Five Ways to Safety Proof Your Fine Woodworking

Safety measures in creating fine woodworking are essential for preventing accidents.  Five ways to achieve that are the following:

1.  Use personal protective equipment:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Proper clothing
  • Gloves

2.  Tool Maintenance

  • In good condition, clean
  • Safety guards in place
  • Push tool available for working with saws

3.  Work area

  • Proper ventilation when sawing and painting, staining, or stripping
  • Adequate lighting–overhead and task lighting to prevent shadows
  • Clean and uncluttered
  • Adequate space for work project

4.   Know your power tools

  • Proper training in using the tools
  • Know safety precautions concerning each tool
  • Understand which tool to use for each task
  • Check for frayed cords often
  • Use extension cords sparingly, if at al

5.  Make safety a habit

  • Make safety checks the first act when entering your woodworking area
  • Always use appropriate safety equipment and aids when working
  • Never skip safety measures; just this time, need to hurry, or for any other reason

Safety in Fine Woodworking

Evaluate your work place for safety.  You may find other ways to be safe that are not mentioned here.  Make necessary changes to assure your safety when creating fine woodworking.  Always Keep Safety in mind. Remember being cautious now may add days….years of contented, happy times while completing new woodworking projects.  Practicing  safety is always a smart thing to do.

Refinishing Fine Woodworking

Refinishing fine woodworking pieces that I find at garage sales and thrift shops is something that I enjoy.  My approach to doing this is not scientific and probably not what an experienced woodworker would do but so far it has worked for me.

First I clean the piece; using whatever cleanser I have on hand (usually soap and water) and on old rag.  Then I enlist my husband’s help in making any necessary repairs.  Actually he makes the repairs, he has the power tools, and I try to help by offering suggestions.  This is the time changes are made, if any.  After removing any hardware and stripping the old finish from the wood using liquid or gel stripper or sandpaper, and sometimes steel wool; it’s time to sand the surface smooth.  All the sawdust must then be removed with a tack cloth so the paint will go on smooth and even.  I can see some woodworkers cringe at the thought of painting wood projects, my husband does, but honestly some wood pieces just need to be painted.  And that is my favorite part.  Choosing the paint and design, then completing the project.  Now that’s exciting.  Once the painting is done, deciding what to do with it begins.  Do I give it away, sell it at a garage sale, donate it to a worthy cause or keep it?  So far, I’ve done everything except sell them.

No conversation about woodworking projects would be complete without discussing safety.  I know…women worry about being safe but men are made of tougher stuff and can’t get hurt.  Oh, yes you can!  So, think first of all the hazards involved in your project then take measures to prevent them.  Proper tools for the job and good ventilation in the work area are essential.  Proper gloves, safety goggles, ear protection, long sleeves, and proper respirator, especially when dealing with lead paint, are all important items in your arsenal of safety equipment.  This is a safety tip I read recently for properly disposing of rags and newspapers used in stripping: allow the solvent, mineral spirits or whatever to completely evaporate before discarding them.

I would say that in creating fine woodworking projects, repairing and refinishing fine woodworking pieces are the ultimate “green” in recycling.  What fun.

Refinishing Fine Woodworking



Restoring Fine Woodworking

Plant Stands and Foot Stool

There are different ways of creating fine woodworking projects.  My husband prefers to build new woodworking projects.  He does very well and generally works without a woodworking pattern or plan.  His accomplishments include a desk, book shelf, toy box, foot stool, dresser, scenery for church play, tool box, jewelry boxes, and some things to aid working with power tools, just to name a few.  My preference is restoring old, ugly and beat up pieces, not to their former beauty, but to a newer modern look.

It is here that I must call on my husband for help (I don’t do power tools, etc.) which he freely and patiently gives.  I look for treasures at garage sales and in thrift stores.  He comes along to offer advice on whether an item can be fixed and is worh the money and effort it will take to do this.  Then he painstakingly puts the pieces back together as sturdy, usable items.  Actually, my only contribution is to strip and paint the piece and upholstery if needed.  Some of our successes are four dining chairs with rounded and spindled back (cost $5) the seats were split, legs were falling off, very unstable; several plant stands in stages of disrepair ($2-$15 each), oak dining table weathered and worn ($20), and other items I can’t recall.  This was done with the thought of selling them at a garage sale.  The dining table was donated to the church, the four chairs were given to a needy family and the rest are scattered about our house because I can’t bring myself to let them go yet.

There is a restful sense of accomplishment about taking something old, broken down and ugly  and making it useful and attractive again.  So, although my contribution to creating fine woodworking is small, it gives me joy in each new woorworking project I complete.


Free Woodworking Patterns and Plans

One way to cut the cost of fine woodworking projects is by using free woodworking patterns and plans.  These can be found on websites of large or local home improvement stores, websites of home improvement TV shows, in books and magazines, and through searches at Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Patterns and plans from large home improvement stores, such as Lowes, are of good quality with diagrams and instructions that are easy to follow.  The patterns and plans from well known TV DIY shows are also of good quality with the added advantage of having been made and tested in the making of the program.  Generally they will also include wood and power tools required, estimated time of completion, difficulty level and woodworking tips.  Check out for a list of magazines offering good quality free woodworking patterns and plans and some will offer free back issues of magazines and how to videos.  To avoid getting cheap or shoddy plans or patterns when using search engines, it is best to be very specific about the project name, using exact keywords in your search for a project pattern.

There are thousanda of free woodworking patterns and plans found on public domain but there are some wood workers who feel that these patterns and plans have more errors in them due to having been copied and passed down through the ages.  So care must be taken with regards to measurements and instructions if you choose to use a pattern or plan from the public domain.

Whether you choose free woodworking patterna and plans, purchase patterns and plans or make them up, have fun.  Receiving a fine woodworking project for Christmas would surely be a wonderful thing.

Woodworking Tools Replacement

Every so often I will start on a woodworking project for my wife, children or the church and I will stop and take stock of tools I’m going to need to complete my project.  Quite often I find a need to repair or replace the power tools that I have.  I also have a great fondness for some of the new tools that are on the market so it doesn’t take a great deal of persuasion to send me on a scouting trip to the tool store.  To my wife, I explain that this is just a fact finding trip not a buying trip.  There happens to be a method in my madness as first I won’t be dishonest with my wife but should she inquire what would make a nice birthday or Christmas present, I have a ready list.

Tools Ready for Replacement

Over the years I have acumulated several tools, many of which are just to tired to use any more, so I’ve begun to look for tools that will replace more than just one tool.  For instance I have a bandsaw and a scroll saw that are just about on their last legs.  I have seen an advertisement for a multipurpose saw and feel it would be a good replacement for my bandsaw, which I struggle with, and my scroll saw.  Another plus is that I would gain some much needed space in my garage.  It is the end of the year, Christmas sales then inventory tax sales are not far behind so I am going to scatter around several hints to make it easier for those who are having a difficult time with gift ideas.  May this season and your fine woodworking be joyful

My Challenges to Creating Fine Woodworking

I have found my greatest challenges in creating finewoodworking come from within me.  A lackof self confidence can cause a variety of slipups when trying to be creative.  For instance, I have purchased far more power tools than I really needed in the belief that my final product would be of good qualitybecause of my many different tools.

Material is another area that gets me into trouble.  My last project, which was a cradle, required ¾ inch plywood, which comes in many quality levels and prices.  I ran into two things that caused me to make a decision that left me with a final product that was far less in quality and considerably more work than I anticipated.  One, the highest quality plywood, as recommended on the material list of the woodworking pattern, was very expensive and weighing that against mylack of self confidence in myself, I chose a lesser quality plywood with the idea that my losses would be less if I ruined the project.  Two, I weighed the price of the high quality material against the price of a readymade cradle and I found it less expensive to buy one than to choose the higher quality material.  I made a poor choice as I chose the lesser quality material and in the end was very dissatisfied with the amount of extra work required and the poor quality of the final product.  I have now decided that a handmade product that you are making for someone else deserves the best quality material and patience.  A readymade product may sometimes look prettier but will never have the love put into it that you or I will put in when creating a fine woodworking projects.