For every beginner out there, I think there are six tips they absolutely must know to get started with woodworking without making common mistakes that cost you a lot of time, money and frustration.
I’m going to discuss every one of them in the easiest way possible for you to understand and see that woodworking is really awesome if you know the pro tips. This is a very good guide for any newbie to look like a pro quickly and safely.
Tip 1 – Understand Species And Lumber Dimensions
I think you know there are a wide variety of wood species out there. They are normally divided into two categories. The hardwoods are: maple, oak, mahogany, birch, walnut, cherry, etc. Softwoods are: cedar, fir, spruce, and pine, for example. What you will commonly find in most DIY stores are pinewood because it is affordable, easy to find and there are many options of sizes for you to choose. This type of wood is ideal for beginners.
After that, you need to really understand the lumber dimensions such as 1×2 or 2×12. If you are familiar with the most common dimensions used, you can understand and read woodworking build plans more easily. This will also help you while taking measurements for your project and going shopping for lumber.
Tip 2 – Find Out A Simple Setup For Your Woodworking Space
To get started you won’t need a fancy or outstanding garage or workshop. To be honest with you I actually never had one of those (but I do dream of having one). In our backyard, we set up a temporary workshop table with a pair of plywood boards and sawhorses from our local home improvement center. That is what we usually do. If you live in an apartment you can do your work on the ground, you can even use the plywood board and sawhorses as well.
Tip 3 – If You Can Use Straight Wood Boards, PLEASE DO!
When you go shopping for them, try to pick the straightest ones and avoid warped or bowed boards as well. This requires you to do a little deep digging through the woodpile, but it’s worth it! Your project will end up looking much better and will save you a lot of headaches.
But you have to be really picky with this, because most of the time there are wood boards and planks that seem to be straight at a first glance when in fact they are bowed or have some warping that isn’t always obvious. The gold tip here is to hold the board up towards your face with the end of it pointed to the ground. Once you do that, look at it at a downward angle. This method allows you to be 100% sure and see if it is bowing or warping at any point.
However, don’t go out there thinking you will find PERFECT boards, there is no such thing. Just pick the straightest one and you will be ready to go. You can also check out the lumber selection at your local lumberyard for more selections and better pricing too!
Tip 4 – Sand Wood
You need to know how to set up your wood surface properly. This makes a giant difference when it comes to finishing your wood either staining or painting it. There are many methods that you can use, but sanding the wood is the most important and significant step (there are tons of YouTube videos about that as well).
Once your wood has been sanded, you can start picking out a stain or paint color for your woodworking project.
Tip 5 – Learn How To Read A Tape Measure
I know you might think this is a simple one but it’s really not, just hear me out. Usually, you will need to have the EXACT measures in woodworking so you can do your cuts in the right spot, and normally the numbers are 15 5/8 inches or 15 9/16 inches (so they are exact and easy to find). So, if you know how to read a tape measure you are already one step ahead and if you don’t, don’t worry, you can start learning right now.
Tip 6 – Learn How to Use A Few Essential Tools in Woodworking
There are many types of tools available for you to use that. There are many types of tools available for you to use, and knowing which one you should have and how to use it can be, besides difficult, expensive. However, once you learn the basics about the essential ones, it’s going to be much easier for you to know the others and start your projects.
One way to learn is from tutorials videos on YouTube, they can come really handy. This method works for power tools as well. There are lots of videos on specific tool models too. So, watch a few how-to videos but don’t forget to review the tool manual and safety guide for your own tools. Then, go ahead and try the tool out yourself and start using it!
I hope these tips can help you out and hopefully you are going to love woodworking as much as I do. In the beginning it might seem kind of hard because there’s a lot of information to digest, but once you get through this part it’s very enjoyable!
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