When you first start building woodworking projects using fine woodworking plans, you may initially be unsatisfied with the results that you get. This is but natural since it takes time to learn a new skill. Here are some tips to make your initial forays into woodworking more successful so that you won’t get discouraged and give up on the hobby before you get a chance to become very good at it.
Choose the first woodworking projects carefully so that you’re sure you can complete them based on your skill level. When you’re first looking over fine woodworking plans it can be very tempting to start with that fancy table for your den or those chairs for the family dining room. But you should consider if you already have the competency to complete them or if you’ll just end up frustrated and disappointed. Start with something simple, such as a stool, and then gradually work your way up to more complex projects.
Make sure you have all the woodworking tools that you need in your workshop before you start. Usually, any good set of plans will give you a list of the tools that you’ll need to complete them successfully. Look over your toolbox to see if you already have them or if you’ll have to go to your local hardware to buy them. Some of the basic woodworking manual tools you’ll need include hammers, hand saws, hand planes, chisels and clamps. You’ll also need power tools such as circular saws, routers, jigsaws and random orbital sanders. You can actually assemble a set of the basic tools you’ll need without breaking your budget since they are not that expensive and you can even get used ones that are still of good quality from garage sales and online retail sites.
Get a good woodworking bench to work on. A workbench will help keep your work organized as you can keep all the tools and materials you need conveniently at hand. You don’t have to buy a workbench since you can actually improvise one from an old table or other furniture such as a chest of drawers. But make sure that the bench is high enough that you won’t have to hunch over while working so that you won’t develop back problems from hours of woodworking.
Read the instructions for any fine woodworking plans you’re going to attempt carefully. This is something that a surprising number of beginning woodworkers actually neglect, thinking that they’ll just follow the steps until they get the desired result. While this can be effective for some people, others may find the process becoming increasingly disorganized and time-consuming. So it would be better if you took some time to sit down and look over the plans so that you’ll understand what needs to be done and what the end result should be.
Prepare the fine woodworking tools you’ll need carefully before you begin. In order to save time and make the construction process more efficient, lay out the tools and materials that you’ll need so that you’ll have them within easy reach while you’re working. You should also pre-cut all the pieces you need to assemble the project so that you can simply assemble them and make completing the project easier.
Decide on how much you want to spend on your woodworking projects. These projects have the potential to be very costly and wasteful if you don’t plan them carefully. So lay out a budget for the project and stick to it, although you should also give a slight allowance for errors and wastage. But if a project is not going well, it might be better to drop it and start again or move on to another project rather than continuing to throw money at it.
Familiarize yourself with the basic fine woodworking skills. Apart from acquainting yourself with how to use your tools, you should also learn how to do things such as make basic right angled cuts, chop joints and hand cut mitres. You should practice these skills first before you try completing any woodworking plans in order to avoid wasting time and stock, as well as helping to ensure that you’ll get satisfactory results even on your first time out. You might also consider taking a basic woodworking class at your local community college, since this can save you time and money in the long run if you plan to be serious about your woodworking hobby.
If you are not sure how to complete a certain project, don’t hesitate to seek help. You can ask experienced carpenters for tips on how to complete projects or even ask them to work with you, instructing you on how to implement the more difficult steps and giving you pointers on how to do the more challenging techniques.
One of the more difficult skills for beginner woodworkers to master is making joints fit together without a gap in between. Many novices deal with this by filling up the gap with wood filler or putty, but this can be dirty. Instead, use a screwdriver to round off the edges in order to conceal the gap.
In order to avoid plywood chipping when you’re cutting it, cut across the length of the stock rather than across the width. And you can make it easier to cut by making light scores across the place where you intend to make the cuts.
Be careful about the scale of the plans. Woodworking plans are not drawn to scale and you will have to translate the scale to the right proportions in order to ensure that the project turns out correctly.
Be prepared to dedicate the time it will take to successfully complete a project. It takes time to successfully complete a fine woodworking project, so unless you are prepared to dedicate the time needed to see it to completion, you should not start. The one thing you don’t want when working on projects is to rush them, as this will result to an unsatisfactory output.