Designing and Building a Woodworking Project From Scratch

A DIY wooden table is a great way to showcase your fast-growing woodworking skills. It’s also a fun project for the entire family. You’ll need a few supplies, including a miter saw and a router.

Designing a woodworking project before you start can save time and money. It also prevents mistakes that might require discarded materials.


When it comes to woodworking, there are many different types of projects you can do. From a simple wood serving tray or cookbook stand to an entire wall of built-in cabinets, you can make almost anything with the right tools and the proper knowledge. However, you should be aware of the health risks associated with woodworking and take precautions to avoid injuries or illnesses. Inhaling sawdust can cause respiratory problems, including lung inflammation and asthma. It can also trigger rashes, itching and blisters on the skin. In severe cases, wood dust can even lead to nasopharyngeal cancer. To prevent these problems, you should use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the sawdust and wear protective gloves and eyewear while working with wood.

When people first start doing woodworking, they often get their inspiration from books or magazines. They might also see something they like at a home or restaurant and decide to try making it themselves. While it is possible to design a woodworking project from scratch, most beginners will find it easier to start with a pre-designed plan. This will help them understand the process and learn about the basic techniques.

Walnut is a medium-density hardwood that can be used to create furniture and other objects. It is easy to work with and holds glue well. It also machines easily, and it can be planed to a smooth surface. In addition, it takes a finish very well and the grain patterns are quite beautiful.

When working with walnut, it is important to select the highest-grade material available. The best walnut lumber will have at least 80% clear on the best face, which should eliminate most of the sapwood ring. However, it is impossible to get rid of all sapwood ring entirely.


Teak is one of the most sought-after hardwoods in the world. It’s renowned for its strength and durability, and is used for a variety of applications, from outdoor furniture to decking, interior cladding, and boat building. You can view similar types of wood on Alderfer Lumber’s website. Teak has natural oils that make it impervious to rot and unaffected by insects. It’s also highly water resistant, which helps prevent rotting and keeps the wood looking fresh and new.

The oil content in teak wood also makes it extremely durable and long-lasting, so you don’t have to worry about replacing outdoor furniture every few years. This wood has also been known to withstand harsh weather conditions, including rain and sun exposure. In fact, it’s been used as ship wood for centuries, due to its strength and durability in wet environments.

Another thing that makes this type of wood stand out is its natural resistance to fungus and mildew, which means you don’t have to worry about treating it with chemicals or other harsh materials. Teak is also a great choice for indoor projects, such as wooden picture frames and planters.

Its golden color and smooth texture make it a beautiful material for outdoor furniture. It’s also a popular choice for decking, shower stools, and other outdoor construction projects. It can be carved, turned, and milled to create furniture pieces and other accessories. Teak is native to southern Asia and is widely grown on plantations in tropical areas across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It can take up to 25 years for a tree to mature enough to harvest for its lumber. It’s sometimes called Burmese teak to differentiate it from the many other woods that bear some degree of resemblance and seek to gain its acclaim.


Cherry (Prunus americana) is one of the most common and widely available domestic North American hardwoods. It’s also among the softest, which makes it a woodworker’s delight when it comes to hand-tooling and turning. It sands to a smooth finish easily, and it takes stain well. Cherry also tends to age very gracefully, taking on a deep richness that is hard to replicate in other woods.

This quality of aging is probably one of the reasons that cherry is such a popular choice for furniture, particularly high-end furniture. Cherry is also a favorite for kitchen countertops, cabinets and other interior woodworking projects.

Like maple and walnut, cherry is a very strong wood that resists rot and decay. However, it’s less durable than oak and hickory. It is moderately strong, however, and has a good ability to absorb shock loads.

When shopping for cherry lumber, it’s important to look for as straight of stock as possible. The color should also be uniform as much as possible, since cherry tends to show glue lines more prominently than other woods. If you’re working with a large piece, try to align boards of the same color together, as this will help mask the joinery.

Despite being relatively soft, cherry is still one of the hardest-working species of wood that you can find at your local lumber yard or big box store. That’s good news for woodworkers, as it means that the wood won’t dull blades too quickly, and it will hold a crisp edge when sanding. Cherry is also highly rated for turning, which is why you’ll often see this wood used to make musical instruments, bowls, tobacco pipes and other knickknacks.


Maple wood is prized by both experienced and novice woodworkers alike for its lustrous beauty, strength, and durability. It is not as easy to work with as some other hardwoods such as cherry, walnut, or black oak, but it provides premium results when a project calls for a high level of skill and precision. It is also a versatile material and can be stained to match any preferred style.

The maple tree (Acer saccharum), which produces the hardwood we use, is a deciduous tree that grows in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Many varieties are planted as ornamental trees, while others yield valuable maple syrup. Most bear pairs of winged seeds called samaras, which are arranged in opposite rows on the branches.

Hard maple is used to make premium furniture, flooring, and cabinetry, and it was once a popular choice for wooden baseball bats, before being largely replaced by ash, which is just as strong but lighter in weight. It is also a favorite of musicians, as it provides stability and good sound quality for guitars and drums. Maple is a sturdy material for kitchenware and utensils, and it can be turned into wooden spoons, rolling pins, and cutting boards.

Maple is available in a variety of grain patterns, from straight to curly to bird’s eye and tiger stripe. It is an exceptionally beautiful wood in its natural state, but can be stained a variety of hues to complement any home décor. Like all light-colored woods, maple will naturally darken with time. The mellow honey-gold color it takes on over the years is what makes many maple pieces desirable for decorative purposes.


Poplar wood is a workhorse in many modern woodshops. Widely available, cheap, and dimensionally stable, it’s often used for production furniture, interior house trim and high-end cabinet parts. It works well with hand tools and machine tools, and takes paint or stain quite well.

It also cuts, routs and fastens easily, and sands to a smooth finish. This makes it a great choice for beginner woodworkers who want to build and refine their skills on simple projects like dowel rods or box lids. It’s also one of the best choices for shelving because it resists “sagging” over time – a common problem with pine shelves that can be very expensive to repair or replace.

Although it’s a good choice for new woodworkers, it’s not as durable as more costly domestic hardwoods. It’s susceptible to tearing and denting, and isn’t as strong as oak wood. It does, however, resist rot and insect damage quite well.

You may notice that some boards of poplar wood are marked as “rainbow.” This is a result of mineral staining that can occur in the soil where the tree grows. Unfortunately, these smatterings of rainbow colors will fade to a dull brown within a year or two, so it’s important to choose carefully if you’re going to use this type of wood in your project.

From an environmental standpoint, poplar is a very sustainable choice. It’s very fast-growing, making it a renewable material that can be harvested and replaced more quickly than other types of wood. It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other hardwoods. However, it is more prone to warping and shrinking than hardwoods such as maple or cherry, so you’ll need to be extra careful when cutting it.