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Are you a beginner in the art of woodwork? Or perhaps you have already gained a bit of experience although you still look to improve in some areas? This is the place to be. In this article, I shall take you through some useful tips for woodworking, which will improve you in this art. These include some do it yourself tips (DIY) to enhance your resourcefulness, allowing you to do the most from so little.
In addition to this, I shall take you through how you can improve your woodworking precision and accuracy so that you will no longer stress yourself on how you keep on failing to get those precise cuts, for instance. For fast referencing, I have divided the tips for woodworking under two sections, one to cater to those looking to kickstart their carpentry and the other for those who are familiar with the art.
Tips for beginners looking to kick start their woodworking
Tip 1: Setting up a woodworking area
A garage or workshop will be the best area to carry out your woodworking. However, any bright space will do just fine. You can even set up your shop in your backyard with a shaded area being the best to serve as a permanent spot where you would not need to move most of your staff under bad weather. In addition to this, you will need to set up a worktable. A simple plywood board that is firmly supported on both ends will do the trick.
Tip 2: Learn how to read a tape measure
Your ability to measure tape with accuracy and precision will go a long way in enabling you to produce good feats. You are required to know how to read the tape in its entirety. For example, you will have to read measurements like 13 7/8 inches, looks messy, right?.
Basically, there are two distinct tap types classed in terms of graduated markings they have. One has only long lines of divisions labeled in whole numbers of inches. The more straightforward tape, in addition to whole numbers, also has other divisions marked representing fractions of the inch. To recognize the divisions use the following trick :
- Longest divisions represent whole inch measurements, e.g., 1,2,3…
- Long divisions represent half-inch measurements, e.g., 1/2,3/2…
- Short divisions represent a quarter of an inch, e.g., 1/4,2/4,3/4…
- Shorter divisions represent an eighth of an inch, e.g., 1/8,2/8,3/8,…
- Shortest divisions represent sixteenth of an inch, e.g., 1/16,2/16,3/16…
Tip 3: Understanding lumber dimensions and species
There are many species of lumber, but these can be classified as either hardwoods, e.g., maple and mahogany or softwoods, e.g., pine and spruce. One crucial characteristic which places these wood types into classes has to do with the ease of working on them. It is easier to work with softwoods; thus, I encourage you to try hardwood when you have gained a bit of grasp into the art.
Now concerning dimensions, a 1 x 2 does not imply what it says because of shrinkage of the wood and the type of saw used in cutting the wood, which reduces the dimensions. So basically, there are nominal dimensions that neglect change in sizes and actual dimensions which do away with ignoring.
Tip 4: Try always to use straight boards
As a rule of thumb, do not select any bowed or warped boards for use in your projects. Instead, choose straight ones as they are much easier and convenient to work on. Of course, all the boards available may not be perfectly straight but just strive to select the straightest of the available ones. So how can you effectively tell if a board is straight or not? just use this simple trick:
1.First, try to feel any curvature on the board by moving your hand over it.
2. Hold down the board with one end touching the ground and the other pointing towards your face at an angle.
3. Look down the board at the same angle, and you should be able to identify any bowing or wapping if they are present.
Tip 5: Learning to use woodworking tools
I will take you through five essential tools you need to learn to use for your woodworking. These are :
This tool is used to make or ‘drill’ different hole sizes into the wood using various drill bits, which can be removed or replaced on the drilling machine. You can also use a drilling machine to fast place or to remove some screws from the wood using the screwdriver tip.
● Miter saw
I regard it as one of my most priced tools. It can make cuts with high precision in a short space of time. Miter saws come in different sizes, and types like the compound saw, and sliding saw. These are distinct in terms of the thickness of wood they can cut, as well as the angles they can cut with.
You will find them in hardware stores with a standard blade, which is usually a lower grade tooth that gives rough cuts; thus, I recommend you upgrade to a high-grade tooth blade for smoother cuts.
● Kreg jig
This one is high powered too used to join pieces of wood together with pocket holes and craig screws in a fast and convenient way.
For you to get that smooth wood finish, you have to use sand to polish the wood surface. I know you might opt for manual way of sanding, but you risk creating uneven surfaces.
Tips for those looking for DIY ideas and improvement in woodworking techniques
Tip 1: Making reusable sanding boards
Follow the following steps:
1. Cut six blocks from 3/4 inch plywood, each measuring 2’ 1/2 inch x 4′ 3/4 inched.
2. Spray adhesive on each block and a square of cork tile.
3. Stick the block to the cork and cut flush with a utility knife.
4. Spray adhesive on a sheet of sandpaper and stick it on each block cork side down.
5. Cut sandpaper flush with the cork and label each block, then you are done!
Tip 2: Clamping small work pieces with hot glue
Some wood pieces are too small, or their shape will not allow clamping to be done securely for you to cut, shape, or file the piece. Use hot-glue by applying it onto a pedestal and then placing the wood piece on top of the glued surface.
When you are done, gradually try to remove your piece from pedestal without applying a damaging force. If it doesn’t work, stop and either place the part into a freezer for an hour to weaken the attachment, or you could use a heat gun to heat up and loosen the joint.
Tip 3: 1-inch crosscutting stair gauge
When you are cross-cutting on a table, saw, set cut length with a block clamped to the fence. This will prevent the board from being thrown at you when the fence alone is used. Clamp a block of wood to the fence before the blade to further guard against this. In this way, the end of the board will be free from the fence during and after the cut.
Tip 4: Try a drafting square
When your project requires you to have accurate measurements in the range of 3 to 4 feet, then you have to consider your choice of the square. Wall square can be inaccurate, while carpenters square’s hook can be frustrating in some cases as you have to align well the hook edge with your work piece. Instead, make use of a drafting square; trust me, give it a little try.
Tip 5: making perfect miters
To make sure your circular saw will not get stuck while cutting board and to produce near to perfect cuts then follow:
1. Make sure the wood color and the grain match at the miters.
2. Adjust the miter angle by slapping some sticky notes on the fence, making test cuts by adding sheets till you get the desired angle.