This woodworking tips card is called Don’t Rush Your Project. When you rush through something, you increase the chances for making a big mistake. This mistake can end up costing you more time than you would have saved by rushing. Here is why:
Don’t Rush Your Project
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. It’s also worth doing in the amount of time that it takes, not an invented deadline that gets the project done quickly. For most people, woodworking is a hobby, not a job. That means you should be enjoying the craft, not rushing it to the end.
If you find yourself frustrated, or rushing, just stop and take a break from the shop. It’s not worth ruining your project, having an accident, or getting stressed out over something that is supposed to be a hobby.
Rushing leads to a lot of things that can be really bad for you as a woodworker. The worst of which is an injury, and the best of which is a mistake that adds time to the build.
This woodworking tips card is about how to take a class and improve your woodworking skills very rapidly. Woodworking classes are available nearly everywhere, and you can learn quite a bit in a short amount of time. They are not cheap, but they offer you something that a book can never really give you…the chance to ask someone questions.
Take a Class
You can find classes in local woodworking stores, hardwood stores, and colleges. You can also find them online. Taking a class is a great thing, because you get to interact with real people, and learn something that makes you happy.
How many times in your life have you been forced to learn something in a class environment that you really don’t want to learn? This is your opportunity to go into a class because you really want to understand what the class is designed to teach.
This changes your entire outlook on learning, because you are driving towards something you really want.
One of the benefits of learning in a class is that you are going to be working around real people. People offer you the wonderful ability to ask questions. This is extremely valuable, because sometimes it’s really nice just to have the answer and not have to try and find it in a book or online. This is not the only benefit, but it’s an important part of a class. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Take a Class”
This woodworking tips card is about how to mass produce your work. This is a little different than just cranking out several projects. The trick here is about making several of something when you know that you will need them in the future. Here is how:
Mass Produce Your Work
At some point you may have a project that requires parts that take a long time to make. I make guitars, and the parts can take a while. Even though all I need to do is glue a bridge to the guitar, it takes a while to make, shape, and finish that bridge.
The fretboard is another example. Cutting 22-24 slots in perfectly placed locations, one at a time, by hand, is time consuming. All I really need is a fretboard, but there are a lot of steps I have to perform before I can use it.
This is where mass producing your work is a great practice, and it can save you time on your projects. When I started making several fretboards at once, and making several bridges at once, it really changed my flow.
This woodworking tips card is about woodworking safety. Sadly, most woodworkers don’t think about safety until something bad happens to them. This is a poor way to deal with woodworking safety, because it may be too late after something happens.
Being born deaf in one ear, I understand what it’s like to have your senses reduced. Though I have never heard through both of my ears, it’s difficult to hear in certain situations, and I know that I miss a lot of things.
Seeing the danger in woodworking, it has always been important to me to protect myself in case something unexpected happens. I have made my fair share of mistakes in that time, but thankfully nothing permanent has happened.
Depending on the type of mistake that you make, you might not get many chances to bounce back. My mistakes were minor, and caused minor injuries that healed over time.
If you really hurt yourself, you may never be able to fully enjoy woodworking ever again. You may also have trouble holding a job, finding new employment, or even enjoying things that you used to enjoy with your friends and family. Here is the real reason why safety should be the easiest decision you make, and here is one way to ensure you do it right every time… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Woodworking Safety”
This woodworking tips card is called Restore a Workbench. This is a great project for any beginning woodworker. Not only do you get a chance to get into the shop and make some dust, but you get to create the foundation of your shop. Here is why this is a great project:
Restore a Workbench
When you restore a workbench or a carpenters bench, you are laying the foundation for your shop. The bench is where you will be spending the majority of your time. If you have a great bench, it can help you produce great work.
There is a certain psychological connection between a woodworker and a good bench. This happens in most people, though there are some that can work on anything. When you restore an old bench, you also get to connect to history.
My bench was my father’s before it was mine. Before it was his, it was his father’s as well. Once my son starts hammering on that bench, it will have seen four generations of my family using the very same carpenters bench. For me, that means more than any new bench, even though making a bench myself does sound like fun.
This woodworking tips card is about using hand tools. It’s important that you use hand tools, even though you may have several powered options available. Hand tools are important to the development of your intuitive senses as a woodworker. They allow you to feel more of the process, and that’s important. Here is why:
Use Hand Tools
It’s important to use as many senses as possible when you are working in your shop. The obvious senses are sight and touch, but there are others that are not as simple. The closer you are to the piece you are working on, the more connected you will become.
It’s not about sleeping with the project under your pillow, but more about not letting machines distance you from your work.
For example, anyone can feed boards into a thickness sander. In a factory, I bet the training is relatively short for someone just sending boards through the machine. This is technically woodworking, but you are distanced from the project by the machine.
The same would go for any kind of assembly line style work. You might be making a car, but you really have no idea how a car is made. You may not even understand what your step actually does either, because you are trained to do the one small thing over and over again. Here is how you make sure that you are not getting short changed by your Woodworking machines… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Use Hand Tools”
This woodworking tips card is about old fashioned work. Looking back to the ways that the old makers built their projects and the tools that they used can teach you quite a bit about woodworking. The older makers did great work with little for tooling when compared to the makers of today. Here is why looking back is so important:
Old Fashioned Work
There was a time when woodworkers did not have power. They did not have sandpaper, and they did not have reliable measuring devices. Even with all of these limitations and more, they still produced some of the best work the world has ever known.
How did they do it? How did they create perfectly flat surfaces on large pieces of wood without a belt sander? How did they create long lasting finishes in a time before petroleum based products? It’s a wonder to think that these woodworkers produced fine works that lasted hundreds of years.
It’s a miracle to get some woodworkers to just try working without power. Let alone working by candle light or natural light only. Given the fact that we have so much more information today, and so much more in the line of tools, it can be hard to explain why the older makers were able to do what they did. I believe that the older woodworkers did so well because they… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Old Fashioned Work”
This woodworking tips card is called Make Something for a Child. When you make things for kids, you get to build new and different projects, solve new problems, and in the end make a child very happy. You will never feel as good about something that you made as when you give it to a child. Here is how to get started:
Make Something For a Child
Every woodworking project that you do will advance your skills, and help you reach your goals. For a child, the goal is to have fun. This is a great opportunity to give back, and make a child’s day by making them a toy.
You will never feel the same level of excitement and grattitude as when you make something for a kid. The way that they explode with excitement makes you feel proud to be a woodworker.
Having made many things for many people, I can without a doubt say that I have never felt as appreciated as a woodworker as when I make things for kids.
When you are making wooden toys, it’s different from other woodworking projects because of the end user. Kids using the toys will do something for your woodworking skills and abilities that you may not see right away until you start. The benefit to making toys for you is… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Make Something For a Child”
This Woodworking Tips Card is about the size of your tools. You can make bigger projects when you have full sized tools, but they may be too much for someone only looking to make smaller projects. Here is how to get the best bang for your buck on tool sizes.
Bigger Tools for Bigger Projects
If you are planning on making cabinets or some other large project, then you will need to buy larger tools in order to handle the bigger stock. A small bench top table saw will not be able to safely cut the large pieces of wood you will be using.
However, if you are making smaller projects, you can get a lot of great use from a smaller table top unit. The decision is important, because you will make many different projects as you learn more and more about woodworking.
The easy solution is to buy medium size tools, and in the case of the main tools, even shoot for some bigger models. The interesting thing about a bigger tool is that they can make smaller projects just as well as big ones.
With a large table saw, you can still rip thin strips. With a small saw, you can only cut as wide of a piece as the fence will allow. In the case of my small table top saw, that’s about ten inches. Here is how you can solve the problem… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Bigger Tools”
This Woodworking Tips Card is how to test fit your miters. Testing things is a great practice to get into, and it will save you time in the long run. When you have to make several miters, make sure to test them first before making all of your cuts. Here is why.
Miter Saws Are All Different
Not only are all miter saws different, but they all can be a little off on their angle measurements. It’s important to test out the angle with a protractor or angle finder long before you cut up a lot of expensive wood.
Most saws come with stops that are made at common angles for easier miters. These are typically used to make four sided and six sided items.
One stop that every miter saw has is the 45 degree stop, which allows you to make 90 degree corners. When you place two boards together with 45 degree angles cut on their ends, the resulting angle needs to be 90.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you have the correct angle on your miters is to make a couple test cuts and measure the resulting boards. Once you are satisfied with the test, you can move on to the real thing. The confidence that you have knowing your miters are dialed in will help out later in the build. Here is how you do it… Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Test Fit Your Miters”