So you say you love woodworking and are ready to dive into it and learn all the secrets to unlock your talent and creativity. As this probably is the most outstanding choice you could ever make (and we are here to support you!), you should be aware that, even though mastering the art of woodworking can be done by everybody, it is not for everybody.
In this blog post, we will see some of the most important things you should know won't ever happen when you decide to start your woodworking activity as a hobbyist or professional.
Read along, as this is going to be interesting!
I listed the eight things that will never happen in woodworking below, so let's go!
WOODWORKING WON'T HAPPEN WITHOUT...
"Rome wasn't built in a day..." sounds familiar to you? I think the answer is yes, and you understand why. Beautiful things take time, and so does making any piece of furniture, whether simple or complex.
As a deliberate process, woodworking involves a series of steps that are conducted in sequence. Each needs attention to detail to ensure you can confidently move to the next step.
I constantly remind myself how important it is to be patient, and I learned with time to be accurate enough to achieve consistent results.
If you ask me what it takes to be patient, I answer that you should enjoy the process of making rather than only looking at the outcome. Any piece that will come out of your hands will stay with you for the rest of your life and act as a witness of the dedication and passion you put into it, and it's a gathering of emotions that will stay with you.
"There are two types of woodworkers: those who have made mistakes and those who will make mistakes.
How much truth is in this quote? I cannot repeat it enough. The more I do woodworking, the more I accept that mistakes are part of the process, whatever the level of attention I put into my project. The key to success in woodworking is not avoiding mistakes but instead learning from them and having the patience to keep going. And if you can fix your mistakes, you will undoubtedly become a great woodworker.
But how to handle mistakes in woodworking? Here are some interesting points you should consider when you make a mistake:
Stay calm and accept the mistake as a natural part of the woodworking process. Everyone makes mistakes but think for a second...how easy it is to see mistakes in other woodworkers' creations. There's a high chance you are the only one noticing it!
Identify the problem: what happened and why it happened. If you identify the root cause of your mistake, finding a solution to fix the problem will be easier.
Find the best solution, considering each case is unique and needs to be tackled differently. Sometimes it might be worth starting over again as the time spent fixing the mistake would be longer than the making process from zero.
Learn from your mistakes: this is critical as it will make you a better woodworker. And it has nothing to do with this "hope" of being "mistake-free" one day. Even the most experienced woodworkers make mistakes because they challenge themselves with more complex projects, eventually leading to some errors as they progress in the art. But this is the beauty of life.
Stay positive! I know how you can feel when you realise you made a mistake...it is a bit depressing. So much time dedicated to the quality of your work does not reflect that. But it's just a mistake, and the good thing...you are learning something valuable from it.
Embrace your mistakes. This concept highlights the idea that, at times, you should turn it into a design element instead of trying to cover your mistake. As it may require some creativity, it can deliver exciting results in woodworking, for example, using a different type of wood to highlight the mistake, adding decorative accents to draw attention away from the error, or incorporating the mistake into the design as an intentional element.
I already discussed the importance of choosing the right tools, which is crucial to achieving good quality results in woodworking. There is no limit to the number of tools we can collect in the workshop, and each one is made for a specific task.
As this requires some investment, it is sometimes tempting to choose low-priced items with the idea that they won't be used as much as we think and that saving a few bucks here and there will allow us to have more tools for the same amount of money,
Although this may seem like a good strategy, I'd urge you to consider that poor-quality tools will eventually deliver poor-quality results due to the quality of the material with which the tool is made and the precision in machining the tool.
This will eventually lead to frustration and loss of confidence in our skills when a good quality tool would have made the process much easier and with great time-saving.
And remember...to buy good quality tools doesn't mean getting the top of the brands; many manufacturers are in the market with excellent products at an accessible price.
We all know how rewarding woodworking is and how effective it is in combating the stress of our daily routine at work. But it is also an activity with a series of inherent dangers. And that's why we are so obsessed with safety procedures at Dubai Makers Society.
Woodworking means being in contact with sharp blades, power tools and machines meant to cut and slice wood. Putting any part of your body in contact with rotating blades means exposing yourself to the risk of serious injuries that can transform a fulfilling experience into a nightmare. And nobody wants this!
So, if you want to be successful at woodworking for the years to come, put safety measures at the top of your priorities. This means always wearing safety glasses, a dust mask when operating the machines, and, more importantly, never getting close with your fingers to the blades.
Finally, remember to keep your workspace tidy and clean. Injuries can come from an unclean environment that could make you stumble on an object that is not supposed to be there or bump into sharp blades on the workbench that are not in use.
I understand your feelings...I was there already, and I know what it feels to have the urge to put your hands on a solid wood plank and transform it into a meaningful project.
But wait a minute before you start cutting! Do you know what you are doing, or are you hoping your instinct will guide you through the steps?
Because here lies the issue of a successful journey into crafting. And mind that I'm saying "journey" for a precise reason. Woodworking is a process that requires a map to guide you to the correct route to your destination. So why not spend time putting your ideas and design on a written plan to help you be more effective and efficient in the workshop?
How to plan and prepare, then? Take your time to let your creative mind take inspiration from the world out there, put your ideas on a piece of paper and finally make it formal with an exact design of your project. This includes having the same measures, and a detailed components cut list. You will now have the road map to guide you through the steps for successful completion.
And if you want to make any deviation at some point...why not? Just redefine your next steps and adapt them to your new creative idea.
Yes, I admit it! I also have some Ikea furniture at home, and it's excellent! Not particularly for the design but because it fulfils all my needs for an affordable, nice to look at and practical piece of furniture.
So why should I dedicate my time and money to designing and building my projects? Why should I care to have a small cabinet or even a bookshelf that I can buy online without effort?
Although the answer may require a more extended dissertation, I think the creative process is one of the main factors determining this choice. Whatever we do in woodworking makes us creators of unique pieces that don't exist anywhere else. And this is, for me, a sufficient reason to stimulate my passion as a woodworker.
Some people confuse copying with inspiration, and I think it is essential to highlight the difference here. Copying is seeing something already existing and reproducing it with the same design without adding any personal touch or idea, and it is a perfect reproduction of someone else creation.
Creativity means the ability to get influenced by the world around us, letting our mind be affected without barriers or prejudices by what gives us emotions, blending these stimuli to express them.
We all are creators, believe it or not, and sometimes it's just a matter to let our minds run and accepting with positivity what comes to us.
Think of any skill you learned and consider how long it took to master it...are we talking about days, months or years? So what do you expect from woodworking?
This is the thing, and you must keep it in mind throughout your learning process:
Woodworking requires patience and time to learn; it is a complex activity involving knowledge of the materials, tools and techniques. I'm not saying this to you to scare and steer you away.
On the contrary! I know how beautifully unique and rewarding woodworking is; I wouldn't dedicate so much time if I had a doubt. But I'm just trying to make you aware that, even as a hobby, it will take some time to master it. It's part of the process, and it's what will make your journey even more exciting.
So, please don't give up in front of the mistakes you will make, you will get frustrated sometimes, but it's all part of the learning curve. Be persistent, and you will soon create beautiful pieces everyone will admire.
If persistence is the engine, passion is your fuel. And I mean it!
I say with certainty that passion wraps up all the previous points and is at the base of the motivation for every woodworker. If you got so far in reading, you understand how many steps are required to succeed in woodworking and how much dedication is necessary to overcome the initial hurdles typical of any beginner.
Passion is a common denominator that brings woodworkers together and drives the creation of a community with mutual support and knowledge sharing.
This is what woodworking is...not just an individual activity but the participation in something more significant where the sum of the individuals is much more than the algebraic sum.
With passion, woodworkers make marvellous things and create synergies. Learning from each other, they improve several skills like problem-solving and decision-making.
Woodworking is not just a skill; it's a new vision that benefits our entire life.
In this post, I wrote about the essential points to consider when starting your journey as a woodworker. Woodworking is a rewarding activity that will bring several benefits to your life and is not solely confined to your time in the workshop.
Woodworking requires dedication and patience to get meaningful results as a complex activity. Using the right tools is also fundamental because they will help you do the job more accurately and without frustration. We also saw how important it is to plan and prepare before you start your project.
Don't be intimidated by what you read; woodworking is a life journey that will give you back much more than you spent to master it.
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Dubai Makers Society offers a woodworking space to rent using power tools and heavy machines.
We also run regular classes for those who want to learn woodworking.