Carpenters are not immune to the pitfalls of a messy workshop or inefficient tool storage, which can get worse with time. Even the most seasoned professionals can succumb to messy workshop syndrome, which creates an unproductive and potentially hazardous environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do that will ensure that you can complete any project you begin as smoothly as possible. By the end of this post, you will be a lean, mean woodworking machine ready to make or repair anything that you put your mind to!
Make Sure Your Measurements Are Accurate
Measure twice, cut once. That is the mantra of all competent carpenters the world over, and for a good reason. Ensuring that you measure correctly will avoid waste and save time. Waste can be costly, especially with lumber prices increasing way beyond their previous levels. When you add the extra expense of rising fuel prices to buy new material at the store, you are looking at a pretty hefty bill because you messed up a measurement. Moreover, it is an excellent habit to get into as once you have taken the time to measure things correctly; it will become embedded in your mind and become second nature.
Choose The Right Wood For The Job
If you want your projects to progress efficiently, it is imperative to select the suitable wood for the job that you are performing. In fact, if you are doing more advanced work like setting up a stud wall, the type of wood you use will have to meet regulations if you want to avoid issues with insurance, etc. Essentially, any timber in contact with the ground or another non-wood surface must be specially treated to prevent insect infestation and moisture penetration. Aside from that, regardless of the size of your project, having suitable wood handy is vital. For example, if you are knocking up a chicken coup, basic softwood will be ideal for affordability and ease of use. On the other hand, if you are making a beautiful kitchen countertop, an aged kiln-dried hardwood will be a perfect choice.
Prepare The Wood For Work By Cleaning It
When you purchase wood from the store, it typically comes from the sawmill and, as such, tends to have imperfections that need to be worked out. Therefore, it is prudent to give all of your wood once over with a plane to get the rough surface off and get everything in line. If you can afford one, an electric planer will make life easier, but if not, a sharp hand plane should do the trick.
Maintain A Tidy Workspace
A messy workshop is not just inefficient but potentially dangerous. If you have loose nails and large splinters of wood lying around the place, you could several;y injure yourself. Furthermore, stray wires and machines can trip you up, resulting in anything from a bruised ego to genuinely life-threatening damage. Aside from the accident-related issues, maintaining a tidy workshop is generally considered good practice. You can find the right tools quicker and are less likely to waste time wondering where you put off-cuts from previous projects etc.
Utilize Tools With Built-In Dust Extractors
Anyone who has cut a considerable amount of wood in their life will understand the pain caused by sawdust. It gets everywhere, clogging up HVAC equipment and generally making your life a misery. Therefore, it is in your interest to purchase equipment with in-built dust extraction nozzles. These are simple openings where sawdust will be released, which can be attached to an industrial vacuum. For anyone looking for advice on woodworking tools, those that make your life easier should be at the top of the list! Regarding the vacuum, you turn it on, place the nozzle over the hole, and can cut away safely in the knowledge that 95+% of the dust is getting sucked up into the vacuum machine. This also makes it far more straightforward to dispose of the waste after a job, with less time spent with a dustpan and brush.
Dress Appropriately For The Task At Hand
Safety is obviously paramount for woodworking, but you should also remember to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Along with dust and bits of wood that inevitably get caught up in your clothing, you have to contend with wood stains and glue that are notoriously difficult to remove.
Practice As Much As You Can
Woodworking is a skill that is honed over time. The more you practice, the better you become, and the better you become, the more likely each project you begin will go smoothly. You should aim for at least one project per week as long as you have time, and they don’t all have to be massive. One week you could make a bird box, while another, you might create a jig to help you to drill angled holes and so on.
Woodworking is one of life’s great joys. It allows you to think critically about turning a lump of wood into something extraordinary. Nonetheless, it can also strain your time and pocketbook if you work inefficiently. Hopefully, the tips in this post will provide you with the information you need to work smarter, not harder.