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How to master woodworking projects

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Trevor's winning hardwood outdoor table.png


Don’t be afraid of making mistakes when woodworking, says the winner of Australia’s best small project of 2022.


Trevor, known as @softwareburnout on the Workshop community, was a winner in our D.I.Y. July competition last year for his hardwood outdoor table


“Almost any mistake in a woodworking project can be fixed,” Trevor says. “The beauty of D.I.Y. is that you made it in the first place, so you are in the best position to upgrade, fix and re-finish it later.” 


Trevor says the table “is doing great and appears as strong as the day it was made”, adding that it has been used in “many gatherings” over the past year. 


For anyone wanting to attempt a similar project, Trevor emphasises the importance of planning ahead.


“Once you've settled on a design, draw pictures or diagrams on your old maths grid book. They can be as crude and as rough as you want. Put it all on paper first.”


Trevor reveals he “learnt all kinds of traditional woodworking joinery techniques” while building the table. This has boosted his confidence.


“All the joinery I taught myself has come in extremely handy. It has also given me confidence to tackle and complete bigger D.I.Y projects. This would have been daunting a few years ago when I was only building smaller things like picture frames. Now I believe that scale is just another challenge to overcome.” Trevor's table "appears as strong as the day it was made"Trevor's table "appears as strong as the day it was made"


Expert advice for your woodworking project


Mitchell Mclean (@MitchellMc), resident Bunnings D.I.Y. expert and one of the judges in this year's competition to find Australia's best D.I.Y. projects, has further advice for those tackling a woodworking project. His tips include:


1. Start with small, straightforward projects when beginning your woodworking journey. Develop essential skills and gain confidence, gradually progressing to more complex projects as you gain experience.


2. Accurate measurements are vital in woodworking. Minimise mistakes and material wastage by double-checking measurements before cutting. If you make a mistake, embrace it as an opportunity to create unique features.


3. Prioritise safety in woodworking. Wear safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves and appropriate clothing to safeguard against potential hazards. Adhering to safety practices ensures your well-being while working with tools and machinery.


4. Taking your time and sanding evenly ensures a smooth and professional finish. Pay attention to detail and gradually work through different grits of sandpaper for the best results.


5. It's best to test stains and finishes on scrap pieces of the same wood or in an inconspicuous location. Testing allows you to see how the colour and finish will look before committing to the entire project.

How to get started in woodworking


The Bunnings Workshop community includes many other skilled and experienced woodworkers sharing valuable knowledge. If you want to improve your woodworking knowledge and skills, our Best Advice section includes articles like How do you learn woodworking? and What tools do you need for woodworking?


We also recommend checking out our How To section, which includes guides like How to build drawer dividers and How to choose the right timber for the job


Inspiration for your woodworking project


Have a look at the Top 10 most popular woodworking projects and the Top 10 most popular pallet projects shared on Workshop for great ideas.


D.I.Y. July is fast approaching and we are again searching for Australia’s best D.I.Y. projects. Winners will have their projects featured in the Bunnings magazine. You can submit your own entry by hitting the Share a project button today. 

Why join the Bunnings Workshop community?

Workshop is a friendly place to learn, get ideas and find inspiration for your home improvement projects