Woodworking is not an easy job. You need to learn a lot of knowledge, then gradually improve yourself through practice.
There are several common mistakes that beginners usually make.
- 7 First Steps To Get Started With Woodworking
- 11 Essential Woodworking Tips and Tricks for Beginners
Scroll down below to see if you are likely to have the same mistakes and try to avoid:
#1. Not properly planning in advance:
This is the biggest mistake for beginner woodworkers. Perhaps you want to start with a simple product and you think it looks easy to do. Unfortunately, everything will be totally different from what you expect.
Remember, each project includes a lot of small steps that require your skill and carefulness.
You always need a detailed plan in advance so that the work process can be more smooth and you can save your time.
Having a proper plan will also help to avoid possible mistakes or sort out problems to create a perfect product.
Currently, there are many available woodworking plans sold on the internet. You can easily buy them with a small amount of money! And everything would be easier!
#2. Out of squareness
Another common woodworking mistake you may have is the lack of squareness.
Even small variances from dead-on 90 degrees tend to turn up as ugly gaps, lids that don’t fit, wonky cabinets, and so on.
Therefore, you should spend some time checking angles for accuracy.
Also, when selecting materials for a project, make sure you look for the straightest and cleanest edge. If there is no straight edge, plane or cut one. You can mark the perfect edge with a light pencil.
Remember, your components must be assembled square, especially if they are to be glued and left to dry.
If you cannot ensure the squareness of your components, your final product may end up in the trash can.
#3. Inaccurate measuring / Measure twice – cut once
Wrong measurement is also a common woodworking mistake for beginners. The fact is, even if you measure 3 times, your wood pieces may still be too short.
The lines on your tape measure, your pencil line on the wood and the blade of your saw have their own thickness. If you err on the wrong side of those three lines, your cut could be off by as much as a quarter of an inch.
Tips for you: don’t just look at the line of the tape measure. Look at which side of the line your measurement falls on.
Make your pencil mark so that the same point falls on the same side of the line. Measure it again. Then make your cut so that the point is still there after your saw passes by.
You can also intentionally cut your material a bit longer than expected then trim them later. It’s quite safe and easy!
#4. Rushing and relying on sandpaper to correct errors
Professional woodworkers always understand that they need to put all of their passion into each and every step until the final product comes out.
You should remember: rushing can break your masterpiece.
And sometimes, when you are in a hurry, you will tend to make more mistakes, and the time to fix those mistakes will be much more than the time you could have saved.
Many beginners believe that they can correct most errors with sand papers.
But that’s not true. If you find out that you cut the piece of wood a little longer than expected, just cut it again, or take a new one.
Don’t think about sanding it later with sand papers. It doesn’t always work, and it’s time consuming.
Saws and planes are for cutting and thicknessing material, sand paper is for making a surface smooth and scratch free, don’t try to switch these.
#5. Using a tool without fully understanding it
There are tons of equipment for woodworking projects, from basic hand tools to advanced power tools.
Each tool has its own functions and a different way of usage. You need to understand how they are operated and how to use all functions in order to avoid mistakes.
Some people may think all the saws are the same. Yes, they are all used to cut the materials.
However, there are different types of saws, for example, hand saw, backsaw, coping saw. Each type is used with a certain purpose. You cannot use only one of them to cut everything.
That’s why you should always research or ask the wood shop seller in advance before buying a tool.
#6. Not accounting for the thickness of a saw blade when cutting
If you don’t account for the thickness of the saw blade, you may make a wrong cut line. As mentioned above, wrong measurement can ruin your product.
Therefore, always try to consider every possible factor before using the saw. To account for the thickness of a saw blade, don’t forget to cut to the same side of the blade.
Don’t attempt to split the line with your saw blade!
#7. Thinking that drawing a straight line means you will cut a straight line
This is a very innocent thought. Some beginners would use a long ruler to draw a straight line across a panel of material, and they think they will cut it exactly following the line.
But it’s not that easy. The real critical dimension was how carefully the table saw fence was set.
Tip for you: instead of drawing a line to mark where you should cut, draw a V with the point right at the spot you intend to cut.
When you draw a line, it might be ambiguous where to cut, but with a V, there is only one spot to cut.
#8. Safety mistakes
Safety should always be the priority in your workshop.
Most of the woodworking tools are extremely sharp and rotated at a high speed, you can damage your body parts in just one second without paying attention.
Beside the sharp equipment, there are loads of other risks surrounding you during your working process.
For example, your eyes can be hit by sawdust, your respiratory can also be affected if you breathe in those dust, the loud sound of some power tools may be harmful to your ears, etc.
You should always wear protecting tools to protect yourself, don’t look down on the dangers!
#9. Not using enough glue or using WAY TOO much glue
Glue definitely plays an important role in every woodworking project. If you don’t use enough glue, your separate components cannot be combined exactly, and your final product may be broken easily in the future.
However, if you use too much glue, it can affect the appearance of your product. You won’t want your chairs or tables to have a stain of the dry glue on the surface or at the corner.
Just apply an enough amount of glue, it can make your product more beautiful and also save the material!
#10. Not preparing and cleaning the surfaces enough before applying stain and finish
To get a perfect product, you must make sure every surface is as smooth as possible. If the surfaces are not cleaned and sanded before applying stain, the finishing layer would look ugly with rough points.
To avoid this, try to prepare sand papers and rub it on all surfaces of the wood materials. When you see it’s totally smooth, that’s the time to apply paint or stain. If not, continue until it is smooth enough!
#11. Not allowing paint or other finishes to dry for an appropriate time before recoating
To complete a woodworking project, you will need to apply several paint layers on the surfaces. After each layer, you will have to wait for an appropriate time until it is totally dry to continue with the next.
Some beginners usually rush and want to finish their projects as soon as possible. They don’t wait enough but recoat a new layer earlier than expected.
That’s a big mistake that professional woodworkers never make. Once you apply a new layer into a previous layer which is still a bit wet, it may mix both layers together and will ruin the whole surface.
Try asking experienced people or read carefully the guidance about the time needed for each layer to dry. If you are patient, you will get paid!
#12. Not protecting the wood from damage inflicted by clamps
Clamp comes with different sizes and types. It is one of the most basic tools that you will need for your DIY career. However, if you are not careful, it can damage your finished product.
The problem is most clamps don’t have protective pads on the jaws, and even if they came with protection originally, they often crack and fall off, you lose them, and then you have an edge that will damage the workpiece.
You can solve this problem by going out and buying felt peel-and-stick pads to put on the bottoms of furniture legs.
Just peel off the protective backing and put it right on the clamp, you can clamp as hard as you want, and you’re not going to damage the wood.
#13. Not pre-drilling for screws, which increases the risk of splitting the wood
Wise person always pre-drill for screws before assembling all separate parts together. When you drive screws into wood without drilling pilot holes, you’re essentially pushing wood out of the way to make room for the screw.
That displaced wood puts more pressure on the wood surrounding the screw, which can lead to splitting and cracking, weakening the wood over time.
Pre-drilling a pilot hole will make it much easier to drive in a screw, whether you’re using a power drill or a screwdriver. So, why not make the process easier with this step?
#14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Everyone needs to go from the scratch. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask questions when you start your first projects.
Lessons from experienced people are the most valuable. Don’t be shy, just go and get the answer for what you need.
Of course, if you can research and complete the project by yourself, you would be really proud.
However, you can try an easier way at first by asking for other’s help, then you can do it yourself after getting enough knowledge.
#15. Not investing in the right tools
You should bear in mind that not all tools are created equally. The quality of your tools will directly affect your final product.
Whether it’s a simple screwdriver or a dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw with laser guide, choose your tools wisely.
You don’t need expensive tools to succeed, you only need tools necessary for your project. However, you also cannot buy too cheap old tools that can be broken at any time.
Try to invest a bit more money in the list of materials, you will see a difference!
Besides, each tool is designed with a different function. You shouldn’t use a sander instead of a planer. They will create different results!
That is all
Okay! I hope that reading through the above beginner woodworking mistakes may help you learn some lessons and manage to avoid possible mistakes.
But even if you make the same mistakes, don’t worry! It’s another lesson!
You will need to learn several times until you can bear in your mind all the rules!