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Top Woodworking Skills You Should Know

Woodworking comes in handy when you want to give yourself some touch of class of your own talent with design, redefine your furniture or simply get things fixed at home or work. Here's a quick set of things you must know for that. Read on!

Though woodworking is not taught in schools as much as it once was, there are some basic woodwork skills everyone should know. Learning to work with wood is handy for fixing things around the home, and it enables you to connect with a long heritage of craftsmanship. Fortunately, even if you weren't lucky enough to learn basic skills in school, it's never too late to learn.

Here's a list of the top woodworking skills you should know.

Understanding the ways wood behaves

Before you put a tool to your wood, you must understand the correct orientation and which direction the board should be planed. As trees grow upwards and outwards, layers of rings build on top of one another, producing that beautiful grain we see on our boards. This grain is the challenge in planing, as it dictates the direction to work in.
You must follow the direction of the grain to achieve a smooth, effortless finish. You should also understand how wood expands and contracts with humidity fluctuations - wood construction always takes this natural property into account.

Sharpen your tools

When you use a dull tool, working with wood really is harder than it needs to be. If your saw needs a lot of force to cut, or you can't get shavings using your hand plane without a running start, you're working harder than you need to. Sharpening your tools, and using fresh, sharp blades on your woodwork machinery, is a fundamental skill and should be done regularly.
Working with dull tools is inefficient and dangerous, so your saws, planes and chisels should always be kept sharp.

Use a hand plane

The basic technique for most woodworking tools is quite self-explanatory, but the hand plane has a bit of a knack to it. You have to get a feel for adjusting a cut from coarse to fine and vice versa.
With a little research, and some practice, hand planing is an attainable skill, and you'll be glad you learnt it when you start planing for a real job.Woodworking  

Use hand tools to prep lumber

If you're a beginner, you probably don't have a table saw or a 13" thickness planer yet. You don't have to purchase expensive woodwork machinery right away to build things. There are many tried-and-tested techniques, developed over centuries, to expedite the process of working with hand tools.
The key is to use the correct tool for the job; fine tools for fine work, coarse tools for coarse work. Mastering the traditional techniques is an extremely rewarding process.

Finish your piece properly

After investing a good chunk of your time into building a beautiful piece, you need to know how you are going to finish it. Finishes are the beautiful cherry on top, and they protect the result of your hard work. There are many stunning finishes that can become second nature to apply.
A very popular finish to use is shellac, but you can do some research and choose your own preferences. With shellac, once you get a feel for it, you'll find it is quick and easy to apply, easy to repair, and you don't have to spend time cleaning the brush. There are other varnishes that provide varying levels of protection - do your homework and learn the right finish for your piece.
Woodworking is a rewarding skill that is very handy to have, and developing the basic skills listed here is a great start towards becoming an accomplished home carpenter.
It just takes a little research, a lot of practice, and a healthy dose of discipline, but you'll be glad you gave your time to building your woodworking prowess.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 19th February 2019.

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