17 point recipe for starting a woodworking hobby

One of the most common questions that I get on mail and on comments is, ”Where do I start if I want to develop interest in carpentry” ? Not that I have gained enough authority on this subject, but since am quite often faced with this question, I decided to write about what worked for me. The objective of this post is not to make a professional woodworker out of you, but to draw your attention towards basic carpentry and the everyday projects that you can build around the house. So here goes - My 17 point recipe for starting a carpentry hobby:
Carpentry as a hobby
Starting a hobby in carpentry / woodworking
  1. Don’t let anyone make you think that DIY woodworking is not for the Indian conditions. It is as much possible here as much as it is elsewhere.
  2. Your first project: Choose one that is easy to make. Completing a DIY project, however small it may be, will encourage you enough to take up the next one. Start with something like a smartphone stand or a photo frame or whatever you want to make. My first project was a center table.
  3. Take a plunge and give your project a jump start. Don’t let something you don’t know slow you down. You will learn as you progress.
  4. Gift yourself a basic electric drill. You must own one.
  5. You don't need to have an entire collection of tools before you start. Buy them as and when you need them. I bought my collection of tools over a period of 3 years.
  6. There is no shame in outsourcing wherever you don’t have the skills or tools. I cut my plywood at the plywood store. I don’t have the space or proficiency to own and use a circular saw at home.
  7. Plan, plan, plan. Put your design in paper before you start the actual execution. Use a design software if necessary. It will save you materials,cost, time and energy.
  8. Keep your design simple and easy to make. Worry not much about joints to start with.
  9. Space can always be a constraint for an apartment dweller. Use whatever little space you have efficiently. A guest room or a balcony can be life savers. Just make sure you clean up once you are done.
  10. Read, read, read. Every bit of information is available on the Internet. Google and Youtube have been my best friends. Buy or borrow a book if necessary.
  11. Join like minded communities or forums. This will help you reach out to professionals who can provide valuable inputs.
  12. Join woodworking classes if your city has one to offer. It will put the foundation in place and help build more confidence.
  13. Practice, practice, practice. Nailing, screwing, gluing, cutting, sanding  – All come with practice.
  14. There is paint or stain, and clear varnish. Don’t confuse yourself with other finishing methods in the beginning. You will naturally transition to the next level with every project.
  15. Enjoy what you do. Carpentry is beyond the hard labor that it seems to be and beautifully functions as a hobby you can pursue with fervor.
  16. Take a break once in a while. This can be addictive and you don’t want it to get on your nerves.
  17. And finally, give utmost importance to safety. If you work in haste, you will repent in leisure.
Do you think you can add some more ingredients to my recipe ? Please let me know in the comments section.
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  1. Very true...I would add get one good square ... Measure twice cut once .

  2. Reading this inspires me even more...
    Am just hoping i manage to do something soon

    Tnx again for this 'ready reckoner "


    1. Hi Suja, Am soo happy that is does. Hope to see you get into it sooooon. And btw, Happy Doctor's day :)


    2. tnx somu
      i need small help...
      found 2 old side tables whose legs are intact(carved) but the top is damaged. will a glass top look ok? or shd i go in for wooden top only?
      shall try to take pics and mail it

  3. You make it sound so simple :)
    I remember doing some carpentry during my engineering days... it was fun!!

    1. Hi Tanya, the workshop class in the first year ? I used to dread that. :) Still don't know how I passed through those classes.

  4. Nice point Somu! this will inspire many to get hooked up not only to woodworking but any DIY :)
    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    -Samson CJ

    1. Hi Samson, thanks a lot. Hoping that someone picks up interest :)

  5. Wow... im moving into a new place. wanted to do a lot of things but my carpentar understood everything completely in a different way. Your DIYs are too cool. Im starting to explore.

    1. Hi Bharathi, thanks a lot for your feedback. And good luck with your exploration. Trust me, it is so much fun for sure :)

  6. You sound it so simple and encouraging. I really like
    Chiranjeevi Rao

    1. The idea was to make it simple and that it is not rocket science. Happy you liked it.

  7. Inspiring :) Please post something on Types of wood suits for furniture and decors, also cost difference. this would help many to kick start some weekend projects.,

    Thanks once again for valuable inputs..,

  8. I enjoy woodworking as a hobby. Thanks for inspiring :)

  9. All the things written here are so true - especially about the "enjoying" part. Some gets too worked up (especially fellow bloggers) to be better as they see this as a competition!


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