The growing popularity of DIY websites and blogs provides individuals with the opportunity to be creative while also being productive. Woodworking can be both fun and useful as it engages individuals in a craft that lends itself to both artistic expression and home improvement. From small projects to enhance the home to larger carpentry jobs such as building furniture, this is a skill that is easier to pursue than one might think.
Types of Wood
The first step when exploring woodworking is gain a basic understanding of the types of wood which are appropriate for specific projects. Most DIY instructions will tell you which woods are best and which to avoid. Softwoods, for example, are not necessarily inferior to hardwoods. They tend to be less expensive and more renewable than hardwoods, as softwoods such as pine and cedar grow very fast. Softwoods are easier to work with and many woodworkers favor it for projects such as decks and furniture. Cedar and redwood are particularly desirable for outdoor projects, as they are resistant to moisture.
Hardwoods are more expensive. Some woodworkers prefer to use hardwoods only for accent pieces; however, this type of lumber is very versatile. Most hardwoods are best for indoor furniture, however oak and teak are quite moisture and weather-resistant. Hardwoods also take stain and paint well, making them particularly desirable if you are building a piece that fits a certain color scheme.
Part of the appeal of woodworking is the ability to produce functional household objects affordably and which can be customized. Handmade trunks and tables can provide functional storage to a home. Shelves and display cases can also be beneficial for individuals who pursue hobbies which involve collecting valuable items. Individuals can also create entertainment centers that accommodate several video game consoles or a desk tailored to a specific job.
A workbench is vital when it comes to carpentry projects. It provides the individual with a flat place to work and assemble pieces. Both a handsaw and electric sander can also be useful when working on and completing projects. Over time individuals may be interested in larger equipment and machines capable of giving a project a more ornate touch, such as table saws, edgers, planers, lathes, or chisels. As individuals become more serious and passionate about woodworking they can turn their focus to more specialized tools.
There are a number of techniques a woodworker can learn to enhance their projects. This particularly applies to detail work, such as hinges, moldings, inlays, and more. The most overlooked tip to keep in mind is always measure everything twice. The wrong cut can ruin a project. Marking measurements and making lines for cuts can save time and frustration. It can also prove useful for an individual to maintain a woodworking diary where completed projects can be documented and notes on what went right and what went wrong can be made.
There are multiple careers which involve woodworking and carpentry to some degree, from those who install cabinetry in bathrooms and kitchens, to those who build and sell furniture. Carpenters make more things than most people realize, from boats to guitars. The world needs accomplished woodworkers for a large variety of objects used by people every day, or to preserve already existing pieces of historic furniture and other items.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Careers in Carpentry
- Carpenters – Occupational Outlook
- Preservation Carpentry Careers
Wood Crafts for Children
Woodworking is a skill and hobby that adults can share with children. Even at a young age, children can participate in simple projects such as bird houses and boxes. Carpentry enriches the imagination and teaches them a useful skill. It also incorporates extensive use of mathematics. The ability to build something will give children a sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as help to develop their mind and creativity. Many scouting and agricultural organizations offer carpentry badges and classes for children.
Working with hand and power tools makes focusing on safety imperative. Gloves, safety goggles and a heavy carpenter’s apron belong in any basic wood shop or woodworking toolbox. It is important that individuals make sure power tools have all their safety guides in place before purchasing or using them. Fingers should always be kept clear of hammers, nails, drills, blades, and more. People should never use their hands to guide a saw and should instead use an extra piece of thin wood to guide the blade.