutorials on how to do power tools.
- Check Study’s woodworking study guide course to improve your woodworking knowledge and skills. Their course, which contains short and simple lessons, offers training for both novice and professional woodworkers. You can create an account with them and try their course for 5 days.
For those who prefer a linguistic type of learning, there is also Ted’s Woodworking book, which we previously reviewed. It is a resource to 16,000 plans which contains step-by-step instructions. In addition, it also features detailed schematics of the plan from all angles, corners and joints.