When I see an ornate cabinet or a beautifully carved chair, I often forget how much design and hard work must have gone into making it. Every detail required precision and care. It can easily be taken for granted how accessible wooden goods are, but behind every carefully crafted piece is an enthusiast who has invested time, energy and passion into it. To recognize some of these artists, we have at Bored Panda put together this list of some of the most unique and impressive woodworking projects that proud craftsmen have shared on the r/Woodworking subreddit. From cutting boards to cabinets to night lamps, we hope you love these designer pieces as much as we do.
Let us know which creations are your favorites by voting and commenting on the images, and if you’re looking for even more woodworking inspiration after reading this piece, check out some of our past publications here and here.
Woodworking can be anything from a leisure hobby to a full-fledged career path. For those who practice recreationally, many find the process relaxing and rewarding. Creating something with your hands that you can then use and enjoy for years is a great feeling. Kevin Hays, founder of Woodworker Lodge, explains on his blog the satisfaction that woodworking can bring. Hays, who described himself as an “ex-submariner turned woodworking hobbyist,” says, “When a project runs smoothly, there’s no better feeling in the world.” He encourages anyone with an interest in woodworking to give it a try. It can be a valuable skill, a creative outlet, and even a profitable hobby.
Hays explains that many think that woodworking is just carpentry, like building furniture and appliances. While carpentry falls under woodworking, the dome of woodworking is even broader. It includes anything built or made with wood. Even the engraving of text counts, Hays notes. This also gives woodworkers infinite freedom in terms of what to create. Want to make a designer paperweight or elaborate tree house for your kids? The possibilities are endless.
You may be interested in woodworking on your own time, but seeing all these incredible pieces can be intimidating. Where does one even start? Don’t be discouraged, ambitious future woodworker. The internet is a great place and it has plenty of resources to get you started on your woodworking journey. Blogs like Woodworker Lodge, The House of Wood, Woodworker’s Journal, and countless others make starting a project much less daunting. What tools do you need to get started? How expensive will the materials be? Which type of wood best suits the project you have in mind? The answers are certainly there; Don’t let fear hold you back!
There is a common misconception that woodworking must be an incredibly costly activity. While many skilled workers agree that making a custom piece is likely to be more expensive than buying a mass-manufactured one, not everything you make has to cost you a pretty penny. Brian Forbes, author and woodworking expert, shares tips on his blog to make starting your woodworking journey more cost-effective. He recommends searching online for used tools before investing in more expensive tools later. “Start small,” he writes. “You only need the basic tools at first.” Start-up costs are much lower than many expect when purchasing is strategic and used only for what is needed in the beginning.
If your passion and skills transcend the amateur arena, you may be interested in a full-time career in woodworking. This can be an attractive choice for those who want to express their creative side through their work and for those who have great patience with excellent attention to detail. To work professionally as a woodworker, you may need to complete an internship or enroll in a trade school, depending on where you live and the path you want to take. However, many skilled woodworkers are self-taught, with the internet being their main guide, so there’s no need to follow one specific path to advance your career.
Being a woodworker is certainly a viable career option for those dedicated to the arts. In 2017, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median salary for a woodworker in the US was $34,000 per year. However, the income range varied widely by state, with Hawaii, Alaska and Illinois reporting average salaries much higher than the rest of the nation. At present, approximately 290,000 people are employed as woodworkers in the United States, about 40% of whom are specialized in furniture making.
Another concern that sometimes discourages people from getting into woodworking is the belief that it must be extremely dangerous. Using power tools with sharp blades to manipulate wood certainly carries risks, but countless enthusiasts dive safely into woodworking (and without ever losing a finger!). Certain tools, such as the table saw, are much more likely to be responsible for accidents. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, table saws were the culprit for about 64,000 injuries in 2017. Unsurprisingly, the body parts most at risk for woodworkers are their fingers, hands, and eyes.
There are always methods of risk reduction and safe practice when using woodworking tools. Scott Curry, author of the blog Make From Wood, shared some of his top tips for staying safe: know your machine, use the right tools for the job, and don’t skimp on safety equipment. He reminds readers that wearing protective gear is always worthwhile. “Working on saw blades spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute, accidents happen in a fraction of a second. For safety, never skip the basics.”
When calculating woodworking risks, don’t think about the hidden risks. Curry reminds readers of his blog to always protect their ears and lungs as well. Power tools such as the chop saw can reach 110 decibels, which can cause hearing damage to unprotected ears, especially with frequent or prolonged exposure.
As for woodworkers’ lungs, it is important that they are protected from inhaling too much sawdust. A quality mask, a good air filtration system, and a dust collector can all work together to protect the lungs of anyone near sawdust.
As with any hobby or passion project, woodworking provides an opportunity to bond with a community of like-minded individuals. Enthusiasts regularly visit blogs, Facebook groups, and the r/Woodworking subreddit to share their beautiful creations, seek advice, and find inspiration for their next projects. Woodworking is a respected art form that everyone can appreciate, even if you don’t pick up wood and a saw yourself. Enjoy this impressive wooden performance, and feel free to show your admiration to the artists by commenting and voting!