5 Rules to a Happy Woodworking Life

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As with any type of craft, woodworking is filled with hope, excitement, and a sense of bewilderment. However, this mostly applies to beginners in the craft. If you are planning to embrace this profession for a much longer period of time, it is vital to consider these 5 rules to a happy woodworking life. Most of these rules have something to do with your attitude toward the craft, which means that your mindset is vital to your success. By taking note of them and living by them, you can enjoy this craft, viewing it as an art more than a task.

1. Invest in Good Tools

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Just like other crafts out there, woodworking needs a good amount of investment when it comes to your tools. If you are a beginner, this can be costly and intimidating at times, though you also need to be very careful as it can be quite tempting to just browse woodworking catalogs as you expect new models coming out. Keep in mind this simple rule – purchase tools that you can use, not for collection only!

Most expert woodworkers suggest going through a routine every time you are planning to purchase a tool. Decide what you want to create first, anticipate all steps needed to build the pieces, and get the tools ready to complete the tasks efficiently and excellently. False economy is something that should be avoided, as it means buying high-quality, expensive tools even if it means that you end up with having fewer tools only.

It is also a good idea to select a versatile, top-quality tool compared to having just a highly specialized equipment, particularly one that is designed for use with little skill. For example, you may want to get yourself a backsaw, learn the tricks in using it, and start building with confidence, instead of going with a saw guide system which will divert your attention from learning new skills.

2. Learn More About Woodworking as a Craft

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As with any other things in this world, you will never learn to love something you only know little about. One thing that you need to learn is the reason why the craft is even called woodworking. This is one of the ways in which you can find yourself successful in this craft. You have to start with the basics, which means being skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to selecting wood, preparing it, and adjusting to its possible peculiarities.

With this in mind, your work will not be better compared to the materials you select, as well as your overall understanding of them. Keep in mind that unlike working with metal, clay or glass, wood is nature’s product, a product of biology, which means that they can come in various characteristics. Every unique species can produce unique boards. Understanding these differences play a huge role in the output of your project.

So, where should you start? Learn everything that you can about wood, including all of its fascinating facts. Do not restrain yourself from learning about just one type of wood. Go out of your way and experience learning about a wide variety of wood types out there.

3. Choose Dependable Sources in Learning About the Craft

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There is a Latin saying which goes “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis”. This basically translates to the expression “art is long, life is short”. This only implies the need to be a good learner when it comes to studying everything about woodworking. One way to do so is by making sure that you choose dependable sources when learning.

With the seemingly overwhelming amount of learning sources in different types of media, there seems to be no excuse for ignoring this reminder. Make sure that you only choose reliable sources, never neglecting the fact that there is almost always more than a single appropriate way of completing tasks. You may encounter contradictory teachings along the way, but they may all have value in their own way. After all, in the end, you will still have to find your own way, especially when it comes to identifying the right thing to do in your own shop.

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It is also important to remember that some gurus need not be licensed professionals, and they don’t just even come from books or online sources as well. Some of the best teachers are actual woodworkers who have been living and breathing the craft for most of their lives. These are the ones who usually implement tradition and expertise in their craft. It does not mean that you will follow everything that they will do, but you can certainly learn from them.

4. Cherish the Art

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If you have made it in your mind that woodworking is a craft that is very important to you, accept it completely! You cannot be fully happy with something if you do not accept everything about it, including the occasional disappointments that you may encounter as you work on a project.

At the same time, trust yourself as you indulge in the craft. Make a special place for it in your personal life, financial space, and living space, literally. The way you look at this craft is very important in determining the level of fulfillment that it can give you, as well as for the other useful and beautiful things that it produces in order to further improve your life, as well as the lives of the other people surrounding you.

Invest in this craft with your heart. Look at it positively. After all, woodworking is something that will not just benefit you, but the world as well too. Find your joy in it, and it will give you the happiness you deserve.

5. Prepare Yourself for SUCCESS

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Success in woodworking cannot be easily achieved with just a single project. Of course, you have to deal with different types of experiences, some bad, and learn from them ultimately. Rather than jumping ahead with bigger projects, why not start with simple and modest pieces. Avoid getting yourself overwhelmed with bigger crafts, only to find yourself disappointed and frustrated because you cannot complete them as you may have expected out of yourself.

Keep in mind that challenges can only build you up if they work in building a foundation for your confidence. Set realistic goals, and as you go through them, enjoy the success and feeling of achievement. One very important part of learning the craft of woodworking is going through all the different stages in the project, including research, design, wood acquisition, tool configuration, and preparation of stock, joinery, edge treatments, surfacing, gluing, and several others, depending on the project. Appreciating the way in which all of these processes are interconnected will also help boost your learning experience.


Do you agree with the rules mentioned above? Indeed, woodworking is both and art and a craft. Rather than viewing it just as a means of completing a task or a project, it should be viewed with respect. Woodworking need not be boring, it can even be a source of happiness for you.

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