Woodworking is both an enjoyable hobby and a practical pastime, especially if you're one of those individuals who likes working with your hands. Like every other pastime, however, it is not something you can just dive into and expect to master in the space of a few hours. There are several basic rules you ought to know before you start crafting your first masterpiece.
Woodworking is a fun and enjoyable hobby, but it can also be extremely dangerous if you don't treat it with the respect it deserves. With the abundance of sharp instruments, power tools and spinning blades, you could very easily lose an important bit of anatomy to a moment's carelessness. Never leave tools running if you're not using them, always wear eye protection, and always be aware of where cutting blades are in relation to your extremities when cutting. You may also -- but not always -- benefit from ear protectors during certain projects. If your tools or machinery include safety devices such as blade guards, always leave them in place while working.
Monet may have been one of the greatest painters who ever lived, but he started out drawing stick figures just like the rest of us. You may have it in you to become one of the greatest craftsmen of our time, but you'll have to start with very simple designs in order to build up your skills. Don't try to take on a project that's too advanced; keep them simple to start with until you get a feel for what it's like to work with wood.
Make a Plan
Woodcrafting isn't just about putting two boards together to make something new; often, it is also about drawing out plans before you start building. The more complicated your project, the more important it is that you have a set of plans -- even if it's just a quick sketch to let you know where you're going -- in order to keep your mind focused on the end result. A good blueprint or even just a basic sketch with dimensions and a basic shape will work wonders for your ability to cobble together unique and interesting designs.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Woodworking is a science of measurements and angles, especially when you start getting into the more complicated projects. The old motto "Measure Twice, Cut Once" attempts to get across the idea that you should approach your project with an eye for detail. Don't just assume you know the right measurements, and never just estimate the distance needed for a cut. That's a good way to waste wood and wind up losing your temper. Measure out the needed distances and angles first, then measure them again to make sure you got them right. Only then should you consider making your cuts.
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