Understanding woodworking

The demands of industry and changes in modern technology have altered the field of woodwork. For instance, the invention of Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) Machines has allowed us to mass-produce and reproduce goods more quickly, with less waste, and frequently with designs that are more intricate than before. To make signage or artwork, CNC wood routers can carve intricate, extremely detailed forms into flat board. Rechargeable power tools make many projects faster to complete and require far less physical effort than in the past, such as when boring numerous holes. However, many people continue to pursue the craft of skilled fine woodworking. Although there is still a market for handcrafted goods like furniture and artwork, the price for consumers has increased due to production costs and rate. However, Woodworking is the skill of making items from wood, and includes cabinet making (cabinetry and furniture), wood carving, joinery, carpentry, and woodturning.

Understanding woodworking

Read more: Understanding wood

Well, in this article, the following questions about woodworking will be answered.

  • What is woodworking?
  • Who are woodworkers?
  • What are some common woodworking terminology?
  • What are the most common softwood and hardwood material used in woodworking?
  • What are the things to consider when choosing woodworking material?
  • What are the hand tools and power tools used in woodworking?
  • What are the types of woodworking?
  • What is the difference between woodworking and carpentry?
  • What is the difference between between cabinet making and furniture making?


Now, let’s dive in!


What is woodworking?

Making things out of wood is known as woodworking, which includes the crafts of woodcarving, joinery, carpentry, and woodturning. in addition, Making furniture out of wood, including cabinets, beautiful tables, musical instruments, bowls, and more, is known as woodworking. It includes skills like woodturning, joinery, and carving. Basic woodworking abilities may be picked up quite easily, and you will learn new techniques with each job.

Early humans employed wood as one of their first materials for tools and utensils, and the evolution of some features of modern human life is directly related to this usage of the material. It is known that wood was employed in early civilization to create objects such as hunting tools, jars, coffins, seats, and idols. As civilization has developed, so too has the craft of carpentry. While the principles haven’t changed much, woodworkers are leveraging contemporary technology to produce new tools and equipment and make more complex projects.

Who are woodworkers?

There were once two preconceived notions about woodworkers. The grumpy shop teacher who forced youngsters who didn’t want to be in class to go, and the retired grandfather who idled in his garage for long periods of time occasionally building a birdhouse. Thank goodness, those prejudices are no longer valid. Woodworking has never been more diverse than it is today, thanks to online networks and the low cost of tools and materials.

There has been a sharp increase in two groups of people who enjoy woodworking over the past ten years. Women first. An unique female woodworker wasn’t that long ago. Woodworkers who are women are frequent today. Nothing about woodworking is beyond the capabilities of anyone. Millennials, or people in their 20s and 30s, have experienced the second significant demographic increase. I frequently hear from people who work in Silicon Valley or simply have office jobs and feel the need to create things by hand.

Read more: Understanding wood structural panels

What are some common woodworking terminology?

Some common terminology used in woodworking field or by woodworkers include:

  • Jointing
  • Planing
  • Routing
  • Sawing
  • Drilling
  • Gluing
  • Sanding
  • Finishing



Wooden boards’ edges are jointed in preparation for being glued to another board. It is frequently applied to angled connections as well as flat surfaces.


Using a planer machine or manual tool, planing is used to smooth and remove extra material from wooden surfaces.


Wood is shaped, chopped, and trimmed during the routing process. Using a router—often used to carve grooves in cabinets and furniture—a technique known as finishing generates completed edges and forms.


The first step in almost all woodworking projects is to saw down the wood. Saws come in a wide variety of designs and are utilized for various applications.


A drill and bit are used to drill holes into the wood during drilling. The drill bit is rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise by the drill driver. The size of the hole you need to make, the material you’re dealing with, or the bit’s speed will all affect what kind of drill bits you use. There are 47 various sizes of typical drill bits, and the range of drill bit sizes varies greatly amongst them.


A larger piece of wood can be made by gluing two or more smaller pieces of wood together. When two pieces of wood are properly bonded together, the glued connection is more durable than the wood itself.


Sanding is a finishing method that uses sandpaper to smooth the wood’s surface. Sanding by woodworkers frequently begins with a medium grit and progresses to a finer grit for finishing.


Applying a penetrating finish or a surface finish to a wooden surface allows you to refine or protect it.


What are the most common softwood and hardwood material used in woodworking?

The followings are the common softwood used in woodworking or by woodworker: 

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Pine



Western red cedar, the most popular variety, is a strong, aromatic softwood that can withstand exposure to the elements. Western red cedar is frequently utilized for outdoor projects such as patios, outdoor furniture, and building exteriors because it can withstand moist environments without succumbing to decay. Most home centers in the United States and Canada carry this wood at a reasonable price.


Fir, often called as Douglas fir, is widely available and reasonably priced at nearby home centers in the USA. It has a distinctive reddish-brown colour and straight, noticeable grain. However, because of its relatively basic grain pattern and poor staining properties, fir is frequently employed when the end product will be painted. This softwood is typically used for construction, but it would also work well for furniture.


Common species used to make furniture include southern yellow pine, white pine, and ponderosa pine. Southern yellow pine is advised for outdoor projects because to its durability, whereas white pine and ponderosa are frequently utilized for indoor work.

Read more: Properties of wood

The followings are the common hard used in woodworking or by woodworker: 

  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Cherry
  • Mahogany
  • Oak
  • Maple



Although this hardwood is quite simple to work with and absorbs stain well, its straight grain and white to light brown hue make it attractive on its own. Ash, on the other hand, is more harder to find than other common woods and is not available at your neighborhood home improvement store. It ought to be stocked at bigger lumber yards.


The European species Fagus sylvatica is a hardwood that is frequently used for plywood, musical instruments (drum shells and piano blocks), turned objects like knobs, and furniture carcase construction.


These hardwoods, whether yellow or white birch, are reliable and simple to deal with. Despite this, painting birch products is probably the best option because birch is prone to blotting when stained. Birch is a readily available and reasonably priced hardwood that can be obtained at many home centers.


Cherry is a popular and convenient wood that is in high demand due to its reddish-brown color and simplicity of staining and polishing. Cherry is probably not going to be at your neighborhood home improvement store, but it should be available at a lumberyard for a fair price. This hardwood is frequently used to make furniture and is durable enough to withstand normal wear and tear, but it works best for indoor pieces.


Mahogany is a hardwood that is referred to as “one of the great furniture woods” and has a distinctive reddish-brown to deep red colour. However, because mahogany is rarely farmed in sustainable forests, it is very expensive at nearby lumberyards.


Oak comes in two types, red and white, and is known for being quite robust and simple to deal with. However, because of its appealing shape and moisture resistance, white oak is frequently chosen over red oak by furniture makers. Depending on the type required, oak may be more expensive than other hardwoods and can likely be purchased at a nearby home center or lumberyard.


With its strength, sturdiness, and longevity, maple is a typical material for china cabinets as well as bedroom furniture. Because it resists moisture and frequently has distinctive swirls in the wood grain, maple stands out from other hardwoods in an appealing way. Although it is often a lighter shade, maple may also be painted and takes stains well.

What are the things to consider when choosing woodworking material?

When determining the kind of wood to use for a project, there are numerous things to take into account.

  • The versatility of the wood to be worked with tools or by hand, the quality of the grain, and how it reacts to adhesives and finishes are some of its most crucial characteristics.
  • When wood is highly workable, it offers less resistance to cutting and has less of an impact on blunting instruments. Highly workable wood can be more easily shaped into the required shape.
  • Strong and long-lasting glued joints will be much simpler to make if the wood grain is straight and even. It will also aid in preventing the wood from splitting when it is fastened or bolted.
  • To obtain a smooth product from coarse grains, a time-consuming technique of filing and rubbing the grain is necessary.
  • The durability of the wood, particularly with regard to moisture, is another crucial aspect. The wood needs to be very resilient to prevent rot if the finished project will be exposed to moisture (such as outdoor projects), excessive humidity, or condensation (such as in kitchens or bathrooms). Many tropical hardwoods, like teak and mahogany, are preferred for these uses due to their oily properties.

Wood with good working properties include agba, alda, basswood, obeah, pine, western cedar,

Read more: Types of wood and their uses

What are the hand tools and power tools used in woodworking?

Different types of tools are needed for different types of woodworking. For woodworking, both hand tools and power tools are employed. Power tools are a popular choice among contemporary woodworkers since they make their work easier and faster. However, for a variety of reasons, including the experience and the way it gives the work more character, many people still want to just use hand tools. Others choose to do so for personal enjoyment.

Hand tools

The followings are the common types of hand tools used by woodworker:

Clamps – A workpiece is held while being worked on with clamps. Clamps come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, from tiny c-clamps to enormous bar or strap clamps.

Chisels – Chisels are tools with a handle, a long blade, and a cutting edge. utilized to cut and shape wood or other materials.

Vise – A clamp can be either temporarily or permanently installed, depending on the situation. A woodworking vise is a type of vise that has been developed specifically to meet the needs of woodworkers.

Claw hammer – The most popular hammer used in woodworking is the claw hammer, which may be used to hammer, pry, and pull nails.

Hand plane –  A workpiece’s surface is finished using a hand plane.

Square – Any workpiece can be marked with an angle using the square. A ruler is also a part of an adjustable square. A speed square may use its long axis to designate any angle between 0 and 90 degrees as well as the fixed 90 and 45 degree angles.

Tape measure – A retractable or flexible ruler with measurement increments as small as 1/32″ or 1 millimeter is known as a tape measure.

Power tools

Power tools are devices that draw their energy from a source outside of themselves, such as a battery, motor, or power cable plugged into a wall outlet. The followings are the common types of power tools used in woodworking:

Drill – The drill is a device used to create a hole or to screw something into place.

Palm sander – A palm sander is a little powered sander that moves a piece of sandpaper across the workpiece in an orbital or vibrational action, smoothing out the product with extremely fine adjustments.

Compound miter sawn – A compound miter saw, commonly referred to as a chop saw, is a stationary saw used to make accurate cuts along a board’s grain. These cuts can be made at any desired angle that the specific saw can handle.

Table saw – Rip cuts, or lengthy, precise cuts made along the board’s grain pattern, are what a table saw is designed to do. The majority of table saws have the beveled rip cut option.

Thickness planer – A thickness planer is used to smooth a board’s surface and ensure that the thickness is uniform across the board.

Jointer – A jointer is used to generate a square (or 90°) edge between two adjacent surfaces and a flat surface along a board’s length.

Band saw – A band saw can cut through materials that are thicker than what a table saw can handle as well as cuts with irregular shapes. It is far more durable than the more delicate scroll saw or jigsaw, both of which are frequently used in woodworking.

Read more: Different types of wood finishes and finishing products

What are the types of woodworking?

The followings are the various types of woodworking:

  • Hand tool woodworking
  • Power tool woodworking
  • Digital woodworking
  • Blended woodworking
  • Specialty woodworking


Hand tool woodworking

In the past 20 years, hand tool woodworking has experienced a major recovery. Hand tool woodworkers prefer to construct things with traditional equipment and techniques. Anything that plugs into a wall is favored over hand saws, chisels, scrapers, and planes. Starting off can be fairly affordable, but as your abilities advance and the craze takes hold, you’ll find that a $200 precision hand plane is common.

Compared to other types of woodworkers, hand tool woodworkers arguably feel the closest connection to the process. It requires time, has a longer learning curve, builds more slowly, and is much quieter. However, the level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment might be very high.

Power tool woodworking

90% of woodworkers nowadays, in my opinion, use power tools. Plugging in tools is the focus of everything I do on this channel and in my Weekend Woodworker classes. or powering up batteries Power tools, which are widely available and can be a very economical method to start construction work right away, include miter saws, table saws, drills, and sanders. It takes much less time and requires far less ability to cut a board on a tablesaw than it does with a handsaw.

The possibility for major injuries when utilizing power tools is its biggest downside. It shouldn’t stop you from utilizing them, but you should really get familiar with safety precautions.

Digital woodworking

Digital tools have been around for a while, but in recent years, prices have decreased, making them more accessible to enthusiasts. The CNC machine, which uses a router to make precise cuts on flat slabs of wood, is the main instrument in this situation. All of your work will need to be laid out and designed using a computer, and the machine will handle the rest by cutting out all of your pieces. Even better, you don’t even need to be present when it cuts.

A laser cutter or engraver is the second item some hobbyists choose to purchase. Using this instrument, you can produce some stunning artwork with even more accurate cuts than a CNC. The biggest disadvantage of using digital equipment is its price. On these, you could easily spend thousands of dollars. You will probably still need a tablesaw and other power tools in your shop because they have limitations. Some people believe that using digital tools removes the satisfaction of crafting things by hand and makes them feel less “attached” to their woodworking.

Blended woodworking

In most establishments, you’ll find both hand tools and power tools. For instance, a hybrid method to woodworking might involve utilizing a tablesaw for the majority of cuts while hand-chiseling dovetails. Some people appreciate honing their talents in these areas since they think that hand tools provide greater accuracy and control for cutting technically challenging joints.

Specialty woodworking

Some enthusiasts, typically those with an artistic bent, specialize in one of two forms of woodworking. scrolling and woodturning. When turning wood, a lathe is used to carve bowls, spindles, and other rounded objects. Similar to shaping clay on a potter’s wheel, but using chisels and wood instead of clay. The only major drawback to start woodturning is the cost of lathes, which can be high.

Read more: Understanding wood finishing

What is the difference between woodworking and carpentry?

Although it is a little unclear, I often associate carpenters with the construction of homes and other buildings. building work. Making a house out of posts, beams, and 2x4s doesn’t strike me as woodworking. Construction of moving furniture and other items is a common focus of woodworking. However, it doesn’t really matter because many people refer to woodworkers as carpenters.

What is the difference between between cabinet making and furniture making?

Again, there is no clear distinction between these two phrases, but in my opinion, cabinet manufacturers focus primarily on the surfaces that will be seen when creating items that are permanently set into place, like your kitchen cabinets. Furniture can be placed anywhere the owner chooses, making more of the completed piece visible.

Furniture frequently employs solid wood and is typically put together using stronger joinery and glue, whereas cabinets can use more plywood than the majority of furniture and are fastened together with screws and other mechanical fasteners. Higher precision could be necessary while constructing furniture. There is, however, a great deal of overlap. With plywood and screws, I’ve created a ton of furniture, and I’ve also seen some incredible cabinetry that equals expensive furniture in quality.

Read more: Working of drilling machine on wood & metal


Woodworking is undeniable to be one of the most preferred field today as advancement in technology has brought great impact to it. In this comprehensive article, the answers to the following questions are being discussed:

  • What is woodworking?
  • Who are woodworkers?
  • What are some common woodworking terminology?
  • What are the most common softwood and hardwood material used in woodworking?
  • What are the things to consider when choosing woodworking material?
  • What are the hand tools and power tools used in woodworking?
  • What are the types of woodworking?
  • What is the difference between woodworking and carpentry?
  • What is the difference between between cabinet making and furniture making?


I hope you learned a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!