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Good Projects for Beginning Woodworkers

By Editorial Staff

by Info Guru Angela K. Van Winkle

Woodworking is a fun and rewarding hobby; there’s nothing like working with your hands and having something real to show for all your time and effort.

If you’re just starting out, consider one of these great projects for beginners to help you hone your basic woodworking skills.

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10. Book Shelf

Book Shelf

Shelving one of the most basic and useful projects a novice woodworker can attempt. In fact, this one project is known to get many people into the craft in the first place. Look at book shelves as your gateway drug. Make it as simple or complicated as you want; this is a great jumping off point.

9. Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair

It may look a little over-your-head, but with a good adirondack chair template you will be well on your way to creating a comfy place to sit as a reward for all your hard work. Don’t let the size of the creation fool you; this one is easier than it looks.

8. Jewelry Box

Jewelry Box

Another essential skill to add to your repertoire is how to create a basic box, and installing and working with hinges. From there it’s just a matter of adding more boxes and/or dividers, some pretty craft velvet, and a nice stain. This might also be a good time to bust out that Dremel tool and add a little artistic flair.

7. Pendulum Clock

Pendulum Clock

It’s time to channel your inner clock-maker. There is something warm and rewarding about putting together bits of wood and metal and watching them come to life as a functional, beautiful, handmade timepiece. Start with a good woodworking paper plan and soon you’ll learn just how this thing ticks!

6. Picture Frame

Picture Frame

Here is a project so easy you can get your kids involved. You do the cutting, and let them help with the assemblage, staining, and/or painting.

5. Birdhouse


This may seem like child’s play, but there is a reason a “typical birdhouse” is such an iconic symbol of basic woodworking. It is perfect for beginners of any age, can be completed in an afternoon, and can be personalized to the creator’s preferences. If you want to start super-simple, buy a birdhouse kit with the pieces already pre-cut.

4. Picnic Table

Picnic Table

Make your family a sturdy, functional picnic table and they will never again question the usefulness of your “little hobby.” And, once you tackle this, you will find yourself able to make all sorts of other furniture pieces.

3. Swing Set

Swing Set

Here’s another project to make you the hero of the day. Build your kids a swing set! Start with something very basic to get your feet wet by following a good swing set plan, and the next thing you know you’ll be building playscapes, jungle gyms, and treehouses like a pro.

2. Cutting Board

Cutting Board

This is almost the perfect beginners project for working with wood. Deceptively simple, you can learn basic cutting, sanding, and finishing techniques, and you can make them more complex as you learn. Go from a board made out of a single piece of solid hardwood to pretty layered boards which press several different types and colors of hardwoods together. Pay special attention to using untreated wood and mineral oils for food safety. The resident chef will appreciate your hard work and consideration.

1. Upcycled & Reclaimed Wood Projects

Upcycled & Reclaimed Wood Projects

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Upcycling is all the rage, as we learn how to reuse and repurpose odds and ends we used to toss away to not-rot in a landfill. Do a search for pallet projects, and you will find a treasure trove of plans for making furniture and all sorts of useful items from discarded shipping pallets. You can use a discarded wood door as a tabletop, reclaimed bits of scrap construction lumber for picture frames and shadow boxes, or turn some old fence boards into a shabby chic coat rack. The sky is truly the limit with reclaimed wood projects, and this is a great area to let your creativity blossom.


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