The removal of workshop classes from the secondary school curriculum is unfortunate, as these classes were not about grooming the students for trade jobs, rather, they impacted skills that may be useful throughout a lifetime regardless of one’s profession.
Wood shop class is greatly missed in this curriculum as learning the basics of working with wood gives an idea on how to fix certain things in the house and connect with a history of craftsmanship.
In the early days of pre-industrial world, woodworking skills were developed by mankind, and things were mostly made of wood.
This gave an understanding to people on how to shape and use wood, and it is what give professionals and tradesmen the knowledge of building wooden cabinets, shelves, and chairs.
In the 21st century, woodworking skills have been transformed into something mysterious due to the introduction of factories and plastics. Nowadays, nobody wants to fix a broken chair or desk, but to get a replacement from a store.
Although hand skills are admired and appreciated, but woodworking is not a mystery, and even if you haven’t undergone a thorough workshop class, and you feel you’re not equipped enough to handle a woodworking task, don’t worry, you can still learn.
There are some basic skills that can help you develop, which are neither expensive nor require the use of expensive tools or dangerous machinery.
These are regarded as the basic foundational skills you need to know as a woodworker.
You Must Know How Wood Works
It is necessary to understand the orientation of woods and the proper direction to plane it before putting any tool on it.
Tree growth is accompanied by the build-up of growth ring layers, to produce the beautiful grain observed on boards. Ignoring the proper direction to plane the board may bring about a difficult task.
Understanding the expansion and contraction of woods due to changes in humidity in a year is also vital, because you must take this natural phenomenon into account during wooden construction.
Sharpen your tools
Using dull or blunt tools are time and energy consuming. Woodworkers believe that, allowing your tools to do the work will make things easy and smooth. If your tools require extra effort to do a simple job, then you need to sharpen the blade.
The basic foundation skills in woodworking is to keep your tools sharpened at all times since you are using them regularly, and working with tools with blunt blades are dangerous and inefficient.
This is why it is advisable to always maintain sharpened blades for a safe, enjoyable, and efficient woodworking.
Use of Hand Plane
Basic techniques of using woodworking tools are self-explanatory, and practical instructions are required for the proper use of tools such as hand planes, to develop the skills of shaping wood to have a very fine finish.
Although, it may require a bit of research, but using it properly will give you maximum satisfaction.
Use Hand Tools for Lumber
You don’t have to buy expensive machines for woodworking, you can still use hand tools to build whatever you want. I enjoy using only hand tools to work with wood, and I find it viable and efficient. The main thing is to use the right tool and technique for the job.
Mortise and Tenon Joint
In woodworking, mortise and tenon joint is the most fundamental joint. When you are joining a horizontal plane to a vertical member to create a right-angle, the pieces must be interlocked to have a perfect fit.
Fitting the vertical (tenon) into the horizontal (mortise), creates a tight-fit joint of 90°, but requires good practice and techniques to achieve it. You can make your mortise in a different way, but there is a special stout chisel I use which is designed specifically for that purpose, then I determine the breadth of the tenon from the dimension of the chisel.
You can cut the tenon with 4 straight saw cuts, but you’ll be able to understand more about woodworking, when you’re able to lay the joint and cut it to fit in properly.
Dovetail joint is a method of joining corners of boards to make a box. One side of it is cut into a wedge to accept pins, and this wedge-shape does not allow the board to slide apart when fitted together. Making a dovetail joint is very straightforward, as it involves cutting the tails and tracing them on the other board, and finally, cutting out the unwanted part traced. That’s all.
The finishing aspect of a wood construction is as important as the construction itself, because it protects and beautifies every piece.
There are several beautiful finishes available today including Shellac which I use always. It dries fast and its easily repairable. Other vanishes are also available for outdoor use with good protection.
I love woodworking but the finishing part is what I dread the most. If you give a little attention to proper finishing of your work, you’ll surely become addicted to these final touches.
Have you learned from this article? If yes, always come back to learn more about woodworking.