Just as with any craft, your woodworking skills will improve with practice, but even beginners can benefit from some basic ground rules to get you off to a good start and help you work efficiently! These tips will save you time, improve the quality of your projects, and help you become an efficient woodworker.
Keep Your Workshop Neat
It’s always easier to work in a space that is clean and tidy. When there are no pieces of wood to trip over, when you’re not going to slip on sawdust on the floor, when you always know where your tools are, you won’t be wasting time looking for things and will be much less likely to have an accident. Hang frequently-used tools where they can be quickly reached, and store the rest away on easily-accessible shelves or in drawers.
Light Your Shop Properly
You need to be able to see what you are doing. Not only do you need a good, general, overhead light, but also specific task lighting. Painting the walls and ceiling of the space a bright white will help to reflect the light for even better visibility.
Keep Your Tools Sharp
A workman is only as good as his tools, and it pays to keep them in good condition. For tools such as scrapers, chisels, and planes, keeping them sharp will both save you time and also result in a better-looking finished product. Every well-equipped workshop needs a bench grinder or wet grinder to sharpen blades, although in a pinch you can use a belt sander. Don’t let the blade overheat while you sharpen it: stop every few seconds to cool it in some water. Then hone it to a sharp edge with a wet stone, and finish by polishing it with a stropping wheel or leather.
Know Your Wood Moisture
Your finished piece depends on the quality of the material that you use, and a big part of that is the moisture level in the wood. All wood for fine carpentry should be kiln or air dried. If it’s too dry it will swell when exposed to moisture in the air, and if it’s too moist it will shrink and warp as it continues to dry. Buy a moisture meter so that you can avoid those problems before you start to work with the wood!
Look for Inspiration
Quality woodworking is an investment of time and money, but the satisfaction of crafting a unique piece is priceless. Look for inspiration for your next project on Artisan Born’s Instagram account. Click here to check it out! Also, keep an eye out on our blog for more tips, ideas, and inspiration!