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00001.jpgWoodworking Guide
A step by step approach to woodworking
Joe Moss

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Table of Contents

Introduction… 4 o About Wood Working… 5 o Safety & Health Concerns… 6

Where to Learn Wood Working… 9
Online… 9
Schools… 11
Individual Classes… 13

What You Need For Wood Working… 14
Books… 14
Free Wood Working Plans Online… 16


Tools & Supplies… 18

o Saws, Measuring Tools, Hand Tools, Sharpening Tools… 19 o Materials… 26
Hardwoods vs Softwoods… 26
Adhesives… 30
Finishers and Fillers… 32

Deciding What to Build… 35 Introduction To Woodworking

Woodworking encompasses a great number of diverse activities, including turning, woodcarving, marquetry, cabinetmaking and joinery, however, every specialist craftsman or craftswoman has at some time mastered the fundamentals of measuring and marking, dimensioning, assembling and finishing – considered the basics of woodworking skills that are the core of any woodworking calling.

The ability to think in three dimensions is needed to mark out the wood for a project and to imagine how one component fits with another and in what order is required of a woodworker. You will also need to know which tools will give the best results, depending on the level of accuracy required and the properties of the wood you are using.

Dimensioning is the process of reducing raw materials accurately to size. This almost invariably entails planning components square and true – a procedure that is simple in principle but takes a lot of practice to become perfect.

Cutting and assembling a variety of joints are part of all but the simplest of woodworking projects. Long been regarded as a measure of a woodworker’s skills, joinery needs a steady hand-eye coordination, but experience will tell you the best way to fasten one piece of wood to another attractively and discreetly without sacrificing strength.

One necessary addition to these pivotal skills is an appreciation of how wood behaves. It is a unique, living material that continues to swell and contract with changes in humidity, a factor that a woodworker must deal with in the design and construction of every project. Some woods are easier to work with than others, and each piece, regardless of the species, is exclusive in the way the grain turns and twists.

There is no one right way to do anything in woodworking. The right way is the way that works best for you and what works best is a balance between the time something takes, the tools available, the pleasure you take in the process and the quality of results you are looking for.

There are arguments for both the use of hand tools and the use of machines for woodworking. Some say that using hand tools allow you to develop the ‘knack’ of cutting and shaping wood without tearing the grain. While other woodworking experts proclaim that you can often complete a project in less time with hand tools because of the set up required for the mechanical tools. Others believe just the opposite. We will discuss both options, hand tools and machine tools in this book.

With a little patience, the right tool and techniques and a good set of plans, you don’t have to be Bob Villa to build something you’ll treasure for years to come.


About Wood Working

Wood working is a method of building, carving or making something using wood. Wooden products are seen everywhere these days. If you want to enhance the appearance of a room in your home, then there is no doubt you can find something made of wood.

It requires a great amount of skill to make quality handmade wooden products.

Basically wood is of 3 types. They are hardwoods that is obtained from deciduous trees, man made materials that include plywood and softwoods that are obtained from evergreen trees. There are many wood workers who have made a mark in woodworking by building some of the finest architecture, furniture. Some of the popular wood workers of all times are Alvar Aalto, Norm Abram, and John Boson.

Today wood working tools are used most commonly to make furniture in the house. You will also see a variety of wood working tools at construction sites. Most wood working tools are power driven. Some of the common wood working tools that are commonly used on construction sites are chain saws, nail guns, rotary tools, routers, biscuit jointer and sanders.

For inserting a nail into the wood you should use a nail gun. A wood working tool is used for cutting polishing, carving, sanding and for many other applications. Without these wood working tools you simply cannot make a wood product. All these tools are easily available in market.

Before operating these tools you should have good knowledge about how to use these tools. If you don’t have proper knowledge, could cause you injury and the end result will look funny. Generally skilled workers such as carpenters, train for years to a high standard to handle tools efficiently enough to produce quality products.

These tools are commonly used to make products such as cabinets, chairs, dining tables. And the better quality of wood used and top craftsmanship, you can expect the price to match!

Safety First

Any discussion of woodworking machinery should begin with shop safety; hand tools require safety precautions as well. Woodworking machines are made to cut, chop, abrade, slice, drill and shave materials that are considerably harder then human skin. When used carelessly, machines are dangerous and when used properly, machines can be a wonderful help.

Wherever woodworkers gather, stories of accidents and near-misses come up sooner or later. Perhaps the term ‘accident’ is misleading here because ‘accident’ implies the injured person is a ‘victim’ of circumstances beyond their control; in most cases, it may be more appropriate to say that the ‘perpetrator’ suffers the consequences of his or her own carelessness.

Consciousness of safety is the first requirement of good craftsmanship. Here are several things you can do to protect yourself while working with wood, either with machines or hand tools.

• Wear hearing and eye protection when using saws, routers, sanders and other equipment. To keep splinters and dust out of your eyes, use large plastic safety goggles, a face shield or safety glasses.

1. Goggles – the rigid lenses of safety goggles are surrounded by a soft plastic frame that fits and seals against the contours of your face. The sides are ventilated to prevent condensation and they can be worn over prescription eye glasses.

2. Hearing protectors – earplugs and padded ear muffs protect your hearing from overexposure to noise. Always wear protectors when using noisy power tools that could cause long-term damage to your hearing.

• Keep your workshop area clean and neat so you won’t trip over a scrap of wood or an extension cord at an inconvenient moment.
• Tie up long hair; don’t wear loose-fitting clothing or any jewelry. All of these items can get caught in the machines and drag you towards the blades or other sharp parts.
• Don’t use machinery when you are tired or have consumed alcohol – any amount of alcohol, even a little bit is too much for operating machinery. This type of machinery is dangerous enough when you are fully alert, so why increase the odds of an accident?
• Focus on what you are doing at all times and take a break if you mind starts to wonder. You are most likely to have an accident when performing the same operation over and over again. Walk away for a few minutes between cuts.
• If you are not comfortable making a cut or aren’t sure if a particular cut is safe, get advice or help before you try it. Find a friendly woodworker to ask, perhaps at the local high school or college.

• Keep saw blades sharp. The harder you have to push, the less control you have over the wood. This can cause slips and loss of fingers or worse


• Be prepared for accidents. Consider these questions:

1. Where is your telephone?
2. Where is your first aide kit? – You should always have an extensive first aide kit available at all times.
3. Where is the nearest person who can help you? – You should never be alone while woodworking.
4. Can you give clear directions to your shop over the telephone?
5. Are you familiar with basic tourniquet and first-aid techniques?

• If a serious accident does occur, call 911, not your friend. Your friend will not be able to help you if you suddenly go into shock on the way to the hospital.

• If you should be unfortunate as to sever any fingers, take them with you to the hospital in case they can be reattached. Severed fingers should be wrapped in gauze and soaked in a cup of salty water that is kept cold in ice; the fingers should never touch the ice.

Health concerns –

Breathing sawdust is not healthy; it can be allergenic, toxic and carcinogenic. The sawdust from some imported woods, including teak, is particularly harmful and is know to cause skin rashes and repertory problems several studies have shown that woodworkers have a high rate of nasal cancers.

Because even a little sawdust can clog sinuses and aggravate allergies, try to wear a mask whenever you make dust, whether it’s from machinery or sandpaper or sweeping the floor. Masks range from thin paper with an elastic strap to the thick rubber with a replaceable toxic-fume-proof filter. They heavy-duty masks are generally unpleasant to wear so some compromise will need to be made between efficiency and comfort.

Some of the solvents and finishes used in furniture finishing are also allergenic, toxic and carcinogenic. Petroleum distillates in commercial oil finishes, naphtha and benzene are all suspicious of contamination. Because many of these solvents are toxic to the human body by breathing or through skin contact, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves and a toxic-vapor mask when working with them.

Wood shop accidents happen in an instant, especially with power tools. The results can be irreversible and even life-threatening. Your first line of defense against mishaps is really simple; Think Before Acting. Respect the capabilities and dangers of your tools and know how to use them safely.

Plan your work so you can get help lifting or moving heavy objects. Set high standards for tool maintenance and operations. Never use dull blades or bits. Remove guards and other safety devices only when absolutely necessary. And keep your work area clear of debris and clutter.

Where to Learn About Wood Working

Wood working training online is a type of training in which person can learn different techniques in wood working through the internet. There are a number of institutes who provide such training. These institutes, which provide wood working training online, have their own website through which the training is conducted. A person willing to join such training program can sign up with them through the same website.

During such sign up, he will have to make an account for himself. He has to choose an identity name and a password. These are required to log on to the wood working training online course.

During this process they will get all the information about the basic ideas of wood working. A person will get to learn different techniques, which are used for wood working. Moreover, a person will also learn some standard patterns, designs, and styles of wood work pieces. The training about the use of the different tools and machines, which are used for wood working, also is an important part of wood working training online.

Moreover, some specialization course for the wood working training is available. Some examples of such types of courses are the course for making decorative articles, courses for non commercial wood workers, and courses for commercial wood workers.

There are many options for wood working training online. Therefore, you can choose according to your convenience. These courses provide different offerings to the users. Therefore you should first see what the website i.e. institute would offer to you up on joining their wood working training online program.

Moreover, the second most important thing that type should consider is the charges they would place on you. There are some websites, which provide free online training. However, most of the times in such cases the contents of the course are poor. The paid online training courses provide a lot of knowledge and training for wood working. Even though, they will charge for whatever they provide be assured as they will be even more useful.

Wood working training online will not provide you any certificate upon the completion of the course. Moreover, it does not even provide practical training. However, the theoretical knowledge that is obtained is very useful. Such knowledge and tips will make wood working a much simpler job.

Such training can be useful for both commercial as well as non commercial wood workers. Moreover, all this you can obtain even from the comfort of your own home.



A program from wood working schools will generally include the subjects as mathematics, materials used for wood working, tools and equipments used for wood working, common standard patterns and plans for making the structures as furniture, doors, windows, floors, etc. also the practices as polishing, finishing, coloring are the jobs of the wood workers. These are among the basic skills required for wood working.

However, wood is being used in some complex structures as well. For example making houses, roofs, and for some other engineering applications as well. For these types of wood working, specialization courses are provided by some wood working schools. During these courses the skills, reading and understanding the structural plans, blue prints, etc and the basics of structural engineering.

Apart from the skills and the specializations taught during the course, the employers themselves may give additional training to the person whom their hire. This is important even on the completion of the course because, the requirements and the specifications will vary from employer to employer.

Ideally, the duration of the course will be around 2 to 4 years. This is the ideal time required for learning and developing the skills required for wood working. These courses are similar to the other graduation courses. The students after successful completion of these courses will get the degree of graduation in wood working.

While choosing from the wood working schools, any should consider whether the school is recognized. The certificates of only such schools are considered valid by the employers. Moreover learning wood working is not that simple. It may take some time. Therefore, the quality of education that they will provide is important too.

As mentioned earlier the students who has done a course at a wood working school will have an upper hand over others in finding jobs. In some of the top wood working schools, employers themselves may hold campus recruitment programs. Moreover, the skills and techniques that these schools will teach will be beneficial in seeking a career in wood working.


Individual Classes

These classes teach you from making a small thing like a candle box to big things like dining sets. Learning wood working products at home without taking the help of wood working classes is a difficult task.

Information about various wood working classes is available on the internet. There are wood working classes for kids as well as for adults. Wood working classes are equipped with various power tools and a number of wood working books. A very important feature of wood working classes is that they are affordable. Fees are reasonable. You don’t have to spend a fortune to learn wood working.

Students who join these classes are given projects that help them to acquire the fundamental skills of wood working. These projects will give you confidence in operating some hand tools in a correct way. After successfully completing these projects you are qualified to attend more advanced classes.

Here you work on projects such as making furniture. You also learn how to effectively use wood working tools such as routers and scroll saw and other power tools. You will enjoy wood working in these classes.

What You Need For Wood Working
Wood Working Books

These wood working books tell you how to decorate the house using wood working. If you have any queries regarding wood working then you can refer back to the book. Even for the pros, books have become a standard reference.

In these books you will get professional advice on a variety of wood working topics. Written by professionals who have years of experience in the wood working industry. So if you are a wood worker but you don’t have sufficient knowledge about finishing a product then you can refer to finishing books. Carpenters working on any wooden furniture generally find difficults at some point. And that's the time you can take help from a joinery book.

Wooden working books will tell you the techniques and tips that are used to create a durable and a beautiful wooden product. Your furniture will be durable if the joints are sturdy. These books will explain you how to create sturdy and long lasting joints. Books can pass along the secrets and skills that are required to make perfect furniture.

They also provide you the latest information on machinery that deal in processing wood. Cutting tools should be used properly. An extra cut may damage and weaken the furniture. These books tell you the techniques of using any specialized tools. Fine wood working books give professional advice about creating consistently identical furniture using templates.

If crafters want to hone their skills in various projects then they must take the help of these wood working books. You project may range from making special bowls and boxes to toys and hat stands. Whatever your project, books can really help for the best results.

Books will teach you to use wood carving tools efficiently and correctly. And tell you how to easily make fundamental wood carving cuts such as stabbing, running, sweeping and sliding using wood working tools.
If you want to develop the skills of molding and shaping a wooden product then you should read a turning books. They can provide exercises that enhance your existing skills.

Wood Working Plans Online

Free wood working plans can give an idea about how to design a particular wood working product. They also give information about the material that has to be used in making a certain product.

A wide range of free wood working plans are available on the internet. Indeed you will get valuable information from free wood working plans that can be used for home renovation purposes. On some websites amateur wood workers share their experience, tips and ideas that make up for great free wood working plans. Some free wood working plans that are commonly used are bookcase plans, bed plans, shed plans, workbench plans and entertainment centre plans

Cherry Bookshelf plans: It consists of 13 pieces that are screwed and dadoed together. The shaping and joinery is done with the help of drill press and a table saw. The bookshelf has slats and pyramid top posts. Cherry wood is used as it is lighter. You can use other types of wood such as quatersawn white oak. For building this bookcase you require screws, screw hole plugs, slates and shelves. The dimensions of these items will differ according to your requirements.

Break Down Chair Plans: This high backed chair and has no wedges or pegs. You can easily make 2 chairs out of 4’x8’ sheet of good quality plywood. It is very easy to make these chairs.

Antiqued Table plan: Clear pine is used to make this antiqued beauty. Tools that are required to make this table are trim saw or handsaw, bits and drill, spray bottles, wet rag and belt or orbital sander. Materials that are required to make this table include legs, apron, fastening strips and table top. You also require screw and washer, shellac and carpenter’s glue and 8 hanger bolts. Depending on the size of table you want, you should select the dimensions.

Circular Kitchen Table Plan: Solid black walnut wood is used to make this kitchen table. The tabletop which has a radius of 2 feet is a perfect circle. The circular top is on a pedestal base which is constructed using laminated bridle joints. Warmth of this wood enhances as tung oil and polyurethane are used for protecting the finish. The contemporary design of this antique table is much more attractive than formal dining style. Jointer, jigsaw, hand router and some other tools are required to make this piece.

Mahogany bed plan: This ideal master piece is ideal for any bedroom décor. The bed is made from solid mahogany. The bed with its contemporary style has convenient rail hangers A series of slats are required for supporting the bed. A box spring is not required once you use these slats. Depending on the thickness and length of the mattresses the dimensions of the bed will vary. The dimensions should be such that it should be able to handle queen size mattresses. The bed is designed in such a way that you can disassemble it easily.
Jewelry Box plans: This elegant case has a simple design. If there are some beautiful small wooden boards in your house then you can make this box on your own. It won’t take you long to build this attractive box. This can indeed be a perfect last minute gift for a friend.

Woodworking Tools and Supplies

The wood working supplies are the things i.e. the tools that are used for the wood working. Most of them are common and are used for any type of wood working project. Some of the common ones are given bellow.

The table saw – cutting is the most general activity in wood working. The table saw is a simple and small tool, which you can use for cutting the small pieces of timber. As it will be required in every project, it is one of the prime tools, which a wood worker should have.
Band saw – it can be used for cutting the large pieces of wood, ripping wood, etc. moreover it can be used for cross cutting, or cutting the wood in the form of circles, etc. it is thus a multipurpose tool.

Drilling machine – drilling holes in the wood too is among the most common activities in wood working. The drilling machine is the tool that helps to do so. Today automatic drilling machines are available which work on electricity. And it does not matter how tough the wood may be, it will drill through it within seconds.

A set of tools – a set of tools will contain the simple tools as hammer, screw drivers etc. these tools are used for the number of small activities in the wood working as fitting nails, screws, pulling removing them, etc. in the market the set is usually available as a whole. Its contents may vary according to the supplier.

The router – is a tool that is useful for directing or routing the wood as we cut it with saw or any other machine. They facilitate the wood worker to have very smooth and regular cuts.

These are only among some of the wood working supplies that all the wood workers will have. Apart from these, some other types of wood working supplies are also used for the special purposes, by the commercial wood workers.

As mentioned earlier wood working supplies are the important for every wood worker. While buying them the wood worker should be careful. He should take care that they are made from the good quality material. The wood working supplies made from poor quality steel, quickly loose their sharpness.

Moreover, the wood working supplies also tend to become rusty. Therefore it is important that they are correctly looked after so to prevent this. Ideally, a proper storage box should be used.

Any wood working supplies should be kept away from children as they are very sharp and hence can easily injure them.



There are many things to consider when choosing a saw blade – making safe, smooth cuts with your radial arm saw, table saw; compound slider miter saw or chop saw depends on having the correct blade for the tool and, for the kind of cut you would like to make. Performance varies from blade to blade and presently, not a lack of them in the stores today, so choose wisely.

There are blades that are intended to do a number of things. Some blades are for crosscutting wood, ripping wood, cutting veneered panels and plywood, cutting melamine, cutting non-ferries metals and cutting plastics and laminates. Combination blades and general purpose, these blades are for using two or additional kinds of cuts. The amount of teeth, the gullet, the hook angles (the tooth angle) and the tooth configuration all determines how good the saw blade is.

Measuring Tools

Many of the frequent troubles in woodworking are out of a four-sided figure frames, casework, joints that fit poorly, etc. can be traced back to the measuring and marking mistakes. The culprit is usually only a matter of using the incorrect measuring and marking too for the job. A tape measure was not calculated for the extremely accurate measurements that most woodworking projects require.

Making for some exacting work, in most woodworking projects, the first thing you do is marking and measuring linear dimensions. Miscalculations as small as 100th of an inch when marking and measuring in such complicated joinery or small, tight parts will later show up as gaps in joints or uneven parts or a host of other less-than-perfect results.

Depending on how correctly you are able to interpret a measurement into an objective mark on a piece of wood is the outcome of measuring from point 1 to point 2. Holding down a tape measure while trying to accurately mark off a measurement is a difficult task, mainly because tape measures are not meant to lay flat. An accurately calibrated and readable marking and measuring tool is needed for all woodworking projects.

Rules and tape measures –

Since even the best measuring tools are relatively inexpensive, most woodworkers acquire a variety of rules and tape measure to meet different need. However, it is advisable to use the same rule or measuring tool throughout the project, just in case there is any variation between one tool and another. Purchase both rules and tape measures with standard and metric graduations – but take care not to confuse one system with the other once you have begun to mark out a work piece. You can measure one piece of wood accurately and then use it as a template for the other pieces if more than one of the same size is needed, this will save you time in the marking and measuring department.

1. Tape measure – retractable steel tapes, measuring from 6 to 16 ft (2 to 5m) long, are usually graduated along both edges. A lock button prevents the tape from retracting automatically. Some tape measures incorporate a liquid-crystal display that tells you how far the tape had been pulled from its case; a built-in memory retains the measurements when the tape is retracted. Self-adhesive steel tapes are sold without cases fro sticking along the front edge of a workbench.

2. Four-fold rule – The folding carpenter’s rule made from boxwood with brass hinges and end capes is still popular among traditional artist. Most folding rules are 3ft (1m) in length fully extended. Because it is relatively thick, you have to stand a wooden rule on edge in order to transfer measurements accurately to the work. Similar rules made from plastic are sometimes made with beveled edges to overcome this problem.

3. Straightedge – every workshop needs at least one sturdy metal straightedge, measuring between 1ft 8in (500mm) and 6ft 6in (2m) long. A beveled straightedge is ideal for making accurate cuts with a marking knife and for checking that a planed surface is perfectly flat. Some straightedges are etched with standard metric and/or graduations.

Squares and T-Bevels –

Squares are used to make sure things are at a right angle to one another. In a woodshop, these things might be the edge of a board, the shoulder of a tenon, the fence on a jointer and so on. However, square is an abstract term. Looked at closely enough, nothing is truly square; some things just approach the idea of being square than others. There are three types of square generally used in woodworking.

1. Try squares – are the most commonly used squares among furniture makers. They have blades of brass or steel (generally from 6in to 12in long) set in a thicker wood or metal stock. If the stock is wood, it should be faced with metal to ensure long-term accuracy. The reliability of try squares can vary sharply, even among those made by the same manufacturer.

2. Engineer’s square – these are similar in design to the try squares, but made entirely of steel. Blades lengths start at approximately 2 in. these squares are more reliable than try squares, probably because engineers are a more demanding bunch than woodworkers. Engineer’s squares can be used interchangeably with try squares in a woodshop.

3. Framing squares – these are made for house building. They have two large blades that form a right angle. One blade is 2in wide by 24in long; the other is 1 ½ in by 18in long. Framing squares are not expected to be precise as try squares or engineer’s squares.

Marking tools –

1. Pencils – every shop needs pencils for marking out your designs and marking wood in order to keep track of jointed surfaces and which piece fits together where.

2. Knives – these are indispensible in a woodshop for tasks such as marking tenon shoulders and cutting cardboard templates. Knives are a preference, pocket knives, box cutters; utility knives with a retractable blade are all useful in a woodworking shop.

3. Awls – these are sharp, pointed instruments with a variety of uses. They differ in the fineness of their points and the thickness of their shafts. A fine-pointed awl is useful for marking out joinery and scribing lines and a thick-shanked, broad-pointed awl is good for making pilot holes in wood prior to drilling. The dimple it leaves when tapped with a mallet forms an exact starting point for a drill bit.

Hand Tools

There are many woodworkers who believe that using hand tools and only hand tools is the way to make anything. From furniture to birdhouses, only hand tools will do for them. Others will use a combination of hand tools and portable power tools and perhaps sedentary equipment like a table saw or other large machinery which helps move the process along faster.

Hand tools are quiet and help you connect with the wood on a different level than using machines to rip or cut the wood. Here is a list of several hand tools you should have in case you find yourself wanting to become one with the wood.

Chisels – always purchase a good set of wooden-handled bench chisels (¼ in, ¾ in, 1in) and a ¼ in mortise chisel. Wooden handles are more comfortable and more visually appealing than plastic and if they ever split or get chipped you can replace them with little effort. Western chisels are preferred to the Japanese chisels, which some say requires too much work, especially if you’re just getting started in woodworking. If you can afford it, buy a 2in wide bench chisel in addition to the four smaller ones. Its extra-wide blade is ideal for paring tenons.

Sharpening stones – waterstones are cleaner than oilstones. They come in a variety of grits, 800-, 1,200-, 4,000- and 6,000- grit stones.
Combination square – usually comes in 12 in. this tool will mark out stock at 90 and 45 degrees and can double as a ruler and a marking gauge. Buy the best you can afford because you will be using it the most.

Hammer – a good 13-oz, claw hammer is ideal for general cabinet work and is useful for installation work as well. They are inexpensive yet get the job done right the first time.

Caver’s mallet – this is useful for driving joints home and for chopping out mortises. A medium-sixed turned lignum vitae mallet is approximately $20-25.

Dovetail and tenon saws – used for cutting small pieces, an 8in dovetail saw with a turned handle and 18 teeth per inch. A 10in brass-backed dovetail saw with 14 teeth per inch for cutting dovetails and tenons. Japanese saws will also do a great job; however, they can require delicate handling and replacement blades are often expensive.

Block plane – block plane can either be a low-angle or the regular angle. They are solid, compact and well made. A block plane is useful for planning small parts, flushing surfaces and planning end grain.

Smoothing plane #3 – a smoothing plane is used for final planning of surfaces as well as for shooting edges on short pieces and for faring joints. Expect to pay upwards of $100 for a good smoothing plane #3.

Rabbet plane – there are several planes that fit the bill, this plane is used to trim rabbets, plane into corners and trim joints flush. Some of them have a removable front half to convert it to a chisel plane.

Spokeshaves – this is a type of plane used primarily to round edges, make spindles and fair concave curves. The short sole of a spokeshave is mounted between tow handles. The blade is generally held in place with a cap iron. They can be used with either a pulling or a pushing motion.

Cabinet scraper – they are inexpensive, work well and last for what seems like forever. Scrapers are good for smoothing hardwood and veneered surfaces, either before or in lieu of sanding.

Burnishers – these are smooth rods of hard steel used to put an edge on a scraper. They can be round, oval or triangular in section. A highly polished burnisher creates a smooth edge on the scraper, which in turn leaves the scraped wood smoother. The shank of a Phillips-head screwdriver often works well as a burnisher.

Drill bits – the drill bits found in a woodshop include twist drills, brad-point bits, Forstner bits and spade bits, each has a distinct advantages and limitations. Clamps – there are a number of clamps used to squeeze pieces of wood together particularly during assembly and gluing. Bar clamps consists of two jaws mounted on a length of steel bar, usually and I-shaped in section. A pipe clamp is similar except that it substitutes a pipe for the I-bar and is less ridged. Bar and pipe clamps are best suited for assembling wide surfaces, such as tabletops and fro putting together large carcasses.

Sharpening Tools

There are several ways to keep your woodworking tool sharp. Most are kept sharp by using an abrasive whetstone to wear the metal to a narrow cutting edge. The better-quality natural stones are more expensive, but you can get satisfactory results from cheaper, synthetic stones. As part of the sharpening, whetstones are lubricated with water or oils to make sure the steel does not overheat and to prevent fine particles of metal and stone from clogging the abrasive surface.

Generally, whetstones are sold as rectangular blocks – know as bench stones – for sharpening everyday tools or as small knife edges or teardrop section stones for honing gouges and carving chisels. Blades can also be sharpened on a perfectly flat metal plat that has been dusted with abrasive powder.

Oilstones –

The majority of man-made and natural sharpening stones are lubricated with light oil. Novaculite generally considered to be the finest oilstones available are only found in Arkansas. This compact silica crystal occurs naturally in various grades. The course, mottled-gray Soft Arkansas stone removes metal quickly and is used for the preliminary shaping of edged tools. The white Hard Arkansas stone puts the honing angle on the cutting edge, which is then refined and polished with the Black Arkansas stone. Even finer is the rare translucent variety. Synthetic oilstones are made from sintered aluminum oxide or silicon carbide. Categorized as coarse, medium and find, man-made sharpening stones are far cheaper than their natural equivalents.

Waterstones –

Because it is relatively soft and friable, a sharpening stone that is lubricated with water cuts faster than an equivalent oilstone; fresh abrasive particles are exposed and released constantly as a meta blade is rubbed across the surface of the waterstone. However, this soft bond also makes a waterstone vulnerable to accidental damage, especially when honing narrow chisels that could score the surface. Naturally occurring waterstones are so costly that most tool suppliers offer only the synthetic varieties which are almost as efficient.

Diamond stones –

Extremely durable coarse – and fine-grade sharpening ‘stones’ comprise a nickel plated steel plate that is embedded with monocrystalline diamond particles and bonded to a rigid polycarbonate base. These fast-cutting sharpening tools, available as bench stones and narrow files, can be used dry or lubricated with water. Diamond stones will sharpen steel and carbide tools.

Metal lapping plates –

Available as alternatives to conventional sharpening stones, oiled steel or cast-iron plates sprinkled with successively finer particles of silicon carbide produce an absolutely flat polished back to a plane or chisel blade and razor-sharp cutting edges. For the ultimate cutting edge on steel tools, finish with diamond-grit compound spread on a flat steel plate. Diamond abrasives are also used to hone carbide-tipped tools.

Wood Working Materials
Hardwoods Vs Softwoods

Lumber can be grouped into two broad categories – softwoods and hardwoods – based on a botanical distinction. Hardwoods are those species that come from leaf-bearing trees that produce flowers, fruits or nuts. Common North American hardwood lumber includes maple, oak, ash, walnut, cherry, beech, birch and poplar.

There are many less common Western hardwoods as well, like butternut, mesquite, holly, pear and sycamore. Other countries log innumerable hardwood species as well. Some of these exotics include teak, mahogany, ebony, rosewood, bubinga, purpleheart and pear. These exotic woods can be purchased through the Internet or specialty catalogs; however, they are pricey and may only come in a limited size.

Softwoods come from the large family of cone-bearing trees that bear needles rather than leaves. Firs and pines of all sorts, redwood, cedar and cypress are typical North American softwoods made into board lumber. Because these species are well suited for construction purposes, all lumber used fro framing and roughing construction comes from softwood trees.

They are sufficiently strong for structural applications, yet are easy to work with common hand or power tools. Another advantage is that cone-bearing trees grow rapidly and develop straighter trunks and branches than the hardwoods. And finally, more softwood trees can be planted per acre than hardwood trees so they produce a higher lumber yield in less time.

Common misconceptions –

It is a common misconception that hardwoods are called hardwood because the wood is hard, while softwood is so named because they are soft. it is true that many hardwoods are more difficult to machine than softwoods, however the distinction actually has nothing to do with the hardness or workability.

Southern yellow pine, for example, is heavy dense softwood used for stair treads and large framing lumber. It machines and accepts fasteners in a manner like that of hardwoods. Walnut and poplar are common hardwoods, but they can be routed and sawn as easily as cedar or redwood.

Even pricing is not a good indicator of hardwoods or softwoods. More softwood is manufactured into building materials than furniture-grade lumber, but what dose become lumber can be quite expensive. Take for instance, clear sugar pine lumber, it is just as costly as premium cherry or white oak.

Actually, the basic economics of supply and demand have more to do with lumber pricing than the particular species of wood or even it’s grade designation.


Choosing what to use –

Woodworking projects can use both softwoods and hardwoods. Generally, hardwoods end up as indoor projects such as furniture, trim-work, cabinetry and turnings because the wood grain and figures are highly desirable. Softwoods tend to become outdoor furniture, children’s projects such as tree houses and other sorts of utility or painted projects. These are merely general guidelines. If money is no object, you can build children’s furniture from practically any furniture-grad lumber you have.

The answer to – what species should I choose for a particular project? – is not cut and dried.


Ask yourself a few questions –

Is this an indoor or outdoor project? Most wood will degrade over time in the presence of water or ultra violet sunlight. Moisture is another ‘deadly’ threat to wood; it invites mold and wood-boring insects. Some of the most durable outdoor woods include western red cedar, cypress, white oak and redwood. These lumbers contain natural oils or profiling compounds that resist rot and help repel insects. Boatbuilding woods such as mahogany and teak are excellent choices, although they are much more expensive than the common weather-resistant species.

Consider using a pressure-treated wood if you are not using it for food or contact with skin (such as a chair or bench). It takes paint well once the infused chemicals dry and the wood tends to be warranted fro decades against rotting. Be careful and wear a dust respirator when machining pressure-treated lumber to keep from inhaling the sawdust, which contains the treating chemicals.

Will the project be painted or receive a clear finish? For painted projects, choose wood that has a smooth texture without a heavy grain pattern. Ideally, the lumber should sand and finish so smoothly that the grain entirely disappears. Good paint-grade hardwoods include birch, aspen and birch. These also tend to be less expensive than hardwoods with more attractive wood grain patterns. Softwoods generally produce a blotchy, uneven tone when they are finished with a stain, but they make excellent economical painted woods. Pines, firs and other ‘white woods’ are good candidates fro paint finishes.

What thickness and proportions of lumber does your project require? Nearly all the board lumber you will find in a home center or lumberyard will be milled to ¾-inch thickness. There could be a small amount of ‘craft’ woods in ¼-inch thickness made of oak or poplar as well as laminated blanks in a few sizes up to 3 inches thick. Lengths of ‘craft’ woods will be limited to about 3 feet. Some projects require large panel such as tables and entertainment centers and if you don’t own a jointer and clamps to glue your own wide panels from narrower boards, your local home store probably stocks pre-glued sanded panels as wide as 3 feet and up to 8 feet long.

Which project parts will show? Commonly practiced in furniture building is to use a secondary or cheaper lumber on the insides and backs of pieces and the more expensive, nicer wood on the outer areas of the furniture. Places that secondary wood might be used are drawers, shelves inside a cabinet, the backs of cabinets and desks, under the tabletop, legs, etc. Poplar and pine are often integrated into projects as secondary wood pieces.

What does your budget allow? Lumber is expensive, particularly if you buy it completely surfaced. Sometimes sticker shock will push you over the edge and make your choice of lumber obvious. When tallying up the amount of lumber you will need, factor in another 20 to 30 percent additional wood. The overage invariably gets used in the end. If the price is out of reach, consider using a more economical wood and staining it to match the color of a more expensive wood.


Once an adhesive is applied to adjacent wood surfaces and the pieces are clamped up, the structural elements of the wood of wood are linked together by the bonding process. First, the liquid adhesive is absorbed into the wood and its polymer molecules intermingle with the structural fibers of wood. Then, the adhesive’s polymer molecules coalesce or come together, surround the structural fibers and harden, mechanically interlocking the fibers.

Thermosetting glues such as epoxy, urea formaldehyde and resorcinol cure by a chemical reaction, usually after two components have been mixed, while thermoplastic adhesives, such as yellow and white glues cure by evaporations. Once either type of glue is dry, the think layer of cured adhesive between the two wood surfaces acts like a bridge holding the boards together.

Polyvinyl acetates –

Yellow and white glues are probably the most often and most popular glues used in woodworking today. Both are polyvinyl acetates (PVA) adhesives that come in three main varieties: yellow aliphatic resin, white or craft glue and cross-linking PVA emulsion. All of these have a balanced set of properties, which make them ideal fro gluing wood. They are easy to use, have quick grab, set rapidly clean up with water, are non-toxic and work in most wood-gluing situations. In addition, the liquid adhesives will spoil if frozen. However, PVA adhesives have poor creep resistance and they should never be used in structural assemblies, like load-bearing beams, without some form of mechanical fastening such as nails or screws.

Resorcinol and urea formaldehydes –

Urea formaldehyde and resorcinol formaldehyde adhesives are most frequently used for bonding wood when strong, creep- and water-resistant bonds are required. Urea formaldehyde (UF) adhesive sometimes called plastic resin glue comes as a one-part powder. The powder is a mixture of dry resins and hardeners that if kept dry will remain storable indefinitely. Water is added to dissolve the chemicals and activate the adhesive. The pot life after mixing is relatively long, but the viscosity of the activated glue slowly increases until after about an hour, the adhesive is too thick to work with. Once cured, UF adhesives produce structural bonds and the tan glueline is hardly noticeable even on light-colored woods. Interior load-bearing beams and hardwood plywood panels are often glued with UF adhesives. However it is not 100 percent waterproof.

Resorcinol formaldehyde or RF adhesives have high strength, exceptional solvent resistance and when properly cured, will withstand prolonged immersion in water, making them perfect for marine applications. RF glues come as two-part kits: part one is the resorcinol resin dissolved in ethyl alcohol; the other part contains powdered parafomaldehyed. The premeasured components are stirred together to activate the adhesive, but careful mixing is necessary to avoid lumps.

Working with RF and UF adhesives can cause health issues, so work in a well ventilated area, wear a mask and take breaks whenever possible. This is because they both give off a formaldehyde gas.

Epoxy –

With their high strength, great gap-filling capacity, ability to structurally join difficult-to-bond materials and waterproof nature, epoxies are surely the high-performance adhesives of the woodworking world. Epoxy consists of an epoxy resin and an amine hardener. Typically equal parts of resin and hardener are mixed to activate the adhesive and start the curing process, which works by chemical reaction rather than solvent evaporation. The exact mixing proportions are fairly critical; too much of either component will adversely affect bonding strength. Because of the lack of solvent, epoxy has an exceptional gap-filling ability.

Finishes And Fillers

There are many finishes, each of which has strengths and weaknesses. They vary in ease of application, water resistance, solvent resistance, dirt resistance, surface buildup toxicity, durability, gloss and easy of repair. The most commonly used finishes are oils, varnish and urethane, oil/varnish mixtures, wax, wiping varnishes, shellac and lacquers.

Oils –

Tow types of oil are used to finish furniture: linseed oil which is pressed from flax seed and tung oil (also known as China wood oil) which comes from the nut of the tung tree. Though tung oil originated in China, much of it is now exported from South America. Tung oil is superior to linseed oil, with greater water resistance and less tendency to yellow over time.

In their purest forms, these oils dry slowly and stay relatively soft. to make them dry faster and harder, they are often treated with heat and/or additives in the manufacturing process. Treated linseed oil is called ‘boiled’ linseed oil.

The advantages of oil finishes are:


• Ease of application, you just put some oil on the wood with a rag, let it soak in and wipe off the excess.

• Appearance – properly applied, oil finishes dry in the wood, rather than on top of it. The absence of surface buildup gives the wood a visual and tactile immediacy that most other finishes lack.

• Ease of repair, stains and scratches can be sanded out and re-oiled without stripping the entire surface. However, on woods that change color because of oxidation or exposure to sunlight, a freshly sanded spot will stay a different color for quite a while.

The disadvantage of oil finishes are:

• Relatively little protection against liquids, moisture and scratches.
• Many coats are required to develop a decent buildup.
• Wet oil can bleed out of the pores for hours, unless you stay on hand to wipe the surface, bleed-out dries into shiny little spots.

Varnish and Urethane –

Varnishes are surface coatings traditionally made by cooking oil and resin together and combining the mixture with thinner, mineral spirits. Modern varnishes usually substitute synthetic alkyd resin for natural resin. Urethane is very similar to varnish, except that it contains some proportion of polyurethane resin.

Varnish is applied with a brush, dries much harder than oil and takes a long time to dry. Excellent resistance to water solvents and moisture, as well as abrasion protection, makes varnish an ideal finish for marine and outdoor uses. Practice and care are required in applying varnish, which readily shows brush marks, traps air bubbles and picks up dirt particles.

Oil/varnish mixtures –

Oil/varnish mixtures are applied like oil but dry faster and harder with fewer coats required to build up a good-looking finish. There is no appreciable surface coating to destroy the tactile quality of the wood. Although they are nowhere near as protective as thick coats of straight varnish, oil/varnish mixtures definably provide better moisture and liquid resistance than does oil alone.

Disadvantages of oil/varnish mixtures are greatest on tabletops because standing water penetrates them. The results can be discoloration of the finish and/or discoloration and change of texture in the wood.

Wax –

Waxes are generally used as a coating over other finishes, rather than as a primary finish. It does not provide much protection, but can greatly enhance appearance. Common waxes used on furniture include paraffin, carnauba and beeswax. Most commercially sold paste-wax finishes include one or more of these waxes, mixed with solvent to make them soft enough for easy application.

Wiping varnishes –

Many of the ‘oil’ and ‘tung oil’ products sold to woodworkers these days are actually wiping varnishes – varnishes that have been thinned with a high proportion of mineral spirits, although some ‘tung oil’ products don’t contain any tung oil. Wiping varnishes are applied like oil finishes, but dry as thin surface co9ating. Since very many applications would be required to build up a sufficient depth of finish to allow the shiny surface to be buffed out evenly, a thin varnish coating tends to look streaky and cheap.

Shellac –

Shellac is made from a secretion of lac beetle. It originated in the Orient and was long the premier finish for fine European furniture, but has generally been replaced by more durable synthetic lacquers. Shellac is brittle, as are varnish and lacquer. The fine crackling we associate with antiques is shellac’s response to the seasonal movement of wood. Shellac is also quickly damaged by water or alcohol. Natural shellac has an orange tint that some furniture makers feel favorably warms up the appearance of dark woods.

Lacquers –

Lacquers describe a broad family of synthetic finishes. These include more traditional nitrocellulose-based lacquers and the new water-based lacquers. Lacquer is generally applied with spray guns and the so-called ‘padding lacquer’ is really shellac. Like varnish and shellac, lacquer is a surface finish.

Fillers –

The pores of open-grained wood such as oak and mahogany tend to telegraph through a surface finish especially in reflected light. Unless the pores are filled ahead of time, many layers of finish must be applied and sanded flat to fill them before surface buildup can begin. Fillers are fine-grained pastes or powders that can be tinted to match the wood.

They are used to fill open pores before applying finish. Traditionally, plaster of Paris was used to fill mahogany before French polishing. Now, paste filler that is made from silica that has been mixed with a binder of varnish or oil and thinned with naphtha.

Deciding What To Build

The first step of any woodworking project involves planning. Simple project may take just a bit of forethought before you’re ready to build, but more complicated furniture usually takes much more preparation. Either way, some degree of planning is essential.

Project planning has three basic stages: determining what to build, working out the details through drawings and prototypes, then calculating materials and cutting lists from your drawings.

Maybe your family has outgrown the kitchen table and you want to replace it with something a bit out of the ordinary. You can design any table you want and customize it to suit your individual needs or tastes. Maybe you’ve had your eye on an Arts and Crafts sideboard at the local furniture gallery, but it’s priced beyond your means.

Building one yourself allows you, rather than the furniture gallery, to control the quality and cost. Possibly you just want to try some new woodworking techniques or tools to expand your skill base. The motivation to build something has any number of sources.

Gathering ideas – whatever your motivation may be for building something, chances are you’ve already thought about enough to have some initial ideas about a design. The idea-gathering stage is an important one. It’s the time to let your imagination go without committing to any one idea. Feed your ideas with lots of concrete options so you can start to clarify a design.

Furniture stores are great places to examine different examples of various styles and types of furniture designs. Look at friends and families furniture, clip out photos from magazines and catalogs and keep them in a folder for ideas of what you would like to build.

Furniture follows some classical style trends and always has. Certainly everything you make doesn’t have to conform to an accepted style, but basic furniture design is the end result of centuries of trial and error. Study proportions of cabinetry, tables, chairs and chests to get a sense for how furniture functions in harmony with the human body.

You’ll know a comfortable chair when you sit in one, even if you can’t pinpoint why it feels so supportive, seat size, leg height and the tilt of the back rest are all factors that contribute to comfort.

Evaluate your skills, tools and budget – keep your skill level in mind as you study furniture. Furniture with delicate inlays, relief carvings or parts that join at angles or curves will be more difficult to build than pieces with straight lines and minimal ornamentation. If you’re just starting out, consider making projects in the Arts and Crafts, Shaker and country styles. These are good options for building sturdy furniture without needing advanced woodworking skills or a full arsenal of machinery or tools.

Try a new technique here or there within the furniture style your skill level to keep every project interesting. Your roster of skills will grow bit by bit without jeopardizing the success of a whole project.

Building sensibly means working with some project budget in mind. When you pockets for a project aren’t deep the dollars will go farther by building with ¾ inch lumber rather than thick slabs of exotic hardwood. It’s almost always true that the larger your project becomes physically, the more it costs. One way to help keep from blowing the budget on big projects is to substituted sheet goods for solid lumber.

Sheet goods are generally less expensive and you can steer clear of the wood movement issues you’ll face when designing panels made of solid wood. Remember to include the cost of special hardware you project will call for, such as slides, hinges, doorknobs and drawer pulls. These items definitely add to the bottom line of what your project costs to build.

Before embarking on a project, have a look around your workshop at the tools you own. Do you have all the equipment you will need for cutting out your project parts, shaping the edges, assembling wood panels or smoothing the part surfaces? If your project parts are small and curved, how will you safely cut the tiny curves?

A scroll saw is the best tool for this task. Will you need one or can you modify the design or accomplish the task another way? Think through the construction phase of the project and how you’ll manage each machining step. Otherwise, you could end up midway through the project and stumped over how to proceed. If you can’t accomplish the project without buying a new tool, will you budget support the expenditure?

Thank you for reading my e-book! Hope that you found value and direction. For more great reads and special gifts please visit And join the hottest news letter on the net. There are many free suprises to get your hands on.




Joe Moss


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