Many people shy away from woodworking projects simply because they haven’t done it before, or feel they need to go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of tools. In fact, some basic woodworking skills can take the place of expensive tools — making the project you’ve always dreamed of possible.

Here is a rundown of the 5 Most Important Woodworking Skills for Beginners to help you get started. When you’re done, try our custom tables for For other DIY projects, you will probably need some work skills. too.

drilling holes

At some point in almost any DIY project, you will need to drill holes. The easiest way to do this is with a drill. Cordless drills can go anywhere, last a long time, and won’t break the bank. They are also very functional, from simply tightening screws to drilling large holes in various materials.

Drilling holes sounds pretty easy, and it is! However, there are a few tricks to help you drill holes better and get more out of your workout. The video below contains tips such as trapping dust, creating hole guides, making sure you drill to the right depth every time, and creating pilot holes. Armed with these tips, your holes should be more consistent in depth, have less clutter, and always be in the right place.

Cutting materials

There are several ways to cut, including hand saw, jigsaw, circular saw, table saw and band saw. We will focus on hand saws, jigsaws and circular saws as they are the cheapest and should work on 90% of your home projects.

  • Hand saws are a good option for fast cuts that don’t have to be perfectly straight. They take up some muscle as they are unpowered, but are perfect for fast work. The downside of hand saws is that you will need a separate saw for each type of material you need to cut, so if you’re trying to cut wood and sheet metal, that’s an additional expense.
  • Jigsaws have a reciprocating blade and are excellent universal saw, which we often use in our projects. They are excellent at making oddly shaped cutouts and curves, but not so great if you want perfectly straight cuts. Another advantage of jigsaws is that the blades are small, cheap, and interchangeable, allowing you to quickly switch between cutting different materials.
  • Circular saws are the heaviest of the three and ideal for long straight cuts. The downside is that you can’t cut curves like you can with a jigsaw puzzle, and they’re a little dangerous for beginners. If you’re going to do a lot of woodworking, investing in a circular saw is a good option.

Because jigsaws are some of the most versatile saws out there, here’s a video with an overview of the jigsaw’s features and some tips on how to use them.

Screw selection

Most likely, in any woodworking project, you will have to join two pieces of material. Screws are perfect for this — much better than nails — but there are hundreds of different types and sizes, all for different uses. We’ll cover the most common types and applications so you can quickly determine which type you’ll need for your project and how to use it.

Screw types

  • wood screws often have coarse pitch, unthreaded shank (bit between head and tip), and flat heads. A rough pitch helps the wood screw penetrate the wood and create a strong connection. An untrimmed shank is used to allow the head to be flush with the wood underneath without interfering with the carving. Flat heads are usually used so that the screw can fit snugly into the wood. Most wood screws also require a pilot hole, which you must drill with a drill bit before driving the screw into the wood. Find the hole size table for which screw.
  • Sheet metal screws often much shorter than wood screws as the sheet metal is usually not very thick. These screws are self-tapping, but they still require a pilot hole, such as wood screws. Sheet metal screws have a fine pitch and are cut to the head.
  • Drywall screws usually longer and coarser threaded than wood screws. They also have a non-cut shank.
  • mechanical screws come in different types and shapes, but they are more precisely machined and have higher strength than other screws. The thread on the mounting screws is also very good. When using mounting screws, you will secure them with a bolt or nut.

Choosing the right screws for the job will largely depend on what materials you’re working with. As long as you stick with the screws designed for your material or application, you shouldn’t have any connection problems in your project.


Often when working with wood, after cutting and drilling holes, the surface becomes unfinished with unsightly burs and splinters. This is an easy fix with a quick sanding, but with a seemingly endless number of types and grains of sandpaper and sanding equipment, it can get confusing. The main types of grinders that we will consider are belt, orbital and manual.

  • Manual grinding cars is the easiest and cheapest sanding you can do and will likely work for most small projects. You buy a hand sander, which is a plate with a handle (usually ~$5), and then attach pieces of sandpaper to the base. The biggest advantage for a hand sander is that it is very cheap. It will take a little time, but you can achieve a perfectly acceptable result.
  • Orbital sanders are the next level of grinding. They use grinding discs for precise surface control and are small enough to be useful for tight spaces and smaller electronics projects.
  • Belt sanders are the heaviest and most powerful grinders here. They drive a band of sandpaper and can chew through a lot of material quickly. Belt sanders are best suited for large, flat objects that require finishing, and are generally too large for our purposes.

Whatever type of grinder you use, you will use sandpaper . Most sandpaper is made from aluminum oxide and comes in a variety of grits. A grain of sand is a measure of how good it is and determines what you use it for. Groats tend to range from 20 to 1000, with 20 being extremely steep and 1000 being very shallow. When sanding, if you have a lot of material to remove and really need to smooth it out, a low to medium content sandblast is best. Once you have sanded with coarse grit, move on to finer grit, usually around 200 for a finish.


Once you’ve built your project and are looking for that professional, finished look, paints can work wonders. Two types of paint are commonly used and choosing one will depend on the material and type of use your project will see.

  • latex paint — this is dye water-based, which is used in general applications. The paint is easy to clean with soap and water and is easier to apply. It is durable and will adhere to most materials.
  • Oil based paint adheres better to surfaces and should be used if you are painting over previous coats of oil based paint. The disadvantage of oil-based paint is that cleaning is more difficult: a thinner or mineral oil must be used.

Once you’ve chosen the type of paint that suits you best, you’ll need to select a sheen level that ranges from flat to glossy. The higher the sheen, the more glossy the paint. As a few general rules for glitter:

With these skills and tips, you will be able to complete the most basic woodworking projects without buying tons of power tools. By subscribing to these YouTube furniture channels, you would be a great start, like these common woodworking channels — and we have great ideas for your home office.

Are you thinking about solving a woodworking project? What woodworking projects would you like to see in?

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