I don’t have a lot of fancy tools. I do have a lot of tools, but I don’t own anything that you would consider to be very high end. Most of my tools are from home improvement stores, and others from discount tool stores. Either way, I still get stuff done. Here is why that’s great for any beginning woodworker following tutorials on my site.
Fancy Tools and Woodworking
One of the most interesting compliments that I ever received on my books was from a person who said that they liked how I had normal tools in my descriptions.
He said that it made sense for him, because the task I was teaching didn’t seem like something he would need a new shop to accomplish.
That was one of the nicest compliments and insights into my books that I have ever received, and it sums up the way that I like to teach others about woodworking.
I don’t have a ton of really nice tools, though I do have several tools in the shop. I know that I have more than many, but there are many that have more than me. What I mean by “fancy” is that I don’t own anything that the average woodworker could not afford. My most expensive tool is my band saw, and it was $400. Here is why this is good for you as a reader of Westfarthing Woodworks… Read more “I Don’t Have Lots of Fancy Tools”
If I can do it, you can do it. I am not any more talented than anyone else, nor do I have any super powers. I just really like woodworking, and I have been working at it for a very long time. Here is why this is great for you.
I’m Just a Normal Person Who Loves Woodworking
The simple truth behind why I tell people they can do my tutorials if they try is because that’s all I really do. I just try things.
Most of my woodworking ideas happen as I do something else. I think about it a while, and then just go try it. Sometimes they work, and you end up with a tutorial on my site, and sometimes they don’t.
All throughout my woodworking career I have been really good at having the confidence to try new things. This is really here you can make a big difference in your woodworking ability.
Many people shy away from trying new things because they are afraid they will fail. Sometimes they are afraid that they will ruin some wood. Either way, you should never be afraid to try something new.
Try Something – You Can Do It
I have always said that trying new things is important. In fact, I wrote a whole post a while ago called Try Something New, which explains it on more detail. However, when you try new things, you increase your skill level much more quickly than working with familiar things.
A good way to know if you are doing something that will increase your skills is when the thing you are doing is difficult. If it feels harder than normal, that means you are increasing your skill level at that task.
If what you are doing is very easy, then you are not adding to your skill. The fact that you are already comfortable with the task demonstrates that you know it. In a case like this, look for something else to try that will add to the existing skill.
Just Try It Yourself
You will never really know what you can and can’t do until you fail. This goes for just about everything. There is a natural path that you can follow where you add and add, learning more and more about woodworking. Until you reach a failure point, you really have no idea how good you are.
That being said, just try it yourself. When you see a tutorial that you like, and you think it may be a little outside your comfort zone, be careful and give it a try. Now, don’t do anything that will risk you becoming injured, but find something that you might otherwise shy away from and give it a try.
When you work from the perspective that you will most likely succeed, you tend to succeed more than you fail. Confidence is huge, and if you approach the tutorial or project with a little confidence, you will have a far better chance of winning.
If I Can Do It You Can Do It Wrap-Up
Long story short, feel free to go through my site and know that I am not going to attempt to teach you something that you have no business learning. Everything that I do, including the guitars is designed with the beginner in mind.
Make sure that if you feel unsure about a project, that you at a minimum keep yourself safe during the process. There is no sense in trying something that you are nervous about and hurting yourself. However, once you are fully conformable using the tools, then feel free to try the new projects and ideas here on the site.
If you have any questions about If I Can Do It You Can Do It, please leave a comment and I will be glad to help. Happy building.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
While I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well. You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
You can also Join the Community, and receive updates from me about new articles, upcoming books, and when I release new books. It’s completely free, and full of great tutorials, freebies, and great content.
Practice Like It’s Your Job. One amazing thing that learning how to repair furniture taught me is how spending time practicing without stopping makes a huge difference. I still use the same methods today to rapidly learn a new skill. Here is how you do it.
Practice Like It’s Your Job
When I did furniture repair and re-finishing as a profession, I spent several months learning many woodworking and wood finishing skills. The training process was excellent, and it helped us learn what we needed to be successful in furniture repair.
The part that was different for me was how we would spend hours working on the exact same thing.
First, we would be given a chair leg with a dent. We would repair the dent, and bring it to the trainer. If he liked the repair, you were rewarded with another dent to fix.
This process went on for days and days. All we did was repair the dents and dings that we were given on our pieces, and we did it over and over.
Having never practiced that way, I was really surprised at how fast I learned the process, and how well I was able to repair the pieces in the end. I think that the secret to learning this way is the fact that… Read more “Practice Like It’s Your Job”
My Woodworking Tips Cards series has a full 52 cards, which is the same as a regular deck of playing cards. Now, I want to share a printable version that you can use as a teaching tool, and share with others who are interested in learning about woodworking. Here you are:
Printable Woodworking Tips Cards
It has been a pleasure creating and sharing these woodworking tips cards. The woodworking hobby has been a lifelong passion of mine, and seeing new woodworkers get into the craft is very exciting.
There is a large void of people that are capable of doing things themselves, and woodworking is just one more way of teaching people to be self-reliant. When you can use tools well, you can make or repair nearly anything made from wood.
This ability will also trickle into other tasks that you may not have thought of. It can give you confidence. That can-do spirit will spread to other things, and before you know it the skills you gained from woodworking are helping you tackle completely unrelated projects.
This is 52 Great Woodworking Tips for Beginners, which is the final article for the Woodworking Tips Cards series that I have been sharing over the last several months. There are 52 in total, just like a deck of cards, and they can help you become a better woodworker in the beginning.
52 Woodworking Tips For Beginners
Woodworking Tips Cards are a great way to learn about woodworking and they are fun and entertaining. They are easy to understand, quick tips for beginning woodworkers.
Most woodworkers make a lot of mistakes in the beginning, which is very normal. One way that you can avoid mistakes is to read tips.
Tips are usually short lessons that come from failure. When you read about the lesson, you give yourself a better chance of not making the same mistake. Learning from tips will not prevent every mistake, and you may still make the same mistake you read about. The point is to get as much knowledge as possible into your head as quickly as you can, so that you can avoid most of the mistakes. Here are the tips… Read more “52 Great Woodworking Tips for Beginners”
Woodworking tips are one of the fastest ways to absorb information about woodworking. This quick learning method is a secret to building your woodworking knowledge quickly, and with a whole lot less mistakes than the try/fail/learn method. Here is how you do it:
Woodworking Tips and Quick Learning
If you want to learn something quickly, studying tips is a great way to start. Tips are small lessons that another woodworker had to earn through failure.
There is something to be said about learning from your own failures…it stinks. There is also something to be said about learning from the failures of others…it’s much less costly.
When you learn from others, and the mistakes they made, you get the advantage of learning the lesson in a way that is not as damaging.
A lesson can be as simple as buying good wood glue, or as harsh as becoming injured. If you learn this lesson first hand, you gain knowledge. This also happens if you learn the lesson from reading about the mistakes of others. The knowledge still transfers, you just don’t have to go through the damage to attain it. Read more “Woodworking Tips and Quick Learning”
This woodworking tips card is called Measure Twice. We have all heard the old saying to measure twice and cut once. The phrase is said quite a bit among woodworkers, but it really applies to far more than cutting. Checking your steps and making sure you are doing the right thing before moving forward is a good habit to have. Here is how:
We all make mistakes. Most of them come from thinking we are doing the right thing when in reality we are missing something small. Small, that is until we make the mistake, and then it becomes a really big issue.
Once you make a mistake, it can be hard to recover from it in some cases. The best way to work is to check on your progress often, and make sure that you have thought about what you are about to do.
Woodworking is a series of steps. Each step depends on the previous steps to be successful. If you miss things early on, they can creep into the build later in the process and ruin things.
Measuring twice is more about knowing where you are in the process, and making sure that you have done everything you need to do before moving on to the next step. When you do that, you make less mistakes, and you have a much less stressful time with your project. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Measure Twice”
Make Your Passion. This woodworking tips card is all about you making the things that really make you happy. After all, woodworking is supposed to be a pleasing hobby. When you make the things you are passionate about, you always have a passion for woodworking.
Make Your Passion
The wonderful thing bout woodworking is that you can make just about anything you want to make. As long as you have some tools and some wood, you can build just about anything you desire. Since you get to decide, it’s important to make things that you really like to make.
Now, nobody sets out to make something that they will hate to make. That’s the kind of thing that just happens as the build unfolds. Sometimes you try something new and it turns out that it’s not really for you. That’s ok.
If you find out that a certain type of project or woodworking process is not your favorite, then you may decide that you are not going to do that type of project in the future.
I recommend finishing the project you are working on, just to see if the end product is worth suffering through part of the process. Once you get to the end, you can decide if you want to pursue that type of woodworking any longer. Read more “Woodworking Tips Card – Make Your Passion”
This woodworking tips card is called Clamp and Sand. When you are sanding, it can feel like a lifetime passing by before the project is ready. One way that you can ensure all of your efforts are going into the piece is by clamping it while you sand. Here is how:
Clamp and Sand
Sanding is a chore sometimes. We spend all this time working on a piece, and then sit there and polish it by hand with paper until it is finally smooth enough to finish.
This happens really close to the end of the project, and can be one of those times when it’s hard to resist the urge to rush. A well sanded piece of woodworking takes a finish really well, so it’s not a good time to hurry the process along.
One thing that you can do in order to get the most out of your sanding is to clamp your piece to the bench when you sand.
It is normal for woodworkers to just hold the piece with one hand and sand with the other. This is about the only way that you can do it for smaller pieces, but with larger items you can clamp them.
Every time you sand, you lose a little energy from the piece moving as you are trying to hold it down. This is effort lost, because you are only getting a certain percentage of your energy actually being transferred to the piece of wood being sanded. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Clamp and Sand”
This woodworking tips card is called test with cheap wood. The focus is to use inexpensive pieces of wood when you are testing out a new technique, or learning a new process. Cheaper wood is typically softer, mills easier, and is less expensive. Here is how you do it:
Test With Cheap Wood
One of the reasons that I buy so much Pine is because I like to make small mock ups of my projects with inexpensive wood. I also like to laminate hardware store Pine into larger blanks that I can turn on the lathe.
Especially for lathe turning, Pine is a joy to work with. It’s really soft, so the carbide tools go through it really well. Also, it’s inexpensive, so if I ruin a piece trying out something new, it really doesn’t hit the bottom line at all.
Cheap wood also lets you experiment more without worrying about wasting money. Experimentation is essential to discovery, so it’s important that you feel that you are able to try something without too much worry.