Woodworking has been around since the beginning of civilization. In fact, it is one of the oldest professions throughout history. Before bricks, steel, and cement came into existence, wood was the main material used for building homes, furniture, decorative pieces, and even jewelry.
Working with wood can offer a lot of benefits. For one, woodworking requires focus and a lot of patience especially when you’re working with tough projects. Every detail, even the smallest one, needs to be cut, measured, and designed with precision. And this is how projects come out a success. Thus, woodworking can help you learn how to become patient as well as improve your level of concentration.
Another great thing about being a woodworker is that you will be able to save money. It’s because you will never need to buy or repair costly furniture. Whether it’s a tool shed, a fence, or your wardrobe, you will not run out of projects. You can have items that many usually spend a considerable amount of money on. Because of this, you will be able to save a lot of money every year.
Nevertheless, if you’re a DIY woodworker and you want to improve and hone your DIY skills, then you are in the right place. Listed below are 13 tips from professionals that will simplify and at the same time speed up your projects.
- Don’t Use Drywall Screws
When you are screwing two pieces of wood, opt for traditional wood screws instead of using a drywall screw for better results.
Drywall screws are threaded the full measurement. Since the upper threads hold the first board it passes in, it will force the two pieces of wood apart separately because there are threads in both boards. On the other hand, the upper part of the traditional wall screw comes with a smooth shank that will never grasp the first board. In fact, this makes it a lot easier to clamp pieces of wood together.
Another reason why you shouldn’t use a drywall screw is that the brittle and hardened tube of this screw will break during the installation, particularly when screwed into the hardwood. Further, eliminating these screws from finished materials is almost impossible, and getting them out will damage the surface.
Traditional wood screws are usually made of softer and thicker material; thus, they are break-resistant. But for these screws, you will need to drill pilot holes for the threads, countersink holes for setting the head, and wider countersink bit holes. But no worries, you can handle these chores easily by purchasing a set of three counterbores as they can handle common sizes of screws.
- Invest In Power Tools
Woodworkers, whether you’re a DIYer or a beginner, need to have quality systems and woodworking tools. Fortunately, most of these tools are not as expensive as you think. Here are some of the must-have tools that can handle almost all kinds of wood projects.
- Random Orbit Sander
While a palm sander is relatively cheaper and can utilize plain sandpaper, a random orbit sander utilizes a hook-and-loop fastened sanding disk. This power tool won’t leave a patterned scratch in the workpieces, unlike other kinds of sanders.
A jigsaw will let you cut circular and curved patterns in stock. While band saws can cut thicker stocks and are more accurate, this power tool can be effective for DIYers and even beginners. To achieve versatility, you can choose a corded and orbital action jigsaw that will feel comfortable in your hand and comes with a simple blade-changing system.
- Compound Miter Saw
A compound miter saw is a valuable tool for cutting angles. This tool will let you angle the motorhead in varying directions. As a result, you will be able to cut miters or straight angles and compound cuts or beveled miters.
In fact, the moment you hone your capability to make a precise cut with a compound miter saw, you will find that you will spend more time using a circular saw.
A router is typically used in shaping decorative workpieces or contours. It is also perfect for cutting dados and rabbets. Most routers these days have two different bases: a plunge router base and a stationary base. But many find that the latter can handle more tasks and can be installed in the router table.
- Table Saw
Did you know that the table saw is the soul and heart of woodworking shops? In fact, it is the centerpiece around which other woodworking tools are organized and used. The strength of the table saw is its capability to cut sheet goods that have straight edges. But it can make any cut you want such as bevels and miters.
- Circular Saw
A circular saw is a versatile handheld power tool. When you use it along with a clamp-on straight edge, this tool works as accurately as a table saw. When you are using plywood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), or other sheet goods, you can use this tool effectively. When you’re working with wood and have a tight budget, a high-quality circular should be the first power tool you buy.
- Always Keep All Your Blades Sharp
Dull woodworking tools like gouges, scrapers, blades, chisels, and planes do not cut cleanly and accurately. They tear through wood fibers that may lead to an unprofessional, fuzzy, and uneven look. If your tools have been nicked or chipped, you will need to grind them right away. For this, you can use a wet grinder, a belt sander, or a bench grinder.
Keep in mind that when you are using either a belt sander or a bench grinder, don’t let your tools become too hot since it will prevent them from losing their rage. While sanding, you can dip your tools in cool water every few seconds.
After grinding, sharpen your tools using an oil stone or a flat wet stone. When you’re doing fine woodworking, you can use a wet stone. Lastly, polish using fine wet stones, a stropping leather, or a wheel. If your woodworking tools have sharper blades, you will be able to make woodworking safer, easier, and more efficient.
- Know The Moisture Content Of The Wood
When working with wood, it is important that you have an idea about the right moisture content of every piece of wood you will be using. Too moist, the finished product may warp or shrink. Whereas too dry, the end result may either crack or swell.
With that said, it is important to know the moisture content before it is utilized. For example, if you are going to utilize different wood species, you will need to find out the moisture of every kind to ensure that the inlay glue joints will stay intact. Nevertheless, to prevent ruined projects, consider using a moisture meter.
- Use Coconut Oil When Refinishing Wood
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile and best finishes you can use if you want to achieve a not too shiny, easy to maintain, and warm wood finish. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY woodworker or just starting, if you haven’t tried using coconut oil, make sure to give it a try on your next project. As a matter of fact, it is easier to deal with coconut oil compared to traditional wood oil as it leaves the wood glowing. It will also hide scratches and imperfections.
- Avoid Glue Stains
It is in the tiny details that make projects look like professional woodworking. If drops of glue detract from the lines, unfortunately, beautifully made bevels and corners may mislay their appeal. Though you can still sand it, it’s best that you use scotch tape to prevent glue stains. All you need to do is cover the areas properly in which two pieces of the wood clamp, join, and glue. Once the glue leaked out, simply get rid of the tape before it completely dries.
- Always Mark Cut Lines
Every professional woodworker is aware that woodworking tools will never make a difference if you do not measure your cuts. In addition to that, if you want to be more accurate, you will need to mark your cuts. When you take your time to measure and at the same time mark the cut, it means you have taken out all the estimation. For this pro tip, you will need to use a compact circular saw to ensure perfect cuts.
- Create A Mixing Surface
When mixing a small amount of epoxy, consider making a mixing surface in the workbench using painters’ tape rather than using a container. Put down strips, overlaying the edges to ensure the epoxy does not get on the bench. Once done, simply peel off the tape and then throw it away.
Aside from epoxy, you can also use this surface for wood glue as well as other materials that need easy access while you’re working.
- Use Tape When Aligning Angles
Holding a mitered edge can be very challenging since it never appears to line up properly. One of the simplest ways to get around this process is to make use of painter’s tape as an alternative to clamps.
To begin, set the wood pieces so that the outer edges face up and then tape them edge-to-edge. Flip over the pieces so that the sloping edges are facing up and glue together. Finish the procedure by taping the last 2 edges together. The tape can be removed with ease and the glue will not attach to the tape and this makes finishing and sanding simpler.
- Use Drafting Squares When Measuring
If you want to have more accurate marking layouts and measurements, consider using drafting squares. For instance, when you need accurate squares in the two- to the three-foot range, a drafting square comes in handy.
A drywall square is notoriously cumbersome and inaccurate. A carpenter square, on the other hand, involves the nagging hassles of having to nook them on the edge of the workpiece. But with a drafting square that is readily accessible in many stores, these problems can be eliminated.
- Keep A Well-Lit Workplace
Another tip from a pro that you need to take into consideration is to pay attention to lighting. You need to have enough and consistent illumination in your workplace so that you will be able to work from all angles without casting a shadow. In fact, this guarantees productivity and safety. To make a well-lit space you will need to have overhead lighting, on-tool lights, and focused lighting. On the other hand, painting your ceiling and walls will also help in diffusing light.
- Maintain An Organized And Clean Workplace
Sometimes, achieving efficiency is as simple as getting rid of clutter from your working area. Please note that a disorderly and messy work area may badly affect productivity. So, when doing a certain project, make sure to only keep out the needed tools and materials. Everything else must be placed in a designated spot so that you can easily retrieve them when needed.
- Do Not Make All Cuts At The Same Time
When you have woodworking plans, all the cuts are usually listed altogether. Despite how efficient and tempting it might be, make sure not to cut everything right away. In case you didn’t know, there are differences in the thickness of boards. What’s more, you might possibly make minor errors when it comes to measurements.
Here’s what you need to do, make cuts for a certain set of boards at a time. For example, if you’re building a table, cut all the aprons and the legs, create the frame, and make the cuts for the tabletop.
If you want to become a successful woodworker, you need to be patient and invest lots of time and materials into it. But you need to ensure that the time and tools you are investing are worth it or else it will be a waste. The above-mentioned professional tips might be more beneficial than you think, so use them wherever and whenever you can.