Beginner's Guide to Wood Working

Wood working is an ancient form of art used to create tools, furniture, and other useful objects out of wood. Any project that involves working with wood, whether it is carving, painting, or sawing, is considered wood working. Wood is one of the most user-friendly natural resources that has been a part of every civilization in the world. Beyond the scope of the cave man, the Egyptians began working with wood around 2000 B.C. They used wood similar to how we make use of it today; we manufacture paper, homes, buildings, furniture, sculptures, and a host of other products.

As time progressed and technology improved in the 20th century, wood working was considered time consuming and also expensive to have done professionally by a carpenter. The number of carpenters in the industry has diminished; but individual craftsmen and artisans are left to create their own wood working projects. A survey done by National Family Opinion on behalf of Wood magazine found that roughly 5.5 million Americans enjoy wood working as a hobby.

Types of Wood

The type of wood you want to work with and the kinds of projects you dare to tackle are the factors to determine what wood works best. Many varieties of wood are available, and each one has its own pros and cons. Most woodworking projects are built with solid wood lumber, which comes in the form of hardwood and softwood. Softwood includes conifers such as pine, spruce, cedar, fir, Douglas-fir, hemlock, cypress, redwood, and yew. Hardwood includes deciduous trees like cherry, maple, oak, teak, ash, birch, and mahogany.

There are several reasons why soft wood like pine is so popular among carpenters and crafts people. Hardwoods like cedar can withstand the cold and wet without rotting. Hardwoods are mostly used for outdoor projects such as decks and building exteriors. An inexpensive hardwood, birch, is a stable wood, used for making fine furniture. Cherry is a very popular wood that carpenters like to work with not only because it is easy but the stains and finishes age beautifully. Maple comes in both hard and soft woods; both varieties are more stable to work with than other woods. Unfortunately you likely won't find maple at the local home improvement centers; but maple can be purchased at most lumberyards that have a good selection.


Woodworking Safety Tips

When woodworking it is important to follow some general safety tips to avoid injury. In a woodworking shop or setting there are all kinds of hand tools, portable power equipment, and machines that have their own special hazards if not used properly. Due to the possible hazards when woodworking it is important to always wear safety equipment including eye and ear protection. It is also recommended that you disconnect power before changing blades on tool. It is also imperative to minimize distractions when woodworking, concentrating on what are doing will greatly decrease your chances of being injured.

Woodworking Techniques

There are many woodworking and wood finishing techniques to choose from when you decide to take on a project. Different woodworking techniques include scrollsawing and bandsawing, drilling and boring, turning, and finishing. There are also various techniques that can be used when working with hand tools. The technique used for woodworking will depend on what you are creating. Here is a brief explanation of the different types of woodworking techniques and finishes available on the market.

Home Woodworking Projects

Creating your own woodworking projects is not only a great way to personalize gifts, it is also a great way to save money. Take pride in knowing you built your own projects. Your friends and family will appreciate your gift even more knowing that you made it yourself. Here are some ideas to think about when you decide to create a woodworking project. These ideas are all great for woodworking beginners.


Woodworkers Associations

Before you decide to join any one of the suggested woodworkers associations, make sure you have a clear understanding of why you want to join that group. If you want to know how to break into the carpentry trade, networking with woodworkers associations might be a great way to start. If you are interested in learning about a particular woodworking technique, these associations might be able to point in you the right direction.


Additional Resources

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