As its name suggests, woodworking is a skill that involves transforming a piece of wood into a piece of art. Woodworking allows a coarse block of wood to be given a functional role or even a decorative value. The act of working your own designs and ideas onto a piece of wood is a real craft, taken up by many due to its enjoyable nature.
Wood is a very interesting medium as it is versatile and can be morphed into different shapes and sizes. It is a real source of joy to be able to work a piece of wood into something of your own design. Woodworking needs energy and creativity and does not require an accumulation of many materials. There are many different kinds of woodworking for beginners to try before moving on to more complex projects. The basic materials, a block of wood, and a sharp knife are all it really takes to get started.
Working a piece of wood can be incredibly therapeutic as it allows you to channel your energy in a positive way. Being able to control the appearance of a piece of wood and directly crafting a work of art makes all the efforts worthwhile. Woodworking is indeed a fun activity as it is suited for people of all ages from across the world. It is fascinating to realize that woodworking is one of the oldest crafts in the world, with examples from as far as the early Chinese civilizations, around 720 years before Christ. Wood is known to be the first material used for drawing, and the fact that it is still used proves how enjoyable it is for artists to use.
Is woodworking a good hobby?
Woodworking is an incredibly healthy hobby to have. It helps you use all your creative juices and divert them into a rewarding task. A good hobby is one that you turn to whenever you have some free time, which helps refresh you despite your efforts to go through them. Woodworking involves you to puzzle out the design and focus on creating something with your own hands, which is enjoyable and rewarding at the same time.
There are many reasons that highlight the merits of having woodworking as a hobby. Here is a list of some of the most prominent reasons.
- Pleasure in the Task
There is something magical in working a piece of unassuming wood into something magnificent. Woodworking is a time-consuming task which means that it can provide hours of diversion and recreation. In the modern age of technological advancements, it is always relaxing to step away from the screen and do some good old hand labor. The satisfaction of being able to channel your energy into creating accentuates the overall pleasure of the task itself.
- Creation of Interesting, Beautiful Pieces of Art
Woodworking as a hobby allows you to show something for all the hard work you devote to it. Whether you are a beginner and just learning how to make designs onto a block of wood, or are skilled enough to handle complex projects, woodworking allows you to create art. Though anything you make will be quite priceless to you, having enough practice would allow you to decorate your home with beautiful, personalized things made of wood.
- Easy to do at home
The basics of woodworking, such as wood carving and wood whittling, are relatively easy to do at home. You can simply watch a few tutorials online or even learn skills through practical home-based trial and error to get you going. For woodworking, all you need is dedication and patience.
- Materials are easy to Acquire
Woodworking is a practical hobby as the materials it requires are readily available in the market. Essential tools can be bought from any nearby lumber or hardware store.
- Does not require much in Terms of Equipment
Good hobbies are those that don’t require much in terms of start-up. Basic woodworking simply requires a sharp knife with a steel blade and a block of wood to get you started. As you gain confidence and develop your skills, you can progress to more complex projects that require more equipment.
Why is woodworking good for you?
There are many perks for taking up woodworking as the benefits extend towards your mental and physical well-being. Here is a quick rundown of the reasons why woodworking is good for you.
- Boosts the Mood
Many people report woodworking to be an instant way to uplift their mood. Prolonged exposure to the screen at work or even at home can be tiring and make one irritable. By getting a chance to create something with your hands can help you feel more positive and productive. If your mood is improved, your brain will release serotonin that makes you feel ‘happy’. Having a consistently good mood can also prevent you from developing mood disorders like Major Depressive Disorder.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Having something to do with your hands, learning something new, and being productive are surefire ways to get reduced levels of stress and anxiety. By doing something you enjoy, you can allow your body and mind to relax.
- Exercises your Creativity
Doing something creative can help you channel your ideas and make them come to fruition. Once you develop your skills, you may even feel inspired to come up with your own personal projects and ideas on how to go about them. Planning and executing projects help sharpen one’s mental processes. You may even notice an improved ability to focus and make better decisions. Moreover, the constant measuring and dealing with numbers can help improve your mental math skills.
- Builds Physical Strength
It can’t be ignored how woodworking helps build the body’s physical strength. Woodworking is one of those tasks that requires you to get off your feet and be more active. This hobby would require you to lift various objects, such as large pieces of wood and heavy tools and equipment. The constant lifting and shifting things would help develop your muscles and make you strong and help you stay fit. Simple acts such as hammering nails in wood or making intricate patterns can help improve your fine motor skills.
- Can Improve Cardiovascular Health
As mentioned previously, woodworking is an excellent way to reduce your stress levels and keep you active. Serious health problems like heart diseases, attacks, or even strokes, are usually a result of staying inactive and being stressed. If you have taken up woodworking on a regular basis, it can improve your cardiovascular processes and your health in general.
Is woodworking hard to learn?
One often feels intimidated by looking at the work of professional woodworkers. Their attention to detail and the flawless execution of their artistic vision is a real treat to behold. Many people thus assume that woodworking is hard to learn, while the reality of it is less scary.
Woodworking is actually really fun to learn, especially if you are truly dedicated to the craft. Though there isn’t much you need in terms of equipment when you are just starting out as a woodworker, you need to have the right amount of patience and perseverance to learn its art.
Here are some steps that you can follow which can help you become familiar with the tools and skills required to do woodworking projects effectively.
- Read the Books
Woodworking, just like any other craft, needs to be understood before it can be executed. There are many incredible books available regarding woodworking that can equip you with enough information to know which tools are needed with what materials. You can find excellent books in various places like a nearby library or a local bookstore. If the book you find is too complicated, you can easily opt for one which is friendlier for beginners. You can read multiple books to help you grasp the basics much quicker.
- Get Professional Help
Once you have grasped the theoretical rudiments of woodworking, it is a good idea to slowly bring yourself out to the practical craft itself. You can opt for an online learning course, joining a group of learners guided by an online teacher, which can help you figure out the basics. Many people prefer physically attending a woodwork class conducted by a professional. Physical classes would help you get a practical experience of how to woodwork. You can also ask
- Refer to Online Resources
Never underestimate the importance of reviewing what you know by going through online videos. This resource can be really helpful, especially if you don’t know how to use a particular tool.
- Acquire the Right Tools and Materials
There are many different woodworking tools and materials available in the market. However, as a beginner, it is your job to make sure you don’t get carried away and buy things that you don’t need. As a learner, you will only need basic woodworking tools to get started. Make sure the materials you get, such as the choice of wood are beginner-friendly.
How to get good at woodworking
As established previously, woodworking is a relatively easy skill to learn. However, you must remember that though it is an easy skill to pick up, it is a lot harder to master. You will have to put in hundreds of hours of practice and execute many projects with a passion for perfecting your woodworking skills.
Here is a quick guide to help you improve your woodworking skills.
- Learn from your mistakes
Many people get disheartened if things don’t go their way. When it comes to mastering a skill they’ve just learned, it is very easy to get frustrated and want to give up. But that’s the thing: don’t do that. If you make a mistake (which you probably will) instead of giving up, take it as a learning opportunity. As the old saying goes, you may fall down 99 times, but you must get up 100 times. There are many professionals who got to where they are not by formal training but by learning from their mistakes.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
When it comes to developing a skill, it is essential that you devote the hours needed to practice it. Make sure you give woodworking an integral part of your daily schedule, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. This way, you will ensure that you don’t forget the skills you’ve learned but rather polish and perfect them over time. Once you’ve got hours of practice under your belt, you will be able to make better decisions regarding future woodworking projects.
- Use the Correct Tools and Materials
If you have a project at hand, you need to make sure that you choose the correct tools and materials to execute it perfectly. For example, if you only have to cut a basic block of wood in half, you can simply use a handsaw to get the job done. Using a more complicated tool like a miter saw would only make the job harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be.
- Open Yourself up to Criticism
Working on a project, especially an extensive one, would require a lot of physical and even emotional investment from you. However, you must take great care not to let emotions cloud your judgment. It is essential that you remain open to receiving criticism, especially from more experienced woodworkers. Sometimes even the smallest of tips given by them can help you understand the craft of woodworking better and allow you to do better.
Fun woodworking projects for beginners
If this is your first foray into woodworking, you must be looking for a project that is easy and fun to do. Your initial woodworking projects shouldn’t be too complex as to make you disheartened and lose interest in the craft. It is these initial projects that would inspire beginners to continue in their journey of achieving a measure of woodworking mastery.
In order to familiarize yourself with the basics of woodworking, you can try your hand at these exciting projects.
- Chopping Board / Serving Tray
One cannot have enough chopping boards or serving trays. To make one, all you would need is a stretch of wood and a steel ruler to help you measure before you cut. Make sure you smoothen the surface and apply water-resistant wood glue to ensure these don’t come apart when wet.
- Basic Storage Box
Whether you use it to store your heavy hiking boots or even your child’s toys, a basic storage box has great functioning value. It will also help you understand how best to use a hammer and nails on relatively thinner pieces of wood.
- Book Shelf
If you want a piece of furniture to hang up on the wall and hold your favorite books, you can try this project. There are many design ideas readily available on the internet, though we would recommend you start with a basic one.
- Wooden Frame
If you want to give someone a meaningful picture frame, what is better than making them one with your very hands? You will need to measure and prepare the wood strips to form the frame and then attach them at right angles. Make sure you add the glass cover on the front and attach a hook at the back so it could be hung on the wall.
- Wooden Bench
Many people start off making a simple wooden bench. Not only is this relatively simple, but it also helps beginners get an idea of how to make things that can bear their weight. You can place this wooden bench either in your garden or even in your workshop to sit on during breaks.
- Coat and Hat Rack
One of the most exciting projects to make is a coat and hat rack. Not only has this got a great functional value, but it can also be an interesting way to decorate your house’s entrance.
Fun woodworking projects for Kids
Learning the art of woodworking is not limited to the enjoyment of adults; rather, it can be an excellent way for kids to learn new skills. Kids who are encouraged to learn woodworking can learn how to plan and explore their creativity from an early age. Moreover, practicing woodworking can help kids strengthen their fine motor skills.
Here are some exciting woodworking projects that kids can try to execute.
- Pencil Holder
Who doesn’t need a pencil holder? This is an enjoyable project for kids as it encourages them to measure out wood and even use a hammer. The fact that they can actually store their stationery items in this makes it a useful project to execute.
- Storage Crate
A storage crate is a simple wood project that you can ask kids to do. It can be used for storing their shoes, their toys, and various other knick-knacks that would otherwise be lying about the house.
- Bird House
This is a good project, to begin with as it encourages children to be precise in their measurements. Moreover, it will help them gain better control over basic woodworking tools such as hammers, nails, etc.
- Wooden Spatula / Spoon
A wooden spatula is an interesting project for kids to do. It can be made using a piece of thick wood on which the outline of a spatula will be traced. It is a good idea to oil the spatula with flaxseed to make it water-resistant. Kids can also make a spoon with the help of a round chisel on a block of wood.
- Piggy Bank / Money Box
A fun woodworking project for children is the making of a money box. Kids can simply join pieces of wood together securely, ensuring that there are no crevices for money to slip through. Constructing a money box can even encourage children to save up. You can also encourage kids to add a clear acrylic side for them to see through the box and evaluate how much money they have collected.
A fun project for kids to do is making coasters. Coasters are great to keep on tabletops as they are pretty to look at and are useful in preventing water stains on the tabletop. It is a good idea to coat the coasters with water-resistant glue or resin to ensure they won’t fall apart when exposed to water.
Remember, as an added creative opportunity; you can also get the kids to decorate and paint their projects as they see fit.
Is woodworking an expensive hobby?
Quite a few people wonder how expensive it is to have woodworking as a hobby. The idea of purchasing multiple tools, as well as various materials like blocks of wood, sounds rather costly to the newbie. It is heartening to discover that woodworking is not as expensive as it may seem, especially if you are a beginner.
As a beginner, you will be doing easy projects that would help you refine your skills and familiarize you with basic woodworking tools. At this stage, all you would need is a simple steel-blade knife and a piece of wood.
Bear in mind that the expenses depend on what kind of project you have in mind. Making larger objects like rocking chairs would require more equipment than making a simple bookshelf. Each project requires different tools and materials that can influence the cost. Power tools are more expensive to buy, and you would also have to pay for the electricity they use. Additionally, some kinds of wood like ebony and sandalwood are costlier than pine, spruce, and fir.
Another thing to keep in mind is how different kinds of woodworking have different requirements, thus have varying costs. Wood carving and whittling generally require lesser materials than scroll sawing and even pyrography. Thus, before giving up woodworking as an expensive hobby, it is important that you explore the kind of woodworking you would like to do.
At the end of the day, you may be interested in finding that despite the costs of more complex projects, it is sometimes a cheaper option to make your furniture rather than go to the market to buy a ready-made one.