Beginners Guide Creating with Wood | Woodworking

Discovering the Art of Woodworking

Discover the beauty and satisfaction of creating unique wood art and furniture. From beginner to expert, there’s always something new to learn in woodworking.

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The appeal of creating something beautiful and functional with your own two hands is undeniable. Wood art and handmade furniture offer a unique opportunity to combine artistry and craftsmanship to create pieces that are not only visually stunning but also built to last. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, there’s always something new to learn and discover in the world of wood art and furniture making.

A Beginner’s Guide to Creating with Wood

To get started with wood art and furniture making, you’ll need a few basic tools and equipment. A good quality saw, chisels, a hammer, and a variety of screwdrivers are essential for most projects. It’s also a good idea to invest in a quality drill and drill bits. In addition to these tools, you’ll also need a workbench, a saw horse, and a vice.

For those who are new to woodworking, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn. Books, online tutorials, and workshops are all great ways to get started. Some of the best resources for learning about wood art and furniture making include:

Techniques

There are many techniques used in wood art and furniture making, including carving, turning, joinery, and more. Each technique requires a different set of skills and tools, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your interests and abilities.

Introduction to woodworking techniques

One of the most popular techniques is carving, which involves shaping wood using chisels and other tools. Turning is another popular technique that involves shaping wood on a lathe. Joinery is the process of joining two or more pieces of wood together using various types of joints.

Wood Carving

Carving is a popular technique in wood art and furniture making that involves shaping wood using chisels and other tools. This technique allows for intricate and detailed designs to be created.

The pro of carving is that it allows for a high level of detail and precision. The con is that it can be time-consuming and requires a steady hand and a lot of practice. Tips and tricks for carving include using sharp tools, practicing on softer woods before moving on to harder woods, and using a light touch.

Wood Turning

Turning is a woodworking technique that involves shaping wood on a lathe. This technique is often used to create symmetrical, round or cylindrical objects.

The pro of turning is that it can produce precise, symmetrical and balanced shapes quickly. The con is that it requires specialised equipment such as a lathe. Tips and tricks for turning include using sharp tools, practicing on smaller objects before moving on to larger ones, and using a steady hand.

Joinery

Joinery is the process of joining two or more pieces of wood together using various types of joints. It is used to create strong and durable connections between pieces of wood.

The pro of joinery is that it allows for strong and long-lasting connections between pieces of wood. The con is that it can be time-consuming and requires a high level of precision. Tips and tricks for joinery include using the appropriate joint for the job, using tight-fitting joints and using the correct glue or adhesive.

For a more comprehensive list of woodworking techniques you should learn, read our article The Complete List of Woodworking Techniques for Artists (coming soon).

Materials

There are many types of wood commonly used in wood art and furniture making, including oak, cherry, maple, ash, beech, and more. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics, including colour, grain, and weight. It’s important to choose the right type of wood for each project, taking into consideration the desired aesthetic and functional qualities.

Oak

Oak is a popular hardwood that is native to many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America. It is known for its durability and strength, making it a great choice for furniture and flooring. Oak has a unique grain pattern and a distinctive golden colour. Its hardness makes it a great choice for heavy use items, such as tables and chairs. It is also easy to work with and can take a variety of stains and finishes.

Cherry

Cherry is a hardwood that is native to North America, but is also grown in other parts of the world. It is particularly popular in furniture making and cabinetry. Cherry has a unique reddish-brown colour that darkens over time, giving it a rich, warm appearance. It is known for its smooth and even grain, which makes it easy to work with. It is also a hard wood, which makes it suitable for high-use items.

Maple

Maple is a hardwood that is native to North America and parts of Asia. It is known for its light colour and smooth, uniform grain. Maple is often used for furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. It is a hard wood, making it suitable for high-use items, and it is also known for its resistance to wear and tear. It is also easy to work with and can take a variety of stains and finishes.

Ash

Ash is a hardwood that is native to North America and Europe. It is known for its strength and durability, making it a great choice for furniture and flooring. Ash has a light colour and a distinctive grain pattern. It is also a hard wood, which makes it suitable for high-use items, and it is also known for its resistance to wear and tear. It is also easy to work with and can take a variety of stains and finishes.

Beech

Beech is a hardwood that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is known for its strength and durability, making it a great choice for furniture and flooring. Beech has a light colour and a distinctive straight grain pattern. It is also a hard wood, which makes it suitable for high-use items, and it is also known for its resistance to wear and tear. It is also easy to work with and can take a variety of stains and finishes. Spalted Beech is also available and it’s a unique wood with beautiful lines, it’s created when the wood is left in moist conditions for a certain amount of time and it’s used for decorative items.

For a definitive guide to the hardwoods and softwoods of the world, please visit The Wood Database and while you’re there, you should definitely buy their book.

When sourcing materials, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the wood. Sustainably and ethically-sourced materials are important for protecting the planet and ensuring that future generations have access to the same resources.

Projects and Inspiration

One of the best ways to get started with wood art and furniture making is to choose a project that interests you. Popular wood art and furniture projects for beginners include picture frames, cutting boards, and small tables.

Projects for New Woodworkers:

  • Picture frames – Simple frames can be made using basic tools such as a saw and a drill, and can be personalised with a variety of stains or paint.
  • Cutting boards – A great starter project for learning about different types of wood, joinery techniques, and sanding and finishing methods.
  • Small tables – A small end table or bedside table can be a great way to practice joinery and learn about different types of legs and aprons.
  • Shelves – Simple shelves can be made using basic tools such as a saw and a drill, and can be customised to fit any space.
  • Coasters – Coasters are a quick and easy project that can be made using a variety of different woods and techniques.
  • Jewellery Displays – A simple and elegant way to showcase your jewellery collection.
  • Bookends – Bookends are a great project for learning about different types of woods and joinery techniques.
  • Trivets – Trivets are a useful and easy project that can be made using a variety of different woods and techniques.
  • Bottle Openers – Bottle openers are a quick and easy project that can be made using a variety of different woods and techniques.
  • Key holders – A simple and elegant way to organise and store your keys.

For inspiration, check out the stunning collection of handmade rustic furniture, wood wall art, sculpted forms, cutting and serving boards and custom and off-the-shelf shelving products available from Bell Carve.

Final thoughts

Wood art and furniture making is a rewarding hobby that offers endless opportunities for creativity and self-expression. With the right tools, techniques, and materials, you can create beautiful, functional pieces that will last a lifetime. Remember to check out the resources and links throughout this page to guide you along the way.

Please note: the * symbol after certain links indicates “affiliate links”, meaning when you click and then buy from the website on the other end, as long as you do it within one sitting, we will probably get paid a small commission by the retailer for sending you their way. Hope that’s OK!

FAQs

To make subway art on wood, you will need a piece of wood, a stencil, paint, and a brush or roller. First, apply the stencil to the wood. Then, use a brush or roller to paint the stencilled design onto the wood. This can be a bit tricky and requires a steady hand, so you may want to check out some tutorials online to get an idea of the process.

To make 3D wood wall art, you will need wood pieces of different thickness, a saw, a drill, screws, and any additional materials or embellishments you want to add to the piece. First, cut the wood to the desired size and shape using a saw. Next, drill pilot holes and attach the pieces of wood together with screws to create the 3D effect. Finally, add any additional materials or embellishments to the piece.

To paint wood art, you will need a piece of wood, paint, a brush or roller, and any additional materials or embellishments you want to add to the piece. First, sand the wood to prepare it for painting. Next, apply paint to the wood using a brush or roller. Finally, add any additional materials or embellishments to the piece. You’ll find a helpful article here: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-paint-wood/

To burn wood art with a torch, you will need a wood burning tool, a design, and a piece of wood. First, transfer your design onto the wood using a pencil or tracing paper. Next, use the wood burning tool to burn the design into the wood by carefully tracing over the lines. If you’re new to this method, it would be a good idea to check out some tutorials or videos online to learn the proper technique.

To hang heavy wood art on a wall, you will need a sturdy wall anchor or a French cleat. First, find the studs in the wall using a stud finder. Next, attach the wall anchor or French cleat to the back of the art piece. Finally, attach the other half of the wall anchor or French cleat to the wall, making sure it is securely fastened to the studs. If you don’t have studs and instead have block or brick walls, just bang it in and you’re golden, taking care to avoid mortar lines and getting the wall anchor into solid brick/block.

Olive wood is a beautiful and durable wood that is often used for art pieces such as bowls, utensils, and decorative objects. It is known for its unique grain patterns and warm colour. It is also considered as a sustainable wood because olive trees are pruned regularly, unlike other trees which are cut down.

Wood art can be called different names depending on the techniques used, for example, wood carving, wood sculpture, wood burning, wood printmaking and more.

To do wood art, you will need tools and materials such as saws, chisels, hammers, and nails, drills, screws, and various types of wood. You can also add other materials such as paint, stain, or varnish to enhance the final piece. It would be helpful to check out some tutorials or classes online or in person to learn the basics of working with wood

To make geometric wood wall art, you will need wooden pieces of different shapes and sizes, a saw, a drill, screws, and any additional materials or embellishments you want to add to the piece. First, cut the wooden pieces to the desired shapes and sizes using a saw. Next, drill pilot holes and attach the pieces of wood together with screws to create the geometric design. Finally, add any additional materials or embellishments to the piece.

To transfer art to wood, you will need a piece of wood, a design, graphite paper, and a tracing tool. First, place the graphite paper between the design and the wood, with the graphite side facing the wood. Next, use the tracing tool to trace over the design, transferring the image onto the wood. Alternatively, you can use transfer paper or a laser printer to transfer the design onto the wood.

To make string art on wood, you will need a piece of wood, nails, a hammer, and string. First, hammer nails into the wood in a desired pattern. Then, tie one end of the string to a nail, and wrap it around the nails to create the design. Finally, tie the string off on the final nail to complete the piece.

To burn wood art, you will need a wood burning tool, a design, and a piece of wood. First, transfer your design onto the wood using a pencil or tracing paper. Next, use the wood burning tool to burn the design into the wood by carefully tracing over the lines.

The art of wood burning is called pyrography.

The best wood for wood burning art is typically a hardwood such as basswood, maple, or oak as it burns well and is less likely to crack or warp.

The Japanese art of burning wood is called shou sugi ban.

Wood cut art is a printmaking technique where an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, covered in ink, and then pressed onto paper to create a print.

To make wood art panels, you will need pieces of wood, a saw, a drill, screws, and any additional materials or embellishments you want to add to the panel. First, cut the wood to the desired size and shape using a saw. Next, drill pilot holes and attach the pieces of wood together with screws. Finally, add any additional materials or embellishments to the panel.

To do string art on wood, you will need a piece of wood, nails, a hammer, and string. First, hammer nails into the wood in a desired pattern. Then, tie one end of the string to a nail, and wrap it around the nails to create the design. Finally, tie the string off on the final nail to complete the piece.

Any type of wood can be used for string art, however, a smooth and even surface is preferred for the best results.

Wood burning art is called pyrography.

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