Woodworking for Beginners

​Woodworking for beginners just starting out can be an overwhelming experience. There are many techniques and tools to learn. You probably have many questions such as;  When do you use a coping saw versus a fret saw? What type of wood should I buy for my project?

Where do you start:

The simple answer is start simple.......​ and build from there. 

There is nothing more satisfying in life than making something with your own hands and the project becomes an instant success. This is exactly what happens when a complete newbie uses easy woodworking projects to create something he or she is passionate about.

The feeling of accomplishing something is really uplifting and hard to replace. This is one of the top reasons why woodworking is so popular worldwide.

In fact, the great thing about learning woodworking is that you don't have to be a professional carpenter to start building objects out of wood. You are able to find many simple projects and plans online for free. This article will highlight some important points about woodworking.

The internet has a plethora of free woodworking projects which are quite straightforward and simple to follow. Even the complete newbie is able to follow these step-by-step instructions with detailed diagrams and blueprints in place. Most of the plans would include instructional videos in order to explain how to perform each step in the woodworking plan. This is why there is so much of interest today with regards to these free woodworking projects online.

Woodworking for beginners

An inexperienced woodworker should always choose an easy design to start with. Any project that gets you started no matter how basic will teach you something.

Even the simplest project will get you started in improving your skills on:

  • Measurement​
  • Cutting accurately and cleanly
  • Joining
  • Sanding
  • Wood Finishing
woodworking birdhouse

A birdhouse is one of the easiest jobs for a complete newbie. It will not have elaborate blueprints which would confuse a beginner that is working with wood. A basic design is enough to create a sound birdhouse which would not fall apart during the harsh weather conditions in winter.

Once you have completed such a simple job, you may have the confidence instilled in going for much bigger ones.

The satisfaction you get from making a birdhouse and watching the birds in your garden flock to it is quite enormous. You would no doubt derive immense fulfillment from such an exercise. Whenever there are visitors to the garden, you can proudly showcase the birdhouse as one of your own creation.

There are many websites which would teach you how to build simple woodworking projects step by step. Most of these projects are listed for free while some projects would charge a nominal fee for some of the advanced woodworking projects. It is completely worthwhile even if you have to pay a nominal fee for such projects.

Woodworking will definitely help to enhance your creativity in leaps and bounds. It is great for anyone looking for a hobby which involves creativity, dedication and work. Your time would be used in a fruitful manner when you take on woodworking as a hobby or professional career.

Some of the simple designs for a complete beginner would include letter holders, magazine racks, and kitchen odds and ends. These items are quite basic in design and extremely easy to follow. There would be detailed step-by-step instructions with diagrams and videos for the convenience of the student. Most of these woodworking projects are offered for free on the internet.

All in all, there are numerous easy woodworking projects for the complete beginner listed on the internet without cost. Just doing a quick search will give you what you need. Always remember that even for a beginner, working with wood is attainable with practice and some basic tools.

Woodworking is a hobby enjoyed by men and women, both young and old. This is a hobby that takes years of experience to perfect. However, that does not mean woodworking novices cannot have a good time with it. Here are some helpful woodworking tips that can help you improve the quality of your projects.

Plan

When you are working with a project plan, always read over your plan from start to finish before you start on it. You want to know what the project entails so there will be no surprises. Make a list of supplies and assemble them before you start. That way, you will not have to interrupt your project because you ran out of something in the middle.

​Measure

Before you cut, always take your measurements twice. The second measurement is a way to check the accuracy of your first measurement. When you are cutting a wood piece, there is no room for errors. One wrong cut can ruin the piece and make you start all over again. Always follow the old adage, measure twice, cut once.

​Keep Work Area Clean

Always keep your work area clean and tidy. Each tool should have its own storage space. When your tools are organized, you will not waste time looking for something that you need. Leaving tools lying around can be a hazard because you can trip over them.

woodworking bench

Clean and organized woodworking bench

Do not allow saw dust and debris to accumulate on the floor because that can make you slip and fall. Do some clean up and straightening up during your project, and give your workshop a thorough clean up after you are done.

​Wood Storage

Store your wood pieces in a dry area. Prevent sunlight from directly hitting them. Wood has a tendency to warp if exposed to a humid environment or extreme temperatures. Store the pieces flat on the ground or work bench instead of on their edges to minimize warping.

​Safety

Always take safety precautions when you are working with hand or machine tools. Wear protective goggles to prevent injury from flying debris. Wear ear protection when operating woodworking machinery because those tools can be very loud. Avoid wearing loose clothing because the excess fabric can get caught in the machinery and cause you injury. Wear sturdy shoes with thick soles that will protect your feet from falling objects or sharp nails.

Organize a library of your favorite ideas and advice and have those at your disposal at all times. A simple binder with index tabs is usually sufficient. Keep this binder in your work area so you can have easy access to it.

Always clean your tools after you have used them. Blades may need to be sharpened conditioned with oil to keep them from rusting. Machinery should be oiled to keep them running smoothly. When you spend time in taking care of your tools, you will get better results in your projects.

By learning and applying great woodworking tips to your projects, you can perfect your skills and become a master woodworker. Even for the masters, the learning does not stop. There is always something new to learn, which makes this hobby such a sustainable pastime for woodworking enthusiasts.

Woodworking Tools for Beginners

I’m assuming that if you’re reading this article, you have an interest in woodworking. You might even have some questions;

  • “What do I need to get started?”
  • “What are the first tools I need to begin woodworking?”
  • “There are so many quality levels and varieties of tools out there, do I need to spend a boat-load of money?”

Lay down your fears, and let’s take a look at some of the basics. The purpose of this article is to examine some of the simplest tools. That is to say, woodworking hand tools for beginners. You’ll soon see that if you’re able to acquire this set of tools, either all at once or piece-by-piece, you could build a substantial number of projects and fix most things around the house, including many appliances if necessary.

Some of these aren’t strictly woodworking tools, but they are most definitely valuable in the home shop for making adjustments to tools, carrying out repairs, and finding solutions. The definition of a hand tool in its plainest terms is a device powered by the user. It doesn’t have a plug or batteries, but is guided, adjusted, and animated by the person holding it.

As you progress you can start to buy more power tools to help speed up your projects.​

woodworking tools list

The list below is divided into categories of tools, and a price range given for each. It is not within the scope of this article to search out every possible source for tools (nor am I endorsing any particular seller), but simply to give a general idea of what you might expect to pay for something.

One more word about quality: It isn’t always necessary to buy the most expensive to get the best quality. A good rule of thumb is to buy what you can afford now, and add to your collection and upgrade over time as you go. I will say that if you have the means, it might be beneficial to spend slightly more when buying saws, chisels, and planes, as these are somewhat more specialized.

Before getting into the specifics of the tools themselves, I need to mention considerations for safety. Always follow the instructions included with the tools, and wear hearing, eye, and in many cases, respiratory protection.

Woodworking Tools List​

Below you will find a list of woodworking tools for the beginner carpenter. The list is by no means exhaustive ​nor are they all required. The best advice is just buy each tool as your projects require them.

Measuring/Laying Out/Marking

  1. Tape measure $6.00 – $25.00
  2. Folding Rule $6.00 – $12.00
  3. Framing Square $8.00 – $15.00
  4. Combination Square or Speed Square $10.00 – $15.00
  5. Sliding Bevel $10.00 – $15.00
  6. Torpedo Level $5.00 – $9.00

Estimated subtotal for measuring/laying out/marking = $45 to $90

Cutting

  1. Chisels either metal end for use with a hammer, or plastic/wood-butt for use with a mallet. Can be found in many places in a set with 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″ $30.00 – $140.00+ (on up to several hundred dollars)
  2. Hand rip saw (for sawing with the grain) $14.00 – $100.00+9.
  3. Hand cross-cut saw (for cutting across the grain) $14.00 – $100.00+10.
  4. Coping saw $8.00 – $20.0011.
  5. Back saw/dovetail saw $12.00 – $40.0012.
  6. Miter box/miter saw $15.00 – $60.0013.
  7. Sharpening stone combination with coarse/fine grains, oil $18.00 – $70.00+14.
  8. Utility knife, such as a lock-blade, with replaceable blades $8.00

Estimated subtotal for cutting = $120.00 to $540.00

Joining/Fastening

  1. Claw hammer, typically around 16 oz. $12.00 – $30.00
  2. Set of 3 nail set punches $3.00 – $7.00
  3. Hand drill – these can be difficult to find sometimes, and are not meant for extensive drilling; they are mainly for making pilot-holes, so a nail or screw doesn’t split the wood. $15.00 – $40.00
  4. Screwdrivers, at least two sizes of each in slotted and Phillips head, generally come in sets $9.00 – $30.00+

Estimated subtotal for joining/fastening= $40.00 to $105.00

Finishing

  1. Block/bench plane $12.00 – $125.00+ (on up to several hundred dollars)
  2. Set of rasps and files, various profiles $18.00 – $45.00
  3. Sanding block, various grits sandpaper (80, 120, 220) $15.00 – $30.00

Estimated subtotal for finishing = $45.00 to $175.00

Adjustments/Repairs/Other

  1. Clamps, either C-clamps (2-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch), squeeze clamps, Bar Clamp, or a combination, at least two pairs $50.00 – $150.00
  2. Small socket set or set of wrenches, in both metric and standard units (These days, it seems nothing is uniform.) $20.00 – $50.00
  3. Pliers – combination set of slip-joint, needle nose, and channel locks $25.00

Estimated subtotal for adjustments/repairs/other = $95.00 to $225.00

ESTIMATED TOTAL RANGE FOR ALL SECTIONS = $345.00 to $1136.00

As you can see, there is quite the range of costs from one end of the spectrum to the other, but there is generally something to fit most budgets. Don’t let this scare you. As I said before, there’s no rule that you have to pick all these tools up at once – buy them piece-meal if need be.

Woodworking for beginners in the internet age is a lot easier than pre-internet. There are countless websites and video's displaying the essential basic woodworking skills needed ​that are required to build a solid base. Armed with just a handful of the above tools you can make a start straight away.

Figure out a project you might like to try, and see what tools you’ll need first. Now, what are you waiting for? 

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