Handicraft and woodworking utilize a wide range of tools and materials to create crafts, decorative objects, furniture and implements. Some crafts, such as beadwork, involve only small hand tools, while endeavors such as cabinetmaking often require an a shop full of power tools. The materials used for handicrafts are limited only by the imagination of the craftsperson.
Hand tools are generally used for applications that require less power and greater finesse. In woodworking, operations such as finish planing and dovetail cutting are frequently done with hand planes and small hand saws. Handicrafts can involve the use of hand tools including needles, glass cutters, looms, spinners and presses. Hand tools allow the craftsperson to remain connected to the work without the excess power and noise of power tools. It is necessary to learn how to use hand tools properly and to maintain them so that they work at a high level of precision.
Power tools can help the hobbiest avoid difficult drudgery, particularly in woodworking. Power jointers and planers take the rough surfaces off of lumber and flatten boards so they can be used to build precision furniture. Power saws remove the time and labor required to cut boards by hand. For best results, power tools must be maintained regularly, with their blades, knives and cutting edges kept razor sharp. Because they are so powerful, misuse of these tools can result in irreparable mistakes during a project, as well as potential safety hazards.
Woodworkers utilize many different kinds of wood. Kiln-dried hardwoods are purchased at lumber stores for cabinetmaking. When lumber is kiln-dried, its moisture content is reduced to around seven percent, ensuring that it will not warp, swell and shrink after it has been made into furniture. Some cabinetmakers, particularly chair builders, prefer to work with green wood. Traditional chair makers can build chairs of ash that has been cut from a recently downed tree. The green wood is typically easier to work with hand tools.
Handicrafts utilize a wide variety of materials. Sewers and knitters use thread, yarn and fabrics, and sometimes create these materials themselves with spinners and looms. Glassblowers use molten glass and kilns, while stained glass workers make creations out of hard sheets of colored glass. Many people engage in crafts with children, and use household objects such as scrap cloth, newspaper, glue and macaroni for creative art supplies.
Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.