3 Easy Woodworking Projects for Beginners

Easy Woodworking Project for Beginners

Getting Ideas for Easy Woodworking Projects for Beginners

As a beginner woodworker, you should choose some easy, small wood projects to start with. A good starting point would be to decide what kind of wood project you would like to take a shot at. It could be something simple and useful, such as a birdhouse or cutting board, or perhaps a child’s toy. Where can one get ideas for easy woodworking projects for beginners?

You can get ideas for woodworking projects practically everywhere you look. Could you do with some more storage space in your home? How about a simple cabinet for your woodworking tools? If your child’s toys are all over the place and driving you crazy, you would want a toy box to store them in. There is no shortage of exciting woodworking possibilities!

Cheap woodworking tools

Get hold of some woodworking magazines and browse through them for some inspiration. If you spotted an interesting old coffee table, try to reproduce it in your workshop. Don’t try to take on anything too intricate or you’re likely to become frustrated and give up before you even start.

Magazines have a habit of accumulating over time. They need a place of their own where they can be out of the way, yet easily accessible when required. Here is a plan for a simple magazine rack:

1. Magazine Rack Plan

magazine rack

This is a relatively easy project that you should be able to complete in a weekend. It requires just a small amount of wood so you might even be able to salvage some odd pieces from your local supplier.

For this project you will need a sander and a router.


Here are the wood requirements:

Wood-for-magazine-rack

You should begin with the four leg pieces. *You’re going to be making 3 routs in each leg.

Cutting the Routs

leg with routsTake one of the four legs and make 3 routs in it as follows:

1. On the inside edge (3/4″), cut a rout that is 1/4″ deep and 1/2″ wide that runs from 1/2″ from the top of the leg to 2 1/2″ from the top. The rout should be 1/8″ in from each side. This slot will accommodate the top support that runs along the length of the rack.

2. On the same side as the previous step, make a rout that is 1/4″ deep and 1/2″ wide that runs from 4″ from the bottom of the leg to 6″ from the bottom. This rout will accommodate the bottom support. Again, it should be 1/8″ in from each side.

3. On the wide inside (2 1/4″) face, make a rout that is 1/2″ wide, 1/4″ deep and that runs from 4 3/4″ from the bottom to 13 3/4″ from the bottom. The rout should be 1/2″ in from the outside edge of the leg (i.e., the edge that did not have the first two routs put into them).

Once you’ve finished making all the routs for this leg, square off the rounded corners so that the sides, top and bottom slot tightly into them.

Sand the leg; round off the edges to give your project a softer look.

Repeat the above steps for the other three legs.

Marking the Sides for the Routs

*Before you make the routs, make sure that you’ve marked out the correct sides so that the inside edges all match up (i.e., they must face each other so that the top and bottom supports can be slotted in).

Now you need to make the slots in the bottom supports that will accommodate the plywood base.

Cut a slot on the inside face (2″) that is 1/4″ deep and 1/2″ wide. The slot should begin 1/2″ from the lower edge and should be 16″ long (in other words, it should begin 1 5/8″ from either end of the piece. Repeat this for the second of the bottom supports; square off the rounded ends of the slot so that the base can fit in tightly.

Constructing the Sides

Now, construct one side: glue the bottom and top supports into two of the legs to make one complete side. Repeat this step to construct the second side.

When the glue is dry, connect the front and back constructions to the plywood sides and the base, then glue them together.

You will now have completed the main shape of the magazine rack. Glue the thin side edging pieces to the top and bottom of the plywood sides – this will conceal the plywood’s edging.

Shaping the Center Top Support

Now you need to cut the center top support to the correct shape: cut out a block from each end, as illustrated in this diagram:

Block cut-out

Once you’ve cut the piece to shape, sand it to round off the edges. Glue it on top of the two plywood sides, halfway between the front and back.

Lastly, sand off the center bottom support, then glue it into place on the plywood base, again halfway between the front and back support (it will obviously match the position of the top center support).

Sand the entire unit thoroughly, then stain and wax.

Note: If you don’t yet have a router, you can still put this piece together using screws. Just label the pieces carefully and assemble according to the diagrams, using butt joints.

In the next of our easy woodworking projects for beginners we will be building a storage chest!

2. DIY Wooden Storage Box

storage chest

This chest can serve a dual purpose. Obviously, it can be used as a storage unit; secondly, it could double as a coffee table in a small apartment. It has a very basic shape but would be excellent for storing toys and games in.

You can use any type of jointing to make this chest. (See the article: Types of Wood Joints and Their Uses.) However, to give it most visual appeal (and superior strength), we will be using half-blind dovetail joints to join the sides.

How to make a wooden storage box

wooden dovetail joint
Half-blind dovetail joints

Constructing the Base Unit

We will be using pine for this project. The base piece has the following dimensions: 30″ long x 9″ high x 3/4″ thick.

First cut these pieces to size. Next, you need to cut the half-blind dovetail joints, using a router and a dovetail template. The dovetail should show on the side pieces, not on the front and back, which is why we’re using the half-blind version.

After you’ve cut the dovetails, your next job is to create a means of attaching the base wood to the front and sides. We are going to be using a 1/2″-thick piece of plywood for the base.

To attach the plywood base to the front and sides, cut a slotted tenon joint 1/2″ from the bottom of the front, back and sides. Make the slot 3/8″ deep and 1/2″ wide (the same as the thickness of the plywood).

Determining the Base Size

The size of the plywood base is 29 1/2″ long, by approximately 16″ wide. You’ll need to determine your own exact measurement of the base piece once you have cut the dovetails; the precise dimensions will depend on the depth of your joint etc.

To determine your base size, “dry-fit” the four sides together, then measure the dimensions of the inside of the box. To those measurements, add on 3/8″ at each end for the depth of the slotted tenon joint.

Once you have cut your base to size, glue the 4 sides and the base together. Ensure that the corners are at 90-degree angles; clamp for several hours to allow the glue to set.

Constructing the Lid

You will construct the lid in a similar fashion. Cut the front and back pieces to the dimensions 30″ x 5″ x 3/4″ and the sides 16″ x 5″ x 3/4″, then rout out the half-blind dovetails. Remember to cut the dovetails out of the sides (as you did with the base unit), rather than the back and front.

This time, you do not need to rout out a groove for the lid. We will be making the lid from pine (not plywood) and it will measure approximately 30″ x 16″ x 3/4″. Again, determine your own measurements by dry-fitting the 4 sides. To make a piece that will accommodate the width of the lid, you will most likely need to join two pieces of pine together using the doweling method.

Glue the 4 sides together, then glue the top on. There’s no need to use nails or screws; just use a strong wood glue and leave the whole unit clamped overnight.

Finishing Off the Storage Box

Sand the entire chest. Take special care that you round off all the corners neatly; you don’t want sharp corners that you can bang your leg into. Next, wax your project.

Attach 2 hinges to the back of the unit and a clasp to the front. For this project it will be worth while to use ornamental hinges and a clasp as it will improve the otherwise-plain design; hidden hinges will make the chest look rather dull.

Lastly, to prevent the lid from swinging open too far and damaging the hinges, add a chain or similar mechanism to the inside of the chest.

If you intend to use this chest as a toy box, please use some sort of “soft-close” hinges, to avoid any accidents.

Our next easy woodworking project for beginners fulfills our promise of a plan to make your own workbench!

3. Simple Workbench Plan

simple workbench plan

For this workshop bench you will need:

PartItemDimensions
ATop (Cut 5 of these)198 x 48 x 1800mm.
BCorner Brackets90 x 35 x 240mm.
CSide Top Rails148 x 48 x 800mm.
DFront/Back Top Rails90 x 35 x 1400mm.
ECarriage Bolts, Nuts and Washers5/16 x 4½
5/16 x 6½
FSide Bottom Rails90 x 35 x 800mm.
GLegs98 x 98 x 900mm.
HFront/Back Bottom Rails90 x 35 x 1400mm.
IShelf800 x 1470 x 19mm.
JBench Top90 x 35 x 300mm.

Tools Required (links to Amazon):

Constructing the Workbench

1. Cut the 4 legs (G) to length and mark in housings for the top and bottom rails (D and H). The top housing is 148mm. x 48mm. deep; the lower one is 90mm. x 35mm. deep. Set your circular saw to the correct depth and cut on the waste sides of the lines you marked.

Cut a series of parallel lines about 12mm. apart between the housing marks and knock out the waste. Smooth each housing with a rasp or chisel.

2. Cut to length the front and back top and bottom rails (D and H); align them in their housing and pin them in place with nails. Drill through both legs and rails and bolt the rails to the legs. Check that the frame is square by measuring the angles.

3. Cut the side rails (C and F) and clamp them to the front and back frame, then drill and insert the longer bolts. Tighten all nuts securely and check that the bench doesn’t rock.

4. Cut out 4 corner brackets (B) with 45-degree angles. It’s best to use a miter saw to do this, otherwise you can set a circular saw to cut at 45 degrees. Screw the brackets in place flush with the top of the rails. The bench frame should be completely rigid at this stage.

5. Cut the bottom shelf (I) to suit the dimensions of the bench. Notch out 35mm. x 133mm. in each corner to clear the legs. You can screw the shelf in place or leave it loose.

6. Cut the 5 pieces for the top (A). Move them around to get the best fit for the edges and hold them in place with a nail. Screw them to the bench frame with 100mm. screws, 2 in each end, sunk slightly below the surface. Sand away any major irregularities.

It can sometimes be difficult to keep a piece from moving around while working on it with a hand tool. This is where a workbench stop can be a blessing. It will act as a “third hand” and hold your wood piece steady while you work at it.

More Plans for Woodworking Projects

There are many places where you can find plans for your woodworking projects. Some home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s carry an extensive line of woodworking plans; you’ll also find plenty of resources for easy woodworking projects online.

Easy woodworking projects for beginners

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