It’s always fun to be a good helper, whether you’re helping out your family at home or helping your teacher or classmates at school. It also makes you feel good when you finish something that you’ve worked hard on. It’s nice to see your effort turn into something, and even if the results weren’t perfect, you can feel good that you stuck with it and finished it. One way that you can make things and be helpful to others is by taking up woodworking. Woodworking is the hobby of making things out of wood. When you make things out of wood, you can be creative, and when you’re done, you can give someone the thing you’ve made as a gift. You might also be able to use what you made around the house. You’ll want to get a parent to help you when you’re starting out with woodworking, and you’ll also want to take the time to learn about the tools you can use, the words people use to talk about woodworking, and how to make things out of wood safely.
Woodworking often uses tools that can be really dangerous. Many tools have sharp edges or moving parts that can catch on your clothing or grab a finger, and there can also be debris that flies through the air, like sawdust or wood chips. It’s important to pay attention to what grownups tell you and learn the basic rules that can help you stay safe. For instance, you shouldn’t run around or play when you’re around tools, and you should always wear goggles to protect your eyes and closed-toe shoes to protect your feet. You should also stay away from tools that your parents tell you not to touch. Some tools might be too dangerous for you to try to use until you’re bigger. And never go into the garage, shed, or other space where you do woodworking alone; always bring a grownup with you to help.
Band Saw: Woodworkers use band saws to make complex curved cuts. A band saw is a combination of saber and circular saws. Band saws come in multiple sizes and power levels.
Circular Saw: A circular saw has a blade that’s shaped like a circle with teeth all around the edges. It’s a power tool that can make straight, clean lines.
Compound Miter Saw: A compound miter saw looks a lot like a circular saw, but it’s mounted on a platform that helps you to cut wood at an angle.
Handsaws: Handsaws are not power tools. That means that they’re easier to hold and use and less expensive. Handsaws come in many types depending on the type of cutting you want to do.
Jigsaw: A jigsaw is a power tool that cuts with one skinny blade that moves up and down. You can use a jigsaw to make curved or straight cuts. A jigsaw is capable of making any line found in a jigsaw puzzle.
Table Saw: A table saw is like a circular saw that’s mounted inside of a table, so the blade points up. You can adjust the angle and depth of the blade, then push the material into the blade to cut it.
Filing, Planing, and Sanding
Hand Files: Hand files are like the files you might use on your fingernails. They’re made of steel and used to file away wood. Some files, called rasps, are coarse, taking off larger amounts of wood at once, while others are finer, more like sanders.
Planes: Planes are cutting tools that shave off wood fibers. You can use a plane to help shape a piece of wood or make the piece a little bit smaller. You can adjust the blade on a plane to take off more or less wood at a time.
Sanders: Sanders are like very fine files. They make a piece of wood smoother. One of the most common types of sanders is called an orbital sander. It’s an electric sander that has a small pad that moves in a circular motion. Another type of power sander is a belt sander, which uses a loop of sandpaper that goes around and around. Sanding can also be done by hand, either by putting sandpaper into a sanding block or using a piece of sandpaper on its own.
Other Tools: Woodworkers also use tools like hammers, screwdrivers, and drills to attach pieces of wood to each other. And you’ll want to make sure to have a tape measure, rulers, and straight edges to help you measure your wood and cut straight lines.
Allen Wrench: An L-shaped six-sided bar used to tighten screws with sunken hexagonal heads
Band Clamp: Also known as a web clamp, it’s a strap used to hold oddly shaped objects in place.
Bar Clamp: A clamp with one fixed end and one adjustable side that’s typically tightened with a screw or ratcheting mechanism
Box Joint: A type of joint made by cutting out and putting together interlocking squares
Cabinet Saw: A large table saw, usually with a cast-iron top, for heavy-duty projects
Rotary Tool: A multipurpose power tool that can be used to sand, grind, and cut wood
Stain: A liquid that’s painted onto wood to make it a different color without covering up the grain of the wood
Tongue-and-Groove: A joint made by cutting a groove in one board and a “tongue” that fits into the groove on the other piece of wood
Varnish: A liquid that’s painted onto wood to protect it
Wood Conditioner: A liquid that’s painted onto wood before it’s stained to help the stain absorb smoothly and evenly
There are all sorts of neat things you can make once you learn about woodworking, from useful things like shelves, bookends, and coat racks to fun stuff like toys. Once you find a project that you’d like to try, make sure to get a grownup to help you and make sure that you stay safe.