If you are a die-hard woodworking enthusiast or planning to start your own workshop as your career, then there are certain woodworking skills/techniques that you must know before stepping into this business. Why? The reason is not so grave; it is just that when you attain mastery in woodcrafting, it is then that you get your customers always returning to you.
Though there are innumerable such skills that you can pursue in woodworking, we have picked up the top 10 techniques of woodcrafting, which if you can master, then you can easily carry out any project that includes intricacies as you move ahead to your journey in this field.
Tops 10 Must-Know Woodworking Techniques
1, Health and Safety -First Aid
The reason why we added “health and safety” in the beginning only is that the reader should be totally aware of the mishaps that are most likely to appear in his/her woodworking journey. So, to avoid splinters or cutting your fingers instead of the wood, you must be very careful during the process.
A wrongly taken measurement may cost heavily on you by causing some serious injuries. Sometimes while doing some intricate woodworking tasks, the wooden splinters might get into your eyes, inhalation of the saw during an ongoing cutting process, etc. These are only a few of the many situations that a woodworker goes or might go through. Therefore, it is important to use some safety equipment and apparels like glasses/goggles, gloves, face mask, earplugs, safety boots, a helmet (in case you are working a construction site), etc. to keep yourself safe from any incoming mishap.
Set up your workplace, keep it clean, tiady, and arranged. Arrange and check the quality of the timber you are about to use. Messy cluttered jobsite might cause you much hassle in doing your work with precision and perfection. Other than that, most crucially, make sure to learn the first aid skills that you might require to treat yourself and/or others working with you. Bill Baum from theedgecutter also recommends that you should always ensure your safety before performing any operations.
2, Taking Accurate Measurements
There is a saying ‘Measure twice, cut once’ and has a significance to the ones who know what precision in woodworking means. A little mismatch in the measurement can mess up your entire project. So, taking a measuring tape and measure is not enough to get precise readings. A much carefully taken measurement is what makes a difference between an amateur DIY attempt and a great job. Here is the tip, double check the measurements before making the cutting, especially if you are going to slice an expensive piece of timber.
3, Setting Out
- Once you are done taking an acutely precise measurement, it is time to implement the reading by accurately transferring the same onto the timber while setting out. Any slighter mistake or difference between the two (reading and implementation) can mess your entire project up.
Here is the tip, use the best of the kind carpentry pencil, available on the market, for the job. A good quality carpentry pencil will have a pointed tip which even after making a mark on the timber does not wear away frequently. The ultimate purpose of you having an expensive carpentry stationery is to get a flawless finishing of the project.
4, Cut Mortise and Tenon Joint, and Dovetail Joints
- Mortise and Tenon Joint
Mortise and tenon joints are the most common types of cut required in most woodworking jobs, typically in the construction sites. Basically, this type of cut is used when there is a need to interlock a vertical member to a horizontal member, like a chair rail to its legs, at 90° angle. Fitting a tenon to its adjacent mortise helps in making solid right angled joints. Though it appears to be quite intuitive, the real challenge is in the implementation. As such, you must have a good hand of experience in the technique of achieving snug fit cuts, so that the tenon exactly fits into the mortise (hole).
There are a couple of methods by which you can make a mortise. But it is better to utilize the tool that is specifically designed for such jobs only, i.e. a stout chisel. Then you can accordingly determine the tenon width based on the dimension of that chisel. Tenon cutting is just a matter of making 4 straight saw cuts. Once you grip the mastery of how to properly lay out a tenon joint and cut it into a tight fit, you stiffen your stand into the world of woodworking. Plus, you will get to know about the other joineries needed in the production of varied designed furniture.
- Dovetail Joints
Dovetail joints are also quite interesting in appearance. But it requires a high level of experience in taking measurement and adept cutting skill, so that both the pieces fit each other in a way that they appear like one. Similar to mortise and tenon joints, dovetail joints are made at right angles.
Dovetail joints are mostly fot for making boxes as this type of joint is sufficiently sturdier to join the corners of two woods. Dovetail cut is one of the most desired kind of features adhered by both the professional and non-woodworkers. The joint includes two sides where one is cut into a wedge-shaped “dovetail” while the other is cut in a way that its “pins” perfectly and tightly mates with the wedges of the other piece. Once the joint is sufficiently established, it is hard to make the pieces slide away. This utilization of this type of joint has started in the 1700s. However, previously the finishing of a dovetail joint was done using veneer, paint or mould, so that the rough appearance of the joinery stays hidden from the view. Well, that was only until the time when such visible joinery was considered aesthetic. Today, dovetail acts as a basic requirement in any serious to intricate woodworking tasks just like a litmus test is to acid and basic. This type of cut though appears quite tougher is practically quite straightforward. You simply have to draw the outline of the dovetail as per the required measurement, cut out the unwanted portion, then do the same for the other timber in a way that both joins each other just perfectly. It is true that nothing is easy in the first attempt, but once you learn how, things get easier.
5, Sharpen Planes, Saws, and Chisels
Many people still hold on to that age-old myth that the hand held traditional woodworking tools require more effort to get the job done. There is a saying in woodworking that in order to get things go smooth, you need to “allow the tool to get the work done”. But for that to happen, you need to make sure where your tools are sharp enough to conduct the task done at a relative ease. Moreover, sharpening the tools is a basic skill that one must acquire as this is something to be done regularly with one’s tools. It makes the woodworking job safer, enjoyable cum efficient. It is not only inefficient to work with blunt tools but is quiet time plus effort consuming resulting in frequent fatigue feeling. Plus, it is quite riskier to work with dull tools as you may end up meeting accidents. For example, if you are using a blunt chisel to shape your workpiece, you will have to recollect all your body’s force to push the chisel past the wood. It will then end up stabbing whatever comes to its path as you lose control of the tool.
6, Acquaint Yourself With The Basic Carpentry Tools
Most carpentry tools have multiple usage ability and can double up the work potential, thereby saving much of your time. For example, consider a carpentry mallet or hammer; you can use it to hammer nails as well as in making dovetail joints, and more. Then there is the stout chisel (woodcrafting) that you can use in intricate tasks as well as other surface planing tasks as in tenon or dovetail joints.
Note: Mallet and hammer are two different tools with almost similar features
7, How to hammer a nail and remove it?
Hammer is one of the fundamental tools in carpentry after hand saw. Although most of us only use it for hammering nails into something, a hammer is a lot more than that. You can also remove the hammered nails from their position (if needed), lever the workpiece into the required position, blunt the nails’ ends so that they don’t split the wood piece, and there are many other applications. You can use the smaller hammer for minor wooden projects and larger hammer (with a heavy head and longer handle) for hitting larger nails that are mostly used in major home construction jobs.
8, Knowledge of Power Tool
With the advent of newer technologies, the use the power tools has occupied a wider space in the world of carpentry, how to operate and handle such tools, what are their features and advantages to the woodworking industry, how dangerous would be the consequences if things go out of control, how much time and effort saving those tools are, what can you build with these power tools, etc. are some of the things you must know.
9, Carpentry Fixings
Nuts and bolts, pins and nails to wires, pellets, adhesives or glues, plugs, and more.Learning all the types of methods to couple the timber with other materials will facilitate you to take prompt decisions regarding which will be the best way or options to secure strong fixings that will last for a longer time period.
10, Finish Your Furniture
When you have invested enough time cutting, shaving, and shaping your workpiece, it is now time to give it a flawless finish. Finishes beautify your workpiece, thereby giving it an enticing appearance to the customers. It is also done to secure the longevity of the product that you have worked on so hard. Here is the tip, rub the surface with oil a couple of times. With each polish, it will shine brighter. You can use danish, linseed, shellac, etc. or other vanishing oil to give a smooth finish to the wood.
Gathering knowledge about how to operate and control different carpentry tools to create amazing work of art that you have envisioned is the most innovative thing a person can indulge oneself in. There might be many who have not got proper training or knowledge regarding these skills, but in this world of the internet you know what you have to do. Hope that it helps!