Wood is a popular go-to material for home and furniture construction because of its good qualities. One, wood is easy to work on; it is soft and flexible for sawing, shaping, joining and finishing. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, all you need is a set of trusty woodworking tools and craftsmanship.
Next is its natural beauty. The exposed wood grains exude an elegant and rustic charm, unlike other materials. A log cabin feels more in nature that a concrete mansion while a cherry wood table gives off a Zen atmosphere. Another quality is wood’s sustainability and positive environmental impact. Wood can last for years while sustainable lumber forests are good for ecological balance.
Common Wood-Related Problems for Home Owners
Wood, however, are more susceptible to damage than other materials. Unlike stone or concrete, wood is damage-prone due to its organic quality. Wood needs special care before, during and after construction. If left unchecked, no amount of woodworking tools and skills can undo the severe wood damage. Here are the common wood-related problems and risks you must know to keep your masterpieces intact.
Wood is combustible; a hardwood is about 50% carbon, 42% oxygen and 8% hydrogen, making it the perfect fuel. There is no way to make wood 100% fireproof; however, you can make it fire “resistant” by using fire retardant sprays like No-Burn. The surest way is responsible storage and maintenance. Make sure that your house is not a firetrap. Keep your wood furniture away from the fireplace and keep matches and lighters from children’s reach.
Bare wood can suffer from rot and swelling when exposed to elements like rain, humidity and sea breeze. Wood rot not only creates an ugly decayed look but also structural damage. Swelling is caused by trapped water in the grain while shrinking happens when the water dries up. Paint is the most common protection for the wood. It locks out moisture and repels water. The downside is it can cover the beautiful wood grains. As an alternative, use wax and lacquer for wood finishes. Apply coatings on the surface, end grains and edges.
Moisture also attracts molds. Mold spores in the air grow on wood with high moisture and low temperature. Molds are black, white or gray spots that ruin the looks of your prized furniture. They also emit a musty smell that can be a nuisance. Antifungal sprays are best for killing wood molds. Spray it on the surface then rinse. Dry thoroughly before you reapply any paint or coating. If you can fix other problems that cause moisture exposure such as water leaks, the better.
Dry Rot and Insect Infestation
Other species of fungi can cause dry rot, a kind of wood decay. Unlike molds, dry rot fungi can cause structural damage because they digest the wood grains.Speaking of digestion, untreated wood is also a treat for wood-eating bugs. Termites are the most infamous wood-eating insect, attacking walls, pillars, and beams. There is also the threat of carpenter ants and beetles. To get rid of these bugs, use anti-bug chemicals such as fipronil or solignum. After killing the pests, make sure to isolate the damaged area and see if a replacement is necessary.
Flaking Paint, Discoloration and Cracking
Exposure to elements such as water and sunlight can destroy wood’s other features. Unlike in metals or stone, paints tend to flake off wood surfaces due to chemical property differences. Changes in temperature and humidity can hasten this process. Wood is also vulnerable to discoloration and cracks. Extreme temperature changes cause wood to expand and contract, thus damaging the wood’s structure. The shiny surface finish of wood can also get discoloration due to exposure to said elements.
Necessary Woodworking Tools
Every self-respecting woodworker needs his reliable set of woodworking tools. Whether you’re an experienced pro, an aspiring amateur, or a weekend DIY guy, you need woodworking tools for various stages of woodcraft: measuring, crafting, finishing, and maintenance. If you are reading this article, chances are you are a beginner. Don’t worry; this list should help you in your journey. The tools listed cover all aspects of woodworking, so having them will enable you to build almost any project. And you can still use them even if you move up to the professional level.
These tools can be your own personal tools-of-the-trade, but they also make great gifts for anyone who’s into woodworking.
The tools are divided according to their functions to better give you ideas about the process of woodworking.
Basic Hand Tools
Carpentry is as old as civilization itself. Traditional woodworkers did not have computers and machines to help them build the wooden masterpieces that exist today. Instead, they relied on ingenuity, techniques and of course, hand-powered woodworking tools.
A beginner woodworker must first know how to use hand tools to develop skills and techniques.
These are the five basic woodworking tools every one must have.
Basic Power Tools
Woodworking tools powered by electricity have since become the standard out dating hand tools. These power tools made woodworking easier and better. While hand tools still allow the maximum control (such as in carving or detailing), power tools make tasks such as cutting and joining faster.
These electric machines are obviously more expensive than hand tools, but they are worthy investments if you are serious about woodworking.
Layout and Measuring
Woodworking is an art, but it is also a science – it requires precision and systematic process. To transform a piece of lumber into a door or furniture, you must use the proper woodworking tools for laying out and measuring.
How to Use These Woodworking Tools?
Knowing how to use woodworking tools is the first step in your journey toward woodworking expertise, so make sure you have these in your toolbox.
Using a hammer is simple: hold the wooden handle, then strike the nail with the flat head. To remove errant nails, use the claw. Hammers are cheap, but the ones with fiberglass or metal handles are more expensive.
A chisel works by cutting the wood with its beveled edge using the force applied by hitting the handle head with a mallet. If you’re into furniture-making, make sure to own a chisel set.
Bumps and burrs can be smoothened out using a hand plane. It works by forcing the wood surface into the horizontal cutting edge via pulling action. You can also use planes for finishing touches.
A necessary for cutting wood. A hand saw is for cutting wood into sizes while a jigsaw is for more precise cuts such as cutouts and details. Always keep the teeth sharp and free from dirt and grime.
Clamps are used to hold wood pieces together when joining (ex. using wood glue) or during final assembly to prevent the parts from slipping out place. It is readily available in DIY shops and hardware stores.
Use a circular saw for precise and straight cuts; use a jigsaw for curves or angles. Power saws work via motorized saw blade powered by electricity (plug or battery). Just put the cutting edge on the wood then slowly bring it down as you cut the wood.
Power Drills and Drivers
Power drills can be cordless (battery) or corded (high-voltage). While holding the drill, align the drill bit on the surface then turn the switch on at regular intervals until the drill goes inside, then switch at full power to bore through the wood. Swap the drill bits with screwdriver bits for turning or removing screws.
Sanders uses a rough grainy disc (replaceable) to smooth out wood surfaces. Use a sander with two hands and carefully apply the sander disc onto the surface, moving your hands in circular motions to remove imperfections.
Routers are special woodworking tools that serve several functions. You can use it to hollow out an area in the wood, create joint grooves (called “dadoes”) and trim edges by laying the cutting edge carefully on the surface. Routers can be your best friend because of its versatility and ease of use.
You use joiners, such as biscuit joiners, to create joints or the parts where woods join together. Use a joiner to hollow out “biscuit holes” or semi-circle holes for inserting biscuit joints.
Woodworking tools are a must-have whether you’re into serious woodworking or just need something when the need arises at home. Learning how to use these tools is a special knowledge that is both practical and cool (now show that DIY birdhouse you made). Also, make sure you know how to take care of wood and treat it with the right stuff so your masterpieces will last for a long time.