Woodworking seems to be an interesting activity for everyone.
It helps to reduce a lot of stress from daily life, and more importantly, make you feel extremely proud after looking at your finished products.
Below is 11 woodworking tips and tricks that you should look through before starting your first project:
#1. Know the Different Types of Wood
The first thing you should do is, of course, researching carefully about the types of wood you are going to use in your plan.
There are lots of wood types and each type has its own characteristics. You need to know how to take care of them, how you can treat them, as well as how they will react to the surrounding environment.
The reason is that different woods have different moisture contents. The amount of moisture will affect how stain, paint, and glue takes to it.
That’s why you will see different results between a piece of oak and a piece of pine stained in the same color.
So, no.1 woodworking tip is: KNOW YOUR WOOD!
#2. Buying the right tools – don’t break the bank
If you don’t invest in the right tools, you will waste your time and money doing impossible projects.
There are certain essential tools for every woodworking plan which may be costly for beginners, but you can re-use them for your future plans, so I think it’s worth investing in quality tools from the very beginning.
Normally, you had better decide what you want to build, then anticipate the steps from A to Z, finally, get the necessary tools to perform these tasks.
Remember, it will be better if you choose a top-quality, versatile tool than a highly specialized gadget designed to help you complete the tasks with little skill.
If you are feeling unsure about which tool to buy, start with the following things to prevent spending too much money at once:
- Miter saw
- Kreg Jig
- Brad nailer
#3. Starting with easy woodworking projects
When you start, don’t begin right away with super complicated projects as it would make you frustrated.
To make sure you know what to do during your journey, I would suggest investing in an instruction book or a full package of projects which gives a detailed explanation in every step needed to go through.
You can start with simple plans like building chairs, tables, cutting boards, dog houses, or small crafts and gifts.
You will feel very excited whenever finishing a project and have more inspiration to conquer the next challenge.
#4. Keep your tools and blades sharp
Another thing you need to remember in the list of woodworking tips and techniques is “always keep your tools as sharp as possible”.
You should avoid using dull tools like chisels, blades, planes, scrapers, and gouges because they don’t cut cleanly. They tear at the wood fibers resulting in a fuzzy, uneven, unprofessional look.
After many times in use, your tools can be chipped and won’t be able to complete their tasks well. It’s time for grinding.
You can invest in a bench grinder, wet grinder, or even a belt sander to make your tools sharper.
However, try to cool down your tools with cool water every few seconds when using a bench grinder or belt sander. It helps to prevent losing temper.
You can also use either a flat wet stone or oil stone for honing process and use a fine wet stone, a stropping wheel, or leather to polish the tools.
#5. Plan Your Project
You must ALWAYS PLAN YOUR PROJECT BEFORE STARTING.
You have to know what the final product should look like, how you will complete it step-by-step. Having a plan and detailed drawing of the project beforehand will make your journey smoother.
You can save your time and money with every necessary material in your hand before getting started.
Mapping out your project will even help to foresee any issues during the assembly process, from which you will be able to come up with an advanced solution, preventing frustration while doing the “real” woodworking.
#6. Always Pre-drill Screw Holes
If you are gonna use a screw to attach a piece of wood to a surface, pre-drilling the holes is a good idea. It can help to prevent your board from splitting on you during assembly.
But remember to use a countersink screw head since it will widen the pre-drilled hole to allow the screw head to be recessed on the board.
This helps to avoid board cracking and also gives you the option to plug the hole to hide the screw head.
#7. Sand before Assembly
Another woodworking trick is sanding before assembly.
Preparing your wood surface is super important as it will directly affect how you stain, paint, or finish your product.
The best time to sand your wood is before cutting when it’s still in the whole piece. You will find it much easier and save your time than cutting the wood in multiple shapes and then sand each and every small piece of wood.
#8. Should Use Straight Wood Boards
Sometimes you might want to save your materials and try to take advantage of every small piece of wood in your hand.
However, don’t forget to pick out the straightest boards you can find and avoid warped or bowed boards. This can be time-consuming but you will be amazed at the difference when you finish your plan.
Many boards look quite straight at first but then turn into bowed or warped ones without any obvious reason.
But don’t worry! We have a trick for that!
Just hold the board up towards your face, with the other end on the ground, and look at it at a downward angle (as shown in the below photo). This method will allow you to see if it is bowing at all.
#9. Choosing Right Screws
Whenever you want to do a DIY project, a screw is always one of the most necessary tools for helping to connect two or more pieces of materials.
That’s why you must know how to choose the right one among thousands of choices in the market.
In fact, different projects may need different types of screws.
Below are the most common types:
1. Wood Screws:
These have an unthreaded shank, coarse pitch and flatheads, which tap into the wood super well and can sit flush against the wood as well.
Most of them require a pilot hole which you can make using a drill bit before screwing it into the wood.
2. Drywall Screws:
Typically longer and have rough threads
3. Sheet Metal Screws:
Most often shorter than the wood screws since sheet metal is thin.
They also require a pilot hole. They have a fine pitch and are threaded to the head.
4. Machine Screws:
These come in different types and shapes but have higher strength than others since they are machined. They have found threads. You will have to use a bolt or a nut to secure these screws.
So, read the instruction carefully and pick up the right tool for your project!
#10. Learn The Safety Rules
This is the most important rule. It’s not really a tip but a MUST.
Learning carefully about the safety rules will help you to avoid unexpected situations or injuries caused by woodworking tools.
Beginners are usually very scared of all the sharp cutting devices, but if you research and follow the detailed instruction, you will survive till the end of the project!
#11. Find a Skilled Woodworker
I understand you would want to complete the task by yourself.
However, finding a mentor for your first project is not a bad idea. You need an experienced woodworker to learn some secrets and hacks when you make a mistake or have any problem.
When you read this line, I guess you have known enough basic knowledge to start your first woodworking project.
It’s very interesting but also super challenging for beginners. So, be prepared, and don’t get frustrated! You will become a professional after several completed plans!