Tips GB

Essential carpentry tips for beginners

By Maha

Updated: October 21st, 2021

Woodwork wannabes, take note.

Considering a foray into woodworking? Curious about carpentry?

Let’s get real:

Carpentry is not easy. But, like any skill, it’s teachable. Pair a willingness to learn with consistent practice, and you might just find yourselves well equipped to offer carpentry services to others one day.

In the meantime, here are some essential carpentry tips to get you started:

Start with a high quality tool set

First things first, you need the right kit to get started.

Now, you really don’t need a huge amount to start with, but you should have a variety of versatile and high quality tools. You can order a good starter tool kit with storage on Amazon. Otherwise, head to your favourite nearby DIY store and hunt down the most helpful member of staff.

Once you have your tools, learn how to keep them well. The way you store them can damage their edges, so make sure they’re positioned at a safe distance to each other. Oh, and store them in a dry location to avoid any rust.

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Start small

Being ambitious isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Biting off more than you can chew can be.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting a carpentry project where a beginner realistically won’t have much chance of success. Start with a simple and modest piece that won’t leave you frustrated and turned off at the start of your carpentry journey.

Build/buy a workbench you love

Every good carpenter needs a proper workbench to carry out their works from. Now, you can always buy one, or you could build one and make that your very first carpentry project.

Place your workbench somewhere quiet and keep it clean.

Measure everything

This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how badly just one incorrect measurement can impact an entire project.

Don’t just measure the materials you’re going to work with. Measure your work space and the space where your work will be laid down.

Practice, practice, practice

Like everything, good creative carpentry takes practice. Expect it to take time and be slightly frustrating at the beginning. If you keep at it, you’ll find that it’s a skill that improves considerably with consistency and practice.

YouTube and Pinterest are both valuable resources for beginner carpenters. You can use them as a source of inspiration and learning, but don’t be afraid to get inventive and creative on your own.

Need help? Get help

Whether you’re a total newbie or not, no one is going to judge you for needing a little help from time to time. There are plenty of skilled individuals offering carpentry services who’d be happy to teach a beginner the ropes.

You can also turn to a professional when you find yourself getting overwhelmed with a project. Sometimes, an expert is necessary to finish off a big project and to ensure there are no health and safety risks.

Sanding tips

A key step in preparing any wooden surfaces, learning how to sand correctly is likely to be one of the first things you learn:

  • Start with a coarse sandpaper, and finish with a finer one.
  • Make sure you’re sanding in the direction of grain rather than against it.
  • Check the quality of sandpaper by folding it. If you spot grains falling, it’s not of a good enough quality to use.

Varnishing tips

  • Make sure you use the right brush to varnish your piece. For general varnishing, it should be as flat and large as possible.
  • If your wood has small details, a smaller brush is recommended.
  • Checking the porosity of the wood is also important to determine the right varnish and how many layers you’ll need to apply.

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Hammering tips

It looks easy enough. But the simple act of hammering a nail can lead to  many more accidents than you’d imagine.

  • If you’re hammering a large nail, use a comb with prongs to hold it still while nailing.
  • When the nail is on the smaller size, nail it in a small piece of cardboard first so it’s erect and you don’t need to risk your fingers in the process.

How to avoid splinters

  • Your tools need to be sharp and well preserved.
  • Use a piece of wood to support the piece you’re working on.
  • Use the right saw for the type of wood you’re using – they don’t work equally on all types.

Need to find a carpenter? Connect with trusted carpenters on Airtasker.



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