How Does Woodworking Affect Your Brain?

Building things from scratch and exercising your creativity are perhaps the reasons why many people finds woodworking enjoyable and interesting to do, whether they are building simple DIY project, making furniture or constructing huge and high-end tasks. While it can be both physically exhausting and beneficial, it is mentally rewarding and stimulating as well. As it is quite obvious how it affects us physically, you may, however, wonder as to how does woodworking affects your brain. The answer may surprise you.

Woodworking as a Creative Process and Activity

Woodworking has been linked to creativity in many accounts and definitions, as it is one vital part of the entire process. In fact, any mention and suggestion of a creative hobbies or activities to indulge in, it is always included in the list.

And most people resorts to arts and crafts as the way of discovering who they are, because the creative process can be a personal journey. And design is very important in making sure you are not making the same piece of woodwork like everybody else’s. In his book, Why We Make Things and Why it Matters: The Education of a Craftsman, master woodworker Perter Korn describes this design process before starting to create something as the most creative part in the furniture making.

And as how every woodworker perceives, it is not about creating a piece of furniture, it is creating works of art. For this fine furniture maker for the past 30 years, Ken Richards shares his creative process as it includes:

  • Creating personal connections
  • Finding inspiration to what moves you
  • Design as a Learned Skill
  • Create Flexible Design
  • Sleep On It
  • Finding Rewards through the Process, and of course
  • Making It happen

How Creative Mind Works

With a lot of talks and myths about how our brain works, studies show that creative people’s brain actually functions differently from the rest of us. And this is not even because of the left brain-right brain myth that we all have heard and know of as that is not exactly true. Contrary, the creative process does not involve a singular brain function but rather the whole of it.

Hence when engaging in artistic activities like woodworking, music, arts and the like, we trigger our brain’s imaginary network, which is highly important in the process, and at the same time works with the brain’s executive network, which helps us focus our imagination and blocking out any distractions and interferences.

And this is because these exercises demands the use of many of our faculties such as the motor skills, our five senses, making decisions as to the color, texture, shape and design and at the same time making calculations and exact measurements.

Studies also found out that artists have high level of neural matter in the fine motor movements and visual imagery region. Though, training and environmental influences may play a vital role in their abilities too. It was also revealed that artists have ominously more grey matter on the part of the brain that is involved in a range of functions that are linked to visual imagery of being able to work on visual images in combining and deconstructing them.

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Your brain’s grey matter is largely composed of neuronal cell bodies and serves to process information in your brain, generated in the sensory organs and other areas of the grey matter as well.

Even producing new and unique ideas may seem easy, but requires serious and tough intellectual course to follow as we have to train our brain how to come up with it as naturally as possible. Thus with this, preparing our brains to produce these creative ideas is consequential. The process may take time and effort, hence we need to develop the habit of knowing how to gather information around us for our brains to have something to work with.

And to do that, you need to set aside time for your thoughts and ideas to settle in, and relax for the creativity to emerge. It is also paramount to give yourself some creative space as there are also studies that suggest temperature and noise can also affect our creativity.


Woodworking is a creative process that makes our brain works differently from that of the normal. The creative process of coming up with designs is the vital part, as most woodworkers aim not just to build but create unique pieces that are art in itself. This requires the functions of the entire brain, most dominantly on the brain’s grey matter. Thus, the right side of the brain that artists are said to use is not true at all. And like all other processes, producing these creative ideas takes time and may be easier said than done.

So what do you think of this brain’s functions? Comment your questions and thoughts below as I would love to answer them for you and know what you think of this too.

  • November 10, 2017
  • DIY