I'm sorry to ask the same question as countless others on this group, but I
am interested in getting into woodworking, and I would like whatever
guidance you can give me about where I can go to learn the skills. I would
like to learn, first, to make picture frames because I do my own matting and
mounting, and would like to be able to also build frames. I would also like
to get into cabinetry, but I'm not real sure how to get started. I have
read a few books on the topics, and I plan to get more. I think classes
would be good for me so that I can really learn from someone with more
experience. Plus, I would have a better idea of what tools I would need if
I give it a trial run first. I am located in Cleveland, Ohio, and I know
that there is a Rockler and a Woodcraft in the area. I am planning on going
to see what kind of classes they offer, but I would like any other
assistance you can give. Thanks.
This is a good place to ask specific questions. You'd probably
benefit from visiting your local library and reading everything
that strikes you as interesting. Consider enrolling in adult ed
woodworking courses. Take evening/weekend walks around your
neighborhood and listen for tool noises - I suspect that most
garage shop woodworkers would enjoy sharing what they know with
someone who wants to learn.
You need to find yourself a woodworking "Buddy". The best way to learn
the basics of working is to watch and practise with someone who is
already established in the hobby. This has several benefits.
1. Safety - Assuming Buddy has a lick of sense he probably has a pretty
good understanding of basic shop safety. This is also a topic you can
probably find a class on if you have a decent local woodworking
store/school. I think that Woodcraft covers this topic in every class.
2. Cost - "Getting Started" in woodworking, depending on your sense of
perspective can be very expensive. I would hate for you to go and
invest in a couple grand worth of tools and months later decide you
didn't really enjoy it. Sadly you can never recover the cost of new
3. Knowledge - If Buddy has been doing this for a while he can pass on
tips and tricks. You will save a lot of time and frustration if you
learn some basic skills with the guidance of someone more experienced.
4. Your Own Preferences - You will decide which tools you prefer,
tablesaw lathe bandsaw router. This will help you make wise purchasing
One thing to watch for make sure you don't judge woodworking negatively
if Buddy only has crappy tools. If you think using a TS is a horrid
experience it is probably an issue of either poor technique or a bad
I think woodworkers see things two ways some like to work alone it is
there solo time. Other woodworkers, myself included like to work with
other folks. I really like teaching other people. Right now I am
helping a complete non-woodworker get addicted to a new and expensive
Oh and By the way... Remember if someone agrees to help you learn the
hobby, they are sacraficing there own productivity to help you. Be
courteous of time and patience, when building a project offer to
purchase more wood than necessary and give them the excess, always be
generous, they certainly are.
I know that finding this person might be difficult, I would recommend
asking folks around your company if they are into woodworking. You
never know where you will find a "Buddy".
PS now that I have expressed this idea it gives me the idea of making
up a webpage to connect to-be woodworkers with competent guides.
Welcome to woodworking!
My Dad was a woodhacker who tried his hand at woodworking, but only did one
Project and quite after half of another. He had this really sweet 1957
DeWalt Radial Arm Saw that got sold by, well, that's a whole other sad
I decided to get into WW about three years ago. I decided to take classes
instead of OJT. I wanted to learn the correct way to do things. I attended
a local WoodCraft store and enrolled in Woodworking 1, then 2 and finally 3.
I can tell you that these classes were very much worth it. I also took a
finishing class from WoodCraft. You also have to simply get out there and
build something. Will you make mistakes? Yes. But these mistakes help
reinforce the use of proper woodworking skills. You do not need a Norm
Abram type of workshop unless you plan to be a production woodworker. A
good tablesaw, a basic set of high quality chisles and a set of quality,
true and sharp planes and you can build quite alot, with craftsman quality.
I agree with another poster that suggested a mentor or a "buddy" to help
guide you. You may even be able to work out some from of apprentice type of
relationship with a professional woodworker in your area in exchange for
your help around the shop.
The basics are key. If you learn these, you can build about anything.
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