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Woodworking as a Hobby
Woodworking as a Hobby
Woodworking is a popular hobby.
Woodworking is a popular past time for many people. The latest survey estimates over 18 million people are
engaged in this vocation, either as a profession, or as a hobby.
While the majority of them are males, there are many female woodworkers, who almost seem to possess a mysterious
connection to fine design and quality of work.
Woodworking is a skill that can be learned by everyone, through the many books and magazines dedicated solely to
this subject. While these publications inform the reader of the techniques involved in this craft, they can't relay
the hand / eye co-ordination required, or the "feel" involved in using the tools. This can only be learned by
actually using the tools and equipment required to participate in this activity.
Practicing proper use of tools will lead to a better understanding of the properties of the materials involved,
as well as the relationship of the tools with the materials. This understanding is essential to successful
projects. Therefore, as with everything else, practice is essential.
Apprenticeships in years gone by consisted of having an apprentice perform the same task repeatedly, until the
"master" felt that the student learned not only the knowledge involved, but the "feel" of tools interacting with
the materials. This same learning technique is still the best way to master the skills involved. These skills can
be practiced on scraps of wood, prior to attempting them on an actual project.
Woodworking is typically accomplished with a combination of hand tools and machinery. While some of these
machines can amount to a pretty substantial investment, often a lesser cost hand tool can be used in their stead.
This will equate to a higher level of labor, but will produce fine results.
There are many woodworking clubs, schools and classes sponsored at local retail tool stores, which will allow
use of their machinery, thereby reducing the need to purchase the larger machines. This is a good approach, as in
addition to saving money, they will teach proper use and safety.
There is much information available, regarding which tools to buy, and in what order to buy them, but it is
important to buy quality tools and machines. Often a person gives up in frustration, when the real problem is poor
equipment that even in professional hands would lead to disappointing results.
There are a number of multi purpose machines on the market, such as Shopsmith, that are high in quality, and
will perform the same functions as multiple, single purpose, or dedicated, machinery. They have the added advantage
of allowing a complete shop to be set up in a small space. The down side to these machines is that they require
some setup time when switching between accessories, and in general can't compete with the power and speed of
independent commercial quality machines. Still, they are quite capable of producing work of the highest
Many professional cabinet / furniture shops started out as a hobby for the owner of the shop. This is often the
case, particularly for smaller shops. Eventually he / she got enough work to sustain turning it into a
While the subject of cabinet or furniture making can seem intimidating, it is not out of realm of most people,
who are willing to practice and read articles in areas of particular interest.
It is a hobby that can provide a very rewarding and gratifying way of escaping the stresses of everyday life,
and who knows, it could turn into a business for you as well!
Written by: Lee A. Jesberger