March 28, 2017 by Scott - Saws on Skates
Do you want to start building DIY furniture, but feel you don’t have the necessary DIY skills? Have you built a few projects, but want to take your DIY furniture building to the next level? How will you gain the knowledge and skills necessary to complete these projects? So many questions, but I have the answers! Today I’m sharing 6 surefire ways to supercharge your DIY skills!
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6 Surefire Ways to Supercharge Your DIY Skills
Do you have Pinterest boards filled with DIY furniture plans? Do you lust after knockoff furniture like this corner cabinet, chalkboard shelf, or stool because you know you could DIY it and save some cash? Are you stuck because you’re not confident in your DIY skills? How will you keep yourself safe? What are you going to build your project on? You’ll need some kind of workbench, either a folding workbench, fliptop workbench or a dedicated workbench. What tools do you need… saws, Kreg Jig, etc? And perhaps most importantly, do you know the proper techniques and how to properly use those tools? Here are 6 surefire ways to rev up DIY knowledge and supercharge your DIY skills.
1. In Person Classes
Your local Home Depot offers weekly DIY worskshops. Most Home Depot stores have a display board in the entryway announcing the upcoming workshops and the workshops are also posted on their website. Topics range from installing wall and floor tile, fixing small plumbing repairs, building a raised garden bed and even building small furniture pieces. The best part about the Home Depot workshops? They’re FREE!
Most communities have an art center, a place where you can learn about jewelry making, making stain glass, photography, woodworking and more. I learned many of my DIY skills at the local arts center. I enrolled in woodworking and furniture building classes where I learned traditional furniture building techniques like how to hand cut dovetails, how to make mortise and tenon joints, how to make book-matched panels, steam bending wood, proper clamping techniques, the difference between rough cut vs. dimensional wood and more.
Many times your local high school or community college will offer DIY classes as part of their continuing education efforts. Classes are usually taught by a knowledgeable member of the community or even the school’s shop teacher. Check your mailbox or the school websites in your area for course information.
If you want to really advance your DIY skills, enroll in a woodworking school. Places like Yestermorrow Deign/Build School and Vermont School of Woodworking are great places to check out. I’ve also taken a week long timber frame class (held on the grounds of the Hancock Shaker Village Museum) where we not only learned timber frame techniques, but actually constructed a small timber frame building.
2. Online Classes
Don’t have the time to drive to a class? Take an online course to improve your DIY skills. I’ve never taken an online woodworking class, but I would definitely give it a shot. Here are seven sites where you can take online courses:
Craftsy offers classes on cabinet case construction, drawer construction, router techniques, table saw techniques and more. Furniture construction classes include benches, a shaker nightstand, coffee table and more.
Instructables offers a 12 lesson woodworking class. The focus is woodworking basics, using handheld power tools with each lesson laying the groundwork for your future projects. The lessons cover straight cuts, miter cuts, router techniques and a final project that incorporates all of your newly learned skills.
Taunton Workshops offers a “getting the most from your router” class, a “getting the most from your bandsaw” class, a “getting the most from your table saw” class, Sketchup classes and more. Furniture building classes include a workbench, router table, hanging tool cabinet, country pine hutch, pedestal dining table, plus many more.
Popular Woodworking offers more than 400 woodworking videos. Choose from videos like learn a technique, hand tools instruction, how to use power tools, build a project, finishing techniques, Sketchup videos, plus more.
Woodworkers Guild of America offers classes on table saw essentials, bandsaw jigs, tablesaw joinery, router table joinery, cabinet making, finishing essentials, router techniques, Sketchup classes and more.
Heritage School of Woodworking offers classes on techniques like basics of joinery, sharpening hand tools and more. Building classes include a dovetailed candle box, an occasional table and more.
Woodworking Masterclasses offers video classes and an online forum where you can discuss progress and ask questions. Classes include a jewelry box, craftsman style lamp, dining chair, corner shelf and more.
3. Woodworking Clubs
After I took some classes I was hooked on woodworking and wanted more. I searched for local woodworking clubs and found one. Through the club I took classes about joining techniques, building jigs, router techniques and more. My local woodworking club offers a monthly newsletters, monthly meetings, an annual woodworking show and an annual wood/tool auction. Plus, you get to meet people in your area who are into DIY projects just like you. A bargain at only $25 a year!
4. Woodworking Shows
Local woodworking clubs and national companies like The Woodworking Shows host regional woodworking events. It’s not only a great place to watch demonstrations, shop for new tools and products, but most shows offer classes. Classes can range from setting up saws to stain and finish techniques. A woodworking show is where I first learned about and fell in love with the Kreg Jig. Since then I’ve learned about the pocket hole plug cutter which virtually makes pocket holes disappear, how to fix a stripped pocket hole and when it’s time to replace a pocket hole jig drill bit.
5. Books and Magazines
I have a confession guys, I’m not much of a reader. I know, I write a blog, but I’m not into reading! Crazy, right?! Despite that, books are a great way to improve your DIY skills. You can search for DIY books here.
Over the years I’ve had subscriptions to a few woodworking magazines and they’re an amazing source for learning DIY skills and DIY techniques.
Wood Magazine features both print and digital versions of their magazine. Topics range from skill-building tips, DIY projects, tool reviews and more.
Popular Woodworking also offers both print and digital versions of their magazine. Each issue is packed with techniques, woodworking projects, tools, supplies and more.
Fine Woodworking, just like Wood and Popular Woodworking offers both print and digital versions of their magazine. Topics range from DIY skills, joinery techniques, finishing techniques, workshop layout ideas, tool reviews, furniture plans and more.
6. DIY Blogs and YouTube
If you don’t find the exact topic you want to learn at any of those classes, continuing education classes, woodworking club, books or magazines, just google what you want or search YouTube. DIY blogs just like this one or YouTube channels cover just about any technique you want to learn. Here at Saws on Skate you can learn when it’s time to replace your Kreg Jig drill bit, how to make book-matched panels, how to fix a stripped pocket hole, how to use a pocket hole plug cutter, the correct way to clamp your DIY project, how to sand your DIY project like a pro, how to make miter cuts, how to adjust your miter saw for accurate cuts, how to setup and use a Kreg Jig and more.
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