Introduction to Woodworking

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Woodworking comes in a wide variety of flavors ranging from using a hand saw to cut a 2x4 to creating intricate inlays in a nice piece of Mahogany and beyond. No matter what your taste, there are a few things to keep in mind while working in the woodshop to make it a safe and pleasant environment.


Remain focused while using woodworking equipment.

Think about what you are doing while using the equipment. Plan out your cut before you turn the equipment on. Know where your hands are going to land and ensure that any aids that you'll need (push stick) are within arms reach.

Personal Protective Equipment

While woodworking, be cognizant of your attire. It should not be loose, cover your hands, or otherwise have the potential to get snagged and pulled into a piece of equipment. Also, safety glasses, hearing protection, and dust masks (especially while sanding) are important.

Know how to use the tools

Learn about the safety considerations that you need to account for with each specific tool. Some of the considerations will be common to each tool, but some will be unique. It is strongly advised that you learn the specifics about the table saw before you use it, as its safety considerations revolve more around kickback which is not as 'common sense' of a concern as keeping your fingers out of the blade.

Wood Allergies

Some woods, such as Mansonia, can cause serious allergic reactions. Do yourself and others that might be walking through the woodshop a favor and do a little bit of research on the wood and take the appropriate precautions.


Keep it clean

Cleaning up the area before you leave is a good general rule for any shared work environment. With the woodshop in particular, a mess can be made very quickly with just a quick cut or two.

Be quiet at night

Please keep in mind that there is an apartment above the woodshop and some of the tools make a fair amount of noise; try to keep the noisy woodworking to an appropriate time of day.


There are some common terms that can be found on the woodworking terminology page that you might find helpful when trying to decipher things written in the woodworking section.


There are a plethora of different tools in woodworking and each has a fairly unique specialty. Some of the more common tools include:

Table Saw

The table saw functions as the main workhorse of the woodshop. It offers a fair bit of versatility with the use of jigs.

Band Saw

The band saw has a thin kerf which makes it an excellent choice for resawing a board. Smaller blades can also be installed in the band saw for curved pieces.


The jointer is used in conjunction with the depth planer to mill wood. The jointer's job is to first make one face of the board straight and flat. Once the face is flat, that face is run against the fence to make an adjoining edge straight and 90 degrees.

Depth Planner

The depth planner's job is to make the non-jointed face parallel to the jointed face. It also allows you to make boards a uniform thickness.


A router is a multifunction rotary tool. It has specialized bits for a wide variety of applications but is most commonly used for joinery and edge embellishment.

Drill Press

The drill press allows you to drill holes into the wood at a consistent angle and to an adjustable depth.

Miter Saw

A miter saw is used for making angled cuts.


There are many different types of sanders and each has their specialty however they all function to smooth the surface of the wood.

Scroll Saw

The scroll saw is used for delicate work to produce very fine curves and cuts.


A lathe spins the work piece around and allows cuts to be made by resting the cutting tool on the tool rest and easing it into the work piece. A lathe is commonly used to make bowls, pens, table legs, and handles.