Get woodworking!

Just what is Get Woodworking Week? The idea started as many great ones do… late at night in a bar. At a gathering of woodworkers, we were sitting around a table asking ourselves, “How can woodworking be saved?” After all, with most schools no longer offering a shop class, millions of school age kids might not ever get the opportunity to work with wood. Add to that the trend toward ‘disposable’ furniture, built out of particleboard or MDF and designed to last until the next big design trend change, we were wondering if the appreciation of finely-crafted furniture would continue to be lost.

The craft needs new woodworkers

That’s when the idea hit me – we needed a special event to get folks off the sideline and into woodworking as a hobby. That’s where the idea of Get Woodworking Week comes in.  Woodworking bloggers across the Internet are banding together to gear their sites toward the novice or soon-to-be-novice woodworker. They’ll cover topics as diverse as how they got started in the craft, which tools a beginning woodworker needs (without breaking the bank) and what techniques are essential to start with. There will be discussion about how to find wood on the cheap for projects, what sources of information are reliable and how making mistakes can – and do – make you a better woodworker.

I just loved this video from Scott Morton, done for the 2012 Get Woodworking Week.

Great resources for new woodworkers:

Wood Magazine’s Basic Built Series:This is is Wood Magazine’s initiative to provide simple, yet high-quality woodworking projects that can be completed with a minimum number of tools and skills. This site covers a wide array of topics – from how to find furniture worthy wood to where to find the best deals on tools. The inexpensive projects offered run the gamut from shop fixtures to tables, seating and casework.

Fine Woodworking’s Start Woodworking:  Fine Woodworking magazine  offers a comprehensive site geared toward beginners. Loaded with plans, videos and articles on the basics, this site has much to offer the budding woodworker. And, what a great selection of projects there is – with something for nearly every room of the house.  Check out the Q&A section, offering expert advice for woodworkers of all skill levels.

Popular Woodworking’s I Can Do That: In every issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, the “I Can Do That” column features projects that can be completed by any woodworker with a modest (but decent) kit of tools in less than two days of shop time, and using raw materials that are available at any home center. Be sure to download their .PDF manual first before you get a start on things.

The Wood Whisperer Guild:  Marc Spagnuolo, the Wood Whisperer, runs a great online woodworking guild that offers step-by-step instructions to some awesome projects. Whether you are a complete beginner or an uber-skilled woodworker, Marc’s instructions can have you building high quality projects before you know it! Tom Hintz is no longer a new woodworker, but, believe me, his site will help steer any new woodworker in the right direction. Before you buy a new tool or select a spot for your shop, be sure to pay this site a visit and soak in the knowledge.

The Hand Tool School: If power tools aren’t your bag, why not give hand tools a go?  Shannon Rogers of the Renaissance Woodworker runs the online Hand Tool School where you can learn how to unplug and get woodworking. There is a fee for the site, but you will be part of an online apprenticeship that will teach you the basics… and more advanced skills.


Get Woodworking Week 2013

57 thoughts on “Get woodworking!”

  1. What a great idea! I will see who I can round up for some in-person training.

    In the meantime, my blog’s whole concept is learning to work wood using handtools with not much pre-existing knowledge. I am testing Chris Schwarz’s claim that the book “the Joiner and Cabinet Maker” provides all you need to know to emerge a journeyman. Currently working on the schoolbox portion (while also building a workbench).

    I’ll make some especially beginner-friendly posts during that week in Feb!

  2. David and Robert –

    I’d be humbled and honored to post anything you guys prepare for the big event! Many thanks….

  3. Nice! I’ve been planning on doing a review of Jim Kingshott’s books and DVDs, this would be a perfect time to post it. These are a fantastic resource for the beginner (and not-so-beginner!).

  4. My whole blog is about how I am beginner trying to advance from building projects out of 2×4’s to building furniture and other fine projects. I will try to write an post for “Get Woodworking”

  5. Hi Tom, what a great idea. My blog is something a bit different as I am a green woodworker. That is using freshly felled wood with an axe and knife and other simple hand tools. Following your lead I have written a post of what tools you need to start with and I will be posting videos and article about how to make stuff from wood that is often considered fire wood.
    My blog is
    Also details on here about forums for green woodworker. A great past time without to much expense.

  6. Sean –

    There are plenty of disciplines in woodworking… I think adding information about green woodworking is a great addition! Keep ‘me coming!

  7. A wonderful idea, Tom.
    I’m introducing my 10 year old son to woodwork and, in the process, realising how much I don’t know! (They say if you want to learn something, try teaching it.) We use recycled or locally-grown timber and only hand tools, and will be posting more during Get Woodworking Week at
    Best wishes,

  8. Tom, Good idea. I’m working just now with an apprenticeship grant from the NEA, and since the two apprentices I want to work with are on opposite coasts, and I’m here in Arkansas, we’re using the blog to communicate. Coming up to speed on digital camera and website construction, letting the workbench collect dust for a bit. We will be doing some timber framing this spring, and publishing the layout and cutting techniques. JML

  9. The reason all the schools are stopping there woodworking programs is because so much of the equipment is extremely dangerous. I can’t imagine being a teacher trying to teach a class full of young people how to use a table saw. This is, however, a wonderful opportunity to offer woodworking classes with all hand tools. It would also be a good foundation before moving on to power equipment. I started woodworking at trade school 30 years ago and have just started using hand tools extensively the last several years. Wish it was the other way around. Mark

  10. Unfortunate as it is, I think unless more people are prepared to promote opportunities like woodworking week then the art of good furniture craftsmanship will be lost to future generations.
    The Scott Morton video was great and when my kids watched it they were on a mission to get some timber and nails…. all it takes is a little inspiration and plenty of motivation.

  11. I’m a newbie in woodworking, so lucky I’m to find these great resources for new woodworkers.
    This will be highly appreciated by many newbies like me.
    Thank you, Tom!

  12. Hi Tom, I have always wanted to learn woodworking especially since my last name is Turner; which means ‘wood worker’. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who specializes in this trade. I appreciate the online tutorials but ‘hands-on’ would be great. It is hard having an obsession that exists primarily in your head lol. I wanted to take it in college but I just can’t afford the tuition along with daily life expenses. It is not seen as a professional degree here so there is not much aid for it. Any advice?

  13. Where do you live? Believe me, most large cities, small towns and hamlets have a woodworking club or guild that meets on a regular basis. Hook up with them and glean the knowledge there. Near where I live in the Tampa Bay area and in the state of Florida, there are lots of guilds and clubs!

    If you can’t find a local guild, check with your nearest woodworking supply store. No doubt they have tons of folks you can get to know!

    Best of luck!

  14. I took wood shop in high school,even though i could not draw a straight line with a ruler.I learned to do a lot of things with wood. Wood shop taught me how to visualize a finished project from a couple of boards.This class has made me the person i am today. It was one of the biggest mistakes school systems have made by removing all the shop classes in our school systems So many bright students with no outlet.We need to bring back shop classes for the next generation of children.

  15. Strangely enough i have just filled my shed/workshop with a lathe ect on a whim after happy memories from wood working lessons at school. Not bad as i am now 42. Lets see if i remember what i was taught lol

  16. Thanks for sharing the list. I love wood working and I often so some simple things for my family. I want to become a professional woodworker so I have to learn so much. Your list will help me a lot.

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