What is a good first woodworking project? As someone who was overambitious with his first woodworking project (it was an Adirondack chair and I failed miserably), I suggest choosing a project that will be forgiving in case something goes wrong. Also, choose a project that you can create without having all the basic woodworking tools, which are expensive.
In this article, you will find 11 woodworking projects that you can build as a beginner without having to own a whole bunch of expensive woodworking tools.
Free And Easy Woodworking Projects For Beginners:
1. Scrap wood cutting board
The idea of creating a cutting board as one of your first beginner woodworking projects should probably seem like a no-brainer. I mean, how hard can it be, right? You just take a slab of wood, chop it down to your desired dimensions, plane it, round the edges with a router, carve out some decorative grooves, sand it well, apply your desired finish and call it a day.
Well, not with this cutting board. With this project, you will be using scrap boards that are laying around your workshop to create a multicolored board that actually looks great!
The great thing about this project that you can practice some of the basic woodworking skills like cutting with the table saw, sanding, gluing wood together, planing and more. Note that this guide suggests using a thickness planer, but this can be substituted with a good old hand plane. Same goes for the table saw which can be substituted with less expensive alternatives like a good circular saw, or even a rip cut handsaw.
- Any scraps of wood that you have lying around in your shop
- Carpenter’s glue
- Any food-safe wood finish
2. A Viking Wooden Spoon
If you enjoyed watching the Vikings TV series then you will also enjoy carving this wooden spoon. Now, who told you that you need all kinds of fancy, expensive power tools to have the right to call yourself a real woodworker? This beginner woodworking project definitely breaks that stereotype because to build this project.
- A fresh wood log that you would normally throw into a wood furnace
You will only need the most basic hand tools:
- A spoon knife
This project will give you a taste of how our ancestors lived without all the modern power tools! If you aren’t really excited about this, then continue reading.
3. A Box Made With Box Joints
As you may know, there are plenty of ways to connect two pieces of wood together. Using a butt joint that is reinforced with glue or screws is just one of the ways you can join two pieces of wood perpendicularly.
With this beginner project, you will be able to practice how to create box joints, which are quick and easy to make with a router table.
- 3-4″ wide board
- Scrap board
For this project, the author recommends using these tools:
- Router table
- 1/4″ straight router bit
- Compound miter saw or table saw
- Belt sander*
- Straight file
- Some clamps
Items with asterisks are optional. I should also note that due to the simplicity of materials you will be working with, the miter saw or the table saw can be easily substituted with a simple handsaw or a jigsaw (we have a guide on the best cordless jigsaws to help you choose in case you don’t have one yet)
4. Wooden Sheath for Cook’s Knife
I don’t know about you, but I like to build stuff that doesn’t just look good, but also serves a practical purpose. This is why I have decided to include this simple wooden sheath plan on this list because it looks great, it is really handy and it will teach you how to make accurate measurements and cutting out U notches in the wood.
Even though this project is simple enough to practice basic woodworking techniques, when done right, it should look good enough to keep it on display in the kitchen or even present it to your friend or significant other.
- 1/2″ x 4″ hardwood boards like poplar or red oak.
Now, when it comes to the tools that you will need, the author of this project suggests using a router table to cut the grooves. Technically, you can also carve out notches with a chisel, but it may be risky due to the thinness of wood pieces you will be working with.
5. Wooden Bandsaw Taxidermy
I call this project a vegan-friendly taxidermy head. Jokes aside, I think that this can be a great decorative element and building it will allow you to practice your skills on a band saw. If you don’t have one, you can create a smaller-scale taxidermy head by using a fretsaw.
- ~ 18″ of 2″ x 12″ material (for the head)
- ~ 12″ of 2″ x 10″ material (for the plaque, could use plywood)
- 4 3″ wood or deck screws
- Wood glue
- Wood finish of your choice
The project will require these tools:
- Bandsaw or jigsaw
- Cardboard or masonite (for templating)
- Ruler/tape measure
6. DIY Pocket Business Card Holder
This project is for those of you who mean business. If you are meeting with prospective clients or attending a local business networking event, why not showcase your creative side right off the bat with a handmade business cardholder? I mean, having the ability to create stuff out of wood with your own hands instantly creates an aura of stoic-like dependability and wisdom around you.
But I digress. This is a simple project which I think you can create this weekend and all that you need is a few pieces of scrap wood.
- 3x 3/16-1/4″ thick pieces of wood of your choice (the author used bloodwood, cherry, ash and box Elder
The author of this project recommends using the following tools:
- Table saw (A jigsaw or a handsaw can be easily used instead)
- Router mounted in a table (with a small round-over bit)
- Drill press
- Small clamps
7. Simple Storage Box
With this project, you will be able to build a simple storage box that can be used for all sorts of things. Whether you decide to use it to store woodworking equipment in your workshop or keep your children’s toys in one place, this box will definitely prove handy.
The best thing: this box is very easy to build. On top of that, you won’t need any expensive tools to build this and there aren’t many things that can break during the building process.
- Any cheap wood of your choice like plywood, MDF, pine or other softwood
- PVA wood glue
Tools you will need for this project:
- Miter saw, circular saw or hand saw.
- Jigsaw (use a special blade for cutting angles)
- Biscuit jointer and biscuits no10.
- Hand sander with different grit levels.
- Cordless drill ( for screws and pilot holes)
- Glue roller, pencil, pins, 2 hinges, clamps, set square, ratchet straps or long clamps.
For more storage ideas, make sure to check out this article.
8. Picnic Table
This one is a much larger project than the others we have discussed here, but it should still be easy enough for a beginner to handle. You may feel daunted by the size of this project, but do not get discouraged! What I like about this project is that the author has created a very detailed cut list of all the parts that you will need for this picnic table. And the table looks great!
Proudly display this project in your patio or sell it for a few hundred dollars for an easy profit. I’ve seen similar picnic tables sell on Lowe’s for as much as $400. Overall, I think this project can be a great pastime activity for those of you who are looking for a challenge. I may even build this for myself as soon as I finish up with the restoration of my patio space.
- Any type of 2×4 wood for outdoor furniture.
- M8 threaded rods.
- 80mm wood screws.
- A finish of your choice.
Tools you will need:
- A saw (Table saw, miter saw, circular saw or a simple hand saw).
- A drill
- Impact driver
- Random orbital sander.
- Sanding discs.
9. DIY Address Number Wall Planter
Let people know that there’s a DIY woodworking artist living in this house by greeting them with a wooden address number wall planter. The sheer simplicity of things often gives them charm, and this is definitely the case with this beginner woodworking project.
Anyways, I think to create this project and hang it on my own house. My wife is a big-time flower lover and she will definitely appreciate that flowerpot element.
The best part? it shouldn’t take you longer than an hour to finish this up, provided that you have all the necessary materials on hand (which you should if you are like myself and have scrap wood lying all over the place).
- 1 – 5.5″ fence picket (the author suggests cedar, but any wood of your choice will do)
- 1 x 4 x 8 board (again, any wood of your choice)
- Wood screws
- Metal address numbers
- And flowers (obviously)
Tools you will need:
- A saw
- A Kreg jig
- A drill
10. Vintage Wine Crate Coffee Table
As you may have noticed already, I like to reuse old pieces of wood into something that serves an aesthetic purpose at the least. Not only is it good for the environment, but you also get to build something without going to the department shop to buy new wood.
Anyways, do you have a lot of crates lying around in your garage and your first idea is to throw them out? Don’t do that!
With this project, you will find out that you can use those old crates to create a nice looking, vintage coffee table. And it’s going to look great as long as you sand it diligently and apply a good finish. Personally, I would apply something like varnish or lacquer because I prefer that sharp, shiny look on my interior furniture. I just feel like it would look great on a coffee table!
- 4 Wooden crates (12.5″W x 18″L x 9.5″H)
- Two 1×4’s. Any wood of your preference.
- 4 casters
11. Wooden Sofa Sleeve With A Cup Holder
Let’s admit it: nobody’s got time to lean back and forth to pick up their steaming cup of joe while enjoying their favorite series on Netflix. And, holding a hot cup in your hand is just too much of a risk. One joke that hits home just a little too close or an unexpected jumpscare and you’ve ruined your sofa’s upholstery.
Well, this project will let you sit back and enjoy your favorite show without worrying about spilling the contents of your cup (or your pint glass).
- Wooden board cut into three equal parts. 1/8″ plywood or pine should do just fine.
- Yellow glue
- Wood stain
- 150 or 180 grit sandpaper
- Grade 0000 steel wool
- Polyurethane (or any other finish of your choice)
Tools you will need for this project:
- 8” Clamps
- Hole saw
- Power Drill
- Tape measure
To wrap this up, I really hope this guide gives you enough inspiration to start building your own beginner woodworking project this weekend. Most of the projects mentioned on this list are really easy to make, they mostly don’t require any expensive tools and they will help you build up your skill and become a true woodworking artist.
Make sure you share this article with your friends and post your thoughts in the comments below!