Welcome to my beginner’s guide for getting started in traditional woodworking! Traditional woodworking with hand tools is my great passion and the passion of millions of people around the world. However, it can be very confusing trying to learn traditional woodworking if you don’t have the right resources. So I’ve worked hard to create the most simple and understandable resource on traditional woodworking to help people just like you.

The third tool for the beginner is the Jigsaw. A jigsaw allows the user to cut curved and circular patterns in stock. Sure, a band saw will likely be more accurate and can cut thicker stock, but for the beginner, the jigsaw (sometimes also referred to as a Sabre Saw) can be perfectly effective. For versatility, choose an orbital-action, corded jigsaw that feels good in your hand and has an easy blade changing system.


Preparation is everything. It took my friends a long time to learn that dropping by on their way home from work to hang out was not a really good time for me to stop and shoot the breeze. I typically spend a minimum of one hour and usually two or three hours setting up a three-hour class, going through all the operations I plan to cover that night such as getting the lumber milled, making sure the tools are in good working order and doing any of the critical machine setups in advance with no distractions.

Woodworking knowledge is something we are all constantly in pursuit of. Thankfully, there are a LOT of options available to us. We no longer have to rely on taking expensive classes when so much information can be found online and in books. And as many Guild members know, even online classes can be quite effective thanks to the additional interactivity. In my situation, most of my learning is through podcasts, books, and blogs. I punctuate my learning each year by taking a class or two. And whenever possible, I do try to learn directly from other woodworkers in person. So if you’re like me, you probably want to select more than one thing in this list. Let’s just say you should pick the one that you get the MOST information from. And if you are thinking about podcasts, just select the Woodworking Blogs option, since most podcasts are presented on blogs.
Another option is the circular saw mated with a metal guide (known as a track saw ). These systems have quickly come into their own and can deliver exceptional results. They are ideal for both ripping and cross cutting sheets of plywood, but can handle solid stock if it is wide enough. These systems can cost as much as a table saw but they are compact and very portable.
Without Norm, I probably wouldn’t have developed such an interest in working with wood, so he’s my #1. Norm built my foundation, and books gave me a glimpse of the incredible variety of techniques and an appreciation of the design process. Marc, the contributors to this site, and other web-based sources provide ongoing inspiration that keeps me eager to get back into the shop.

Dust Collector. A dust collector works at the source of creation. It’s main purpose is to collect the dust right from the place you are cutting the wood. A lot of power tools come with a dust collector extension which allows the dust collector to be attached to them directly. This means a lot less cleaning up for you to do. Dust collectors come in two types, single bag and double bag. Single bag ones are more common.


When it is time to make a purchase, is it better to compromise and get an undersized machine that will only improve our capabilities by a small degree? After 30 years of working wood, my shop is equipped with several large, heavy machines that I greatly enjoy having and using. If I had to do it over, I personally would skip most of the interim-sized machines that did not serve me well and I would wait for the time when I could afford and have room for the right machine. In the meantime, I could still be productive with a smaller, but carefully selected group of the right hand tools and power tools.


Learning how to use tools to create what you envision in your mind is one of the most rewarding activities a man can involve himself in. Even though many of us today missed out on this first-hand training in high school shop class, there are a lot of folks that are buying books and reading blogs all about it. By learning how to tune up their grandfather’s hand plane they are seeking to once again tap into that deep-rooted desire to create and build with the knowledge of their mind and the skill of their hands.
I was telling my brother of the different ways I sharpen and he seemed interested in the slab/sandpaper method. When I went to get the extra supplies I picked up a slab of granite, adhesive, and sandpaper for sharpening. When the job was completed, the saw, the can of finish, and the slab with sandpaper were gifted to my brother. I could have shortened my list a little,
The wood to be turned is fixed between the “headstock” and “tailstock” of the lathe. The headstock houses the motor that spins the workpiece; the tailstock is adjustable, moving along the length of the bed to fit workpieces of various lengths. Once the piece is locked in place, the tool rest is positioned about an eighth of an inch away from the piece, just below its center line. The spinning workpiece is then shaped using a chisel or gouge held fast to the tool rest. Face-plate turning, in which the workpiece is fastened with screws to the face plate of the drive spindle, enables the woodworker to produce bowls and other hollow goods.

Block planes have become one of the most oft-used tools in a woodworker’s workshop. Some traditional woodworkers even keep them in their aprons! These little planes can be used to trim your joints, put chamfers on board edges, trim end grain, etc. I would recommend finding a low angle block plane, because the low angle lets you cut difficult grain more easily.
There is significant evidence of advanced woodworking in Ancient Egypt.[1] Woodworking is depicted in many extant ancient Egyptian drawings, and a considerable amount of ancient Egyptian furniture (such as stools, chairs, tables, beds, chests) has been preserved. Tombs represent a large collection of these artefacts and the inner coffins found in the tombs were also made of wood. The metal used by the Egyptians for woodworking tools was originally copper and eventually, after 2000 BC bronze as ironworking was unknown until much later.[2
You really don’t have to do anything to get a great set of coffee tables. Well, you do have to gather a few tree trunks or stumps. Just sand them down a bit, and cut them off to make them flat. You can have a collection of different sizes sitting around the room and in different shapes. Stain them if you want but you can leave them natural for a really rustic look.
Description: In this 6-session class Angela will be guiding as you carve from a pre-roughed blank. (Check in with the store to see which blanks she will have available for this class.) Angela is an experienced, local carver and has designed this class to be fun and creative. This class is run in 6-session increments and may be repeated as needed as it will usually require multiple classes to complete your project. 

Plywood shelves are simple to cut, but look a little thin and can sag over time under the weight of books and other payload. I like to apply a solid hardwood strip of at least 1″ thick to strengthen the shelf and give it a more robust appearance. Cut four strips to 3/4″ x 1″ x 36-1/4″ (slightly longer than the shelf itself, allowing you to trim flush later). I attach this strip by simply gluing and carefully clamping for good alignment, gluing the 1″ thickness to the plywood. In the past I have also used biscuits or brads for attaching the strips, but I have found it to be unnecessary, and the method I currently use delivers great results every time. Use a lot of clamps to ensure a good bond between the plywood and edge strip. Carefully force each surface flush as you move from clamp to clamp. If you are careful here, you can save yourself a lot of sanding effort later.
It’s a unique environment to learn in, and a great neighborhood to visit with a spouse or entire family. Just a quarter mile from the beginning of Tampa’s Riverwalk, you’re steps away from Tampa’s museums, parks and some of the hippest spots to eat and drink. In fact, the School of Woodwork partners with a craft beer business just around the corner.
Disclaimer: I've definitely taken a route that favors hand tools. More so than say, the 'modern' approach -- and it's mostly because, having used both awesome power tools, and awesome hand tools, I find that I enjoy the process of the work more with hand tools (I can actually chat with someone while I'm using hand tools -- not so much when I'm running a circular saw, router, sander, band saw, table saw, etc.)   So, my take is going to be biased towards a more 'traditional' approach -- but the resources and people listed below are no strangers to modern tools either, and definitely make use of them when they choose.

Hello Eva. Thank you for commenting. I know and feel what you are saying. But selling is an integral part of any business and there is no escaping it. There are no companies as such that pick up things from artisans and craft persons. But it might not be difficult to find a business or a store where you live that will do just that. And maybe other ways of selling your wood crafts are worth looking into as well. Here is an article we wrote on it… Easy places to sell more of your wood crafts..


When it is time to make a purchase, is it better to compromise and get an undersized machine that will only improve our capabilities by a small degree? After 30 years of working wood, my shop is equipped with several large, heavy machines that I greatly enjoy having and using. If I had to do it over, I personally would skip most of the interim-sized machines that did not serve me well and I would wait for the time when I could afford and have room for the right machine. In the meantime, I could still be productive with a smaller, but carefully selected group of the right hand tools and power tools.
On both the belt and disk sanders, the workpiece is presented to the tool (the opposite is true of portable belt and hand-held disk sanders which are presented to the work; as a result, they are particularly useful in sanding oversized workpieces). On stationary sanders, an adjustable worktable or fence can be fixed in front of the sander to position the workpiece during sanding. Belt sizes vary greatly, with four-inch wide, two- or three-foot-long belts being usual, as are four- to eight-inch diameter disks.
Some tools required to build a picture frame are a table saw, miter saw, measuring tape, wood glue etc. A table saw with a backing board and miter gauge can be used to get the right angle and lengths of picture frame every time. You can use builders square to arrange the final cut pieces before nailing, screwing or gluing. Check out the video tutorial below for more details.
Like you, I too am benchless. I built the “Mozilla” Molson vice variant from last year’s issue (I forget which) and it comes in handy for a lot of operations. I clamp it down to a piece of plywood that I have covered with formica (actually, it’s two pieces that I have piano-hinged together for easier storage) laid across two sawhorses. As long as lateral thrust is not involved, this is a pretty stable way to work. I also have a Zyliss vise for working on smaller pieces. I’ve made do for nearly forty years with a radial arm saw and circular saw. I have only recently acquired a planer and router table (both on wheels) It makes the garage croweded because also sharing the space are two motorcycles and about 400 board feet of rough sawn Camphor. I currently attend classes in woodworking and this coming semester I’ll be enrolled in a class for handtools only (and sharpening).
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To be honest, I use to not know a thing about woodworking or power tools. In fact, I didn’t even know how to use a drill! And the thought of power tools and woodworking definitely sounded kind of intimidating and out of my league, like it was more of a rugged guy thing. I’m so glad those initial thoughts didn’t keep me from discovering one of my greatest passions.

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Thank you for sharing your story! Would love to hear how you got started with your blog and business too someday, I always find it so interesting what inspires people to shift their career path. I can’t believe you’ve learned so much with YouTube videos! And congrats on creating such a successful business from scratch and also having the courage to walk away when you knew it wasn’t for you anymore. We’re having a home built next year, so look forward to checking out all the custom work you’ve done with your place!
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Table saws, band saws, and radial-arm saws are examples of woodworking machines that are most often used exclusively in a wood shop because they are far too large and cumbersome to be portable. Even though they're confined to the shop, these workhorses are so useful that it makes sense to complete a woodworking project in the shop and carry the finished piece to the location or job site where it will be used or installed.
A small jointer is better than no jointer, but a small jointer is not a great addition to a shop. A jointer needs table length. I would skip buying a small to medium size jointer. Once again, rely on your hand tools. They can perform as well or better than a machine that costs hundreds more, they require a great deal of room, and they should be run in conjunction with a dust collector. You can flatten boards with a jack plane and straighten edges with a jointer. With a little experience it becomes a quick task.

Yes Seriously! You can build an easy bed frame yourself without any other’s help. As everyone knows the starting point of any bedroom is a gorgeous bed. However, you also need something that lets you enjoy peaceful slumber in comfort and warmth, but since the bed took as the focal point of the room, you may need something that looks really good too.
We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can’t hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.
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