Get into woodworking

As a woodworker, you must have basic knowledge of your material – wood. In order for you to come up with the best products from wood, you must have the complete 411 on the kinds of wood.

1. Hardwood
This often comes from trees such as cherry, elm, oak (English, imported, Japanese), lime, rosewood, walnut, teak, mahogany, cherry, ash and beech.

Hardwood is strong and durable. It may be more expensive than others (particularly softwood) because it has a longer life span. It is used for making furniture. Be careful in selecting hardwood. The younger the wood, the softer it is to work with. Yet, the center of the log, or what is the heart of the hardwood, it is liable to splitting into half and can also twist or shrink. Store and season the timber correctly to prevent it from doing so.

Seasoning hardwood helps in making it stronger. By storing it for a number of years before it is brought to the market, the wood becomes more durable and long-lasting.

2. Softwood
This comes from trees like cedar, hemlock, pine, redwood, whitewood, yew, spruce, larch, cedar and deal.

These are cheaper than hardwood because their deterioration rate is faster, particularly when used in an exterior setting. Softwood must be combined with wood preservers or finishes such as paint in order to protect it from natural elements.

Softwood must be treated with an anti-woodworm and anti-rot preservative. If these are going to be exposed, then they should have a lacquer finishing. This will prevent dirt from seeping through the surface. It will also emphasize the appearance, showing off the wood’s natural color.

3. Blockboard
These are often made from the strips of glued and bonded softwood, often rectangular in shape. These strips are trapped between veneers like birch. Single veneer on each side is called 3-ply. Double veneer on the two sides is known as 5-ply.

Blockboard works best for interior work because the glues used during the construction are not exactly-waterproof. It has a variety of thickness – ranging from 12mm to 32mm. Upon purchasing blockboard, they must be stored because they have the tendency to warp and twist.

4. Chipboard
This is made from softwood particles coated with resin. The particles are spread flat out and are heated together in a high pressure. Its thickness ranges from 9mm to 18,

Other types of chipboard include the flooring glade, plastic veneered, wood veneered, white melamine coated and melamine veneered.

Upon purchasing chipboards, these must be stored. These work best in interior jobs. They are also waterproof and appropriate materials for damp projects.

5. Hardboard
A versatile product that comes from softwood pulp turned into sheets. There is a finishing on one side and a textured underside. It is also available in a variety of finishes and thicknesses.

Other types of hardboard include medium, oil-tempered, perforated (pegboard), plastic faced, painted and duo faced.

Upon purchasing hardboard, this must be stored.

6. Medium Density Fiberboard
These work best for interior projects. Since it is easily exposed to wet weather scenarios, it cannot be used for exterior work. It is perfect for surfaces inside a house – like shelving and cupboards.

With its fine texture that is evident throughout the length, medium density fiberboard is often manufactured in woodwork warehouses the world over. The bonded wooden fibers are instilled together in a high pressure.

It is advised that a mask must be used when sawing medium density fiberboards. This is to prevent the inhalation of the fine dust particles. The thickness range from 9mm to 18 mm.

7. Plywood
A majority of plywood used for woodworking is imported from abroad. The bonding of the veneers is made sure to run in alternating directions in order to make up for the sheets of plywood. These are bonded on each side of the piece so the tension remains balanced.

Basic number of sheets in plywood is three. This is the 3-ply. When another sheet is added in each side, then this becomes the stronger ply also called the 5-ply. By repeatedly conducting the same technique, plywood comes in different forms.

But bear in mind that this procedure can lessen the tendency of warping. Plywood may still twist or warp because each veneer sheet is not completely identical though. Another reason why warping occurs is heat and water penetration.

Different types of plywood are standard, wood faced and plastic faced.

When storing plywood, make sure that the sheets are flat in order to prevent twisting. The sheets come in various thickness ranging from 4 mm to 18mm.


Just because you enjoy woodworking, it doesn’t mean your craft is not a hobby
A hobby must be invested on. You wouldn’t have a hard time doing so, since the interest is there in the first place. Therefore, motivation and drive are obviously inherent as well.

Newbies in woodworking often wonder what the essential tools in starting a workshop are. The answer varies from one woodworker to the next, since there is a long list of required tools to begin with. Plus, it depends on the project.

Take for example, you go to your nearest tool store to get a power tool. Now there is a variety of manufacturers and of course, prices differ too. Like in any product, the more expensive, then the better the quality. Better quality tools in wood working have better design features and parts, as well as a high tolerance in manufacturing.
They also perform better.

Buy the best tool that you can afford. Come up with a budget on how much you are willing to spend on a particular tool. This is important because you will be using your tools on a frequent basis.

But if you are just beginning and you can only spend limited cash to set up your woodwork shop, don’t go for the absolute best then. You can resort to the one that is trusted by most woodworkers that come in a reasonable price.

There are exceptions to the general rule mentioned above. If woodworking is simply a hobby you enjoy during the weekend, then you do not have to get the top-of-the-notch tools.

The key is getting a tool that is within your budget. But as much as possible, veer away from the cheapest tools and materials. It being cheap already says something - these aren’t worth purchasing.

Here are the element tools a woodworker newbie must have in his workshop.
1. Drill
Get one with the cord and the screwdriver attachment. It will let you single handedly accomplish tons of tasks – literally and figuratively. They may be quite a bit expensive, but this is one woodworking tool worth investing on.

2. Circular Saw
Use this to trim and cut plywood.

3. Finishing Sander
This is used for finishing. This is perfect for smoothing out planes. It can also be used for finishing and painting. You can also use this on round planes to clear out the edges.

4. Jig Saw
This is a hand held saw that is used for cutting the plywood’s curves and for smoothing out rough outlines.

5. Table Saw
Like the drill, this is another tool that you must have and invest on. Although there are some inexpensive table saws but they are not as high-powered as the pricey ones. They don’t work as well as you hope too. Get a table saw with a good motor, one that is powerful enough that it can be used over and over again. If not, the blade will stall during the course of you ripping wood. It may even burn some of your masterpieces and no woodworker would want that.

6. Router
A router is like a table – when it comes to the necessary woodworking materials a newbie must get. It is a tool used for cutting a profile on the edge of pieces of wood. They are also used in cutting molding and to trim plastic and cut parts on a template. Routers come in two forms: plunge and fixed. The plunge router is loaded on the base. It can be pushed flat down to a work piece when special cuts are called for. Whereas the fixed router holds the work piece into place.

7. Band Saw
This can also be used to other projects and not just woodworking. This is used to cut curves and shapes onto the wood. It can also be used as a bandsaw which is appropriate for sawing lumber.

8. Compound Miter Saw
This is used to cut, like the table saw, but is a lot easier to handle.

9. Lathe
Tool is a turning tool and is one of the equipment you should invest on.

10. Biscuit Joiner
It joins together the pieces of wood. The tool cuts small slots in every side of the join. The biscuit is inserted and glued in between, holding the parts altogether.

11. Belt Sander
This is great for quickly smoothing plywood and also for shaping objects.

12. Drill Press
This is used for consistently drilling holes into wood.

As a woodwork newbie, you must get the best tools you can afford. But that also depends on the projects that you plan on handling. Before dropping by your nearest hardware store to get your tools, ponder on what exactly you will be making.