Woodworking – Hobby to Career

woodworking-carpentry-careersIf you love working with wood, you can certainly turn this hobby into a satisfying and lucrative career. The main function of any woodworker is to create and repair crafts made from lumber.

Carpenters will be required to use hand and power tools to build, remodel and repair anything made from wood. In addition, the mind of a professional carpenter is always thinking of inventive ways to make a working environment more efficient.

They may be called upon to build scaffolding or sturdy platforms, to aid other areas of construction to run smoothly.

man assembling a cabinetCabinet makers are always in high demand, especially for their custom work. Kitchen cabinets, closets and office furniture are just a few of the types of projects that a cabinet maker can expect to be engaged in.

In addition, they may be responsible for planning (creating a blueprint), constructing, installing and repairing cabinets. Installing hinges, draw pulls and latches, also fall under a cabinet makers job description.

Finishers are the people that smooth, fill, treat and finish the piece (usually furniture) before it leaves the shop. Finishers not only work with new pieces, but also with antiques.

A quality finisher will usually take a piece apart for thorough inspection, evaluation, and conduct any repairs (including bleaching, stripping and sanding the wood, as necessary).

woodworker shaping a spindle on a lathe.

Other careers that revolve around wood include (but certainly not limited to): loggers, lumberjacks, wood carvers, home and/or boat builders or a Luthier (someone who builds original musical instruments).

In addition to the above mentioned careers, teaching is also a great way to earn a solid income and share your love of woodworking with a new generation.

To start your own business, it is advised to first create a unique website, and then follow up with other marketing techniques such as: trade shows, flea markets and newspaper ads.

If you are honest and continue to produce quality work, your business will naturally grow. It is important to not take on more than you can handle, and always be honest with your customers.

For instance, if you estimate that an order will take two weeks to complete, clearly communicate this timeline with your potential customer. In addition, when scheduling time to complete a project (paid order) don’t forget to factor in potential set-backs, and schedule much needed family time.

Final Word

Yes, you can make a living by turning your love of woodworking into a viable career.? The secret is to focus on your strengths and your greatest passion. For instance, if you prefer spending time carving, then that is the area you should dedicate your time and focus.

The Woodworking Art of Dovetailing

Connected dovetailed wood piecesWhen examining cabinets, frames and other wood furniture that would require interlocking joints, you may see dovetails.

Dovetailing is one way to secure two pieces of wood together (without the use of nails), while at the same time adding a creative touch to your projects. Dovetailing means that corner joints fit together like a jigsaw puzzle that provides tensile strength.

You can create a dovetail joint by cutting a series of pins that will interlock with a series of tails, extending from one end on one board into the end of the other board that you wish to connect.

Dovetailing is a tell-tail sign of the age of a piece of furniture. The older the piece of furniture, the wider spaced and larger the dovetails are. Basically, the older and cruder the woodworking tools were, the older the furniture is.

A dovetail joint creation is made easier by a dovetail machine. These joints, which are shaped like the rear feathers of a dove, secure two 90-degree wood angles together.

It is both wonderful and sad that the advancement in the woodworking industry allows for more accurate precision, and wood furniture can be made more quickly.

In recent years, many furniture companies are mass producing furniture, and to save money and labor, many parts are interchangeable (hence they need to be identical). For this reason alone, dovetails are no longer a common practice in making furniture.

Types of common dovetails include:

Half Blind dovetailHalf-blind dovetail

Craftsmen use half blind dovetails when they want to hide the end grain from being seen from the front of the project. This type of tail is commonly used to connect the sides of drawers to the front of the drawers. These are also known as, “false fronts”, to cabinets.

Secret Mitered Dovetail

These are also commonly referred to as “mitered blind dovetails”, and they are used in high quality cabinetry, adding strength to the project, yet are totally hidden from sight.

Sliding dovetail

Sliding dovetail joints are one of the most versatile of the dovetails. This is used when you are looking to add shelving to a bookcase or some other type wooden structure requiring the interlocking strength of the dovetail. Two boards are joined together at right angles at the intersection of one of the boards that is not the end.

These sliding dovetails are built simply by sliding the tail into the socket that is usually tapered to make the rear of the joint tighter. However, the joints slide easily together. When completed, this tighter joint will add more strength to the finished product.

Full-Blind dovetail

This are also known as “French dovetailed” when used in the construction of drawers to provide strength.

The dovetail is now considered the sign of a craftsman, no matter the type, whereas in the past, a dovetail would have been covered in veneer. With a new piece of furniture, a dovetail is a sign of quality, and that a craftsman put the time into creating it, with an older piece it can be used to guess age.

Woodworking – Hobby to Career

working with woodIf you love working with wood, you can certainly turn this hobby into a satisfying and lucrative career. The main function of any woodworker is to create and repair crafts made from lumber.

Carpenters will be required to use hand and power tools to build, remodel and repair anything made from wood. In addition, the mind of a professional carpenter is always thinking of inventive ways to make a working environment more efficient.

They may be called upon to build scaffolding or sturdy platforms, to aid other areas of construction to run smoothly.

Cabinet makers are always in high demand, especially for their custom work. Kitchen cabinets, closets and office furniture are just a few of the types of projects that a cabinet maker can expect to be engaged in.

In addition, they may be responsible for planning (creating a blueprint), constructing, installing and repairing cabinets. Installing hinges, draw pulls and latches, also fall under a cabinet makers job description.

professional woodworking projectFinishers are the people that smooth, fill, treat and finish the piece (usually furniture) before it leaves the shop. Finishers not only work with new pieces, but also with antiques.

A quality finisher will usually take a piece apart for thorough inspection, evaluation, and conduct any repairs (including bleaching, stripping and sanding the wood, as necessary).

Other careers that revolve around wood include (but certainly not limited to): loggers, lumberjacks, wood carvers, home and/or boat builders or a Luthier (someone who builds original musical instruments).

In addition to the above mentioned careers, teaching is also a great way to earn a solid income and share your love of woodworking with a new generation.

To start your own business, it is advised to first create a unique website, and then follow up with other marketing techniques such as: trade shows, flea markets and newspaper ads. If you are honest and continue to produce quality work, your business will naturally grow.

It is important to not take on more than you can handle, and always be honest with your customers. For instance, if you estimate that an order will take two weeks to complete, clearly communicate this timeline with your potential customer.

In addition, when scheduling time to complete a project (paid order) don’t forget to factor in potential set-backs, and schedule much needed family time.

Final Word

Yes, you can make a living by turning your love of woodworking into a viable career.? The secret is to focus on your strengths and your greatest passion. For instance, if you prefer spending time carving, then that is the area you should dedicate your time and focus.

The Importance of Dust Collectors

Dust Collector set upDust collection systems are designed for one purpose, and that is to keep your workshop clean and free of sawdust. A good dust collector needs to have a strong air flow and a powerful motor.

Any woodworking shop knows that the initial investment in quality equipment is significant, so it would be illogical not to have a dust collector system in place to protect your employees, and also to avoid the deterioration of the machines that can (and will) prematurely break down due clogging by saw dust.

Worker Safety

Wood dust is inhaled by employees and many respiratory issues are likely to occur. Allergies and asthma are common among people that are exposed to saw dust on a regular basis. In addition to eye, ear, throat and nose irritation and possible skin rashes. Although rare, dust from wood has been linked to nasal cancer.

Any woodworker knows that there is a considerable amount of sawdust that is created when power tools are used. Dust collection systems can be portable, stationary, small or industrial in size. Therefore, there is a type of dust collector for your workshop.

How Dust Colletors WorkSweeping wood waste (small particles) with a broom and dust pan may seem like a good alternative, but in reality it adds more sawdust into the air.

Some woodworkers may believe that commercial style vacuum cleaners are sufficient in controlling dust that is created by cutting wood, but unfortunately the filtration system does not trap all the micro-wood particles that can cause allergies and respiratory problems.

Not investing in a quality dust collection system will be more costly, as tiny wood chips and dust will not only slow production (because of constant machine maintenance and reduced staff due to illness), but due to the health risks, insurance rates may be higher.

Things to consider when deciding on a dust collection system

Small dust collectorYour financial budget is of course a major consideration, as is the location of your machinery and the noise level. Selecting the size of the unit/system is also important, as you don’t want to invest in a system that is insufficient for your workspace.

You will need to calculate the air-volume requirements for each machine in your shop, and then decide the type of hookup (such as a PVC pipe, metal duct or flexible hose).

Knowing the type of particles that need to be eliminated from the atmosphere is also important, because finer dust particles need more of a filtration system than larger wood chips. On the other hand, wood chips need a larger storage area in the unit than sawdust requires.

Another major considerations are fire codes and safety issues.

CNC Router Machines & Kits

CNC router machineThe difference between a CNC router machine and hand held router, is the fact that the tool follows a path via a computer control, instead of being guided by hand.

There are two software programs involved: CAD (which makes the designs) and the CAM (which communicates these designs to the machine).

This computer controlled machine is ideal for cutting a variety of material, such as steel, aluminum, plastic, foams, composites and wood.

The sizes and configurations of a CNC router vary drastically, from the small desktop version, to the industrial size – which is often used in boat and cabinet making shops.

Even though the sizes may differ, there are some CNC router parts that are common among all machines:

Controller

A CNC router machine is usually controlled via a computer and specific software, but it can also be controlled manually. On the control panel you may find a “reset” button, a manual control switch and a “stop” button for an emergency shut- down of the machinery.

Spindle

The spindle is the part of the CNC machinery that does the actual cutting. Spindles are categorized by their power output. The speed of the spindle is dependent upon the type of material being cut.

Linear Guides

Linear guides, also referred to as rail systems or linear block guides, basically leads the spindle in the direction of the axis, with little or no friction. The rail guides the blocks, and allows for a smooth ride as the load is moved.

Simply think of this concept as a roller coaster – the “rail” is the track, and the “block” being the cars traveling along the track.

CNC Router Kits

CNC router kitThere are a few things to consider before purchasing a CNC router kit, and the first being the size needed for your project. For example, will you be cutting guitar shells from wood? Or building a canoe? Or processing the same template all day?

It is recommended to think about the largest piece you plan to cut, and to plan your router kits based on that measurement. In addition, the workshop area may also be a factor in your decision making process.

Some will come with a computer, while other kits will only have the software included. For this reason, it is important that you know your computer needs before making the purchase.

A quality kit should come with a variety of bits. In some kits, there will be a feature that will change bits automatically (but expect to pay extra for this convenient feature).

Before your final decision is made, it is important to notice the speed that is included within the CNC router kit. A slower machine may initially save you some money, but if you need to meet deadlines of large quantities of product per day – it may be more cost effective to purchase a quicker cutting machine. A slower CNC router is fine for a hobbyist, who is looking to save money and does not have a tight deadline to meet.

Final Word

A CNC router machine is a boring machine, panel saw and spindle moulder, all wrapped up in one great machine. It not only reduces waste and errors, but it allows a finished product to get into the public market, in a shorter period of time.

The products created with the assistance of this machinery are numerous, they include (but certainly not limited to): musical instruments, furniture, doors, frames, paneling and decorative carvings.

Exploring CNC Routers

CNC routerModern machine tool technology has allowed for many different types of CNC routers to come about. Each piece of equipment has it’s practical use, but knowing which is best for your needs can be difficult.

Below, we go into detail regarding all types of router and accessories. Read along to learn what type of machinery will best fit your machining needs.

Types of CNC Routers

Industrial CNC routers make up approximately 80% of all the CNC routers that are currently in circulation, as many large companies that specialize in woodworking own several of these machines, to meet the deadlines and mass productions of their product (signs, doors and furniture). They are costly, but are built to endure long hours of continuous operation, which justifies the price for businesses.

Mid-range routers are perfect for businesses that produce much less product (such as sign makers and manufacturers of guitars/musical instruments), and also for the enthusiast/hobbyist. This machine is a grade lower than the industrial CNC router, and although they deliver the same quality of precision, the machine is lighter and much smaller than its “big brother”.

Multi Axis CNC Routers are effective when three dimensional cuts are necessary. Four and 5 axis CNC routers provide more variety and flexibility to the operator, and produce a true 3D cut. These types of CNC routers are usually found in artistic industries, and when quick prototyping is needed.

5 axis CNC routerIt is not very difficult to operate a 5 axis CNC router. The planned finished product is plugged into a computer (usually forming a 3-D visual model). This completed visual model is then communicated (transferred) to the CNC router, and the carving begins according to the specific instructions that had been programmed into the computer by the operator.

Primarily found in medium to large size factories that focus on wood production, a standard 5 axis CNC router is a very large piece of equipment that costs tens of thousands of dollars (U.S. currency), which virtually makes it impossible for this to be a machine for a hobbyist, who works out of their garage or home-based workshop.

On the positive side, thanks to their large size, 5 axis cnc routers have the ability to carve a material/workpiece that is several feet higher and wider than the machine.

Parts of a Standard CNC Router

Motor (either powered by electric or air). The base plate extends off the motor, and the shaft is found extended from the motor and through the base plate. One end of the shaft, the collet, holds the bit (cutting tool) in place.

CNC Router Table

A computerized numerical control (CNC) router table consists of the combination of a moveable frame, flat work area, and router that is operated via a computer.

CNC routers are used to trim, cut and shape material, such as soft metal, wood and types of plastics, in addition to having the ability to etch three-dimensional designs onto the surface material.

A CNC router table can move back and forth on the X-axis or be stationary. Tables that are categorized as stationary, usually have a gantry (motorized frame) that is mounted under the base that freely moves along the X-axis.

Wood is the most common type of work piece used, but polyurethane and plastic are also common types of material that are found on a CNC router table.

CNC Router Bits

CNC Router Bits

Router bits are classified as profile, helical and fluted, and range in diameter from .2 inches to .5 inches.

Bits rotate at very high speeds (up to 30,000 spins per minute), and depending on the designated cuts, many bit shapes are available (including spiral, round and long bits with a knife type head).

The Increased Efficiency of Woodworking Architects

Possibly one of the most difficult building professions in the industry is that of a woodworking architect.? During the installation process, after building and completing a specific woodworking project, there is very little room for technical error.

Although this has always been a constant in the industry, some woodworking installations like wood molding, veneer paneling and casework development have always been more lenient in this regard.?These specific areas have always presented more room for adjustments and modifications to enable unplanned corrections when it comes to plumbing and electrical additions.

A New Age Of Woodworking

Woodworking architecture Nowadays, the industry of woodworking has been reinvented as architects are doing a lot more with their unique skills.? This was more than obvious when woodworkers gathered at the 61st annual Architectural Woodworking convention.? Believe it or not, woodworkers are now expected to work with a wide range of materials that include ceramic, glass, acrylic and metal.

By working with these new materials, these specialized workers are now establishing their future by diversifying their skills. While this seems like a dream come true for woodworkers, many industry experts are identifying this change has a potential risk.? This is true because many feel that woodworking projects add the most value where jobs that include mounting and shaping do not.

Project Management

In addition, many different woodworkers feel that they are becoming more like a project manager when there is no wood architecture involved in a specific project.? In fact, one industry executive has been reported as saying, “When there is not enough wood in it, we find ourselves becoming project managers”. On top of this, other projects that do not involve wood are becoming much more time consuming.

When a particular job involves granite or steel products, they are not frequently shaped and cut on the job site.? This is causing pre-assembly to occur on different job sites and even creating a new professional niche for this type of production.? The one positive upside of this new potential industry is that the actual installation has started to be much more effective and efficient.

The Future Of The Woodworking Industry

Another big factor that is changing the woodworking industry is technology and information exchange.? This includes wireless connectivity between offices or plants, social media communications, computer system upgrades and centralized email.? Because of the generation of technology, a member of the AWI is quoted as saying, “I have a general manager on a building project who is 26.? This is how the next generation communicates”.

A company in Salt Lake City, Utah, called Fetzer Architectural Woodwork is responsible for wiring the plant headquarters to a central Bluetooth system at a relatively low cost.? In addition, the plant headquarters had many different computer towers that are fully equipped with SIM cards that allow each employee to read and report critical information in live, real time.

Regardless of the next job or project, the industry of woodworking has quickly been revamped to include a wide range of different building responsibilities. Reference:www.woodworkingnetwork.com

Find your new or used woodworking equipment for sale here.

Resaw Machines: The Versatility of Resaws

Resaw Machines

Resaw Machine

Resaw machines are basically a large band saw that uses a thin, wide blade that moves continuously in one direction to cut lumber lengthwise along the grain of the wood. Unlike a typical band saw, these saws are designed to straight cut lumber only. These machines can be used to cut logs in half, but can also be used for smaller jobs such as cutting boards in half lengthwise. This can be handy if you want thinner boards, but what practical application do resaws have to offer?

Resaw Machines: Practical application

Resaws are used in shops to cut thinner boards to be used as flooring, roofing, etc. These machines are also capable of cutting very thin layers from boards and logs to be used as veneer.

Besides cutting the lumber to the desired width, the sawing machine can be equipped with a special blade with some teeth bend inward toward the cutting surface which is used to cut along the woods surface, leaving it with a rustic look. This blade does not cut more than 1/8th of an inch off the woods surface and is not designed to cut lumber thinner like typical resaw equipment. The blade still runs along the board widthwise, however.

Now, the practical application of such a sawed board may not be obvious. These rustic looking boards can be used for flooring, inside walls, and ceilings to give the inside of a home or building a certain rustic look that many people find appealing.

How Resaw Machines Work

Resaw Machines

Resaws typically look like an oversized band saw and are equipped with a thin blade, mounted on 2 or more powered wheels, that is wider than a standard band saw blade and designed to make long straight cuts through lumber. The blade has a small kerf, or cutting width, which cuts most efficiently by removing the smallest amount of wood from the lumber while being cut, thus minimizing waste.

The lumber can be fed into the saw either manually or by way of a conveyor system or power feeder. The thickness of the lumber to be cut is controlled by adjustable guides to ensure the uniformity of all cuts made.

Types of Resaws

The most basic and traditional resaw machine has already been discussed; it looks similar to an oversized band saw. Other types of resaw

The History of the Lathe – Woodworking and Metalworking Lathes

Woodworking Lathe

History of the Lathe

The history of the lathe machine for woodworking can be traced back several thousand years. The earliest woodworking lathes date back to around 1300 BC when the ancient Egyptians first used a two person lathe. It was operated by one person turning the wood piece with a rope, while the second person used a sharp tool to carve into the woods surface.

These simple machines are widely believed to be the first machine tools created. This simple design was later improved upon by the ancient Romans who replaced the rope with a bow to improve the turning process.

Later, during the middle ages, a foot pedal was introduced and hand operation was replaced. This style of machine is known as a spring pole and was commonly used until the early 20th century. This was a major advantage to the wood craftsman because he could now use both hands to hold and guide tools.

The first continuously revolving mechanical lathe on record was depicted in a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, C. 1480. A treadle lathe with a crankshaft and a large wooden flywheel is shown in his sketch. It was likely that the creation of such a fascinating machine caught da Vinci