Looking for something fun? Consider woodworking 101! Do you have a little more time on your hands now and perhaps you’ve always considered yourself a bit of a handyperson? Maybe now is the time to take up a new hobby? We’d like to thank one of our newest Amintronians for the inspiration behind this article where today, we take a look at “all things solid!”

Woodworking is for anyone.

I think we’d all agree we are well past the days of gender-based stereotypes meaning anyone can take up the hobby and all they really need to get started on their first foray into woodworking is a few good tools and some inspiration. It might also be a good idea to consider what kind of project is best for a beginner. If you’ve never handled any kind of tools before, you might want to start by building a birdhouse at your local Home Depot. Sure there might be a few kids there with you but the risk is minimal – at worst perhaps a bruised thumb. On the other hand, if you know the difference between a mitre saw, a jig saw, a chain saw and a skill saw – you could be ready for something a little more advanced. (For the record, other than starting from scratch and cutting down the tree yourself, you’re not likely going to need a chain saw!)  Resources for those interested in woodworking are endless as are the projects one can complete. Beautiful hand-hewn charcuterie boards are all the rage right now, imagine, when Amintro friends arrive for a party, being able to say, “I made it myself.”  Projects range in size from birdhouses (real ones, of all shapes and sizes) to furniture, to outdoor Muskoka/Adirondack chairs, indoor sleigh beds, lovely shelving for your book collections, or unique pieces of art. You might even be tempted to make yourself a puzzle, a picture frame or a handcrafted game board that could be handed down through the generations. Today – for newcomers to woodworking, we’ve included a link to a beginner project that demonstrates how to make your own menu or vision board.

When learning about woodworking, joins are something you will hear a lot about.

Not to be confused with joints, no – we’re not talking about our creaking, aging body joints and we’re not talking about the kind you can smoke! A “join” in woodworking terms is often “the cornerstone of just about every woodworking project” according to Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement and they include a little “how-to” on their website which we’ve also attached to this blog. You’re probably going to want to invest in a router, some sandpaper, clamps, a few quality hand tools and other items such as a carpenter’s square, mechanical pencils and of course, a tape measure and a ruler or two. A handsaw and a jigsaw are a good place to start. You’ll want to invest in a good “core” set of tools that will go with you from project to project and that you can add to, as your skills improve. A hammer, a set of chisels – these would also be some of the more obvious tools you should have handy. For a full list of the various tools you might want to invest in, there are a number of resources available on the web. 

If woodworking appeals to you there are clubs in many communities and courses you can take through your local community college. There are facebook groups for like-minded fellow woodworkers and we even found collaboratives where you can share tools, workspace and resources which is great for condo and apartment dwellers who might not have a place to store, or use, all of their tools due to space and noise restrictions. If you’re more of a “learn by reading” kind of person – recalling the title of this blog – there’s even a book called Woodworking 101, available on Amazon.

If you’re 50+, retired or semi-retired and looking for new activities to fill your days, woodworking could be for you.

“Live edge” tables, countertops and coffee tables are something we’re hearing a lot about these days and if you’d be proud of a charcuterie board – imagine the satisfaction of being able to say you’ve made your very own live-edge dining room table! Woodworking 101 is fun and definitely a topic we’d like to spend some more time exploring. In the meantime, whether you wander off in to the forest (with your chain saw) to cut down your own tree – or stop by your local home and garden centre for a Saturday morning class on how to build a better birdhouse – Happy Woodworking!