New here - how to learn Woodworking?


clizlee
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Hi everyone, I'm totally new here. I love working with wood and building things and recently I have had the desire to actually learn the skill of woodworking. I built a twin size bed frame for my son out of pine a few years ago and I refinished a desk of mine all without any training at all. But I'd like to learn the trade. Does anyone know where or how I could start learning? I'm currently a web designer, but I'd like to do something that doesn't involve sitting in front of the computer. I think at first it would mostly be a hobby on the side, but maybe if I could get good at it, I could start building things for other people and maybe make a little side business out of it.

So if anyone has any advice for me or some resources I could check out it would be much appreciated.

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Hi everyone, I'm totally new here. I love working with wood and building things and recently I have had the desire to actually learn the skill of woodworking. I built a twin size bed frame for my son out of pine a few years ago and I refinished a desk of mine all without any training at all. But I'd like to learn the trade. Does anyone know where or how I could start learning? I'm currently a web designer, but I'd like to do something that doesn't involve sitting in front of the computer. I think at first it would mostly be a hobby on the side, but maybe if I could get good at it, I could start building things for other people and maybe make a little side business out of it.

So if anyone has any advice for me or some resources I could check out it would be much appreciated.

Off the bat, aside from your magazines and books, video podcasts. The Wood Whisperer is a given. Watch the free podcasts, and you could sign up for a guild membership. Even if you're not interested in any of the things he makes, you can still pick up a ton of tips and knowledge watching Marc work. There are a ton of other podcasts such as Matt's Basement Workshop, and WoodSmith used to post free videos of their store seminars (still available, last I checked).

You could watch TV shows on PBS, WoodSmith Shop, Rough Cut With Tommy Mac, New Yankee Workshop, etc., but just understand that they don't have nearly the amount of time to go in-depth with projects as some video podcasts can do. But you can still learn from them.

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I find the best way to learn new skills is to take a course. I have taken a dozen seminars from Lee Valley (many designed for beginners), and a few college courses, as well as some private instruction. Magazines are great, and so are podcasts and forum boards, but nothing is better than to "get your hands dirty" under the supervision of a seasoned veteran.

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Read, read, read. There are tons of books and magazines out there with lots of good information and plans. Subscribe to a magazine, most have beginner plans in every issue. Start out easy with a simple set of plans and acquire tools as you need them.

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+1 to Join a local wood working club. I started with one last year and I've learned a lot from those guys. I've also done a number of one and two day classes that have been a big help. Reading and watching videos is good but there is nothing like being able to ask an ask, "What did do wrong here?"

and I'd suggest picking the kind of project(s) you want to build and start learning that and gathering tools. Do you want to do cabinets, furniture, turning? I started out doing simple cabinets but then got interested in marquetry - different skill sets and somewhat different tools.

Enjoy learning.

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I got interested in learning woodworking from watching Marc's videos. In particular I was inspired by the panelled door cabinet with the book faced walnut laminated on the front. Unfortunately I don't have the money to get a guild membership - need to save up for that. All my tools were ones I'd bought before and during the renovation of my current home (now on the market and looking for my next project) - but Marc has inspired me to look further than flipping houses.

I totally agree with watching his (and others) videos - especially the safety ones.

When you finally get down to making some sawdust, make some jigs. It won't matter so much if they aren't pretty, and the materials can be inexpensive. And at the same time, you'll figure out what works for you. I'm in the process of making a crosscut sled for my table saw, which I'll probably adapt slightly to allow me to do tenon joints as well.

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I would +1 all that’s been said prior, but there are woodworking schools you could attend depending on where your are located. They will cost you quite a bit in time and money though. Short of attending a woodworking school full or part time, the following is my two cents worth:

One, Popular Woodworking magazine has an article each issue called “I Can Do That”. It’s for beginning or less skilled woodworkers and the project in each issue is somewhat basic although some are more complicated than others. You can go here and download the “I Can Do That” manual and then on the same web page take a look at the projects available (there are additional pages of projects as well). Look back through all of the projects to find ones you think are more appropriate for your skill level and that you might want to build.

The manual is 93 pages and will discuss basic tools to purchase and other things a beginning woodworker should know. This manual is NOT a comprehensive course on woodworking, and is only meant to get you up and running on building the basic I Can Do That projects. If you decide to go with one or more of these projects, Wood Talk Online is the place to come back to, to ask any questions you may have.

The “I Can Do That” manual, for the most part, covers powered hand tools with a few manual hand tools thrown into the mix. I would just read through initially, and don’t commit to purchasing anything until you’ve convinced yourself that this is the way you want to start. They do talk about a biscuit joiner, which is not used that much anymore. After doing some of these projects you’ll eventually gain the skills to attempt projects beyond the “I Can Do That” level, but it’s one way to get into woodworking.

Please keep in mind, that from a tool perspective, there are basically three types of woodworkers. 1) Power tool only, that is, something that has to be plugged into a wall outlet (well, they may use a block plane and a very few hand tools), 2) Power tool and hand tools (that is manual tools with no use of electricity). They have a fairly complete complement of power tools and a decent number of manual hand tools, and will use their hand tools and power tools to build most of their projects. 3) The manual hand tool only woodworkers. This is a variable, as the others are, but for the most part they will use only hand tools to build a project, but may also own a power tool or two. Some are purists and do not own or use power tools.

Two, If you decide that you would want to take the manual hand tool only path, you may want to look into Shannon Rogers (The Renaissance Woodworker) “Hand Tool School” as an online manual hand tool class. I have not taken any of Shannon's classes, but have heard good things about it. If your by a Woodcraft, Rockler or Highland Woodworking store, then as one poster has already suggested, you could also attend some of their classes, workshops or seminars.

One last thing, when I started to learn woodworking, I started out with woodworking magazines, books, and the Internet. I found videos to be especially helpful. When I first started my “investigation” of the woodworking world I found that I just didn’t get it, but after repeated reading and viewing of videos (including woodworking TV shows) things started to fall into place, and I finally “got it”. No, I’m not an expert by any means, but the basics fell into place and I could read and view videos and know what they were talking about without reaching for some sort of reference material.

Oh, and always keep safety uppermost in your mind as you move into becoming a woodworker.

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Wow awesome. Thanks so much to everyone for so much information. I now have a lot to get started with. One question...a couple of you mentioned joining a local woodworking club. I guess I'll just google that to see if there are any around here. I live in Bellevue, WA. Unless someone knows right off hand of a website that lets you find a group in your area?

I found out that there is a cabinet making program at Seattle Central CC here. I'd love to do that. There's also a Marine program, learning how to build boats which sounds super cool too. But not sure I have the money to pay for a program. I think I'll just start out small and if I get really into it, maybe consider a program or just keep learning online and from book, magazines. I'd like to find just some local single classes I could take but so far haven't found anything.

But I started watching Marc's videos from the beginning on this website and it's super interesting. Thanks everyone.

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Just a couple of items I didn’t include in my first post.

A new book for beginning woodworkers, and a free download of a chapter from this book.

Fine Woodworking’s website “Start Woodworking”. You can become a member for free.

FYI

Awesome thanks. Just joined that site and am exploring all the info there too. Lots to look through and plenty to get me started.

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@clizlee I am right there with you. I too am a (trying to be former) web designer. Over the last 2 months I find myself literally unable to sit in front of the computer anymore. I can not type another line of code or even open CS4. I feel I am in for big changes and I am still young enough to do so. Anyways I just built my first real wood working table and I am impressed at how sturdy and solid it is. I agree with everyone else in taking courses, though as of yet I have not taken any. I am hopefully going to go to school in Seattle in the fall for a carpentry/woodworking degree. I am also looking into the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock. I am coming from Fairbanks, AK so it is going to be a challenge to get there, find housing, etc. but I am hopeful right now.

All I can say is keep building things from books and websites. Now that I have a table I can build all kinds of things. Right now I am stepping away from the computer to go work on some small projects like a wood level and try square. I love making my own tools. It is very empowering.

Here is my first real wood working table built from ground up just finished it. (The eggs are fresh from my chickens. I did not build them.)

Good luck and best wishes.

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post-6879-0-06735400-1334969166_thumb.jp

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