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Getting Into Woodworking – What Skills Do You Need?

What skills do you need?

What are the skills required to master the art of woodworking? Note that this is just a summary of the skill set needed for your first project. A more thorough discussion of each skill will come in the later chapters. Also, keep in mind that this book just covers beginner-level skills. As you go further in the craft, you will be able to learn more advanced techniques to build other projects.


Mechanical Skills

Most basic woodworking projects can be completed using simple hand tools, which are very easy to learn how to use. However, knowing how to operate power tools and other related machinery is an advantage for the beginner. The following are the most important mechanical skills one has to be familiar with:

1. Cutting

Cutting is undoubtedly the first skills a novice has to learn, as this is how you will be preparing each piece of the project. The goal here is to cut each piece of wood as cleanly as possible, so as not to need additional work later on, as well as save on material. There are many tools used for cutting wood to size, but the simple hand saw is the most common one employed by both beginners and advanced woodworkers.

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2. Nailing

While there are several different means of joining your cut wood pieces together, including gluing and screwing, nailing is still the most preferred method, as it a quick way to put the project together. Nailed wood pieces, when done right, are also sturdy. However, the task isn’t just about hammering a nail through pieces of wood, as you have to do it in such a way so as not to damage the wood while ensuring a secure fit.

3. Drilling holes

One of the advantages of using screws over nails and glue when joining wood pieces is that these can be easily disassembled when needed, as well as giving a snug fit. However, the snug fit of a screw relies largely on how well the screw hole was drilled. Here, cordless power drills are the most preferred tool, as they provide the needed amount of control while being easy to carry. These also come with several different attachments, making them more versatile.

3. Sanding

In most cases, a smooth finish is desirable, especially when the finished product is to be handled a lot. This is where sanding comes in handy. Sanding is also used to precisely remove some material from the surface of the wood to adjust its shape or aid in fitting to other pieces. The introduction of the power sander has made this once laborious task a lot easier. However, many woodworkers prefer using hand sanding when dealing with finer detail.

4. Painting

Once the project has been built and sanded to a smooth finish, it can be used almost immediately. However, most people would want to have it painted, be it with a simple clear varnish or with different colored paint, to make it more presentable. A later of paint also provides added protection from the elements. Painting wood itself can be quite an art form, as there are not a few considerations to make if you want to get that professional look on your pieces.

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Reading Project Plans

Blueprints and project plans are extremely helpful when building a project, as they list all the information needed, such as the sizes and shapes of the different parts and the specific type of wood for each. Most home woodworking plans are often just simple drawings with the basic info included. However, the growing popularity of ready-made plans for projects makes understanding the conventions and terminologies used in these necessary to use such resources.


Cost Management and Quality Control

While materials for woodworking are relatively cheap, the cost of a particular project can grow beyond the allotted budget of not carefully monitored. Thus, the novice woodworker must learn how to effectively manage the expenses, such as ensuring that all raw materials are used properly to avoid waste. Here, quality control is a must for every stage of the work to guarantee that the final product will be free of any defects, even if it mainly just for home or personal use.

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