Five Notches in the Lumber Hobbyist’s Belt-Loop
A wood hobbyist immerses himself or herself in a world of wood workmanship powered by the skilled use of tools. Which tools depends on the woodworking project. Wood hobbyists saw, plane, sand, shape, nail, assemble and finish domestic and exotic wood species to produce almost anything held in the imagination. A good working knowledge of both wood and tools makes for a world of woodworking fun.
That said, any wood hobbyist can only have so many notches in a belt, only so much room, and only so much time to bring a woodworking dream to fruition. Throughout, a wood hobbyist makes choices. Availability of wood. The cost of tools. The woodworking budget. These factors sharpen a hobbyist`s focus on what he needs to get the job done.
Five Woodworking Essentials
1. Dimensional Measuring: no woodworking project is complete without extensive measurement: materials, space, edges, holes. You name it, and the wood hobbyist must measure it at some point. Measuring tools: carpentry try square, miter square, dovetail, marking gauge and simple tape measure.
2. Cutting: although wood hobbyists purchase manufactured (pre-cut) wood, projects most often require more cutting. Wood shops contain saws of some kind, from small hack saws to six-foot band saws. This does not need to intimidate first-timers to woodworking. Just make sure you have the appropriate saw for the job, and the appropriate knowledge for using it.
3. Ventilation: sawdust can be hard on the lungs, even in a small woodworking project. Retailers sell dust collection units, but wood hobbyists must be sure to supply the woodworking area with dust-free air. Just remember to set up the shop with adequate ventilation.
4. Moisture Measurement: a priceless tool for wood hobbyists. Wood continually absorbs and releases water vapor or moisture according to the conditions of the surrounding air. This balance depends upon the relative humidity and temperature of the surrounding air. Moisture meters are used to read the wood`s moisture content (MC) at any time. Hand-held pinless meters are now available, so wood hobbyists can easily and accurately track MC. Wagner Meters produces the MMC205 Digital Shopline meter just for home hobbyists. These compact meters read the MC by using either species adjustment tables or can be programmed to the hobbyist`s wood species of choice. If MC changes enough, so does the very dimensions of wood. You don`t want inappropriate MC’s in your wood to ruin your project. This simple tool is an investment in any woodworking project.
5. Patience: a tool? Believe it!! Not only do you wait long enough for glue to dry. Successful wood hobbyists must monitor and adjust the relative humidity and temperature in the wood shop environment in order to ensure that the woods MC remains usually between 6 -8% depending upon your area of the country and unless otherwise stated by species.
Fundamentals make great woodworking projects. Take care of that and have fun.
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