If you only had one sentence, what advice would you give a newbie woodworker? Mr. Gord Graff over at the SawmillCreek posed this question (in 2003!!) and someone recently revived the thread and brought it back into discussion. 83 responses later I think there’s a pretty solid body of advice there.
You can read the whole thread here: Giving just one piece of advice, what would it be…
Much of the advice centers on safety – as it should. There’s more to getting started in a lifelong hobby than safety (but not too much more…). Anyways, here are the top 10 bits of wisdom as selected by an esteemed body of woodworking professionals (ok, not really, just me ;), followed by links to more newbie and safety resources.
As always I’d value your input – what sentence of advice would you give to a new woodworker?
So here goes, Top 10 Bits of Wisdom for Newbie Woodworkers:
1) If you have children turn off the power at the main and lock the box when you are not in the shop.
2) Always unplug each electrically powered tool after you have used it.
3) When you buy quality tools, regardless of price, you only cry once.
-Greg Hines, MD
4) SQUARE! Square squares. Square tools. Square fences. Square stock.
5) Never, never allow yourself to become impatient to finish a project.
6) Keep the glue bottle full.
7) Anything worth killing a tree for is worth doing right.
8) When you get tired, QUIT! When you get tired you quit thinking, you hurry and you either foul up or hurt yourself.
9) Forget measure twice cut once, that’s good advice for framers and masons. Calculate sizes for accurate work from actual work pieces and story poles. Ever try to measure dovetails to lay out pins? Ever try to measure a mortise with a ruler to cut tenons? These are extreme examples to illustrate that a ruler is a crude and mostly arbitrary device, so use it as such and sparingly so. Rulers and pencils are the quick road mistakes.
10) Quit asking questions and go cut some wood!
11) Bonus safety tip:
if you think that what you are about to do seems like it may not be safe it probably isn’t.
I saw one other bit of advice in which a woodworker asks himself each time before he begins a cut on any machine “is this safe?” If the voice (yes, you have a voice) says “no” then you need to rethink. Developing and listening to your safety intuition was a major point of advice I discovered when working on our safety guide to the most dangerous woodworking power tools.
There are many more gems like these in the SawmillCreek thread: Giving just one piece of advice, what would it be…
Tools For A New Woodworker? – Question of the Week from Marc Spagnuolo. A good place to start if you’re just getting started.
Best Router for Beginning Woodworker?
ToolCrib.com’s Ultimate Guide to the Top Ten Most Dangerous Woodworking Power Tools
The Seven Golden Rules of Power Tool Safety