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Remember these woodworking tips and they will help you work better and keep all your fingers intact.


One of the most important things when working with wood are sharp tools. The ability to sharpen tools is a basic skill that must be mastered before you can ever do good work. Further more, blunt tools require more force to use and therefore are more likely to injure you.

There are many different ways to sharpen blades but from my experience whatever system you employ, the most important is that the sharpening surface is absolutely flat. Sharpening stones often wear down and need to be refaced. These days there are some much better and cleaner ways to sharpen your tools.

Diamond stones work well and last some time but they are expensive. DMT make quality stones. They last a long time, use water as lubricant and are easy to use.

The 'Scary' sharpening system seems excellent. It uses special sandpaper which is stuck to a flat surface. It is cheap and very effective. It comes in many different grades so a lot of metal can be removed quickly if needed to remove a chip in the cutting edge of a chisel for instance. Read all about it here. (pdf)

Marking out

Also important is how you mark out for cutting. A pencil gives some accuracy and is probably close enough for some projects but when you need things to fit together perfectly, even a pencil line will be too big. The answer is a marking knife. I like the Japanese one, it's made from a laminate of steels, is easy to sharpen and keeps it's edge a very long time. BE VERY CAREFUL when using this tool as one slip will slice deeply into skin with no effort at all. The line it leaves is neat and precise. This will improve your accuracy hugely.

Another very important bit of advice for woodworking is to always secure the wood down to a solid surface. Even if you do not have a workshop you still need to find a way to do this. By not holding the work properly, you are risking yourself injury and the quality of your work will suffer badly. Workmates seem quite good for many jobs but nothing beats a proper solid and heavy workbench. G clamps can be useful to hold wood down to whatever is around.

Never put your hands in front of the tool. If the tool slips you will hurt yourself badly. This is one rule that must never be ignored.

Power Tools

Beware of power tools. They have their place for sure but when it comes to the accurate stuff you need to take care. It is always wise to stop and inspect your work as you're doing it. Only use the power tools to get you near your line, then take a sharp hand plane and finish the job. You have so much more control with a good sharp hand tool and you can make small adjustments as you go. If you go too far with an electric plane, you'll have to start again anyway, so often taking care and using a hand tool saves time and money. Also it is very satisfying. Remember: Nothing is faster than right first time!

Don't be fooled into thinking you need all the tools. It is surprising how much work you can do with just a few basic ones. If you are looking to begin woodworking you'll need a decent bench or workmate. A hand plane. I am always amazed at how much I use my 12.5 degree block plane and rarely my No.4 If I had to choose one plane only, I'd take the small one. Of course it depends what kind of work you do. A few chisels are essential. Marking tools also, a marking gauge is a very useful tool as is a set square. A good tape measure and you're set to go. It's amazing how often you can improvise and get away with what you have.

a few Woodworking tips