Earth to Mars

Getting Started With Woodworking

Woodworking is one of the most accessible hands on activities. The cost barrier to entry is very low compared to something like welding and the prerequisite knowledge is much less than something like electrical and circuitry. To begin woodworking the only tools you need are a hammer, nails, a handsaw, a measuring tape and if you are feeling adventurous a speed square is a good initial buy. This puts the initial tools cost of tools to start, on average, about $50 to $70 for tools that you will never truly replace or get rid of. This is far cheaper than other hands on activates such as welding which have an initial cost of near $700 for a good enough machine that will not be replaced until it breaks and the necessary safety equipment. The prerequisite knowledge is also quite low as you mostly only need to be able to measure, read plans/blueprints and at most be able to us the Pythagoras theorem.

Besides the tools the only other thing necessary to start  woodworking is a space to work. If you are starting off with the bare minimum tools listed earlier this can be done in a driveway or an open outdoor space. Just make sure to keep track of nails and small metal bits. Starting with the bare minimum tools and taking the advice of this YouTube video and starting off by building a number of workshop style tables. A few plans and examples can be found (here). As described in the video workshop style tables are a great way to start because it gives you a place to work, store tools and equipment, and they are not expected to be perfect they are only expected to work.

There are a number of long term paths available for woodworking but there is a lot of overlap between them on the basics. These basics can be developed with the Basic level projects on the Woodworking page of the hands on section. Our basics section emphasizes cutting, measuring, and gluing. The first few projects can be done with basic hand tools but as talked about by the creator of many of these projects it is recommended to purchase an electric drill, a jig saw, and a circular saw, in that order. Beyond those tools it is up to you and your interests to decide which tools to get next. For people without anyone to learn from video series like these among many others are a good place to start learning tips and tricks, finding more projects, and for inspiration for your own projects.

The last very important point to make is that the skills that are developed in woodworking are incredibly useful in other trades and hands on activities. The fundamentals of measuring, cutting, planning, patience, and problem solving carry over and are invaluable in life as well as in other hands on activities. All of these skills carry over to electrical work, plumbing, welding, machining and 3D modeling in CAD software. A good amount of the tools carry over as well, you will only need to buy bits and blades meant for metal rather that wood for your drill, jig saw, and other tools.