10 Common Woodworking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
When it comes to woodworking, the whole activity is a long journey where you keep on learning. You will make common errors on your way.
You will make enormous blunders from time to time. The key thing is to learn from your errors as you advance in your carpentry abilities.
Here are 10 common woodworking mistakes and how you can avoid making them in your work.
1. Doors and Drawers That Don’t Fit
Nothing is more disheartening than working on a cabinet and then attempting to put a drawer in. Then, you discover that the drawer is too large to fit the space.
Don’t be left standing there, perplexed as to why this occurred. After all, you did stick to the plan, didn’t you?
The issue is that you stuck to the woodwork plans.
Here’s the scenario: When making a cabinet carcass, your dimensions may be wrong by a fraction of 1/32 inch here and there.
Even little differences might add up to a significant variation in total dimension. This happens when you attempt to put the carcass together. This could result in your drawer not fitting properly.
The remedy is straightforward: Wait until you finish your carcass before making the drawers or doors. Then, ignore the measurements on the plan and proceed from the carcass. This guarantees that the measurements of your drawers or doors align with those of the carcass.
2. The Stain That Doesn’t Take
The most typical cause for a stain not taking is that you applied a non-staining wood filler. Also, you may have some glue that you did not thoroughly clean off after making the piece.
Both issues are simple to avoid but more difficult to resolve. As a result, use a stain-resistant wood filler and wipe away any glue that seeps out of a joint when assembling it.
If an unstained patch appears on your work, apply a colored glaze to the unstained part. Do this while regulating the color and coverage until it matches the stained wood. Allow it to dry before applying a topcoat.
3. Wood Splitting When Cut
Passing a piece of wood through a saw can cause tear-out. This occurs when the spinning blade grabs the unstable edge of the wood as the boards leave the saw. If you cut across the grains, tear-out happens on the rear edge of the board.
To avoid tear-out, place a backing board across the rear edge of the wood before cutting. The backing boards serve as sacrificial boards for the tear-out process.
Furthermore, if you have boards that require both rip cuts and crosscuts, start with the crosscuts and finish with the rip cuts. You don’t need to use a supporting board on a rip cut. This is because the blade is not likely to produce tear-out.
4. Loose Joints
A joint can, at times, be excessively loose. Loose fit is a particular issue when dealing with mortise-and-tenon joints. This is because its strength is dependent on a tight fit between tenon and mortise.
So, what can you do when the tenon in the mortise is too loose?
Apart from cutting a new tenon, utilizing a gap-filling glue works well most of the time. Normal carpenter’s wood glue will not work.
You should have epoxy resin glue. This is a two-part glue that expands as it dries to cover holes in the wood.
Another method is gluing a thin bit of wood to the tenon to increase its size. After that, cut the newly enlarged tenon to fill the mortise.
5. Unflattened Tabletops
Sometimes you lift the clamps only to discover that the surface isn’t flat. This is after spending hours selecting, machining, and assembling a board for a tabletop.
If your wood is not bent, twisted, or cupped, you have two causes for a problem. One may be your board’s edges were not exactly straight and square. Or, you may have used excessive clamp pressure while gluing the boards together.
To prevent these issues, use a correctly set jointer to produce perfect square edges on a board. Applying too much pressure to the clamps may cause the board to deflect upward from the clamps. A clamp or two placed on top of the board can also assist.
You must plane and sand an uneven tabletop to make it level. You may lose board thickness. Thus, you might not wish to take this route.
Your best bet is to separate the top at the joints and start over from scratch. Relax, it’s not as awful as it sounds. Also, it’s considerably simpler than flattening with a sander and plane.
After separating the boards afresh, joint them till they get square edges. After that, dry clamp the edge joints and inspect for flatness. Finally, re-glue them with only proper pressure to bond the boards together.
6. Having Joints That Don’t Fit Together
You’ve worked hard to get tight joints. However, when you apply glue and attempt to bring the joint together, it won’t go. Perhaps your joints are excessively tight. Also, you may have just partially brought the joint together and are having “lock-up.”
Always dry-fit early to prevent excessively tight joints. If necessary, hit the joint together with a hammer to loosen it before applying glue to it.
If you have a mortise-and-tenon joint, shave down the tenon a little. This can help you pull the joint together with little tapping or by hand.
You may need to perform some heavy clamping and mallet tapping to get it moving again. But this can only happen if the joint stops moving while you’re building it.
You may be unable to get the joint to budge depending on how long it has been locked. Simply keep away from a locked joint first. This is as easy as pushing the joint completely together when initially attempting to assemble it.
Avoid the temptation to only partly attach the joint. Always fully connect one joint before going on to the next.
7. Using the Wrong Blade
Some individuals keep only one circular saw blade and utilize it for everything. This can be the 24-tooth or 18-tooth combo blade that comes with the saw.
These two stock saw blades for woodworking are referred to as “framing blades.” You can use them to cut framing lumber while constructing or renovating a house.
You’ll need a blade with finer teeth as well as one made for certain materials, such as plywood. The features of the strongest 40-tooth blade’s teeth include alternate-top-bevel grind and a flat-top. This allows the blade to rip and crosscut smoothly.
8. Cutting With the Wrong Side Up
Plywood cutting may be difficult. Even if you take anti-splintering procedures, you may still encounter some splitting.
When utilizing a circular saw, ensure the side that will be viewable in the assembly is facing down. In this manner, the circular saw’s teeth will hit it first and leave through the rear of the panel. If splintering happens, it will take place on the rear surface.
When utilizing a table saw, the reverse is true. You cut with the good side facing up.
9. The Incorrect Way
People believe that since a router rotates its bit 360 degrees, it makes no difference how you go around the workpiece. That is partially correct.
It works in either direction. However, you can only do it severally before the router grabs and shreds when moved in the incorrect direction.
The strategy is to work your way counterclockwise around the perimeter of a project, like a frame or tabletop.
10. Square Pegs Forced Into Round Holes
As a rookie, you probably don’t have a stash of specialized woodworking equipment. You’ll come into lots of situations when you don’t have the appropriate tool for the task. But you may improvise and force it to work with a different tool.
The trick here is to understand when you can avoid MacGyvering a new solution. Also, know when you can simply suck it up and acquire that specialist tool.
Also, there’s no reason to risk compromising your work with the incorrect instruments while you can make a simple trip to the store for buying woodworking tools. This is considering numerous stores are offering free or low-cost tool rental programs.
Use the Above Tips to Avoid Common Woodworking Mistakes
Any woodworker, like any other pastime or career, can make several common woodworking mistakes. As your learning progresses, you will reduce or eliminate these typical errors and produce high-quality work without difficulties.
Note that each mistake is a chance to learn and improve as a woodworker.
But you can also seek professional assistance to ease the process of becoming more proficient.
At Woodworking Plans, we help people start learning about woodworking to become more skilled.
Call us today and we will respond immediately.