Woodworking Mistakes


Avoid these 4 common mistakes and build anything cheaper, faster, and without headaches or injury

Woodworking can be the perfect combination of relaxation, challenge, and fun. But it can also be very frustrating. Here are 4 common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1

Fast into sloppy. Going too fast is a common trap woodworkers fall into. When you rush projects you not only risk messing up your work, but you also risk injury. Keep in mind that hurry is the main cause of accidents in woodworking. If you find yourself wanting to hurry things up, simply force yourself to slow down, or take a break. Remember, you’ll lose more time in the long run if you have to repair a mistake, or worse patch up a wound.

Mistake 2

Blotchy stains. Blotchy stains make any wood project look amateurish. But it’s easy to avoid. First, use a sample board for a quick test of the finish you want to use. Secondly, before coloring the wood, apply a light coat of shellack thinned to a 1-lb cut (use a premixed 3-lb-cut shellac and combine it with denatured alcohol in a 3:2 ratio). If the damage is already done, you need to remove the stain and start over. Strip, sand, or both.

Mistake 3

Excessive sanding. Excessive sanding can make wood look fuzzy. Look closer and you’ll see that it’s the wood’s fibers that have shredded. To correct the problem you need to go down a polish or two with the sandpaper and sand it out. Another remedy is to use a scuff pad or folded piece of fine steel wool and make a couple of quick passes, which usually removes most of the fuzz.

Mistake 4

Bad plans. Woodworking plans should be accurate, easy to read, and make sense. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for woodworking plans to be of low quality. Especially the ones you get from magazines. They skip over many important parts, and their diagrams are sometimes confusing, unclear, or even wrong. So you want to make sure you get the best plans possible. The keywords are accuracy and clarity. Also, a good plan should include a materials list for the project, including the type and quality of wood required, plus the tools necessary for the successful completion of the job.

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