William S. White Winnetka offers Beginner’s Tips for Woodworking

Woodworking is an exciting and rewarding hobby. Whether you’re new to woodworking, or you’ve been at it for a while, there are always ways to improve your work processes and products. Here are a few of the best woodworking tips for beginners from William S. White of Winnetka, Illinois.

Try it Out

Before you invest your time and money into pursuing woodworking as a hobby (or even a profession), you should take some time to try it out to be sure it’s a good fit for you. If you know someone who has some basic woodworking tools such as a saw, hammer or Kreg Jig for example, ask if you can observe them using these tools — or even if you can try them yourself, says William S. White Winnetka.

You should also take some time to become familiar with woodworking tools and practices. Do your research. There are plenty of great sources out there, such as your local bookstore or library, or online. Some community hardware stores even offer free training or workshops to help immerse you in the world of woodworking.

Find a Suitable Space

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need a fancy workshop — or even a garage — to start woodworking. A pair of sawhorses and some plywood set up in your backyard on a nice day is a great place to start, and you’re less likely to bother your family or roommates with the sounds of your woodworking tools. Working outside can be helpful for cleanup, too.

If you do have a garage or some space in an empty room, those are great options. You’re better able to complete projects when you don’t have to deconstruct your workstation each day, and when you’re indoors, you can work regardless of the weather, states William S. White Winnetka.

Understand how to Read a Tape Measure

Learning to properly measure lumber is critical. If you can learn this skill, you’re less likely to create waste, which saves money. You may be an expert at reading a tape measure, but woodworking often requires you to make cuts that aren’t necessarily ‘whole’ numbers. You’ll need to know how to make measurements such as 13 and 11/16 inches, for example. William S. White Winnetka explains that often, these precise measurements are not found on your standard tape measure. You can also buy an easy read tape measure to avoid these issues if you find it hard to read a standard tape measure.

Learn About Lumber

You should also take the time to learn about the properties of various types of lumber. There are many types of lumber classified either as hardwoods or softwoods. Pine is a common wood used for furniture woodworking projects, and it is a softwood. Pine is a great option for the beginner woodworker: it’s affordable and easily available. It also comes in many sizes.

Take some time to be sure you inspect the wood before you purchase it. You should always try to use the straightest cuts of wood possible, avoiding ‘warped’ or ‘bowed’ wood. You can tell if wood is bowed by holding one end of the piece up toward your face and one end on the ground, inspecting the piece on a downward angle.

Woodworking, like any other skill, will only improve with practice, notes William S. White Winnetka. Once you get these basic skills down, you’ll notice that you’re better able to complete projects more quickly and with less error. That’s why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about woodworking in the beginning. The fundamental woodworking skills you learn at the start of your hobby will be the foundation for everything you create.

Co-owner and Co-founder of the Montessori Academy of Chicago, the city’s only school that is accredited by the American Montessori Society.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store