Perhaps you’re retired and looking for ways to stay productive. Or you’re looking to fan into flame that creative spark inside you. Woodworking provides so many avenues for converting your ideas into useful and decorative tools, artwork, gifts, furniture—you name it. Below, I’ve listed 5 amazing woodworking hobbies that are relatively inexpensive, easy to take up, and will provide hours of fun and excitement.
- Woodturning. There’s a huge variety of woodturning projects to choose from—bowls, pens, components for furniture, salt and pepper grinders, jewelry, Christmas ornaments. You will need to invest in a piece of equipment called a wood lathe. Fortunately, the wood lathe takes up very little space in you shop. Check out my guide on selecting a wood lathe. You will also need to buy some chisels and train yourself on how to use them. Needed skill levels depends on the types of projects you turn and the complexity of the project. Introductory video from Craft Supplies USA: Pen Turning
- Whittling and carving. If you want a quiet woodworking hobby, look no further. This hobby does take some skill, but will require even more time and patience. I love this hobby because my hands are much more involved in the work. Minimal tools and space required. Another good thing about the hobby is its portability. You can whittle just about anywhere–the shop, watching TV, break time at work. You will need to learn some techniques around whittling like the types of cuts to make and sharpening your tool. Of course, carving isn’t just limited to whittling. There are many ways to carve wood. Check out these links to learn more. Introductory video: Whittling Basics
- Wood burning. This woodworking hobby can provide lots of satisfaction. Wood burning can range from creating artwork on wood to simply personalizing your projects with words or accents. I do more of the latter, but it’s amazing the beautiful works of art people can create just by burning wood different shades. You can invest in simple wood burning tools to more expensive types with different tips and ones that regulate the temperature. You will need to find a well-ventilated area, and I normally go outdoors where there’s a breeze. If you use a fan, position it to draw smoke/fumes away from you. Introductory video fromm Walnut Hollow: Wood Burning for Beginners
- Scroll-sawing. I have made a few things with my scroll saw, like Christmas ornaments, but there’s a plethora of things you can make with this great tool. A scroll saw is really a glorified jig saw, but it can do a lot more than the jigsaw. The scroll saw is mounted to a fixed base and you can use finer blades for cutting more intricate patterns in wood. This can take time and a good deal of patience, but the result is definitely worth it. The small blades can be inserted through drilled holes so you don’t have to cut from the outside edges into the wood being worked. People typically make decorative projects with the scroll saw, but there are some functional crafts like collapsable baskets and bowls. Introductory video from Woodworker’s Guild of America: Why You Need a Scroll Saw
- Easy projects. I know, easy is a relative term. For me easy woodworking projects are ones that involve minimal tools, basic skill levels, and a quick turnaround. This is why I shy away from doing many furniture pieces and/or projects that take days or weeks to complete. I’m thinking of projects like birdhouses, planter boxes, cutting boards, signs, picture frames, etc. You know, things that take a little sawing, a little glueing, or a little hammering. Things I can easily turn around over the weekend. Call me impatient if you want, but I just like to get the satisfaction of completing something, sooner, rather than later. Introductory video from MikeTheHowToGuy: How to Build a Birdhouse
- Now that you’ve learned a little about woodworking hobbies, take that next step. Watch some videos, read some books, or attend some classes. Start small and work your way up. Decide on a woodworking hobby that you enjoy and get busy. Go make some saw dust!