Woodworking is a specialized craft that involves carving wood to make an object from it. While it is related to carpentry, the main difference is that carpenters work with wooden structures. In comparison, a woodworker may work on items that do not involve a structure. Woodworking is practiced around the world with many different styles and techniques. Read on to learn more about this fascinating craft.
The History of Woodworking
As a solid natural material that is fairly easy to manipulate, wood has long been the material of choice since ancient times. We can see examples of woodworking by Neanderthals, the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, through to Medieval times and up to the modern era. Through the centuries, woodworking was used to create items that were functional as well as decorative. Often it included household items, as well as coffins, decorative panels, and so on.
- Woodworking Through History – Read a radio transcript that examines woodwork through time.
- Woodwork in Ancient Egypt – The Ancient Egyptians largely used imported wood for their crafts.
- Viking-Era Woodwork – The Vikings had a wide range of lumber to work with, as well as some fairly advanced tools.
- Anglo-Saxon Woodworking – Find out how the Anglo-Saxons manipulated wood to create beautiful objects.
- Woodworking in Medieval Times – Medieval woodworkers had numerous techniques for making all types of furniture and other items.
- Church Woodwork – Read an online book on woodworking styles used in churches of the Middle Ages to Medieval era.
Woodworking Materials and Equipment
The types of tools used have varied a lot over time. Early humans used sharpened rocks in woodworking. Later on with more developed civilizations, tools became more advanced. Many of those tools, such as chisels, lathes, saws, and planes were rudimentary but functional versions of our modern-day tools. The type of wood used is as important as the equipment. Woodworkers have a choice between hardwoods, softwoods, and artificial versions like plywood.
- Antique Tools – View some examples of antique woodworking tools.
- Manufacturers and Suppliers – Browse through a comprehensive list of suppliers for old and new woodworking equipment.
- Roman Tools – See what types of tools Ancient Romans used for woodworking.
A number of woodworkers have made a name for themselves over the years. A significant portion of famous woodworkers hail from the Scandinavian countries. This is most likely because those regions have an enormous supply of different types of woods and woodworking was practiced for centuries. It is also very interesting to study woodworkers from other areas, since they bring a wealth of cultural influence in their designs and styles.
- Ole Kirk Christiansen – This famous woodworker made wooden toys and later went on to create Lego.
- Roy Underhill – Underhill is not only a notable woodworker, but also the host of a TV show focused on woodworking.
- James Krenov – Krenov was a famous woodworker who advocated a style that was natural instead of mass-produced and highly polished.
- Sam Maloof – Sam Maloof was well-known for his modern, clean aesthetics in wood furniture.
- Evert Sodergren – Sodergren came from a family of woodworkers and was hailed as an artist in his field.
Woodwork Design Ideas and Inspiration
Once you have a block of wood and the necessary tools, inspiration can suddenly be a challenge, much like writer’s block. One way to get started is by browsing through examples of projects that others have created. This can range from small, simple projects for beginners, like a small bench, to more complicated ones like bird feeders, book racks, and storage chests. Many sites online offer free instructions and plans for woodworking, and they are a great starting point for woodworkers of all experience levels.
- Making Everyday Objects – Refine your wood cutting skills with these tutorials on making a tape dispenser, a book rack, a step stool, and much more!
- Sanding and Smoothing Wood – Use some helpful advice to fine tune your sanding and smoothing techniques.
- Woodworking Videos – Watch a series of instructional videos on how to create various wood projects.
- Woodworking Plans – Access free plans for a number of common household woodworking projects.
- Garage Storage Bench – This instructions detail how to make a wooden bench with a storage compartment.