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Woodworking 101: Basic Woodworking Skills for Beginners

Woodworking 101: Basic Woodworking Skills for Beginners


Learning basic woodworking skills like drilling and sawing.

If you're interested in woodworking, then you need Woodworking 101.

This article will discuss the basic woodworking skills that every beginner should know.

Woodworking is a rewarding hobby that has the potential to produce some of the most beautiful and useful pieces of furniture. In order to get started with woodworking, it's necessary to gain some basic knowledge about how it works.

Learning how to use woodworking tools and how to read a woodworking plan are two basic skills that every beginner should know. The most important thing is to understand how wood works. It's not plastic, it comes from live matter. While it doesn't have feelings, if you cut it the wrong way, your feelings might get hurt or more.

One of the best ways to learn woodworking is by attending a class at a local store or other learning center. There, you will be able to receive hands-on training from an experienced instructor. You can also watch instructional woodworking videos online or read books about woodworking techniques. It's simple, learning woodworking skills = Woodworking 101!

Let's get started with some woodworking basics.

Woodworking 101 Lumber dimensions and species

Wood is hygroscopic, meaning that it will absorb and release moisture depending on the humidity of its surroundings. This means that if you are working in a dry environment, the wood you are using will shrink, and if you are working in a humid environment, the wood expands. In order to compensate for this, you need to use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the wood before you start working on it.

Wood also has a grain, which is the direction in which the fibers run. When you are cutting or shaping wood, it is important to cut with the grain, otherwise the wood will split. The easiest way to determine the grain is to look at the end of the board. The fibers will usually run parallel to the longest edge of the board.

A lumber grader looking at a pile of lumber.
Grading Lumber

Hardwood vs Softwood

First lets talk about the many wood types that are classified as hardwood and softwood.

Hardwood is more expensive but has unique qualities that make it a good choice for certain projects. Softwood is the most common type of wood and is relatively inexpensive.

Softwood is an example; pine, spruce, and fir, poplar, tupelo and basswood are a few. Hardwood samples include oaks, walnuts, maples, birches, cherries, mahogany and others.

I could write about the different wood species because each species possess unique qualities. But the majority of the wood used for DIY projects is pine (a softwood). Pine is an inexpensive choice at any home improvement store and comes in several sizes. It is extremely recommended for beginners to build projects in pine or another soft lumber like poplar. It cuts easier and is a great way to learn about your woodworking tools.

Woodworking is a popular hobby and can also be a lucrative business. But in order to get started, you need to understand lumber dimensions and species.

When you're picking out lumber at the store, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the different dimensions and types of wood. The most common widths are 4 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch. The most common thickness is 3/4 inch. We can easily change the width by sawing it or join wood together by glueing the lumber. We can plane the thickness down to our desired thickness or even buy thicker cut wood if needed for building projects.

When it comes to woodworking, there are a lot of things you need to know before you start. One of the most confusing is knowing the difference between nominal and actual dimensions.

As we go through this blog post, your understanding will be blown wide open! We'll walk through some common types of lumber like 2x4s and 2x6s and show you how to convert their nominal dimensions into their actual size.

Key Terms

When it comes to woodworking, there are a few key terms that you need to understand before getting started. The first is "nominal dimension." This is simply the name of the board, such as a 2x4 or a 2x6. Nominal dimensions are always bigger than the actual size of the board. The second term you need to understand is "actual dimension." This is the size of the board after it has been milled down to its finished size.

All of the lumber we use in woodworking projects is sold with its nominal dimensions. For example, a 2x4 is actually 1-1/2" x 3-1/2". The 2x6 is actually 1-1/2" x 5-1/2". This can be a little confusing when you're first starting out, but it's important to understand the difference so that you can accurately calculate the size of your project.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's take a closer look at some of the most common types of lumber. We'll start with the 2x4. As we mentioned earlier, a 2x4 is actually 1-1/2" x 3-1/2". If you want to make a project that is 4" wide, you would need one 2x6 that you can rip down to 4" wide.

Dimensional lumber only refers to the thickness and width. The length is normally shown as the last number 2"x4"x 8ft. This gets a little confusing when you mix nominal sizes and dimensional size. Take your tape measure and make sure you are getting what you need.


Plywood is also a little tricky. A 3/4" sheet of plywood is normally a little less than 3/4". This is extremely important to know when making a rabbet a dado for plywood to fit into. A 3/4" hole is going to be a little sloppy. When looking at plywood you'll find something like this 3/4" x 48" x 96". The first number is the thickness, followed by the width and then the length. The length usually runs with the wood grain of the ply. Grain direction is important for the look and structure of most woodworking projects you will build.

There are many different types of plywood from your basic oriented strand board (OSB) to nice veneer plywood and other cutting materials that will make your woodworking process simple and easy.

Woodworking 101 Learn How to Read a Tape Measure

If you're interested in woodworking, it's important to learn how to read a tape measure. It's Woodworking 101!

This basic skill will help you make precise cuts and measurements, which are essential in woodworking. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of reading a tape measure, including how to interpret the markings on the tape and convert them into actual measurements.

A beginning woodworking learning to measure a board.
Learning to measure a board.

How to Read a Tape Measure

The first thing you need to know about reading a tape measure is how to interpret the markings on the tape. Each number on the tape represents an inch, and each mark between the numbers represents a fraction of an inch. For example, if you see a number like "5" on the tape, that means the distance between the two marks on either side of the number is 5 inches.

It's important to note that the markings on a tape measure aren't always exactly an inch apart. In fact, they can be as close as 1/16th of an inch apart, so it's important to take that into account when measuring something. For example, if you want to measure a piece of wood that's 6 inches long, you would count the number of marks between the "5" and the "6" on the tape. In this case, there are two marks, so you would multiply 6 by 1/16th of an inch to get 0.94 inches. Therefore, the piece of wood is actually 0.94 inches long.

Converting Inches to Feet and Yards

In addition to understanding how to read a tape measure, it's also important to understand how to convert inches into feet and yards. This is especially useful when working with longer measurements, such as in carpentry or construction. Here's a basic guide on how to do this:

  • 1 foot = 12 inches
  • 1 yard = 36 inches

So, if you want to convert a measurement that's in inches to feet, you would divide the number by 12. For example, if you have a measurement of 24 inches, you would divide it by 12 to get 2 feet. And if you want to convert a measurement that's in inches to yards, you would divide it by 36. For example, if you have a measurement of 5 inches, you would divide it by 36 to get 1/6th of a yard.

Now that you know how to read a tape measure and convert measurements, you're one step closer to easily start woodworking!

You know about lumber and measuring, but what about power tools and hand tools?

Woodworking 101 Tools

Woodworking is a great way to spend your free time. Not only does it allow you to be creative, but it also gives you the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish. In order to get started in woodworking, however, you need to have the proper tools. In woodworking 101 here are some of the basic tools you'll need:

  1. Hammer: A hammer or mallet is essential for any woodworking project. It's used to drive nails, screws and other fasteners into the wood. Use it lightly to align items.
  2. Chisels: Chisels are used to cut, shape and smooth wood. There are different types of chisels, each with its own unique purpose.
  3. Screwdriver: A screwdriver is used to tighten or loosen screws. It comes in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of the screws you're working with. You can always use a basic screwdriver but also might consider a drill or driver drill to get some projects done a little faster.
  4. Saw: A saw is used to cut wood. There are many different types of saws, each with its own unique purpose. Like a circular saw, table saws, hand saws, miter saw, a lot of tools have a saw blade.
  5. Clamps: Clamps are used to hold pieces of wood together while they're being glued or screwed together.
  6. Measuring tape: A measuring tape is used to measure the length and width of woodworking projects. Stick with the same tape measure through your woodworking projects.
  7. Marking knife: A marking knife is used to mark the outlines of a project on the wood. They work great and are really useful if you take the time to learn how to use them on your wood surface.
  8. Ruler or straightedge: A ruler or straightedge is used to draw straight lines on the wood, mark areas and layout dovetail joints or a tenon joint. You'll be amazed at how much you use a ruler in your wood shop.
  9. Sandpaper: Sandpaper is used to smooth the surface of woodworking projects. Whether you need to finish sanding for applying your finish are are at the start of your own projects and working to get a flat surface you'll need to sand. You can do hand sanding, use an orbital sander, or belt sanders. A belt Sander works great for flattening a surface, use an orbital sander to take down the surface to get ready to finish and hand sand those profiles that are unique.
  10. Safety glasses and ear protection: Safety glasses should always be worn when woodworking, as tiny pieces of wood can fly into your eyes. Don't forget your ear plugs or ear muffs so you can enjoy what people say when they are admiring your woodworking.

How to Learn Woodworking

It's easy to learn woodworking with a few good woodworking tips, a little practice and attention to detail. In just a matter of time you'll love woodworking. You can learn to build your own furniture with foundation skills and starting with simple projects.

Grab a class at a local woodworking store, find a club, watch videos online or get a book. These will all work as a woodworking guide for you to learn the woodworking skills you will need to become an efficient woodworker.

Many woodworkers today use different materials, different types of wood and stain wood different colors to create great looking pieces that serious woodworkers envy. With foundational skills and a few of the right tools you'll find that your woodworking project starts with ease.

Cherry Tree Toys has a full line of woodworking tools and supplies. Shop Woodworking Supplies Today at Cherry Tree Toys! We'll take you from Woodworking 101 and beyond.

Mar 22, 2022 Cherry Tree Toys

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