What Tips Do You Have For New Woodworkers? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 24Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
Administrator
 
Cricket's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,331
View Cricket's Photo Album My Photos
What Tips Do You Have For New Woodworkers?


Quote:
Woodworking can be an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. For some, though, the skill and equipment that some woodworkers have may seem daunting. Even the most masterful woodworkers were beginners at one point, however; donít assume that just because there are highly-skilled people doing woodworking that skill is a prerequisite to learning how to work with wood. Getting Started in Woodworking
I know we have discussed this several times before, but I am hoping to have a thread filled with tips we can reference for woodworkers just getting started.

If you were helping someone one brand new to woodworking, what tips would you offer?

What helped you get started?

"Show respect even to people who donít deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."
Cricket is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 06:41 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,991
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
About all a hobbyist can do is ask a lot of questions. Every time a new project comes along it presents it's own problems and solutions. The person that wants to make a career of it I would recommend changing jobs a lot doing different types of woodworking. I've worked at places that made sailboat parts, foosball tables, residential custom cabinet, commercial cabinets, cabinets for video games, furniture repair and refinishing and architectural millwork where we made entry doors and windows as well as circular stairways. You gain so much experience from doing different types of woodworking you can then open your own business. It's funny the little things you don't think of that come in handy. I often have customers that want me to build new cabinets that go in next to existing cabinets. The experience I got mixing stains to match the color for a chair leg in the refinishing shop lets you mix color for a new cabinet to match the old ones, even if they have been there for a while and the finish has yellowed. You just never know what a customer might come up with and ask if you can do it.
Cricket likes this.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #3 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 07:17 PM
Wood machinist
 
difalkner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NW Louisiana
Posts: 3,536
View difalkner's Photo Album My Photos
A good tip is to dry fit pieces on glue-ups that require a bit of planning for where clamps go, how long it will take to place them, apply clamping pressure without pieces sliding on each other, etc.

AFTER you've applied glue is the wrong time to find out your clamps aren't right for the job, that you don't have enough of them, that no matter how hard you work at it you simply can't pull the joint together to make it tight, and the absolute wrong time to find that you actually need another set of hands to get the glue joint where it needs to be.

David
Cricket likes this.

David

Curly Wood Shop on Etsy
David Falkner - Woodworking YouTube channel
Our music at church - current videos Airline Baptist BC Facebook Live
Romans 3:23
difalkner is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 07:19 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Troy Michigan USA
Posts: 919
View gmercer_48083's Photo Album My Photos
Shop safety is the most important thing in my shop. Woodworking is made up of many steps. Each step has its concerns that should be thought out completely to prevent accidents. Make this a habit or routine. Never risk injury...If something looks dangerous, it probably is. Don't work tired. By working safely in your shop will allow you to practice woodworking for many years to come.
BigJim, Cricket and Kerrys like this.

Gary
gmercer_48083 is offline  
post #5 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 07:39 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 204
View unburled's Photo Album My Photos
I'm with with @gmercer_48083. Safety is my first and ever-present concern. After you figure out how to do something, figure out how it could wrong. Don't work tired or under the influence. After yourself, the number two most dangerous thing in the shop is another person.
BigJim and Cricket like this.

Kerouac, J.
"to the joyful chaos of uncontrolled appetites ..." Claire Armistad, writing on the late Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea
unburled is offline  
post #6 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 07:58 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 204
View unburled's Photo Album My Photos
oh, and take internet advice for what it is, not what you might want it to be. especially this thread.
gj13us likes this.

Kerouac, J.
"to the joyful chaos of uncontrolled appetites ..." Claire Armistad, writing on the late Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea
unburled is offline  
post #7 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 11:25 PM
Wood machinist
 
difalkner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NW Louisiana
Posts: 3,536
View difalkner's Photo Album My Photos
Another tip is properly setting expectations - if you've been doing woodworking for a few years and always work in Pine, plywood, and scraps you pick up then don't expect your projects to look like they are made of Walnut, Cherry, Maple, exotics, etc.

And if you are using the least expensive big box store wipe on or rattle can finishes then don't expect your finishes to look like hand rubbed French polish Shellac or professionally sprayed finishes.

If you want your projects to take on a more polished and professional look then step up your game with better materials and techniques. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Pine, plywood, etc. but I often see and talk to people who are comparing their work to something they see online or in person but they're afraid to spend the money on better materials because they don't want an expensive mistake. Guess what - getting better won't ever happen if you don't try new things with better materials and techniques!

So, set your expectations to just beyond your level of expertise and skillset and then always try to push that limit. But don't set your expectations to a completely unattainable level, especially if you don'thave the tools, shop, materials, or experience to get there right now. All of us can get better but it's generally accomplished in small stages with a few mistakes along the way rather than in huge and always successful leaps.

David
Cricket likes this.

David

Curly Wood Shop on Etsy
David Falkner - Woodworking YouTube channel
Our music at church - current videos Airline Baptist BC Facebook Live
Romans 3:23
difalkner is online now  
post #8 of 27 Old 05-17-2019, 12:40 AM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,857
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
Oh, just shoot for the moon!

I know that David ^ build guitars and to me there is no more challenging project than that. I mean an acoustic, not a solid body! I haven't done one, but I attended a Blues Class in Augusta, WVA where we walked by a studio where they were building them, a 5 week class, if I recall.

https://augustaheritagecenter.org/


There are online classes on You Tube also.


https://www.luth.org/resources/schools.html

My reasoning is you will learn more about wood, it's properties, carving, shaping, sanding, fitting, and finishing than on any other project I know of. When I was just 16, I found a classical guitar body on the trash with a missing neck. I knew nothing about guitars, but that didn't stop me from carving a neck a making a playable guitar out of it. I was too young and ignorant to know I shouldn't attempt it.


My next foray into musical instrument repair, about 50 years later, was when the neck on my bass fiddle/double bass snapped off and I and a luthier friend replaced it. I made some fixtures to hold the neck in place and apply clamping pressure while the glue set up which impressed my luthier friend. Guitars are way cool. My meager collection includes 2 steel or resonators, a D-18 Martin and a D70 Guild. A I have few assorted solid body guitars as well, but I prefer the acoustics sound. If you have never heard really good finger pickin' look up Doyle Dykes and then Brent Mason..... fabulous players.




Anyway, I know it's a bit of a stretch, but you can enroll in a local class and I promise you will never regret it.


I have one of these Mule resonators which was custom built for me using a piece of Honduran Rosewood I supplied:
difalkner likes this.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 05-17-2019 at 12:42 AM.
woodnthings is online now  
post #9 of 27 Old 05-17-2019, 01:11 AM
Senior Member
 
BernieL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Greenville NH
Posts: 1,377
View BernieL's Photo Album My Photos
All exceptional advice above, but here are a few basics...


Working with pine is cheaper but more challenging. All soft woods are harder to work with because they aren't crisp like hardwoods. The fibers tend too bend under tool pressure unlike the hardwoods... But softwoods are excellent for the basic learning curve...


Don't buy tools until you need them. We woodworkers all own neat looking gadget tools that we never use.


Build workshop fixtures, storage units and jigs now, as your practice projects... Workshop projects don't have too look good. They simply need to be functional. In the future, workshop projects will remind you how far you have progressed.


Last - Don't throw away your cutoffs - use them to practice more advance joinery
Cricket likes this.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
BernieL is offline  
post #10 of 27 Old 05-23-2019, 11:36 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 94
View Bob Vaughan's Photo Album My Photos
Best advice I ever heard: "try".
unburled likes this.
Bob Vaughan is offline  
post #11 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 01:41 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 5
View kalopsia's Photo Album My Photos
Being a novice myself:

Donít become married to a particular brand/manufacture. Thereís a lot of good stuff out there made by the other guys.

Buy once, cry once. Bought a DEWALT contractor table saw because it was a good deal, but itís seriously undersized/powered for what Iím interested in now. Should have saved that purchasing power and put it towards a decent used table saw.

Dust collection is more important than you realize. Dust deputy or a similar product is worth the money in spades if you canít invest in a dedicated unit. Starting out, use a dust mask at a minimum. Coughing or sneezing after your finished working on a project is a sign that something is probably wrong.

Ask friends/family if you can borrow a tool before you buy it. Depending on what it is, it may be the only time you need it, or you can use it as research into what you like or prefer should you decide to buy it.

Look at OfferUp, CraigsList, or Facebook Marketplace before buying anything. There can be insane deals on quality equipment, tools, and material there.

Set up makes the process go faster. Nothing like being in the middle of glue up when you realize that your clamps or brad nailer isnít anywhere near you. Sketching out a project can really help, especially to reference hours or days later.

Get in the habit of wearing safety glasses and ear protection so you realize when youíre not.

CutListOptimizer.com has helped me out a lot in planning projects, but make sure you look through your scraps before you cut into new stock, especially towards the end of a build.

Use the right fasteners for the correct wood.

Biscuit/dowel joints are amazing for alignment, as long as you align/control the tool correctly. Practice and double check measurements before cutting.

Cordless tools are awesome until the battery dies. Drills and random orbital sanders are the only two tools that I canít cut the cord on.

Mistakes are okay; itís part of the creative process to conceal them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
kalopsia is offline  
post #12 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 04:02 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mojave, CA
Posts: 44
View DesertRatTom's Photo Album My Photos
Here's a pdf of the 17 things that helped me accelerate my learning curve. It's kind of long but has some pictures. Hope it will same someone the trouble and expense and hard lessons that were experienced as I moved from DIY to woodworking. And if you're just starting, don't try to do all of the suggestions, or get all the tools at once. I spent more than a decade accumulating my shop and tools. Dust collection ranks high on my list of must have, I'm a throat cancer survivor and many kinds of woods are carcinogenic when inhaled.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 17 things illustrated 19-04-25 .pdf (2.46 MB, 38 views)
BigJim likes this.
DesertRatTom is offline  
post #13 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 10:42 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: jesup GA
Posts: 380
View Mikhail2400's Photo Album My Photos
As a new woodworker I can say the absolute best tip I have ever gotten was "Go join a woodworking forum and ask questions."

#2; Do your homework before buying tools.
keith204 likes this.

Mike
Everything i build comes with a redneck warranty. If it breaks you get to keep both pieces.
Mikhail2400 is offline  
post #14 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 11:57 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 204
View unburled's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by unburled View Post
oh, and take internet advice for what it is, not what you might want it to be. especially this thread.

Case-in-point (Q&A on a digital angle meter):

keith204 likes this.

Last edited by unburled; 05-24-2019 at 12:00 PM.
unburled is offline  
post #15 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 02:18 PM
Senior Member
 
mmwood_1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: corvallis, Oregon
Posts: 1,214
View mmwood_1's Photo Album My Photos
My suggestion to beginners is regarding tools. Many will say, "get the best you can afford to get". I say, get whatever you can get your hands on, and learn how to use it. Every tool, even new ones, has its idiosyncracies, and you need to learn how to adapt to and work with your tools. Hand tools are an excellent place to begin, because if you learn to understand and work with a hand tool, then the motorized versions will be so much easier and more effective to use.



Don't be embarrassed about using 'garage sale' tools, if that's what you can get. I'm a professional woodworker for 26 years now and I still use some of my cheapo garage sale tools. In fact, many of my tools are begged, borrowed or needing frequent maintenance. You DO NOT need great, expensive tools to do good work. You need time, practise, patience, and determination. If some of the people on this site saw my shop and my tools, they would laugh at it. Or groan. But I think my website proves my point.



The best tool investment I ever made, though, was $120 on a Bridge City Tool Works C12 combination square, which I bought new. It changed my whole perspective on measuring accurately, which in turn, improved the level and quality of my work. So, in no way am I saying those high quality tools are not worthwhile. I am saying that for a beginner, it is NOT necessary, and if you are daunted by the costs, go cheap and learn to work with the tools you can get.



Read a lot, there are many great books out there to help you understand concepts and principles of joinery, and tool usage. Don't get stuck on what any one book or person tells you, though. Let them inspire you and instigate your own thinking.
Tony B likes this.
mmwood_1 is offline  
post #16 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 04:13 PM
Junior Member
 
keith204's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 20
View keith204's Photo Album My Photos
1) Steve Ramsey (WoodWorking for Mere Mortals) does a great job at helping beginners get up to speed. He sort of de-intimidates woodworking yet still articulates safety issues.

2) Watch videos that explain the physics woodworking. Matthais Wandel has several that have helped me. Understanding what forces happen in which direction is immensely helpful to stay safe.

3) Go to IFTTT.com and set up some reliable Craigslist alerts for cheap routers!
woodnthings likes this.
keith204 is offline  
post #17 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 06:37 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,857
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
I have said this for years .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by keith204 View Post
1) Steve Ramsey (WoodWorking for Mere Mortals) does a great job at helping beginners get up to speed. He sort of de-intimidates woodworking yet still articulates safety issues.

2) Watch videos that explain the physics woodworking.
Matthais Wandel has several that have helped me. Understanding what forces happen in which direction is immensely helpful to stay safe.

3) Go to IFTTT.com and set up some reliable Craigslist alerts for cheap routers!

The physics involved with high speed rotating cutters is very important to understand. Throwing apiece of wood against a 3600 RPM saw blade without knowing what to expect can be dangerous. Let alone the internal stresses within a piece of wood which are unknown until you make that cut. Then, having router bits spinning at 20,000 RPM and not knowing which direction to feed the work into them can have disasterous results. Ripping wood on a RAS without knowing that the work will tend to lift OFF the table is another common mistake made by beginning woodworkers and has given the RAS a bad reputation.

Proper wood preparation before using a table saw is vital to not only get good results, but to accomplish it safely. Twisted boards do not sit well on the table saw, either literally or figuratively. This is why there's a jointer in every professional and well equipped woodshop that uses powered machines. Jointers are NOT thickness planers and there's another source of confusion for beginners.


Everyone thinks they can make a mitered corner picture frame using the miter gauge on their tablesaw, only to find out the joints don't mate correctly. Precision cuts are necessary for even the most simple of operations and that requires knowing how to set up your equipment properly. You may need a special tool just for setting up your machine that is never used in making your woodworking project ... a dial indicator comes to mind, as does a digital angle indicator.


Experience using different species of wood gives you knowledge that you can apply when making a new project. How they look when stained, when clear coated, how they move across their width will all affect the look and even the performance of the finished piece.
Knowing which joints have the most strength against racking will give the piece added strength and make it last longer. Which glues to use and when to use them always comes up here. How much clamping pressure us required and how closley should the pieces mate before gulling them up are other commonly asked questions.


Do I need 220 Volt service in my shop? Countless questions on shop wiring deal with electrical issues. I probably have 10 220V outlets in my woodshop alone. The motors that require a 220 V servive are 3 HP or greater. There is no such thing as a 3 HP motor that runs on 120 Volts, regardless of the label on the side of the cabinet.

And speaking of wiring, if you can't see what you are doing, then you won't be safe or get good results. Get adequate lighting before anything else.

A solid, non-movable secure workbench is as much a safety item as it is a convenience. If your workpiece is jumping around while you are handplaning it, it won't be easy to work on OR be pretty afterwards. Sharp tools work better than dull ones, so learn how to make them sharp and keep them that way, especially handplanes and chisels. There are You Tube videos on the process and the various types of stones used for each one.

There Ya go, that will get you thinkin'
sgcz75b likes this.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 05-24-2019 at 07:10 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
post #18 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 07:31 PM
Village Idiot
 
epicfail48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Springfield MO
Posts: 4,683
View epicfail48's Photo Album My Photos
Dont be afraid to make mistakes, with the exception of safety

Make no mistake, you will ruin a workpiece. You will screw up finishing, cut a part too short, glue something up crooked. You will cut a rabbet too deep, cut a box out of square, you will blow a nail through the edge of a workpiece. You will tear out end grain when routing the final detail. You will apply the wrong stain. You will screw up the finish. You will learn new and interesting forms of profanity.

But you will also learn everything not to do, and in doing so you will learn how to do things properly. Every project is a learning experience, even if all you get out from it is firewood. Take your lumps and move on with them, and dont let fear of failing stop you from trying.

All that said, dont **** around with safety. Feeding your hand into a table saw blade isnt making a mistake, its being careless, and about the only thing youll learn from hacking a finger off because you didnt wanna find a push stick is how much an ER visit costs. Wood is cheap and plentiful, make your mistakes on it. Youve only got one body and those are somewhat rather hard to replace

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
epicfail48 is offline  
post #19 of 27 Old 05-25-2019, 01:47 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 94
View Bob Vaughan's Photo Album My Photos
Get this book.
https://www.abebooks.com/Cabinetmaki...iABEgIp3vD_BwE

Sure, some of the designs are dated and some of the machines are also, but it covers everything woodworking from A to Z from the days before pocket screws and Incra jigs.

Its low cost, too. Woodworkers like low cost.
Bob Vaughan is offline  
post #20 of 27 Old 05-25-2019, 09:53 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 663
View gj13us's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by unburled View Post
oh, and take internet advice for what it is, not what you might want it to be. especially this thread.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Focus on getting the work done.
gj13us is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Safety Tips for Woodworkers WoodworkingTalk Featured Topics 54 01-14-2016 06:27 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome