If you’ve been dabbling in woodworking and improving your skills, you might be wondering what the next step is. How do you take your woodworking hobby to the next level, no matter what your ultimate goals are? Here are a few ideas to help you improve your skill with wood.
Experiment With New Types of Wood
Look at the woods you have been working with thus far. Chances are high that unless you went out of your way to find something special for a project, you’ve been working with the pine, oak, and cedar that are available at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. If you want to take your woodworking to the next level, start experimenting with different soft and hardwoods for your projects. Cherry and hard maple are both hardwoods that take different techniques and tools to work with. Some hardwoods will dull your tools quickly, so you might need to break out your sharpening stones.
Change up Your Tools
When you started working with wood, did you start with hand tools or power tools? Many new woodworkers choose power tools because they’re easier to use for beginners, and don’t have much of a learning curve. Hand tools require more elbow grease and might be trickier to use.
Whichever type of tools you started with — power or hand — switch to the other. You’ll be learning a whole new set of skills, and you may find some projects go more smoothly with power tools, while others turn out better if you’re using delicate hand tools.
Invest in High-End Equipment
If you’re planning on turning your woodworking hobby into a career, or even just a side hustle, consider investing in some high-end equipment. It might cost you a pretty penny, but you’ll be able to create elaborate designs more efficiently, which could help your new gig succeed.
If you do spend a lot of money on your equipment, consider upgrading your homeowner’s insurance policy to protect your investment from theft or damage. This step is crucial for high-value devices you wouldn’t have the means to replace otherwise.
Consider Taking a Class or Two
If you’ve learned everything you can from YouTube videos and experimentation, consider taking your skills to the next level by taking an in-person woodworking class. Learning from an expert, especially in a classroom setting, can help you develop talents you might be overlooking, like carving or joinery.
Workshops are a great way to augment your existing skills and learn new ones. Try to fit a class or two into your schedule, and you might be surprised how much better your woodworking becomes.
Don’t Stop Practicing
Woodworking isn’t a skill you’re going to master overnight, or even in a lifetime. Don’t think of this as a failure — instead, make it your mission to continue to learn new woodworking tricks and tips as often as possible. Keep practicing, and you’ll be able to easily — if not quickly — take your woodworking skills to the next level.
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