Getting started in woodworking? These top tips for a beginner show the importance of getting into good habits right from the start of your woodworking journey.
1. Make Sure you Have Sharp Tools
This may seem like an obvious one, but having sharp tools will improve your accuracy and make the tools easier to use. Trying to cut with a blunt saw will result in dull and difficult cuts which will effect how well your joints go together. It will also take much more effort to achieve the cut you want with dull teeth. See our tool-specific sharpening guides for beginner instructions.
2. Practice, Practice and More Practice
Once you've got the tools, it can be tempting to jump straight into building a project, however this is often where mistakes are made. Practice using each tool and get a feel for it. Even tools made by the same maker often feel different to one another. If you've never used the tool before, read our tool guides and practice with our relevant exercises. You might not be making a project, but you'll be learning the skills which will be the bread and butter of most projects you come to make in the future!
3. Take Your Time
Accuracy is important in hand tool woodworking so it's useful to ensure your markings and measurements are correct. Take time to plan your project making sure you've double checked and that you have everything you need. Take time preparing your stock as this will determine the accuracy of your work. Accurate stock preparation is key to subsequent work as you progress through the piece.
4. Choose Appropriate Projects
Once you have chosen a project you want to make, see if there are any smaller projects which include some of the same skill requirements, eg. similar joints or techniques. This will act as a great 'practice run' before you start on something bigger. When starting one of our free courses, read it all the way through beforehand to ensure it is suitable for you.
5. Ask Questions
Not sure on something? Ask! Our forums are specifically designed with that in mind, start a discussion with other beginner woodworkers and share your projects and findings. Paul's blog is another great place to look for answers. In Paul's words: 'The only dumb question is the one that's never asked!' The help is there if you ask and no one will think your question too silly.