Our guide to woodwork
Kristina K

Our guide to woodwork

First published date December 03 2013 Amended date April 17 2015

From building your own bookcases and wooden stools to carrying out beautiful carvings on house decorations and artwork, woodwork is both interesting and challenging, although it’s common to stereotype it as a bit dull and too much hard work. This couldn’t be further from the truth though, it’s actually fun, rewarding and a great opportunity to show off your handiwork, and with woodwork and ornamental woodwork courses available at all levels, anyone can try it. After all, nothing empowers you more than handling different tools and executing work with precision!


Fancy a bit of DIY?

Do you potter about in the house, building your kitchen cabinets, the odd photo frame and wooden benches in preparation for summer?  Whilst carrying out your DIY projects may seem fun and fulfilling, there are bound to be frustrating moments when the pieces don’t join properly or the lifespan of your wooden chair seems shorter than it should be! Enrol on carpentry and DIY courses which are great for beginners who would like to try out a new career or even enthusiastic homeowners. Some of the qualifications are awarded by the Northern Advisory Council for Further Education (NCFE) which is well known for its friendly and high quality woodwork courses.


Become a professional woodworker

For those who already have a good amount of experience in woodwork and want to brush up their skills, the evening and part time courses available will be suitable. The classes are flexible and you can schedule them so that you can attend them after work or over the weekends. Learning something new and building your confidence is easy with the wide range of courses out there.


Carve a masterpiece

Do you admire the Balinese dragon carvings or find yourself spending hours browsing woodcarving shops? Pursue your little hobby and learn more about the ancient craft of woodwork. Create simple or intricate wooden creations with your very own hands and decorate them in your home. You won’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on complicated wooden pieces again. Not only will you be working on an interesting project, but you’ll also be honing some creative skills and building your attention to detail. Get on our wood carving courses and learn to carve, cut, whittle and shape wood into furniture, home decor and artwork.


More than just hammer and nails

Woodwork doesn’t just involve knocking and banging away with all sorts of tools. The process builds your other skills such as patience, dedication and creativity, and can be seen as a good time investment as you’ll achieve a great sense of satisfaction upon the completion of your project. Of course, your projects will also make great gifts and if you’re really talented, you could also find yourself being commissioned for custom-made work.


What will you learn?

From basic right up to advanced levels, woodwork courses will equip you with the knowledge and understanding of joinery skills, power tool identification and uses, architrave and skirting, shelving, health and safety practices, and fitting hinges. At the end of most courses, you’ll walk away with projects that you’ve worked on throughout.


The world’s longest wood carving

Chinese artist Zheng Chunhui, a famous wood carver, spent four years creating the world’s longest wooden carving at 40ft long, made from a single tree trunk. The artwork is actually a scene from the famous Chinese painting ‘Along the River during the Qingming Festival.’ The intricate work features boats, bridges, building and 550 individually carved people. The piece measures 12.286 meters long, is 3.075 meters tall at its highest point and 2.401 meters wide. The piece is currently on display in the Fujian Province, China, and has made it into the Guinness World Records as the longest continuous wooden sculpture in the world.


Woodworking tips

·         Use tape to catch excess glue – To prevent stains caused by oozing glue along joints, clamp the pieces together without glue. Put tape on the joint, then cut along it with a sharp blade. Separate the pieces, apply the glue and clamp them together again. The glue will ooze onto the tape, not the wood. Peel off the tape before the glue dries.

·         Use bright lights – Bright lights help to detect flaws in your work. This is crucial when applying finishes. Get a bright reflection right off the finish and you’ll see everything from skips, drips and brush hairs.

·         Hot glue holds small stuff better – When you have to cut, shape, file, sand or finish something small, use the hot glue gun and glue the piece to a pedestal stick. The hot glue will hold just about anything as well as or better than any clamp. When your project is complete, try to pop it loose with a putty knife, but don’t use too much force to avoid tearing out the wood or breaking the piece.


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