Working with wood is one of the most satisfying things you can do but getting started in woodworking can seem daunting. Knowing which tools and woodwork machinery to invest in and how to use them safely can make all the difference, whether you want to be successful at DIY or move into woodworking as a career.
Set up for success
Understanding the various stages involved in any woodworking project will help you to set yourself up for success. Find out about different types of wood and the projects they’re suitable for, how you use and look after your tools, and research specialised skills like joinery. There are thousands of YouTube videos that can help you with the basics of the craft, though nothing is a substitute for getting hands on with tools and wood.
Start with simple and achievable projects that will build and refine your skills. That way you’ll develop the basic craft and confidence to move on to bigger and better things.
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- Before you invest in woodwork machinery for your workshop, get some essential safety gear including goggles, gloves and ear defenders.
- Remember that loose fitting clothes, drugs and alcohol don’t mix with power tools.
- Always disconnect the power before changing a blade or a drill bit – if it helps, use a single heavy-duty extension cord for all your power tools so you get into the habit of switching them off and unplugging before the next tool can be used.
- Check the wood you’re using for old nails and screws – metal and saw blades aren’t a great combination.
- Keep your blades and bits sharp because they’ll cut faster, cleaner and more safely than when they’re dull.
- Never put your hands near a moving blade or drill bit.
- Don’t get distracted – if you have to move away, find a safe place to finish what you’re doing first.
Your essential tools
Of course, not every piece of equipment you’ll need for woodworking is a power tool. You won’t get far without a hammer, chisels, screwdrivers, plane and a level. But there’s no doubt that power tools make short work of sawing, drilling and sanding.
Invest in a good quality circular saw and jigsaw, power drill and orbital sander and you’ll take your woodworking to the next level. With these four tools alone you can accurately cut straight and curved lines, drill holes and finish like a pro.
Always choose the best quality tools you can afford and learn to use them expertly. You’ll find you don’t need to spend money on specialised tools once you’ve discovered all the capabilities of your basic tools and can use them with confidence.
Setting up your workshop
If you’re interested in woodworking as a career or you want to create your own cabinetry and fine woodworking projects, you’ll need to invest in a workshop and woodwork machinery. These are the essentials:
- A panel saw will be the centrepiece of your workshop and should have a powerful motor, a sturdy fence and a durable table.
- A band saw will cut precision curves in anything from wood to plastic and metal and is extremely versatile.
- A drill press can be used to drill multiple holes with ease but will also drill effortlessly at an angle.
- A dovetail machine will make short work of creating jointed pieces.
- A router is ideal for creating mouldings, recessing hinges and cutting rebates and patterns in wood and other hard materials.
Setting up a workshop can be an expensive business, but there are ways you can get the woodwork machinery you need without spending a fortune. Used machines can be ideal if you’re on a tight budget or prefer to cut your teeth on older style and simpler to operate equipment.
Refurbished woodwork machinery is a sustainable way to set up your workshop with equipment that benefits from replacement components and parts. Whichever tools you choose, enjoy working on your craft and creating beautiful things from wood!