Shaping a straightforward shelf or creating a set of bag-toss boards is a great way to begin your woodworking career. After a few simple projects, however, you’ll probably want to branch out and begin adding detail to your work.
If you’ve ever seen an expertly made wooden clock, beautiful handcrafted trim pieces or a piece of artisan furniture with lovely chamfered edges and detailed edge work, you know what we’re talking about. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you have, and you’d like to take your woodworking to the next level.
Learn to Use Fine Detail Tools
The discipline of woodworking involves the use of a multitude of different tools. Most of them are for creating intricately detailed work after defining the basic shape of a project.
A router is an excellent tool for adding edge work to a piece. It works by spinning a blade along the edge of a piece of wood to create a shaped edge. A Dremel tool can be useful for adding fine detail inside the edges of your work, and when things get detailed, it’s time to put the power tools away and reach for the knives.
Try a Few Test Projects
You can’t expect to go from being a novice woodworker to an expert overnight. It’s going to take practice. So gather some scrap wood and try some detail work to see how it feels. You could try adding patterning to a piece or even etching a name into the project, a skill that will serve you well as your career progresses.
It might take a few attempts to become comfortable with the new skills you’re honing. There’s no shame in testing a new ability on some scrap wood.
Fine-Tune Your Workshop
It’s true you should never blame your tools for a job gone wrong. It’s equally accurate to say that having the right tools can make all the difference in ensuring a job goes well.
Set yourself up for success with a well-thought-out workspace where you can craft finely detailed projects comfortably. Make sure you have the necessary lighting to see well when doing fine work, and multiple sets of sawhorses on which to place your projects if you work on a larger scale.
Have a set of clamps and vises to hold pieces while you do detailed work. Have a workbench and consider building a router lift, which will allow you to fix your router in place and move pieces around it like a table saw. It’s a neverending journey. There are so many small tools for measurement and intricate work, and a shorter, but more expensive, list of high-powered pieces you’d love to have. Over time, things will come together.
The projects you can explore with woodworking are limitless. Developing some skills in doing detail work will raise your craft to the next level in any project you pursue. The internet is full of incredible resources, but be proactive in finding a friend and mentor who can show you in person how to put your unique stamp on your next project.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington