Is Woodworking for You? Steps to Help You Find Out
Producing something is a productive hobby and a very wise way of spending your free time. Some people, especially the ladies, find joy in crocheting and making clothing items such as beanies and shirts from scratch. Some consider cooking as their hobby, and they find value in preparing sauces and other time-consuming food items beforehand so that they can store and just reheat them later.
Woodworking is something that a few used to pick up as their hobby, but lately, with the DIY movement, more and more people are getting interested in it and other forms of skilled crafts such as welding. Through woodworking or carpentry, many hobbyists are able to create useful items such as kiddie chairs, study tables, side tables, and other similar items.
Although installing and taking care of wooden floors are well within the scope of woodworking, working on floors is still a task that is far too complex for starting woodworkers like you. It’s still best at this point to leave that job to a wood floor specialist who has the proper training and experience. That way, you will be able to save time and effort. And you’ll get a better-looking floor, too!
Now, is woodworking really a worthy recreational activity for you? There is only one way to find out, and that is to try. And when you try, it should be on projects that put to the test all your basic woodworking skills. Before you start, here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to see if you’re ready to take up this hobby.
Are you patient enough to maintain your tools?
Woodworking or carpentry is a field that requires the use of numerous tools. Such tools range from simple hammers and saws to more complicated power tools that need electricity or batteries to work. Now, these tools don’t take care of themselves. You cannot just put them away at the end of the day and expect them to work the same way every time you use them. You need to observe certain measures to make sure that they are in good working condition.
Before you work on any project, confront yourself with the question: am I ready for the maintenance work for my tools? Remember, taking care of tools is more than just wiping and applying oils. Most of the time, it requires technical knowledge, which admittedly can be very intimidating for some. If you find yourself struggling to say yes, then it’s best for you to find another task to keep yourself busy. Tools need to be maintained because they can go dull, and dullness is a serious threat to your safety.
Are you willing to invest in safety equipment?
Now that we’re talking about safety, there are a number of safety items that a recreational woodworker must have. A must-have is a pair of safety gloves made of metal mesh. You should also have an apron with front pockets. Another must-have is eye protection, especially if your anticipated projects involve a lot of sawdust and chiseled debris.
Now, you may have to buy all this gear at one, and the purchase might cost you a significant amount. If you don’t have the funds for this yet, or if you do but you are unwilling to spend it on safety gear, it’s best to stay away from any woodworking project. It is fun and fulfilling, yes, but safety is far more important than anything else.
Can you fix broken wooden items inside the house?
You need to have the necessary conceptual knowledge to be able to do a woodworker’s tasks. One good way to test the knowledge that you have is by first working on repairs. You see, when you repair a wooden item, you basically need to study its structure. It will be great if the item that you will have to repair still has its sketches available. That way, you will be able to revisit it and plan your next moves based on what’s outlined there.
However, not all items still have their sketches or design specifications available, and you will have to find them out yourself. How are the pieces joined? What’s the purpose of each element in this item’s design? If you find it enjoyable to answer such questions, and the answers that you find seem to achieve some coherence inside your head, this means that you are in the right mindset and woodworking will most likely be a worthy pursuit for you.
Can you expand or enhance a wooden item in your home?
As is the case when you repair something, your understanding of the whole woodworking process will be put to the test when you try making improvements on a wooden item that is currently in use in your home. For example, there is an old but still sturdy bookshelf that you want to extend.
Of course, you would want the new part to look the same as the older parts of the piece. In order for you to achieve this, you can either refinish the whole thing or figure out what type of wood the original piece is and use that type of wood for the extension. In both cases, you will have to study and master wood reactions and wood treatments. These are important because these pieces of knowledge will help you anticipate issues so that you can design interventions that address such problems. For example, there are woods that expand more than others under certain temperatures. If you are already aware of this right before you started working on the project, you can already identify what wood treatments are needed to address this issue.
Try working on simple projects such as creating a wooden stool
The ultimate test of your skills and interest in woodworking will be working on a carpentry project from scratch. There are a lot of things that you can do. You can create trims and install them on top of columns or around windows and doors. You can also create decorative posts for your porch or veranda.
One good project to start with is creating a wooden stool. When you look at it, you would really think that the stool is such a simple piece of furniture. It basically is just a rounded piece of wood with three legs that hold it up. However, when you try putting it together, you will realize just how much diligence such a simple item requires. You need to be very accurate with your measurements, or else the item will end up crooked.
You also need to know how to join the wooden pieces together, or else the stool won’t be stable enough to hold even the lightest person in the house. All these tasks require serious focus and patience. If you find yourself protesting at the very thought of these things, then most likely you will not find any enjoyment in a woodworker’s workshop.
Woodworking, productive as it is, is not for everyone. Every person has a set of talents that help them do some things more effectively than others. Of course, talent can be compensated for by skills, but without the right motivation and drive, the much-desired skill will also be hard to come by. When we try doing a task, we are basically testing whether or not our talents and motivations are supportive of that. If they’re not, we can always choose another task to fill our time with, and that’s OK. This shouldn’t be a cause for despair or unnecessary stress.