Introduction to Basic Wood-Working

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Guest Post

So, you have a passion to put your hands together, get out your toolbox from the shed and build something you can be proud of, be it a birdhouse, picture frame, or gun cabinet?

If you aren’t experienced in wood-working, there are some things to know.

Determining Your Project

Whether this is your first wood-working project or you came out of the womb with a hammer in your hand, it’s always important to know the basics as a reminder for your safety (and others!)

Ask yourself: will I take on a small or large project? What level of commitment do I have to the time it will take to complete my project?

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Do I have the funds to finish what I start should I encounter unforeseen costs? Having to abort mid-project is one of the most frustrating experiences!

Therefore, the first wood-working rule of thumb is to know what you want to build. Will you make a doll house or tree house?

The type of project you get ready to create will make a big difference on the amount of time and money you have to devote to it.

Know Your Wood

Once you are ready to start your project, you’ll need to become familiar with various wood types and the benefits each one offers.

Redwood works well for the outdoors and is easy to work with. Pine is also very easy to work with and stains well. Cedar is soft in comparison to other woods and has a nice, reddish tint to it.

The type of wood you choose will depend on how strong and durable your piece of furniture will need to be.

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Learning about each wood and experimenting with them first hand will allow you to become a more informed carpenter.

Tools to Become Familiar With

As you learn about the tools requiring for many wood-working projects, it’s important to also consider the cost.

Power tools tend to get pricy, especially if you’re starting from scratch and don’t have any tools to speak of! From table saws to band saws, invest slowly and over time.

Before you know it, you’ll have a complete tool set that’s available for you anytime you have the need to build! If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to have a power drill on hand as one of your first purchases (or a good screwdriver set, although handling dense wood with a manual driver can be really frustrating).

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It will come in handy as a tool you’ll rely on for many of your projects. Aside from that, having a hammer and nails of various sizes (particularly those that related directly to your project), a tape-measure, wood glue, a straight edge, a level, and safety glasses are all must-haves.

A table saw and miter saw are also important purchases/investments to make if you are planning a full-spectrum project.

There are two different types of cuts when working with wood: cross-cutting and ripping.

Cross cutting works best with a miter saw and involves cutting the wood across the grain. A table saw is ideal (but not exclusive to) ripping, which is cutting wood with the grain.

These are usually longer cuts, where you cut the board lengthwise. There are many styles and brands to choose from, but it’s important to consider purchasing one that will last. (It will be, after all, your first major tool purchase.)

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An orbital sander will also get plenty of use and another essential tool for any beginner to own. Don’t forget about the Jigsaw either! Its purpose is an important one, allowing you to cut smaller and more intricate designs in projects.

Learning how to be truly skilled at wood working does take time, but knowing the basics about tools, your goals at hand and various types of wood will make you more successful and allow your project that much better.

Go slowly and be patient with your project, as a true wood carver knows how to pace himself to achieve results.

This guest post is by  Zach Daniel. Zach writes on behalf of Design55. Design55 has an outstanding array of modern furniture and homewares for the place you call home!

Photo Courtesy of Jordanhill School

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