Basic Woodworking Skills You Should Have Learned in High School

Woodworking isn’t just a hobby—it’s a useful skill that can benefit just about anyone. Unfortunately, with declines in educational funding and shifting priorities in schools, not as many people get a good solid base in woodworking in shop classes any more.

So if you’re an aspiring woodworker who did not have the chance to take shop classes in high school and didn’t pick up anything from other woodworkers in your family, here’s a quick overview from a lumber yard in Houston. These are some basic woodworking skills you can pick up now that you should have learned in your teenage years:

  • Using a hand plane: Hand planes are not quite as intuitive as other hand tools—it takes a little bit of education and practice to develop how it should feel when cutting through the wood. This is a valuable skill that will help you in many different types of woodworking projects, especially considering it’s not always either feasible or worthwhile to use an electric planer for every project.
  • Sharpening chisels, planes and saws: If you do enough woodworking, you’re eventually going to dull out some of your most important tools. A lot of amateur woodworkers tend to be of the mistaken impression that using hand tools is extremely difficult, simply because they are so used to using dull tools. You should be able to let the tool do most of the work for you. Therefore, it’s important to know how to sharpen your tools so you don’t have to regularly purchase new ones.
  • Cutting simple joints: Joinery is extremely useful in woodworking, and being able to cut those joints for yourself opens up a world of possibilities in the trade. A mortise and tenon joint is perhaps the most essential and basic joint in woodworking, and is especially useful when connecting a vertical part to a horizontal part. Dovetail joints are also highly useful in making boxes, drawers and cabinetry. They have become more popular even when exposed—high-quality dovetail joints aren’t always easy to cut in a beautiful manner, but simple dovetails will get the job done.
  • Finishing: After you’ve spent so much time working the wood and building a beautiful object or piece of furniture, it’s important to know how you’re going to finish it. The finishes will make the end result look much more beautiful, and it’s simply a skill you’re going to use over and over again.
  • Using hand tools to prep lumber: Many people do not have massive planers or table saws in their shops, so they need to use other tools to prepare their boards and get their cuts done. It’s worthwhile to be comfortable using handsaws, chisels and other such tools, because you never know when your power tools won’t get the job done.

Are you an avid woodworker looking for a consistent and reliable supply of high-quality wood? Contact Houston Hardwoods Inc. at our lumber yard in Houston today and we’ll be happy to work with you.