With the industrialization of the modern age, woodworking has become somewhat of an under-appreciated skill. The amazing feeling you get after stepping back and looking at your finished piece of woodwork is nearly unmatched. Woodworking is a hobby that can be extremely useful, and you can even make money doing it. Although for a beginner, looking at a pile of boards and turning that into a basic stool can be a little intimidating. What do you do, and how do you get started?
To get into woodworking, you need to learn the basics online, buy the basic tools, pay attention to common safety rules, and practice! Practice is the most important; you will learn the most from your own trial and error. After you learn how to make a product well, you can even sell them online.
In this article, we will take you through each of these steps while providing some insightful advice and tips so you can be on your way to creating beautiful pieces of woodwork.
The Basics of Woodworking
Before we get started talking everything you are going to need to start woodworking, we need to make sure you know the basics of woodworking. This is one of those things that are just easier to talk about via video, so check out this video below!
The Tools You Will Need for Woodworking
There are various tools on the market that are great for woodworking. Depending on the projects you intend to complete you may find you need a lot more, but to get you started, we put together a simplified list of woodworking tools that all beginners need.
While you don’t need all of these tools for every project, you are most likely going to need them as you gain experience. I think the tools below are essential for any person that really wants to get deep into woodworking. If there is a tool here that you don’t already have, I have linked an affordable option for a beginner that I found on amazon.
You will need a few things to measure properly, like a tape measure, digital calipers, and a combination and speed square. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Grab a few pencils to mark out your measurements too.
Chisels are infinity helpful when you are woodworking. They will help you add a ton of detail to your projects, and once you get good with them your projects will look much better. A decent chisel set will get you started.
Clamps are a must to hold everything in place while you are working or drying your work, you will need this set of bar clamps.
Every now and then you will need to file your wood so it fits together, or to make it look a little better. Here is a good starter set of files.
Every shop needs a wide array of screw drivers. This basic screwdriver set has enough options for just about any project.
Haven’t started your workshop yet? Click here to add all of the above items to your Amazon cart at once!
There are a handful of power saws you will need to be able to do any project. If you’re going to working on a project that requires precise crosscuts and miters, a miter saw is the most efficient tool to use. I usually use my miter saw on just about every project. Here is a budget miter saw and a bit better Dewalt miter saw. Next you will need a circular saw for larger or free handed cuts. Circular saws are also the most commonly used saws, and it will find its way into the majority of your projects. This Black and Decker circular saw is perfect for a beginner. If you want to tackle larger projects, you may need a table saw. This table saw is great for a beginner and will last a long time.
If you intend to build furniture from woodwork then you’re going to want to invest in a power drill and impact driver. These tool will allow you to drill holes and place fasteners. It can also prove useful in many other ways as well and you will likely use a drill or impact gun in the majority of your projects. Here is a quality Dewalt drill and driver set that is fairly affordable.
If you want to ensure a smooth quality finish to the surface of your woodworking projects that require nails, you’re going to want a top-rated nail gun to get the job done without leaving dents in the surface. There are actually several different nail guns to choose from depending on your project. Check out this guide to determine the kind of nail gun you might need.
A random-orbital sander is extremely useful in the workshop. Using vibrational movements in random orbits, the random-orbital sander produces ultra-smooth sanding on woodworking pieces. This sander typically utilizes a higher grit of sandpaper. It does great at removing varnish and paints. My favorite random-orbital sander is the Dewalt random-orbital sander which is very affordable.
A belt sander is also a valuable tool to have in the work shop and can really help you shape hand held items, or remove rust and imperfections. This small belt sander is enough to get you started, and not break the bank.
Lastly, you will need an air compressor. Air compressors may not help you directly build something, but they are good to have in the shop. Plus if you have nail gun, it may run off an air compressor. Nonetheless, air compressors can help you clean items and inflate tires if need be. This air compressor is good for a beginner and will get the job done.
Safety Rules You Should Know for Woodworking
In woodworking, you’re using many tools that pose a lot of dangers if poorly operated or if the proper gear is not worn. Take into account the following safety practices for woodworking:
- Invest in durable safety glasses or a face shield.
- Wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in sawdust or paint and varnish particulate.
- Wear gloves for protection from splinters. Gloves should be removed though when operating any machines that have rotating parts.
- Consider hearing protection if you’re sensitive to the noise levels produced by the equipment.
- Protective footwear is a bonus to make sure objects that may fall onto your feet don’t cause injury.
- Always read the owner’s manuals.
- Make sure the guards on your saws are in proper condition and placed correctly before each use.
- Before using your cutting machines, make sure you know where the start and stop buttons are located.
- Check your blades regularly to make sure it’s not time to switch out.
- Before removing any blades or components unplug the equipment entirely.
- Keep your machines away from clutter and water.
- Make sure you are using a well-maintained exhaust ventilation system.
- Provide proper lighting in your work area.
Practice and Consider Taking Courses
There are several free or affordable courses for woodworking that you can take online from the comfort of your own shop. Many of them are great for absolute beginners as they focus on the basic fundamentals of woodworking as opposed to large scale crafts.
Basic courses could cost you about $100, for the more complex upwards of $400. There are also professional woodworking schools that offer week-long or weekend hands-on classes, but these run at about $1,000. The courses you may consider are based entirely on your budget and level of interest in this hobby.
If you find yourself unable to afford courses, Youtube is a great place to find DIY instructional videos on woodworking. You can also browse the user comments on these videos for helpful tips from other woodworkers!
If you want to build something and just need a little bit of guidance, check out the woodworking plans available here on Gizmo Plans. we have a little something for everyone, and the best way to learn is to do.
What to Build if You Want to Sell Your Wood Work
You’ve found a trade you’re interested in but now you need to determine how to utilize that trade so that your output converts into sales. Finding the right woodworking market to get into is important so we’ve researched a few of the popular ones for you to consider.
Wooden Shelving and Storage
Trending right now within the home design are rustic furniture and décor pieces. These pieces are popular for making a home feel more natural by encompassing reclaimed wood or stone pieces. The woodworking sector has a lot to gain off of this new and trending concept for home décor. Consumers want original wood fashioned pieces to add to their home.
Shelving and Storage is one of more common household décor pieces that can be easily fashioned from wood. It’s important to have durable shelving and storage that can hold an ideal amount of weight. Consumers are finding that cheaply made and industrially processed shelves just don’t hold up, and they are more prone to have aesthetic defects.
A lot of the times poor quality shelves are produced from fiberboard or chipboard and have a laminate finish to provide a wood-like appearance. This laminate finish is highly susceptible to dings and scratches.
Floating wooden shelves seem to be the most common choice for shelf décor. These shelves provide a clean appearance with a multitude of customization options. Some experts claim that the best choices of wood for floating shelves are Pine, Plywood, Cherry, Koa, Red Oak, Paduak, and Mahogany.
Also, popular within rustic home design, there are a few reasons why wooden furniture is a great market to get into for woodworking. Did you know that wood is actually the top choice of material if you are interested in reducing carbon footprint? As long as your wood is sourced responsibly, you can expect to see a decreased footprint in comparison to other popular building materials.
Markets that focus in on a greener and more sustainable world are extremely popular right now. You see, when the wood is responsibly sourced, any trees that might be utilized for material, are actually immediately replenished following harvesting.
Wood can also be customized, engraved and stained to look a variety of different ways. Maybe you want a more modernized look instead of rustic? Are various design methods to achieve this look while still utilizing wood materials.
If you’re interested in saving money and only purchasing pieces of furniture with longevity, wood is the most suitable option. Wood can also be sanded, repaired, waxed, polished and oiled in order to increase appearance or fix aesthetic defects, dings, and scratches.
Wood signs are actually gaining increased traffic on craft websites like Etsy. They are popular for home décor, weddings, or any event. These signs could be simple and easy to construct or they could be shaped into animals or objects for a more complex and creative approach.
Nearly any saying in any font could be painted on the outside and they can take either a rustic or modern approach depending on the methods you use to paint or stain the wood. An advanced woodworker could even produce raised letters without the use of paint. Take a look at some of these creative wooden signs being sold on Etsy.
Again, much like with furniture and shelves, these décor pieces will hold up with age and they are extremely affordable. Shopping in craft stores like Michaels, will run you a price tag of $50 and up for a decent quality wood sign. Purchasing the materials, yourself and constructing the sign on your own, will save you a lot of money.
Parents are heading back to the classic approach when it comes to kids and babies’ toys. By incorporating wood into toys, we’re reducing the use of cheap plastic or toxic materials for the environment and children. Additionally, wooden toys will withstand the test of time. They can be passed on to future generations or siblings and be reused.
You might even take a more fun approach if you have kids of your own. Include them in on the toy woodworking process, let them choose the paint colors or the shapes and you’ll not only create great memories in the process but you’ll have a durable toy to hold onto for decades to come!
Build an Online Presence and Sell Your Work
After some time, you may find that your hobby has grown into an array of wooden inventory pieces that you need to sell. If you don’t already have a platform to sell your work on, now is the time to consider what you will use and the best methods for more effective conversions. Some options you might consider:
Building a Website
Every successful business has a website, right? Websites are great for getting your name and work visible for everyone online to see but there is a lot of work to consider when building a website. You have the benefit of customizing your website to your desired design, but websites usually cost money, especially eCommerce websites.
If you’re just starting out, paying upwards of $50 a month for a selling platform may not be the route you prefer to go. Additionally, you will need to purchase a domain name, and invest in quite a bit of Search Engine Optimization and Paid Ads to even get your website noticed and ranking.
There are professional companies out there ready to help you design and implement SEO for your website but this translates into dollars spent, so you need to be sure you have the right cash flow to afford these services.
Craft websites like Etsy thrive when it comes to selling original handmade woodworking pieces. Some of the most popular searches are done for weddings, and event décor. Etsy is essentially free minus a small fee processing and listings, so this could be a good route if you’re just starting off selling your wood crafts.
Etsy also gives you the benefit of being able to study what items you produce and their popularity among buyers. Learn how to sell on Etsy here.
Start a Blog for Helping Other Woodworkers
It’s actually pretty popular now to invest some time and effort into starting your own blog based on your hobby. You could produce informational articles about woodworking, or even DIY videos on how to build crafts you may have perfected. Before you start questioning, “Well how does this sell my stuff?”
Consider that starting a helpful blog for woodworkers is going to gain you some traction with people who share your interest. You might even hold webinars that give you the ability to collect customer information and market to them later. Say you want to send a mass mailer out that promotes your Etsy store, but you need emails? This is the perfect way to collect that information in a fair, and ethical way.
What’s also important is that you become recognized. If people believe your information is helpful and valuable, they will view your work in the same light and be more apt to purchase it later. They might even share your information with others via social media or word of mouth.