DIY Wood Working – A Brief Introduction

DIY Wood Working – A Brief Introduction

Woodworking is a craft that focuses on making wooden implements or items. As such, it covers niches such as carpentry, woodcarving and joinery.

cropped-woodworking.jpgWith that in mind, learning some basic woodworking skills can help you save money by working on home improvement projects that would have required hiring a professional.

Here are some key aspects of DIY wood working to get you started:


Woodworking tools can essentially be broken down into several categories including:

• Joinery tools
• Portable power tools
• Shaping tools
• Cutting tools
• Measuring tools
• Finishing tools

To make wooden joints, you would require joinery tools.

Examples of such tools include a steel square, patternmaker's vise, straightedge, sliding bevel, marking and mortise gauge, dial caliper, bevel-edged chisels, doweling jig, handscrews, bar or pipe clamps, claw hammer, Finish hammer, C-clamps, bench vise or clamping system, wooden mallet, Japanese marking knife, quick release and bench vise.

tools-you-will-needOther tools that you may use for joinery woodworking projects include a backsaw, Dozuki back saw, flexible flush trim saw, and Japanese dovetail saw.

Examples of portable power tools include electric drill, circular saw, dual-action pad sander, belt sander, cordless drill, nail gun, plunge router, and cut track saw.

Good examples of shaping tools include a smooth plane, round rasp, utility knife, cabinet scraper, hand scraper, wood chisels, and low angle block plane.

Examples of cutting tools include a hacksaw, diagonal cutters, crosscut saw, ripsaw, coping saw, and backsaw.

You should also have measuring tools like framing square, sliding bevel, scratch awl, folding rule, compass, steel tape, combination square, and marking gauge.

Finally, a woodworking workshop would not be complete without finishing tools such as a round burnisher, sander and scraper.


You should observe safety rules when using woodworking tools and machines to avoid injuries and fatalities.

routing technique 2According to data published by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), table saws alone cause an average of 39,750 injuries annually, making them the most dangerous woodworking tools.

In addition, woodworking machines such as planers and jointers cause an average of 10,930 injuries per year.

Other dangerous woodworking tools include miter saw (about 6,800 injuries a year), band saw (about 3,550 injuries per year), and radial arm saw (about 350 injuries annually).

As such, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has set safety regulations and standards/guidelines that woodworking enthusiasts must observe at all times. These standards and laws cover:

• Head protection
• Eye and face protection
• Hearing protection
• First aid
• Handling and operating power tools
• Operating power tools and machinery

With this in mind, you should be careful when handling nail guns because they are responsible for two out of every five injuries reported by residential woodworkers, according to OSHA.

To prevent nail gun incidents, OSHA recommends buying and using a nail gun with a sequential trigger mechanism.

In addition, you should never walk around with a nail gun while your finger is on the trigger. Other nail gun safety practices include:

• Never press the trigger unless the nail gun nose is in contact with a wooden object
• Never use a faulty nail gun
• Never point a nail gun nose towards yourself or others
• Never use a nail gun on a metallic surface
• Never remove or bypass nail gun safety features
• Never clean or try to repair a nail gun when it is still connected to a power source

At the same time, you should always wear protective gear like safety goggles, face shield, workshop boots, hearing protectors, and respirator when using woodworking machines. When drilling, sanding, or milling, remember to first clamp down securely all work pieces.

screw gun drill driver image 1If the equipment you are using has physical safety features, be sure to use them.

It is also wise to inspect the cutting, drilling, and grinding devices to ensure they are in good working condition. For instance, a loose drill bit can turn into a dangerous flying object if used when improperly secured.

OSHA also recommends working in a well-lit environment to ensure you can see the tools, wooden pieces, and machinery you are using well. Finally, make sure electric wiring and extension cords are run from overhead supply lines.

Sanding Tips

Sanding is important because it determines the final look and quality of wooden items. If you have never worked on DIY wood working projects before, start with a hand sander, which retails at about $5 apiece. When buying sandpaper, look for a product with the right number of granules per square inch of paper.

This is necessary because the higher the number of granules per square inch, the finer the grade and the smoother the sanding outcome. This means sandpaper with lower-numbered grades are coarser.

In general, use fine grit sandpaper when finishing/refinishing furniture. Sandpaper with medium grit is used for removing scratches or old paint while coarse grit sandpaper will come in handy when working on severely damaged wood surfaces. While sanding, the rule of thumb is to follow the direction of the grain.

Do not sand at an angle or perpendicular to the grain. Besides hand sanders, electric power sanders such as orbital and belt sanders for wood working at home.

Tips for Using a Circular Saw

changing skill saw blageWhen using the circular saw, always set the blade depth to suit your current woodcutting needs.

To do so, hold the extruding side of the saw against the wooden plank you would like to cut and then adjust the depth knob/lever until the saw blade extends about ½ inch below the base of your wooden piece.

Another handy tip is to always place support beams beneath plywood before beginning to cut. These beams will prevent sagging of the plywood.

If you have to make an angled cut, hold the blade guard to guide the saw and avoid deviating from the planned path.

You should take extreme precaution when cutting a wooden plank to avoid the "kickback" problem that occurs when a piece of wood bows downward as a cut nears completion.


Before you engage in DIY wood working projects, you must acquire key woodworking skills including measuring, cutting, joinery, finishing, shaping and sanding skills.

Additionally, you must acquire the right protective gear including safety goggles, hand gloves and dust mask. At the same time, you must acquaint yourself with woodworking plans and safety best practices.