Decisions, Decisions

Carpenter Planing Wood

Now, I get it: my adolescent fantasy of building a rotating wood riser for my drum set would have been a fantastic catastrophe. You see, my dream had absolutely no supporting knowledge of woodwork. In fact, I almost sawed off my fingers in Woodwork 8. There is nothing wrong with dreaming the dream, but I needed the know-how to build it. Successful woodwork projects contain many steps. You will need to make a lot of decisions before you even begin.

The Type of Project

The scope of the project itself defines its practicality. Do you crave a bird feeder? Picture frames? Or, do you want to turn lumber into the perfect door or cabinet? These choices make a huge difference in the amount of space and time you will need.

Wood Properties

Wood comes in two types: hardwood and softwood. However, there are a vast number of  lumber species and sub-species within each. Your end choice will determine the cost, time and durability of the woodwork project. Thanks to the digital era, you can surf the many varieties of lumber, and their requirements, to determine the most feasible option for you. Moisture content is a crucial property in woodwork. Make sure to check for Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of the wood you’ve chosen, and remember: you must reach EMC before the project can be completed.

Workshop Location

As you complete phases of your project, you will need to leave finished lumber pieces somewhere. “Over there” probably won’t do it. You will also need to have sufficient space for final assembly of the whole woodwork project. That said, a well-chosen task may happily materialize in a spare room, basement or garage. You just need to consider location before you commit to the woodwork project.

Time

How much time do you realistically have for your lumber venture? That question’s closest cousin is: when would you like to complete the lumber project? Woodwork hobbyists do this out of passion; frustrated hobbyists can lose their patience and commitment. You can always adjust the time frame for the unforeseen. The point here is to ensure that time frame does not become a stressor.

Budget

Since you love woodwork, consider budgeting an interesting field trip to your desired home improvement center. You can compile a list of all lumber materials and their prices. Put it all together, on one page, and you can identify what works. Self-destructive adolescent drummers scale up much further than the numbers will allow, but you could easily use the budget to bring the lumber project into scale. Then, finance does not become a barrier.

Dream big, but be real. Woodwork can build dreams, and it can build nightmares. Plan well, and work happily.

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Ron Smith

Ron is an application specialist for Wagner Meters, and has over 30 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems in different industries. In previous positions, he has served as a regional sales manager, product and projects manager, and sales manager with manufacturers involved in measurement instrumentation.

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