I have been able to tackle some small / medium woodworking projects during the pandemic, which is something I have been intending to do for years. I built a drawer insert for our cutlery and some pullout drawers within a kitchen cabinet.
I have a long, long, long way to go, but I hope writing down what I’ve learned so far will help solidify these lessons. Some early thoughts:
Everything is a box
More precisely, most things are… Improving your box making skills is an easy way to improve quickly. Most starter projects can be divided up into a series of boxes. I’ve found pocket hole joinery to be invaluable in this. It isn’t the prettiest style of joinery, but it got me building projects very quickly.
Measure a lot
The saying is “measure twice, cut once”, but I’ve found myself checking and rechecking measurements over and over. Making multiple pencil marks to confirm that I’m cutting where I’m actually supposed to be cutting has been very helpful.
When I first got into building things I figured everything would be fastened with screws or nails. What I’ve found in researching woodworking is that nails and screws often will just hold the wood in place while you wait for the wood to dry.
Watch a few videos
Youtube has been an incredible resource, but it is often worth watching multiple people tackle a similar project in order to get their takes on the project and see what issues they run into. Steve Ramsey, Chris Salomone, and Ana White have all been very helpful. I should also give a shout out to my Brother-In-Law, who doesn’t have a youtube channel but has been an incredible resource.
Sketchup is 3D modelling software. It is finicky. It is screen based. It is the opposite of the things I had hoped to get out of woodworking. However, it has also probably saved me $100s in wasted materials, by forcing me to think through my projects. Seeing your ideas in three dimensions helps work through some of the problems in your design before you start cutting. This is the video I’ve found the most helpful.