Woodworking, or carpentry if you are making furniture or housing, is the craft of taking wood and shaping it into something else. Whether you want to make some simple toys, furniture, or even a neat art piece, woodworking is welcoming of all skill levels. In this guide, we will cover what you will need to pursue woodworking as a hobby, safety reminders, and even offer some suggestions for novice-level woodworking projects.

Necessary Equipment

Before you set out to pursue your interest in woodworking, you need to get yourself a proper set of woodworking materials. While there are entire subsets of woodworking like doing everything with a chainsaw and focusing on logs, here is a breakdown of the most basic equipment anyone with an interest in this subject should possess.

Hand saw. This is the most basic of cutting tools for any woodworker. Hand saws are powered by human force. Because they require nothing but your physical force to do the job, you can make cuts without relying on an electrical cable or battery pack.

Power saw. Some tasks or cuts are so exhausting to do by hand that you may need a power saw. A power saw is merely any variety of saw that requires a power source, like batteries, a generator, gasoline, or even an electrical outlet, to function. Power saws are great for making a lot of basic cuts in a fraction of the time it would take to sew by hand.

Planes. These devices are hand tools that are used to shave off the rough edges of wooden surfaces. By using a plane to remove irregularities along the surfaces of planks, boards, and the like, you reduce the risk of having uneven surfaces when you proceed to layer them atop each other.

Sanders. Sanders is sort of like siblings to planes. While a plane is used to “shave” and level off wooden surfaces, a sander uses various levels of grit to affect the finish of a wooden surface.

Files. Files are used to finely remove excess material. Think of a file as a more refined plane, existing to shave small portions of the wood you work with rather than having to break out a plane to handle the entire length of wood.

Hammer. This is a handheld tool that is designed for driving nails into wood. Hammers will either feature a claw for extracting nails or a rounded “peen” that is used to hammer differently from the normal surface, known as the “face.”

Mallet. A mallet has a rubber head and is only used for striking.

Drill. Drills support a variety of heads for multiple tasks.

Screw Gun. These can only fasten screws into place.

Tape measure. Always measure twice before cutting.

Square. This tool is used to accurately gauge 90° angles.

Sawhorses. This gives support when sawing wood.

Workbench. A workbench is ideal for working on any small to medium-size project.

Safety Matters

  • Always wear safety goggles and work gloves.
  • Be extremely careful when working with any sort of power tool.
  • Consider keeping a first aid kit near your workbench for quick access in the event of an accident.
  • Power off your tools before changing blades.
  • Avoid wearing anything that might get caught on your tools or bring your skin into danger.
  • Never use dull blades.
  • Always look at overworked materials before cutting. An active power saw plus one missed nail results in a big hazard.

Starter Projects

Now that you have an idea of what you need to work wood and what to be mindful of, here are some basic ideas to get you started with your new hobby.

  • Stool or bench.
  • Spice rack.
  • Bookshelf.
  • Chopping board.
  • Serving tray.
  • Shoe organizer.
  • Hat or coat rack.
  • Stepping stool.

That about covers the basics of woodworking. You now have a full shopping list of what tools are needed, understand many of the safety precautions involved and even have a few projects to make as gifts or home improvements.