Carpenter and joiner are respected professions with roots going back centuries. As is known from sacred texts, both Jesus and his adoptive father Joseph were carpenters. And also – the Russian Emperor Peter I, who studied this craft in Holland, and then in Britain, where, according to the autocrat, shipbuilding was better. “Forever I would have remained an apprentice if I hadn’t done it properly in England,” wrote Peter. Of the most famous masters, our contemporaries, it is worth mentioning the Hollywood star Harrison Ford. When the profession of an artist completely ceased to generate income, he took up carpentry. “This work contrasted very much with my previous occupation, which attracted me,” the actor recalls. — For eight years, starting from the late sixties, I made cabinets, furniture, rebuilt houses. It was great! I saw the result of the work with my own eyes. In general, I decided: no more roles until something significant turns up. Even though I spent 15 years in the movie business, I started making money when I became a carpenter.” And until now, Ford loves to retire in his workshop in his free time. A lot of things in the actor’s house are made by his hands. Moreover, these are not rough crafts, but real, difficult to manufacture furniture made of precious wood.
“Every business has a special smell: The bakery smells like dough and pastry. You go past the carpenter’s workshop, – It smells of shavings and a fresh board, ”wrote Gianni Rodari. There are few people who do not like the smell of wood – resinous and tart. Maybe that’s why joinery and carpentry has become an exciting hobby for many. Products of different quality come out of home workshops: someone is not ready to decide on something more complicated than a shelf or bench, while others reach quite professional heights. And if the smell of freshly cut wood enthralls you, it’s time to pick up a hacksaw and try to make something yourself. After all, in any craft, the main thing is to start.
The most interesting thing is that by trying to do something with your own hands, you will join the worldwide DIY movement. This abbreviation stands for Do It Yourself – “do it yourself”. There are followers of the movement not only among home craftsmen, but also among equipment manufacturers. Now, for those who like to do something with their own hands, they produce a lot of devices that make work easier and allow you to do what you love even in a city apartment.
So, you have decided to try your hand at making some simple home furniture. What do you need first? Working with wood is a pretty dusty job. Therefore, the ideal place for him is a workshop. But a separate hobby room is too much luxury, inaccessible to most city dwellers. What if your hands are already itching at the sight of a hacksaw? A good way out is to find a workshop on the Internet that offers master classes in joinery and carpentry. There you will be taught to hold a tool in your hands and observe safety precautions, and you will not be ashamed to show your friends the first stool made under the supervision of a master. But if the crunch of fresh chips under your feet completely turned your head, you will have to solve the issue of a place for the first workbench.
In principle, with the development of the DIY culture, it became possible to equip a hobby corner in an apartment. A folding or collapsible workbench with a vise, a minimum set of necessary tools, a piece of cellophane and a vacuum cleaner may well solve the problems of a novice carpenter living in a city apartment. But, if you swung at something more complicated than a stool, get ready for the fact that your family will begin to grumble. In this case, it is best to equip the workshop in a garage or in the country.
Suppose that the issue is resolved with the place, and with what products is it better to start your carpentry career? Let’s ask a specialist about it. “The first few lessons are spent on learning how to properly hold and use tools in your hands,” says Nikolai Shnyakin, head of the workshop where they give lessons to beginners. — This is important, because our business is quite traumatic. Then, under the guidance of the master, the student makes something from simple products of his choice. It can be a picture frame, a bench, a hanger in the hallway or a stool.”
Pine, birch and oak
Different types of wood behave differently. And they are designed for different purposes. Cottage furniture can be crafted from soft pine, while hard woods such as beech or oak are suitable for fine chests of drawers and luxurious writing desks. Of course, the best material for a beginner carpenter is softwood. But if you think that the texture of birch or linden is better for your idea, you can take this wood – it is not much more difficult to process than pine. You can swing at oak only after mastering the skill to perfection, such wood species require special accuracy and a different quality of tools.
Recently, loft and craft design styles have become widespread. Their advantages for a beginner are obvious: furniture and other interior details do not have to be carefully processed, on the contrary, flaws and imperfections are signs of these styles. Wooden pallets from cargo pallets, old water pipes, uneven, uncut boards and other similar material are used to create furniture. Manufacturers of such furniture especially appreciate the details found in old houses, wood with several layers of paint, which does not need to be specially “aged”, but just needs to be cleaned a little.
And more about the material: for utilitarian purposes, you can use such a “semi-finished product” as a furniture board. It consists of specially glued bars. It is convenient to design tables, racks and even cabinets from shields. If the design issue is not acute, and you need to use a non-standard place in the apartment where ready-made furniture does not fit, such shields will become a lifesaver. Just keep in mind that it is better to assemble structures from this material on dowels – wooden substitutes for nails and screws.
Attention to detail
Another important component of your new hobby is fittings. These are handles, hinges, locks, corners and other functional and not so furniture elements. The choice of accessories in stores is very large, and here everyone is guided by their own taste. It is worth noting only that plastic parts are not suitable for products in the loft and craft style, it is better to look for metal or wooden ones. Incorrectly selected fittings can “kill” beautiful furniture, and the right one can advantageously emphasize the merits of design and divert attention from design errors.
Wood is one of the most environmentally friendly materials. But during the processing, dust is formed, which is dangerous to inhale. If you have already mastered power tools, you need to work in a respirator and goggles. Another indispensable attribute of a carpenter is gloves with a protective rubber coating or leather. After all, picking up a splinter while working with a tree is as easy as shelling pears. Well, the most dangerous: cutting tools. If sticking a finger under a planer is quite problematic, then injuries when using a circular saw, a miter saw and a jigsaw are not uncommon. Despite the fact that all power tools have protection mechanisms, they should be used only after getting used to work under the guidance of a specialist. And do not rely on video tutorials, which are now a lot on the Internet. Here, as in music – you need to “put your hand.”
So, your craving for beauty led you to a carpentry workbench. Nowadays, it is not necessary to have a strict mentor in order to improve in skill. It is enough to master the basics of the craft under the guidance of a specialist, learn not to put your fingers under the rotating teeth and boldly set off for free swimming. There are a huge number of forums on the Internet where you can chat with amateurs and professionals, and on YouTube you will find many workshops on making a wide variety of furniture. Download drawings, buy material and go to your first stool! Who knows, maybe you are the future?
A beginner carpenter can get by with the following tools:
- Electric jigsaw
- Chisels, screwdrivers and hammers
- Rulers and squares
- miter box
- Wood glue
- Wood saw
- Sandpaper clip
- A stool that is not a pity
A simple design that will let you test your skills.
You will need an old board about 15 cm wide, a liter jar with a metal lid, a light bulb holder with a wire of suitable length, 3 m4 self-tapping screws, sandpaper.
Tools: a hacksaw for wood, scissors for metal, an M8 and M4 drill, a drill or a screwdriver, a screwdriver, a tape measure, a pencil.
Mark the board into two unequal parts so that the jar fits in length and depth in your future sconce. Saw off blanks. Treat their edges and surface with sandpaper. Drill an 8mm hole in the center of the short piece of board for the wire. Drill the same hole at the top of the long piece. Mark a hole for the lamp holder on the lid of the jar, drill with the same drill and cut a large diameter hole with metal shears (you will need scissors with short cutting edges). Drill with an M4 drill in a long section of the board on the reverse side through holes for self-tapping screws and assemble the wooden part of the lamp. Screw the cover to the socket with the wire, screw in the light bulb and assemble the sconces. If desired, you can cover the wooden parts with furniture wax or stain. Best of all, such a lamp will fit into the country interior, where it can be attached with screws directly to the wall.