Today we introduce Paul one of the masterminds behind WoodWork Boss. He has the definitive list of 5 woodworking tips to get you working like a professional. Over to you, Paul!
5 Basic Woodworking Tips To Help You Work Like A Professional
When it comes to something as satisfying as woodworking and carpentry, most are too intimidated by the tools and equipment needed to get the job done. Nowadays, classes to learn these skills and gain experience are too expensive and require a good portion of time that you might not have to spare.
Many of the basic skills should be ones that most of us learned in DT, but not everybody took DT. Instead of doing hours of research on every type of tool and technique, visit your local hardware store. Talk to people. Ask for help and advice on where to start.
What do you want to create? What do you want to build? What skills are you trying to possess or learn? These are the most important things to figure out before starting any project, otherwise, you’ll be going in blindfolded.
Whether you’re a beginner or not, here are some tricks that no carpenter should be without.
First: Always Practice And Promote Safety Precautions
I can’t even begin to express how dangerous it can be working with tools that can cause serious injuries. Always use the correct safety accessories, including the appropriate clothing and protective eyewear.
I can’t believe I have to add this, but don’t do the work intoxicated. Drugs and alcohol on the job decrease your ability to make decent judgements and slow your reaction time, and let’s face it: it’s just a stupid idea and you’re asking for injuries. Of course, that’s a no-brainer.
Always use a single extension cord and always make sure that anything you have running is turned off and unplugged when you’re finished working. Under no circumstances should you ever use dull tools, such as blunt blades.
Reduce distractions to a minimum. Phones shouldn’t be important when you’re working with electric tools.
Do not reach over a running blade and always work against the cutter. I’ve met a tonne of beginners who don’t think safety is as important as creating the perfect rocking chair. There are also too many experts who assume they’ll never injure themselves on the account of their higher-level experience.
Take my word on this and do not learn the hard way. If you practice and promote safety precautions ahead of time, you’ll already be more professional than many woodworkers I’ve met, regardless of your education and training.
You don’t want to be that drunk guy in the garage with his friends thinking it would be awesome to build a boat without any of the right kinds of tools and not taking the proper precautions.
Second: Educate Yourself On Traditional Woodworking Skills Such As Joinery
Learn one thing at a time and remember to practice. Practice improves the skills you’ve learned, and even if you don’t have time for classes, there are always free online tutorials.
The best way to work like a professional in woodworking, is to start working with others who are experienced with the tools and equipment. The more experts you talk to and work with, the more you’ll learn about different techniques and how to operate tools. Even if you’re just getting help from a family member or a friend, it’ll be time well spent.
Another great way to learn woodworking like a professional: Just do it. Don’t procrastinate. Maybe volunteer for a housing project where they offer training. I’ve worked on several houses for a popular program, Habitat For Humanity. You do all the work and you’re pretty much babysat by real contractors. I learned all my skills from volunteering. I had zero experience and training when I signed up, but I’ve learned more from hands-on experience than I ever learned from a book.
Third: Check Your Budget If You Need Tools
Learn the correct techniques to use any piece of equipment, whether it’s manual or electric. When you decide what projects you want to take on, you’ll figure out which tools you need for said projects. For example, if you want to build a table, there are certain tools you’ll need.
You have to make sure you know how to use those tools, so as not to hurt yourself. Trust me. It only took one time for me to figure out that no matter how easy it seems to use a hammer, learning how to use it properly and practising your technique will save your hands from being bruised and possibly even broken.
If your budget is too tight for purchasing any kind of products, ask a friend or neighbour if you can borrow theirs, assuming they aren’t currently using it.
Fourth: The Right Materials Are Just As Important As The Right Tools
If you try to build a shelving unit with low quality wood (or the wrong grade of lumber), you might come to find that those shelves won’t last very long. Go to your nearest lumberyard and ask for tips on what to buy.
The projects you’re working on will determine what materials you need, and the materials you have will determine what projects you can do. Do it yourself (DIY) projects are fun and whatnot, but don’t attempt to do expert projects with the wrong materials, which is what tends to happen with beginners who want to go pro. They have the habit of taking on projects that are too intricate and difficult for their level of experience.
Making a birdhouse to start can be just as satisfying as building a rocking chair. Finally, knowing what screw size you need is probably even more important than the lumber; the screws are one of the major factors that will keep your project from falling apart.
Fifth: Whittling (Carving) Covers All Of These Topics
It’s something that is easy to learn, and is also highly useful. The materials are inexpensive and you can even turn wood whittling into an art form. No skill in the business of woodwork goes to waste.
The more you improve your carving skills, the more you can increase the difficulty in terms of details to all of your woodworking projects. This skill takes time, patience, and tonnes of practice. This might be one of the few times in which I recommend making a true investment.
If you’re not using high quality tools, it is a lot easier to hurt yourself, and it is much more comfortable and convenient to use better tools. Higher quality tools can make the act of carving relaxing and fun, but only with a decent knife and dry wood. Make sure the wood is dry, as using completely dry wood gives you more control of the carving. Anybody can learn wood whittling. It’s a skill to add to any woodworker’s repertoire.
Make sure to have fun, otherwise you might not enjoy woodworking as much as you’d hoped! If you enjoy what you do, you won’t see it as work. A final benefit of woodworking is adding additional skills to your resume. This creates more employment opportunities in your favour.