Have you ever wanted to design and build something incredibly unique and cool out of wood? Well, you're not alone. Woodworking is a hugely popular pastime in the United States with over a million professional woodworkers running businesses within the industry.
Oh, and that's not to mention the other millions of eager individuals like you and me who are avid woodworking enthusiasts looking to master this rewarding craft.
But, learning woodworking from the right authorities within the space can be difficult if you don't know where to go.
Well, right now, we want to talk about how to get into woodworking without wasting any of your precious time or money. So let's get to it and kickstart your woodworking journey the right way.
Getting Started In Woodworking
The number one thing you need to avoid in the woodworking industry when getting into woodworking is scammers.
How does one do that? Well, just steer clear of anything related to Clickbank, and definitely hit the back button when doing research on the internet if you see anything related to Ted's Woodworking.
While Ted's Woodworking might seem legit at first glance, it's actually one of the biggest scams on the internet. If you'd like to read more about how and why Ted's Woodworking is nothing but 16'000 plans of treachery and deception, check out our in-depth review on Ted's Woodworking.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way and you're aware of the widespread shenanigans going on within the online world of woodworking, let's discuss some legitimate alternatives for actually learning woodworking.
Hand Tools & Power Tools You'll Need
If this new endeavor isn't career-related, I'd recommend you start small when it comes to purchasing tools and equipment.
Considering how long the average person sticks with a new hobby, I wouldn't go and empty the savings account or load up the credit card with power tool purchases until you're fully committed.
Although, if interested in buying a few essential woodworking tools to get started, here's a list of recommended tools every woodworker must own.
Keep in mind that while this woodworking tools list is priority-based, the tools you'll need will likely depend on the woodworking projects you're attempting to build.
Either way, you should be prepared to spend a few dollars in order to fit out a highly functional workshop. Woodworkers will typically house hand tools, power tools, and equipment like air compressors and extraction fans.
Simply put, if you want to tackle a larger scale woodworking project, you're going to be making use of power tools like a circular saw, miter saw, table saw, power drill, and other tools like hand planes.
Tools Every Woodworker Needs
- Tape measure, digital calipers, and a protractor
- Combination square, crayons, pencils, and a knife
- Soft mallet, woodcarver's mallet, and a hammer
- A set of chisels - from 6mm to 26mm
- Miter trimmer and clamp kit
- Set of wood files and riffler rasp
- Hand saw and coping saw
- Set of screwdrivers both Phillips and flat blade
- Power jointer and thickness planer
- Portable or cabinet table saw
- Wood router with a straight cut and a flush-trim bit
- Sliding compound miter saw
- Random-orbit sander
- Jigsaw (or just use a coping saw)
- Circular saw with a Diablo blade
- Spray gun and air compressor
- Table and belt sander
- Angle grinder with a sanding disc
Yeah, sure there are a bunch more tools we could recommend for your home workshop. Although, if you're a beginner, that's about as far as I'd go for now as the above would be quite the financial investment.
Getting complex power tools to streamline your woodworking operation like; band saws, scroll saws, or even a lathe can be highly beneficial, although not essential. While this list is a good guideline for beginner woodworkers, it's certainly not woodworking gospel.
Get what you need, when you need it, and build a tool collection as your skillset progresses. Speaking of building, I'd recommend building your own woodworking workbench instead of buying one, as it's a great first woodworking project.
Lastly, you can always hire some more expensive power tools instead of buying them if you're trying to conserve funds.
Start Woodworking With a Shop Class
Alright, so if you’re still a young one, and you already have a hankering for getting into woodworking, there’s probably no better way to do so than to start with shop class in your local high school.
Sure, you might be tempted to take art or drama, but woodworking is so much more rewarding. You get to build stuff with your own hands, then when it’s finally done, you get to see your finished products first hand.
Some cool high school woodworking projects usually involve making birdhouses, making model homes, little CO2 powered race cars, and other such simple stuff.
Ok, so if you are already an adult and out of school, then this probably is not an option for you.
However, with this kind of thing, it’s always best to start early, so if you’re still in school, it’s definitely recommended that you get a leg up on the competition and get started ASAP.
Take Some Local Woodworking Classes
If you are already out of high school and you're keen on getting started in woodworking, you can always take a local woodworking class. Now, woodworking classes may not be all that easy to find, and when you do, they probably won’t be cheap to attend.
However, with that being said, attending a local woodworking class allows you to get to know like-minded people that have the same interests as you, which is already a bonus.
The big bonus here is that real woodworking classes, not those taught in schools, usually always have a knowledgeable, dedicated, and excited teacher that is more than happy to share his or her knowledge and skills.
It’s a great way to find out just how deep you want to dive into the world of woodworking.
The cool part about woodworking classes is also that they come in many shapes and sizes, ones for beginners who want to make birdhouses and ones for more advanced woodworkers who want to make cabinets and full-size dining room tables.
The fact of the matter is that these classes provide great stepping stones that bring you from one level of skill to the next, and the next, until you are a woodworking pro.
It’s always good to start off easy with a teacher that can help you, inspire you, and guide you on your way to bigger and better things.
Meet The Woodworking Community
What is usually true for all sorts of things like woodworking and crafts, is that it helps to know the other people in that community, and yes, this goes for woodworking too.
When you get to know other people in the woodworking community, it will help to provide you with new and fresh ideas of what can be made out of wood.
At the same time, it provides you with a way to learn about the other people in the community, how they got started, and where they get their inspiration from.
Moreover, being able to communicate with the other people in the woodworking community will allow you to learn new skills that you might have never learned otherwise.
Heck, you might even make a friend who is willing to let you use their woodshop and all of their fancy tools.
Simply put, it is always useful to know the other people who engage in woodworking, whether big-time or small-time. It’s always more fun when you have other people with the same interests as you.
Go To A Woodworking Sale or Antique Shop
Something which many people seem to struggle with when it comes to getting into woodworking is that they just don’t know what they would like to make.
If you are having issues deciding what kind of projects you would like to make, go to a flea market, another woodworking shop (the sales floor), or even an antique shop too.
No, you don’t want to steal designs, but it never hurts to take a look at the competition, per se, and get an idea of what possibilities are out there for you. Just go out and take a look, get some ideas, and find what floats your boat the best.
Good Old YouTube
Alright, so woodworking is a purely manual job or hobby, and it’s something that is done with your hands.
Woodworkers, real ones, usually don’t appreciate too much technology being thrown into the mix. However, that said, as a part of the new generation of woodworkers, it does make sense to take advantage of all technology and resources at your disposal, and yes, this includes YouTube.
The fact of the matter is that YouTube is probably one of the best learning resources out there.
Go on YouTube, and you will find that there are instructional videos on literally everything to do with woodworking.
You can find people showing you how to make picture frames, utensils, coat racks, kids toys, dog houses, large furniture, and literally everything in between. It’s, therefore, a great way for you to learn how to build individual items with step by step instructions.
The problem with woodworking is that it can often be very complicated and confusing, especially without a physical teacher. However, a YouTube-based teacher can be just as helpful.
Another useful aspect of YouTube, in relation to woodworking, is the fact that you can find tons of product reviews on there.
If you have no idea what kind of woodworking machinery you should buy, watching some how-to videos, tips videos, and product review videos will help get you started when it comes to buying the right tools and machines.
Just Get To It
Sometimes, with something like woodworking, it’s hard to really get into it until you just start doing it.
Sure, it’s fine to talk to the community and to get ideas from other places, or even to take some classes, but until you start doing it on your own, you really won’t know just how serious you are about it.
Maybe the best way to go about it is to rent a woodworking shop or even get some basic tools for yourself, get some wood, and see how building something goes.
Who knows, you might find that you have a knack for it. With many hobbyists' pursuits, the best way to really get into woodworking (or anything else), is to simply just start doing it.
Learning by purely doing is not a bad way to go, as long as you monitor and correct your technique as you progress. Picking up something like a wood router and practicing on some offcuts can be a bit of fun. Plus, you get to find out if woodworking is really for you without overcommitting.
Alright, so that's about it. The bottom line is that if you really want to get into woodworking, you will find a way to do it.
Whether you get to know the woodworking community, take a look around, take some classes, or even use YouTube videos to your advantage, you'll ultimately have to make the decision yourself.
There are many ways to get into this fine line of work and make a really good living as a woodworker. If you're producing quality woodworking projects that are already in demand, you'll find that people will pay more for authentic craftsmanship.
And if you're a little less ambitious about your new woodworking venture, there is more than enough room for hobbyists, and woodworking communities will welcome you with open arms.
So get some wood, pick up some tools, use the correct PPE gear, and just see how it goes for the first 30-days or so. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can craft after a couple of months.