The Craftsman’s Guide to Starting a Woodworking Hobby
Woodworking is a hobby that’s been around for hundreds of years. But even before complex tools became available, humans have always had a fascination with building things of their very own.
If you’re one of the many Americans who are interested in getting into this great manual labor hobby in their free time — congratulations, you’ve picked a great hobby. Not everyone has a hobby so involved.
But because of its involved nature, woodworking can be complex to get into.
This article will walk you through all you need to know to start your woodworking hobby.
Why Work With Wood?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of woodworking, it’s important to understand why you get into the hobby. This isn’t just some sort of zen way to get you to appreciate your new hobby. Getting enthusiastic about your new hobby will make it more productive, and help you have more fun.
Let’s look at a few reasons you should be excited about woodworking.
One of the best reasons to get into woodworking is the deeply satisfying nature of the work. Unlike people who, say, play board games or cards for a hobby, you’ll be engaging in hard, manual labor that will give you that worn-out-but-satisfied feeling.
There’s science to back this up too. Physical activity leads to a happier life. If you find yourself stuck in a job that doesn’t allow you a lot of movement, this could be a perfect way to get involved in a meaningful task while moving your body.
But the labor of it isn’t the only satisfying thing, far from it. Woodworking is an amazing hobby to get into because at the end of a session you’ll have something that you can use. You’ll be able to enjoy the physical movement, psychological benefits of knowing you created something, and the practical use of whatever you made.
Engage Your Mind
Don’t get us wrong. You are making something physically, but it’s not like you’re standing around in a factory pumping out products all day mindlessly. Woodworking is a craft, and there’s a reason why the term “arts and crafts” exists.
Arts focus more on subjective appreciation, and crafts focus more on functionality (you can argue all day about whether or not a song is good, but no one is going to enjoy a chair that breaks). However, there are a lot of similarities between the two in terms of intellectual stimulation. Check out our vast variety of articles on woodworking plans to get a sense of the intellectual heavy-lifting involved.
Woodworking is a tough task to beat because it engages the body, the mind, and the creative spirit.
Earn Some Cash on the Side
But it doesn’t just engage the body, mind, and creative spirit… it engages the wallet too.
Once again, don’t get us wrong. A hobby is a hobby, and if you want to do woodworking to just blow off some steam after a long day, we respect that.
But it is important to remember that people might want to buy your woodworking. Online communities like Fiver and Facebook Marketplace make it easier than ever for regular people like you to sell your products. People turn to regular everyday people to buy their products because they can trust them more than companies, they know the products are made with a sense of individuality.
If you’re interested in using your hobby to make a little cash on the side, there are many options out there for you.
Whether you’re selling your woodworkings or not, you’re going to save some money. The more you make, the less you have to buy — so you really can’t go wrong.
Learn How to Use Power Tools
After your intellectual stimulation, personal satisfaction, and moneymaking opportunities, learning how to use power tools might not seem very important. But hear us out.
Independent of what you make, knowing how to use power tools can give you a sense of freedom. You’ll know that you have the self-efficacy to use some of the most important tools in the modern world.
This can also mean you’ll better be able to help out your friends and family members. Have a friend that’s had some trouble with a chair in their house? Now you’re the guy they can call.
And that feels pretty good.
How to Start Your Woodworking Hobby
After assessing your reasons for wanting to start woodworking, you’re probably raring to go. Only it isn’t that easy in a hobby as involved with this. Let’s look at some of the things you need to know about how to start your woodworking as soon as possible.
Woodworking comes with a lot of equipment. You’re going to want to either purchase some equipment (either online or in-person) or rent some equipment out to start with. Read product reviews to make sure you’re going with quality materials.
Some of the most important things you’ll want to get equipped with are hand tools. You’ll want to be familiar with squares, planes, chisels, saws, steel rulers, routers, plumb lines, hammers various power tools, and many many more tools.
You’re also going to want to make sure you keep yourself safe. Woodworking is a great hobby, but it can be dangerous. Purchase yourself some high-quality safety goggles as a top priority.
You’ll also need to protect your ears. Many people ignore ear protection because hearing damage isn’t as immediately obvious as vision loss. But if you let hearing damage accrue over time, you’ll surely regret it.
There are several options out there for ear defense, from high-strength custom earplugs to noise-canceling earmuffs. Look around to find the best option for you.
For more information on woodworking tools, check out our whole section devoted to articles about them.
Find a Space
While woodworking might be a lot more engaging than a poker hobby, it sure is harder to set up. You’re going to need to find a place that provides you with the right amount of room you need for the project you’re working on.
Finding a space often comes down to the classic question — own or rent? While it’s nice to own your shop, renting comes with a set of advantages. You’ll know the whole space is set up for you, and you won’t need to maintain it as much.
If you’re a homeowner, consider whether or not your garage might be a good option for you. Homeowning woodworkers who are working on relatively small projects might be able to knock out everything they need to in their house. If you’re planning on working on things a little bigger and have a little extra money, you may even be able to add an extension to your garage.
However, renting could be conducive to your growth as a woodworker. Knowing that you’ll have a neutral space to go to without the baggage of “home.” Think of it like a businessman owning an office, or a musician having a practice room to go to in the college he goes to.
Figure Out Your Projects
While some basics are always the same in woodworking, you can only go so far while staying general. Building a wooden boat is a lot different from fixing up a chair. Figuring out what sort of projects you want to work on will help you find more specific information on the equipment you need, the space you need, and where you need to go to find information.
While you may be ambitious to crush your new passion for woodworking, it can be good to start small. Starting small doesn’t necessarily mean only working on little wooden toys, it means picking a niche to get good at first.
By picking a niche to focus on, you’ll more quickly develop mastery. You don’t want to end up like the old adage “jack of all trades, master of none.”
By focusing on a niche and mastering it, you’ll not only learn how to make that product well, but you’ll learn how to woodwork faster. After mastering one, you can move on to another, and use what you learned to speed up the learning process.
Think of it like learning music — you don’t want to pick up the guitar, bass, keyboard, and accordion at once, but learning a guitar will teach you skills that can transfer to the bass. Learning two instruments can help you better understand the two separate hands required to play the keyboard, and learning to play master a keyed instrument will make playing the accordion easier. By focusing on one specialty first, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a one-man-woodworking-band.
Develop Your Passion
Humans have been working with wood for a very long time now.
Once you understand the reasons you want to work with wood, get yourself equipped, find yourself space, and figure out what projects you want to work on, you’ll be well on your way to developing the woodworking hobby of your dreams.
For more information about the woodworking hobby, contact us today.