From An Amateur to a Professional – Here’s How I Applied Some of the Greatest Woodworking Ideas Into Real Life Projects
Sigh… the conundrums of digital age have taken a toll on DIY enthusiasts and their hobbies. While it is true that you can find over a hundred million woodworking ideas online, the average individual still cherishes the memory of going by the book.
I remember bumping my knuckles into simple woodworking issues every now and then – and I had to refer to different handy guides for the project to see if everything was going in order. The whole exercise was a little tiring, but I knew that I could always fall back on tried and proven woodworking methodologies.
Anyhow, times have changed now; while we do not refer to books and paperback literature on woodworking 101 anymore, it is still hard to pass up on an up-to-date manual where all the woodworking ideas, problems, DIY projects and everything else is summarized.
Therefore, as much as some woodworkers like to stick by the classic, perhaps it is time to switch to online woodworking ideas and DIY wood projects.
Here’s What Today’s Avid Woodworkers Don’t Share:
The modern generation of woodworkers has drastically transitioned to digital media. They like to search for woodworking projects, ideas and manuals and then compile them into a book form for later use. Technology has kinda’ shortlisted all kinds of top-notch woodworking manuals, but the “only” real problem is locating these manuals and DIY guides.
Either most of the online free woodworking plans are a sham; the website usually asks for money upfront, or the projects are your typical copy-paste infringement cases. We will talk about this later, but for now, what you should know is the biggest secret which today’s professional woodworkers don’t want to share.
Mum’s the word on having the know-how on where the mistake was made, and how to fix it. Meanwhile, an amateur or a newbie level DIY woodworking enthusiast will not know about what went wrong halfway during the wood project and how to fix it afterwards. Your best aid in this scenario is practice; buy a basic level woodworking kit, power tools and an entry level woodworking book to polish your skills.
If you are following a woodworking ideas book, you will find it easy enough to avoid common mistakes. Mounting handles on drawers, drilling holes with proper measurements and making last minute adjustments are crucial in determining how your woodworking idea will look in the end.
As an amateur woodworker, I remember making a dozen book racks back in the day. No matter how good, or “well built” they looked, the structure usually came down creaking after loading up a few books in the racks’ shelf. Later, I found out that I wasn’t laying down proper foundation – and also, the lack of glue application contributed to temporary setbacks and all.
Common Woodworking Errors and How to Fix Them?
Whether you want to follow professional woodworking tips and ideas, or want to figure things out on your own, you will eventually figure it all out. The only thing that matters is the learning curve. Ask yourself: do you want to waste countless hours on how to apply backing plate, wood drilling techniques and vice versa?
What if, there is an already compiled list of common woodworking ideas and proven techniques that can help you to finish your very first project in one day, or less?
If you ask me, I will take you up on the latter offer. The fact that we already have a hectic schedule, an average person hardly gets time to spare on his diy wood projects.
Therefore, you want to cut down on the steep learning curve and get right into action where you have the opportunity to hone your skills and avoid common woodworking mistakes which entry level woodworkers make.
I am talking about all kinds of errors because woodworking is not just about making your furniture look “right”; it’s all about using the right tools, making sure your biscuit joints are sitting in well, concealing any miss drilled holes, applying proper polish etc.
Here are some of the most common woodworking issues that we have probably encountered a couple of times in our lives.
Changing/ Installing Drawer and Cupboard Handles:
Sure, you can ask a “professional” to install or replace your old drawer handles with new ones, but you can actually do it on your own. It’s easy; just unscrew those darn screws and install the handle by placing it exactly over the spot where the old one was already installed.
But, what happens in case the new handle’s measurements are a little different? In this case, you will have to do a bit of basic level drilling to fix the handle. The main issue, however, is that the old holes from the previous handle installation are going to look ugly as long as they are visible.
The best bet is to conceal those holes with a decorative plating; it can be metal, plastic or wood – the choice is entirely yours. Alternatively, you can laminate the sheet of wood veneer to the surface. Not only will it look good, but it’s also going to smell great. You can get by with just veneering the specific area where the old installation dust marks and screw holes are instead of doing the whole surface area.
Having Issues With Metal Fasteners:
Metal fasteners are sure as hell convenient, but just like nails, they can bend and break easily. If that happens during your woodworking project, it can become a headache – especially when you have to remove the fastener, or maybe take out the nail.
The main thing that can go wrong is that if you are pulling out the nail or removing the metal fastener the wrong way, it can horribly make the wood look ugly. To avoid any possible damage to the surrounding wood, use a screw extractor. You can buy one at the local woodworking hardware store.
Start off by drilling a pilot hole; the diameter and different measurements are mentioned on the extractor itself. Now all you have to do is twist the extractor in the hole to make it wedge itself on the broken screw. This way, it is easy to remove the screw instead of prying it out by force and ruining the look n’ feel of the wood paneling.
Often times, the screw breaks off when it’s too deep in the wood. Instead of using the conventional extractor as mentioned earlier, you should ideally use a hollow steel screw removal tool. It is just like a nail, except for a hollow diameter. The purpose of this tool is to drive it in the exact area of the wood where the previous screw broke off and then hammer a new screw on top of the old one.
What About Issues With Broken Nails?
These problems are not just restricted to woodworking. For instance, you are hammering a steel nail in cement and it can break without any caution or whatsoever. Anyhow, broken nails are easy to fix. You can try pulling them out with a nail extractor while using slow motion to loosen the nail.
Going too fast with the extraction will ruin the shape of the wood. If you are extracting a broken nail from a cement wall, the plaster surrounding the area can easily come off. Although, the nail will come out, you will end up with a small messy hole that will look downright ugly.
Woodworkers use a cat’s paw, it is a small tool that looks just like a pry bar. You can work under the bent nail with the paw, but the nail has to be physically visible on the surface of the wood. If the nail, or the screw is drilled deep in there, then just follow the instructions that were mentioned earlier.
When you are done, don’t forget to laminate the woods’ surface with a homemade shield. In case of cement wall, use plaster of Paris or a filler solution to level the surface of the wall.
Beginning Woodworkers Don’t Want to Pass Up On These Nuggets of Wisdom:
Nick Offerman is a well versed actor and a seasoned woodworker. If you haven’t seen any of his shows or movies, I am sure you have heard about him in the woodworking community. The guy is known for his craft. What people love about Nick is that he doesn’t hold back on any “secrets”; he likes to share his best tips occasionally because there are not a lot of woodworkers available online.
If you are just getting started as a woodworker, take a look at the appended tips to get your feet wet.
- Mentorship: If you are in contact with a distant uncle, friend or a relative who have major woodworking skills up their belt, it is time to get in contact with em’. Advice is always free; you only need to work hard and practice as much as possible.
If you are not able to find a mentor, a better alternative is to find an online digital book on woodworking ideas. I will mention it later in this post.
- Start Small & Go All The Way: Never ever settle for a half assed job. If you are going to work as a woodworker, or even as a hobbyist, make a habit of perfecting the craft. Start with small woodworking tasks, such as; wood boxes, shelves, handy little structures etc. Learn how to polish them, laminate the finishing, build secret little drawers and go all the way until you have mastered it.
- Design Vs. Foundation: Woodworking is fun; it becomes more challenging when you are leaning towards design, but the reward is worth the effort. Start from small projects – learn the basics and then move on to carve some decent looking easy-to-do designing. These days, there are a lot of woodworking design machines which make the whole task a whole lot easier. I remember that back in my time, we had to do most of the designs manually with our hands.
- Clamps, Tables and Chisels Are a Woodworker’s Best Friend: The names may sound like a tongue twister, but you should try your hand at cutting dovetail joints, mortise and tenon joints. Given that you are using the right tools, wood becomes so easy to shave; it feels like carving through butter with a hot knife.
Don’t Forget to Use Common Sense!
Common sense is a sense which is not very “common” these days. I don’t mean it as an irony, but a lot of woodworkers are afraid to improvise. If you are working on a DIY woodworking idea and somewhere down the road, you feel like applying a new technique, go for it. See how things look and feel.
If your technique gets the job done quickly, makes getting by a wood panel easily, or just gives a better but different look to the woodworking project, then you have nothing to be worried about. Eventually, if you do fail, the failed attempt will count as experience which you cannot gain otherwise on your own.
Hundreds of Woodworking Plans, DIY Tips and Ideas Are Ready to Be Explored:
If you didn’t scroll through the above few paragraphs, then you know that this is the part where I talk about what kind of stuff really worked for me as a woodworker. I didn’t have the luxury, or the “privilege” of a woodworking mentor and I sure as hell couldn’t afford any training classes due to money related issues.
What I did was that I started searching online for different woodworking plans, ideas, how to DIY projects and all. Let me tell you, while it is a good approach, you will fail or run into blind corners where only a mentor can help you out.
On top of that, most of the websites only had filler level content on woodworking techniques. There were some dedicated portals but they were asking for subscription based payment system for each post. Still, I didn’t lose hope and kept digging, and that’s when I stumbled over…
Teds Woodworking – A State Of The Art Woodworking Ideas Digital Collection:
Teds Woodworking sounded like the imaginary Marlboro man to me, but when I visited the guy’s website and read all the reviews from his existing customers, I decided to give it a shot. The product is actually digital and constitutes a properly organized collection of over 15,000 in-depth collection of woodworking plans, DIY ideas and all there is to know about the art of the craft.In fact, let’s make it 16,000 woodworking plans – if you are doing the counting. The point is that while Ted’s Woodworking seemed like an overwhelming mumbo jumbo, I was literally able to find all kinds of woodworking ideas at the whim of a click.
The best part about this whole content package was that these woodworking plans were divided into different categories as per various skill levels. If you are just getting started, you don’t have to worry about ‘not finding’ any entry level woodworking DIY projects in ‘Teds Woodworking’. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of plans that sit in just about right where beginners can easily master them in no time.
I did some digging and found out that most of the woodworking ideas described in Ted’s posts go all the way back to 2012. It means that all that dated content was well received by online visitors, or it was either popular at one point, which is why the creator of this package decided to keep it in his collection.
And, It’s All Very Cheap & Super Affordable:
You could subscribe to a premium online woodworking ideas magazine for a monthly subscription fee, but I am sure that Teds Woodworking plans gives a breath of content that will take more than a year for anyone to read through.
It has been a couple of months and I still haven’t been able to cross the 100th woodworking plan mark in Ted’s collection because all of them seem to be so much interesting and doable. It is easy to get distracted – so I’d advise that you go with one plan at a time. Start slow and see where thing take you.
From what I can say from personal experience, Ted’s Woodworking ideas only costs around $47; it is a one- time payment and there are no hidden charges. In return, you are basically signing up for thousands of woodworking techniques that go way beyond the magnitude or mere desks, drawers and cabinets – think about building your own house, or a shed!
From this perspective, the whole deal is pretty much inexpensive.
What You Can Do With Ted’s Woodworking Ideas?
The package is more like a gateway where you can do whatever you want. Should you choose to go through each technique, and master it so that you can host your own classes – it’s entirely up to you. Alternatively, you can just use the bundle as a fall back option whenever you have some time to kill and you are in the mood of doing basic building.