How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Woodworking

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Woodworking

Apr 23rd 2019

It’s nearly impossible to involve yourself in woodworking for any length of time and not make a mistake. If you are a beginner, you are likely to make a lot of mistakes. Some of these mistakes may cost you an entire project.

However, it is possible to avoid many of these mistakes and save yourself some headaches, as well as time and money. Let’s explore some of the most common mistakes in woodworking and how you can avoid them.

Uneven Finish

Sometimes a finish may turn out blotchy because the pores in certain woods, such as cherry, take in differing amounts of the oil and have an uneven appearance. It may also be the type of finish you use and the environment in which you use it.

You can avoid this problem in two ways:

1.Use a sanding sealer or other pore-filling product to fill the pores of the wood before you apply the final finish.

2.Use a finish, such as varnish or shellac, that sits on top of the wood rather than absorbing into it.

Drawers or Doors That Won’t Close

Believe it or not, the reason your drawers or doors won’t fit is because you followed your drawings. When you build the main unit of a cabinet, your measurements may be slightly off as you measure and cut. When you try to put the drawer together, small inconsistencies can add up to enough of a difference in overall size to make your drawer not fit correctly.

The solution is simple: wait to make the drawers or doors until after the main drawer unit is complete. Then disregard the dimensions on the plan and work from the finished drawer. This ensures your drawer or door dimensions match those of the carcass.

A Wobbling Table

When you complete a table, you may find it wobbles. To avoid this problem, cut all the legs to the exact same length. Put them on a panel-cutting jig, and run them all through the table saw at the same time. Make sure you get the table square when you glue it.

Fuzzy Wood

Some woods, such as birch, may turn fuzzy when you sand them too much. This is when the fibers of the wood tear and create hairlike fuzz on the surface of the wood. You don’t want to stain or topcoat wood in that condition. The way to avoid fuzzy wood is to make sure you don’t sand with a paper finer than 150 grit, and never use a scraper.

Joints That Don’t Fit Together

The reason the joints do not fit together is probably because you have joints that are too tight, or you pulled the joint together only part way and are experiencing a lock up.

To avoid overly tight joints, always dry fit first. If you have to, pound or moderately tap the joint together with a mallet—you need to loosen the joint before you add glue to it. If your joint is a mortise-and-tenon, shave down the tenon slightly until you’re able to pull the joint together by hand or with minimal tapping.

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