If you're considering beginning woodworking then you should consider where you want woodworking to take you. Do you want a relaxing hobby or do you want a small home based business you can grow into a full time job?
Starting woodworking for most people is a way to be creative. Using either hand tools or machines, it's fascinating to watch as a woodworking project evolves into something you're proud of. It's also satisfying to make something that someone else would want to buy.
Here I've put together a few thoughts and ideas that will help you start learning how to do woodworking. It's important to start by learning the basics first. From there you can branch out in dozens of different directions according to the kind of woodworking you enjoy the most.
I look at shop safety a little different than most woodworkers. I really love all of my woodworking tools and machines but I know my woodworking machines really hate me. Think about it. You use them, you make them work. Give them a opportunity and they'll not pass up a chance to cut you, throw something at you, electrocute you, or a bunch of other painful things. If you cut corners, sooner or later at the very first opportunity, they will hurt you because...they want to!
Before you use any woodworking machine, make sure you know what it's capable of doing. Prevent it from hurting you by following the safety procedures recommended by the manufacturer. Remember, they're just setting there...waiting!
1. Join Woodworking Classes - Check your local schools for night classes they may be offering for beginning woodworking. Some local high schools and community colleges offer adult education classes that include woodworking. Don't forget to check out the local trade schools. Check with the school administrators for any information and if they don't offer anything they may know who does.
2. Try Local Woodworking Stores. - If you're lucky enough to live close to a woodworking store (see our nationwide listings) you'll find that most of them have regular classes to teach basic woodworking skills.
3. Private Lessons - There are many woodworkers out there that would be willing to give private lessons if they were approached with the right offer. If you ask them to give you beginning woodworking lessons around their schedule you'll have more luck than trying to work within yours. If you're looking for basic skills then match your woodworking teacher to the skills you're looking for.
If you have a Rent A Shop in your area then a lot of them have pro's on staff that can help you get started. Some woodworking stores offer the same service.
All of the first three ways to get started in woodworking will give you hands on experience and it may help you decide which direction you want to go with your woodworking.
4. Join Woodworking Clubs - One way to learn more about woodworking and the particular niche you're interested in is associating with woodworkers with the same interest. There are woodworking clubs from general woodworking to furniture making, to woodturning, to scrolling and the list goes on. By associating with people with the same interests you can learn tips and techniques that you'd never find anywhere else.
5.Attending Trade Shows - Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from trade shows. This is where new machines, jigs, and methods are first introduced to woodworkers. This is also where you can find and commpare good suppliers of machines, supplies and sometimes customers. This is a must do, at least a few times.
6.Books, Ebooks & Woodworking Forums - There are a lot of other sources of information available to you. It doesn't matter whether you're looking for a particular technique to build something or looking for someone else's opinion of a machine. You can ask a question and start a discussion at a woodworking forum, download a free ebook or get some woodworking books that cover just about anything you want to know about woodworking.
Also, don't forget the woodworking videos! There are hundreds of videos being uploaded every day about beginning woodworking. The woodworking supply stores such as Rockler, Woodcraft, and The Wood Store are great places to find professional how-to videos on just about everything woodworking. You can also find some great beginning woodworking videos on You Tube.
Use all the resources available and you'll be a pro in a very short time. Then maybe you'll want to "pay it forward" to the next group of future woodworkers.