Taking Your First Steps as a Weekend Woodworker

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Power tool sales hit a high in 2020, as men all over the world used their time at home to work on wood projects. If you hear the call a little bit late, you can still earn your badge as a weekend woodworker with just a few simple steps.

1. Prep the Site

You’ll need a place to do your woodworking. A roomy shed is the best option. However, people have been known to use their garages and basements for their workshops. Wherever you decide to build your workshop, make sure the place has suitable lighting. Bright lights allow you to see the details better, and you won’t miss small screws, washers, or bolts. Sufficient lighting also keeps your energy levels high. You don’t want to feel like dozing off once you’re working, and dim lights and a shadowy room can lull you to sleep.

The place also needs some form of ventilation. You’ll be using lacquer and paint, and you don’t want to get suffocated by fumes. Working on wood also produces a lot of sawdust. You’ll need some system to contain or expel sawdust from the room through a vacuum or exhaust system. Sawdust can be flammable, so you don’t want your projects putting your home at risk. A solid table or two and some shelves, and you should be good to go.

2. Ensure Safety

Working with power tools can be dangerous. Flying splinters can lead to eye injuries, a small slip can lead to deep gaping wounds, and a dropped piece of timber can leave you limping for months. Make your time at your workshop safer by using safety goggles, gloves, and work boots. Get a few extra goggles if you plan on inviting guests over to see your work. A CO2 fire extinguisher should help in controlling and putting out fires. CO2 extinguishers leave no residue and should leave your electrical systems and tools undamaged in case of accidents.

3. Get the Tools

The first piece of equipment you need is a table saw. Every project requires cutting, and a table saw allows you to make the most precise cuts. Opt for models with built-in cover guards for the start button to minimize accidents and false starts. You might need a miter saw for diagonal or angled cuts, but you can make do with just a table saw if you’re starting. Your next piece of equipment should be a drill press.

Most of your early projects like tables, shelves, and chairs need joining, and screws can do the job better than just nails. If you have kids in the house (and they might make their way to your workshop), hire an electrician to route the wiring your power tools use into a separate circuit breaker. Put a lock on the switch every time you leave your workshop to ensure your kids won’t be playing around with power tools.

4. Buy the Sundries

Your workshop might need a lot of supplies. Stock up on glues, screws, and nails for construction work, as well as lacquers, paints, different kinds of abrasives and sandpaper, and a ton of rags for finishing and cleanup. If you’re doing cabinetwork, get different sets of hinges, locks, and handles. Try to make a list of your planned projects and buy everything you’ll need in the hardware. It’ll save you on trips to the hardware, and having supplies at home minimizes the disruption of your workflow and keeps you focused on the project.

workshop woodworking

Going the Next Level

5. Source Different Kinds of Wood

Once you’ve done a few projects with ordinary sheets and planks of wood, you can move on to more complex pieces using more unusual pieces of lumber. Plain tree trunk slices, barnwood beams, and tree stumps are excellent materials for more complex pieces and art installations. Using raw pieces of wood also makes your projects appear more earthy and primal.

6. Ditch the Nails

Experienced woodworkers use precise cuts and plain glue to hold their projects together. Nails and screws can disrupt the aesthetics of your wooden projects and create stress points that make them more prone to damage, not to mention rust marks. Dovetailing and other methods of joining wood together can give your projects a more natural and cohesive look.

You can build something useful or beautiful in your own backyard or space. Start turning out wood projects over the weekends and grow your craft with every project you finish. Who knows, you can even make this into a profitable venture.

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