Are you thinking about getting started in hand tool woodworking? Do you love the smell of cut wood and the feeling of sawdust beneath your boots? Can you spot red oak at 50 yards? Do you secretly investigate the craftsmanship of birdhouses and spice racks on store shelves? If you already display some of these signs—or want to—then woodworking might be the hobby for you.
Woodworking is a great hobby because it can be done with a variety of specialty tools or a few simple ones. With nothing more than a saw, a single screwdriver and some inspiration you can crate amazing and functional pieces. With the advent of the Internet, even beginners can create amazing crafts by finding instructions and tool requirements on one of hundreds of websites.
Hand Tool Woodworking History
People have been working with wood for hundreds of years and hobbyists have been right along side the professionals. All that was required for woodworking was a tool of some kind and wood. Woodworking stems from the need for people to supply items for themselves.
Even in the not too distant past, farms, homes and even cities were so far removed from civilization that individuals were responsible to create all of their own tools. Having to build farms, homes, and even transportation meant that available trees supplied the wood to be worked and manipulated for all the needed projects.
Did You Know?
- The Neanderthals started producing practical wood objects over 100,000 years ago.
- Egyptians not only made their own tools but also constructed chairs, tables, and chests. Many of these furniture items are still preserved in tombs today.
- The Egyptians invented veneering and varnishing and the early Chinese invented the plane and chalk line.
Getting Started In Hand Tool Woodworking
Getting started in hand tool woodworking involves acquiring some basic knowledge and a small set of tools. Familiarize yourself with common woodworking terminology such as seasoned, square, plumb, miter, and rip cut.
The equipment and training you need when getting started in hand tool woodworking depends on the projects you plan to work on. Some of the basic tools for woodworking can be acquired for less than $300 and include a chisel, saw, level, nails, screws, layout knife, glue, sandpaper, goggles, masks, and of course wood.
Every woodworking project begins with the first cut. Simple jobs take only a few hours, whereas complex designs require weeks or months to finish. One of the best ways to learn quickly is to join a class offered by a local community college or woodworking club. You will also have a great time with like-minded friends who share your woodworking passion.
It is important to have an idea of what projects interest you so you can be sure to have the necessary supplies on hand to complete your projects. Keep an eye out for closeout deals on wood at your local home improvement store. The dump is also a great place to look for scrap wood that you can use to practice on.
Steps For Getting Started In Woodworking
Clear a space in your work area that is free of distractions and safety hazards. Organize the tools and materials you will need for your project. You will want to lay out any instructions in an easy-to-see location. Be sure to have anything close at hand that you might need. Wear safety glasses and also use ear protection with power tools.
Double-check the plan measurements or the pieces included with a kit. Measure twice before making your first cut. This is an important principle, because a miscalculation will throw off your whole project. If you have scrap wood available, this is a great time to do a practice cut. If not, you can also practice the cut with paper to make sure your measurements are correct.
Go slowly and frequently compare what you are creating with how it is supposed to look. Celebrate each accomplishment; learning a new hobby is hard work! Take a break when you feel frustrated. Getting started in hand tool woodworking should be fun, not stressful. As you take your time and move forward with the project, you should feel yourself becoming more familiar with the tools and the woodworking process.
Vacuum wood shavings and sawdust frequently. Use a breathing mask when necessary. When you are done, store tools in a toolbox or on a pegboard when they are not being used. Small projects can be housed in plastic storage bins or mechanics cabinets. Larger projects should be locked where they cannot be touched or jostled, especially while glue or stain is drying.
Tips And Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help you with getting started in hand tool woodworking…
- When starting out in this hobby, it is best to start with a simple project, begin feeling comfortable, and then continuing with more demanding creations.
- Always measure twice before cutting your material.
- Be sure that your glue is weatherproof if you are making an outdoor piece
- Always wear protective gear when woodworking
Ways To Grow The Hobby
Getting started in hand tool woodworking is a hobby with infinite possibilities. Conquering model planes or birdhouses means moving on to picture frames and towel racks. Mastering those skills can lead you down a utilitarian route of building cabinets, chairs, and tables or down the artistic route of turned bowls, vases, sculptures, and wall hangings. Books, magazines, stores, and classes will certainly stimulate your interest and your imagination. Woodworking can even become your business!
Here are a couple of other ideas for how to expand on your woodworking hobby:
- Take a woodworking class at a local community college
- Sell your projects at a local farmer’s market or craft fair
- Teach a class at a local elementary or middle school
Check out the following online resources for additional information on getting started in hand tool woodworking…
Woodworking.com – excellent online resource for woodworking including tools, education, woodworking tips, and more.
Woodcraft – comprehensive merchant site that sells all kinds of woodworking equipment, tools and supplies.
Rockler – another merchant supplier of woodworking supplies with informative videos and product demonstrations
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.