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One subject that a woodworker must always consider when building a project is how seasonal moisture and temperature fluctuations will cause expansion and contraction of the wood stock in the assembled project. For instance, if you've ever experienced a drawer that sticks only in the winter time, you've experienced seasonal movement of wood. Since each wood species is affected by these temperature and moisture fluctuations, you'll need to know a bit about the climate where the project will be used, and how your chosen wood stock is affected by the climate changes. Again, your local woodworking supplier can be a great resource for answering these types of questions in your area.
The sequence in which boards are cut from a log will determine how stable the boards will be once they dry. As a board loses moisture it will shrink in three dimensions. The change in length is so small as to be considered insignificant and the change in radial movement is always less than the tangential movement. This is most significant as the wood dries between the time it's cut (i.e. green wood), and the point where it is kiln dried or air dried and ready for use. Wood that shrinks excessively, or that has been dried improperly, will often develop checks at the ends. When shopping for lumber, carefully inspect the ends for any checking, or for excessively long checks. It is best to allow for some scrap at the end of each board, just in case. As you trim the end, hit the off-cut across the edge of your bench, and if it breaks in two, you'll have to cut off a little more.
An associate's degree program can be very valuable if your ultimate goals extend to working in management since many leadership roles require a degree credential in a related field. However, if you are more interested in the hands-on aspect of the profession, then a diploma or certificate program can provide the technical knowledge needed to meet the demands of the job.
In the sixty years of woodworking I have found two tools of increasing necessity. One is a band saw. I can do most of my work with a band saw and hand plane. The second tool is a bow saw, or actually several bow saws. They will replace the band saw if required, though they are slow. One I made about twenty years ago has a one and a half inch wide rip blade and is about thirty inches long. I think the blade is from an old industrial band saw blade I picked up and sharpened into a rip saw blade. It works very well on ripping lumber, logs, etc. Though it tires me out to much to use it now.

A career in this field may require you to meet certain licensing, training, and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. You should check with your state, local government, and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your state. Click here for contact information on state licensing/regulatory boards and certain professional licensing information.

Aside from pallets, lots of other things can also be repurposed into components for a DIY coffee table. For example, this one has a tile top. The frame is made of wood and can be crafted in no time. In fact, you can use some leftover wood pieces and if you also have an extra tile from previous renovations this can prove to be a cheap coffee table which you can build with things you already own.


A carpenter is someone who builds and repairs residential, commercial, or industrial structures. These structures can range from homes to commercial buildings to roads and can include individual components such as cabinets, staircases, doorframes, building foundations, and much more. And, although you may think that this occupation only requires physical strength and basic technical skills, carpentry actually requires a strong foundation of specialized expertise and experience in order to ensure that all jobs are completed in accordance with local, state, and national building codes.
The lumber industry uses the “Janka hardness test” to test and rate common woods for hardness. The test involves pressing a steel ball to gauge how much pressure each wood species takes to push the ball half way into the wood. You can download my free PDF of the Janka chart here. {If you can’t open a PDF then install the free Adobe PDF Reader here.}
Lots of good comments! I do think it is a bit of stretch to include a jointer and surface planner on the ‘basics’ list – we’ve got a slippery slope here! And a lot of different approaches – money, space, time, resources, etc. But lets plunge ahead. If you buy your wood already (or mostly) prep’ed, then the jointer & surface planner can be postponed. You definitely need a way to accurately measure linear distances (e.g. length, width) so a good ruler and tape measure. You need to be able to measure squareness – so you need a good combination square. You need to be able to mark the wood – so a good marking knife, an awl, some chalk, a fine pencil, etc. You should have some decent chisels (and good ones don’t need to cost a lot!). You will need to sharpen them (again not expensive – piece of plate glass and some sandpaper). You need a way to accurately cut your wood – a couple of good handsaws and a file or two for sharpening. You really should have a decent work surface/work bench/etc – a good first project by the way. Last of the basics – a good drill (3/8″ vs battery type). Lastly (I could go on but room is lacking), take a look at Paul Seller’s video’s for simple but highly competent work.

Teak is becoming rarer as the days go on, but it is the staple for fine outdoor furniture. Teak is highly weather-resistant and beautiful (not to mention expensive — can you believe almost $24 a board foot?). Teak has an oily feel and a golden-brown color. It rates a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 for hardness and is only available from larger lumberyards and specialty suppliers.
I consider this my “basic” tool list. Although I do not have a dedicated box for these tools, I assure you that they have a great home in cabinets, on shelves, and laying around on benches. When I do need to take my hand tools somewhere, the larger tools end up in a simple tongue and grooved latch box my grandfather owned. The smaller tools are always in my overall pockets. Overalls work great. They have multiple pockets, they’re comfortable, and they protect your upper body and legs. You only have to deal with small chunks of wood getting into the pockets, which can be dealt with if you or your other half are crafty enough to sew some flaps. It doesn’t bother me though. Thanks for your time.
You might be able to enroll in a General Contractor's License Preparation Certificate, a Carpentry Diploma or a Career Diploma in Carpentry program, among other options. Programs might require a high school diploma or its equivalent and a placement test. The programs may prepare you for entry-level positions in industry, engineering and the construction trades. The following topics might be covered in a carpentry or contracting program:
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When you've selected your lumber, restack the pile neatly. Before heading off, calculate the number of board feet you have pulled just to be sure you have enough. It's advisable to allow for errors, waste and slight changes in plan when purchasing your material. Depending on the material and the complexity of the project I'll typically allow from 10 to 40% extra.
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“Basic,” on the other hand, is a word that allows for growth – and that’s exactly what you want in your woodworking tool kit. You want to be able to take the same kit with you through many years in the craft. With my basic woodworking tools list, I wanted to provide a core set of tools that will serve you well from project to project. I’m especially concerned these days with the transition to hardwood furniture making, as opposed to plywood boxes of various sizes. That’s the transition I’m making right now in my own work!
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