Woodworking is a pleasurable hobby that can well turn into a lucrative career if taken seriously enough but for many it offers an escape from their day to day lives with the added benefit of being rewarded for the efforts and time spent doing it.
Wood is a very tactile and pliable natural material that has an alluring aroma which fills the room as it is being worked. You can carve it, turn it, joint it and can even mold it with steam, its used in construction, furniture making, boat building and much more. The attraction of a fundamentally basic material that can be manipulated into something exquisite drives enthusiasts to embrace the quest for new knowledge and skills.
Where do you start? Well that really does depend on your practical experience and your background but first and foremost you have to ask yourself what interests you. It may you feel you are more artistic and the passion for this could be met with wood carving, you may prefer cabinet making or just to improve your practical skills with working with wood & tools.
Your first thoughts have to be where this new hobby is going to be carried out and the work space that will needed to do it. Greenwood can obviously be worked outdoors but most will want to carry out their woodworking in a workshop of some sort. This is also where your tools will likely be stored so security is important. You may be luck and have a ready built garage but if that’s not the case then your first projects could involve erecting a large shed and building a work bench. Some tools are going to be required at this point but try and make do with basics as there is no point buying tools that won’t be suitable or usable later in your genera of woodworking.
Research, Research, research you can never have enough knowledge although never be put off when something seems difficult. If it was easy and less challenging it would be boring and skill is something that comes with time. Meet & talk to people, make friends with fellow woodworkers, there are some good online woodworking forums and some good events for those who can travel. Never worry about asking questions that’s how most learn, even the best woodworkers started out as a beginner.
Plan ahead and look at what you think you are going need for the projects ahead, there is nothing worse than needing something when you are in the middle of a job. Generally though it takes a while for surplus bits and bobs to build up but the better prepared you can be before you start definitely will help things to run smoother at the start. That means different types wood although it may be prudent to stick to one type at first, you will also need and array of fixings, glues, sandpaper etc.
Tools are very important and the thing that’s most important when starting out is generally to get the best you can afford. Now whilst this could be beyond many peoples reach it has to be said that it is still possible with a modest budget providing you choose the right supplier such as Tooltique as we tend to tune the important tools when needed. Yes there are the Lie Nielson and Clifton tools and yes they would be nice to own but learn to master specific tools first. Most likely though once you have mastered what tools you have the appeal to own those premium priced tools will soon dissipate.
Sharpening has to be the most important factor to making your life easier and achieving classy results. There are many fine examples of videos on Youtube for sharpening and there are a few good accessories you can use to help you get it right. Paul Sellers website offers good experienced advice although there are some equally good US woodworking sites that will help you also.
Practice makes perfect and there is no better example of this when doing joints, i’d suggest learning what joints are used and where and try, try and try again until you can do them in your sleep. It’s like learning to drive a car, get the clutch control sussed and then you can start refining the finer points that will make your work stand out.
Try taking local woodworking courses, just being around them and experience woodworkers with tools in their hands will bring on your knowledge & skills.
Enjoy and expand knowledge though projects, push and test your skills on projects with higher levels of complexity and as these become easier you will have progressed to a level undertaking your craft with confidence. The best bit when reaching this level is, that’s when you start to take it seriously!