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How to learn woodworking/joinery/carpentry?  RSS feed

 
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Location: Derbyshire, UK
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I usually just put two bits of squarish-wood up to each other and bang some screws into it.. that is my idea of a joint! However I would like to learn to do joinery 'properly' and build slightly more adventurous things- in that I'd like a timber greenhouse, and a small (8ft by 16ft) woodshed/barn-esque structure. I am interested in heritage building and 'proper timber framing'- however I'd like to use power tools to speed things up (I'm time poor but have a large quantity of tools), and probably cheaper wood (an oak framed woodshed is a bit out of my budget).

Can anyone recommend any books? Video channels? Or other methods of learning? How would you go about learning joinery?

I welcome more general answers in this thread to aid other people in the future- but some specifics for me
- I don't have any woodland, any wood would have to be purchased, so cost could be an issue
- I work full time, I would need to learn a as hobby rather than a 'real' job- becoming an apprentice would be infeasible given my 40 hour work week!
 
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Charli Wilson wrote:I usually just put two bits of squarish-wood up to each other and bang some screws into it.. that is my idea of a joint! However I would like to learn to do joinery 'properly' and build slightly more adventurous things- in that I'd like a timber greenhouse, and a small (8ft by 16ft) woodshed/barn-esque structure. I am interested in heritage building and 'proper timber framing'- however I'd like to use power tools to speed things up (I'm time poor but have a large quantity of tools), and probably cheaper wood (an oak framed woodshed is a bit out of my budget).

Can anyone recommend any books? Video channels? Or other methods of learning? How would you go about learning joinery?

I welcome more general answers in this thread to aid other people in the future- but some specifics for me
- I don't have any woodland, any wood would have to be purchased, so cost could be an issue
- I work full time, I would need to learn a as hobby rather than a 'real' job- becoming an apprentice would be infeasible given my 40 hour work week!



You have to go back to antiquity for inspiration. They were no different than us in most ways, poor and had to survive, so how did they do it? Well they did not build houses out of dovetailed joints, they kept things simple! You can start out the same way.

My suggestion is to contact your local high school and see if they have an Adult Education Course. Most do something with woodworking. Talk to the instructor and tell them that you are interesting in learning some timber frame joints. Since timber frame joinery is scalable; meaning you can use small, cheap lumber to master the technique first, learn some half-laps, some mortise and tenons, and scarf joints. That comprises of most of your timber frame joints alone to build a building. Even if a beginning woodworking class, most instructors love to teach and will modify their class to help their students.

Myself, I did the reverse of this once. I wanted to learn how to do dovetail joints but I could only do the beginner woodworker coarse due to scheduling of my job. I talked to the instructor and he taught everyone, even people who had never done woodworking, how to do hand cut dovetails!

Other ideas are youtube. Surely there must be videos on how to make timberframe joints.
 
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There are several Timber Framing schools in the USA. If you want to attempt to teach yourself these skills you can get with Timber Framers Guild  Timber Framers guild

If you do a search for Timber Frame building, you will find several good sites.
The Library is a good place to find books on timber framing too.

Almost nobody doesn't use power tools these days, but be aware that these tools are actually modifications to standard sized tools (you buy a 7 1/4 circular saw and buy the Big Foot 12" saw kit to make it into a timber framing saw.
There are some specialty tools you will want too, slicks, mortise chisels, framing chisels and a good mallet are a few of them.

This isn't all that hard to learn but there is a learning curve so be ready for that.
 
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There are many versions of "timber frame". And any other type of craft, for that matter. Do a lot of armchair study and try to narrow down the type of work you would like to learn/do. That will make it at least possible for you to not waste too much time and money trying out things and missing your target. For an example of what I'm talking about, consider the old standard "stick frame" building. 40 years ago, it was all 2x's and nails. That method still exists, and it's good for many small buildings. However, there is also a version of "stick frame" which uses thousands of metal strap connectors (such as those made by Simpson Strongtie), with roofs built over trusses instead of rafters and many important structural members made in the factory (laminated header beams, TJI's instead of wooden joists, etc). Both systems do the job and the simple older system is often the best choice for small projects or those where the newer materials are too expensive or otherwise not indicated. For larger buildings or designs with critical strength requirements, the newer (and evolving) system provides simple, fast, very strong buildings at greatly reduced cost compared with what it would require to build it the "old" way. The one does not preclude the other, but studying ahead a little and knowing what type of work and system fits your needs will save you much wandering about the wood-sphere. If you have tools, you probably already have some experience and idea of what course, in reality, you will be able to invest in with good return.

And a MAJOR part of any work like this is getting a true understanding of what it takes to get a large (relatively) job done which involves many different types of material, work, assistance, long lists, etc. That skill has little to do with any fabrication know-how you might develop. So when working up goals, try to give yourself a _lot_ of slack in both time, cost, space... IOW, don't commit to something totally new to you, like, say, building a new garage before winter, unless you can afford to be without one for a year or so. Because unless you have run jobs (and run yourself) at that level in the past, you probably won't make your goals w/in your budget (of time and other things, as well as cost) the first few times you engage.

Go for it. Just take note that the fab skills are only a very small part of "what it takes" so try to allocate growth space for the other, more important, organizational, motivational strengths needed to do credit to your new wood skills.

FWIW.
Rufus
 
Travis Johnson
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Timber framing need not be expensive. Obviously I do not know what you have for resources, but in my current house when I needed 11 beams and mysawmill was broke down, I chopped them out by hand, as much to get the look of hand-hewn beams as I did in saving money by not having someone saw them.

If you have access to wood, you can do the same thing!

Start with simple half-lap joints, figure out how to make cuts with skillsaw and chisel.

A few good powertools to have (hand held power tools) would be a half inch drill with long drill bits and forsner bits. A quality set of chisels and sharpening system. A 8-1/4 worn drive skillsaw (for power and depth of cut). A 4 inch power planer to clean up wood.


I am in NO WAY a carpenter or timber framer, but if I can manage; so can you. It is not all that hard, and any investment in a persons home is a good one.

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