Meridian News
Woodworking: What you Need to Know Before You Decide to DIY
May 15, 2017

There’s something rewarding about spending time on a woodworking project. Seeing the transformation from raw materials to a finished product can give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Whether you’re taking on your first project or tackling your 10th, this edition of TRIO focuses on what you need to do before you decide to DIY.

1. Pick the Right Wood

When it comes to picking wood to use for your project, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. There are two types of lumber to choose from – hardwood and softwood. The differences between them lies in their pore structure. Hardwoods tend to have pores that vary in size and shape, resulting in a more durable wood. Softwoods on the other hand have pores that are more linear, making the wood more pliable. Hardwood is used in high-quality furniture, decks and flooring. Softwood is what is used primarily on construction sites, but can be used for woodworking projects such as dog houses or workroom cabinets. Not sure which is which? As a general rule hardwood typically comes from trees that shed their leaves in the fall while softwood comes from evergreens.

2. Identify the Tools You’ll Need

If you’re just getting into woodworking it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of tools available. Most projects that you’ll work on will likely use a combination of traditional hand tools such as tape measures, T-squares and hammers and power tools like saws, drills and routers. If you don’t already own these tools, don’t feel like you need to rush out and purchase them. This is the perfect time to reach out to friends and family and see what they might have on hand. Don’t forget you can also rent power tools by the hour or the day at most local hardware stores and equipment rental companies.

3. Figure Out Your Finish  

Before you begin your woodworking project you should decide which finish you’ll use. Questions to consider include how well you need to protect the surface, how well the finish will hold up, how easy it is to apply and how you want it to look. Do you want to protect the wood and still see its grain? Then you might opt for a clear stain. Do you want to add a little bit of color to your creation? A solid stain or a varnish may be the perfect fit. Paint can certainly make a piece pop, and distressing it can give it character. If you aren’t sure what you want, it might be best to sample potential finishes on scrap wood pieces before committing to your project’s final step.

Interested in learning more about crafting your own custom woodworking creation, but not sure where to start? Join us for the upcoming Woodworking for Beginners class. Students pick their own project and work with a professional carpenter to build their piece.  Tools are provided. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or get registered here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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