Major Tools in the Wood Shop and How to Use Them


Kade Heaton

    If you’re reading this, you probably want to know how to woodwork effectively and not cut your fingers off. Luckily, this page will help you start with the basics. This article will be very long, so if you aren’t really interested in reading 50 different paragraphs at once, read in chunks instead. Remember, always consult a professional before you start any woodworking, especially if you don’t know what to do!

First off, the miter saw. Although one of the loudest and scariest in the woodshop, it’s the one you’ll use second to most. (more on that later) As by its name, it can only cross-cut and miter wood, but it can never rip wood. If you’ve never heard of these terms before, you’re probably scratching your head like “what the heck is he talking about?” I’ll explain what these all mean.
First, cross-cutting is cutting perpendicular to the grain of the wood. The grain of the wood is basically the lines you see. Ripping wood is cutting ALONG the grain. And finally, mitering wood is cutting wood in any way not listed above in a straight line, usually at a 45-degree angle.
To use the miter saw, you should put your hand with your palm on the handle, not hold it. This is to prevent accidentally turning on the miter saw. You then put your other handle on the board and make sure it’s perfectly lined up with the wall, as you could accidentally miter if it isn’t lined upright. You line it up with the line you want to cut the wood at and then pull on the handle, NOT on the trigger. Finally, once it’s all the way out, you turn on the saw, push the handle down, and move the saw backward, or forwards from your direction.
The second and one of the most important tools in the woodshop is the Bandsaw. The bandsaw is where you cut your board, which you cross-cut earlier and shaped the board to your liking with other tools we can’t cover. Here you will cut out the shape of what you want to make, like a side piece or a back piece of a shelf.
Before you use the bandsaw, you should first make sure you laser engrave your piece with the corresponding shape you want to cut it into. If you don’t know how to laser engrave, ask one of the technology teachers (Mr. Wise or Colin Phillips) to laser engrave it for you.
After laser engraving, you should cut lines into the laser engraving to make it easier. I put a picture here to make it easier for you to visualize.
Once you cut these lines out, you then use a different bandsaw with a thinner blade to cut through the wood. This thinner blade allows the bandsaw to cut arcs around the wood that the thicker bandsaw couldn’t otherwise.
  There are many more woodworking tools, but these are 2 that you should 100% know. Later, I might talk about the table saw and the router, but I’ll leave that for another time. In the meantime, go research these tools yourself! Good luck woodworking!