A Comprehensive Guide to the Types of Woodworking

Types of woodworking

Woodworking refers to the use of wood for manufacturing a variety of items, or, in other words, it simply refers to working with wood.

Woodworking is practised both as a hobby and as a profession. There are many types of woodworking, some of which are easier than others. From installing a wooden shelf to making a wooden chair by hand, anything that involves the use of timber can be referred to as woodworking.

Not every type of woodworking is for everyone. Even the most proficient woodworkers specialize only in limited forms of woodworking. Whether you’re working with wood as a hobby or as a profession, it might help to know about the different types of woodworking in order to choose the right type for your particular knowledge and goals.

Different Types of Woodworking

Wood can be used in a range of applications and to make a variety of products. The art of manufacturing different types of items from wood gave birth to different forms of woodworking, some of which are as follows:

1. Woodcarving

Woodcarving is one of the oldest and traditional wooden crafts that involves the detailed and careful shaping of wood to turn it into specialised carvings using tools such as chisels, gouges, and knives. Woodcarvers specialize in crafting beautiful and intricate figurines, shapes, decorative ornaments, and meticulous sculptures from simple wooden blocks or panels. This ancient form of woodworking requires both a deep understanding of wood and artistic skill with accuracy to build enchanting and finely crafted wooden products.

2. Woodturning

As the name suggests, this type of woodworking involves making turned items from wood. Woodturning is a specialized woodworking method where artisans convert a wooden block into a turned or round object by spinning it on a special machine called a lathe. Woodturning is used to produce symmetrical, rounded objects from wood such as round wooden handles, bowls, vases, and round table legs. Not all types of wood are suitable for woodturning, with maple, walnut and cherry being some of the best choices.

3. Wood Burning (Pyrography)

Wood Burning, also known as Pyrography, involves burning the surface of the wood using a specialised tool, generally to carve attractive designs. A heated tool is used to inscribe detailed designs and prints onto wooden surfaces. Controlled burns are used to avoid extensive burning of wood or significant damages. This allows the creation of decorative designs, detailed patterns, scenes, pictures, etc. on wood and has been historically used for artistic expression on wood.

4. Furniture Making

Furniture Making is probably the most popular and common use of wood. It is also the most famous type of woodworking. It is popular both as a hobby and a profession because making furniture items from wood is among the easiest forms of woodworking. This is at least true for basic and simple furniture items such as tables and chairs. However, making contemporary and artistic furniture products from wood demands extensive expertise with design skills. Wood timber is used for making everything from simple chairs and benches to complex cabinets and decorative furniture pieces with a focus on both quality and aesthetic appeal.

5. Epoxy Woodworking

Epoxy Woodworking is a modern woodworking style, where wood is combined with epoxy resin to produce strong and visually stunning products that are also very durable. The most common example is epoxy river tabletops, which are created by joining two or more panels of timber using transparent epoxy resin, which enhances both the durability and natural appeal of the final product. Epoxy resin is a very strong adhesive particularly suitable for structural and engineering applications. This type of woodworking has opened several new opportunities in the creative woodworking space beyond traditional woodworking.

6. Construction

Wood is among the most common materials used in construction. From core building structures to wall panels, roofs, doors, windows, and flooring, wood is usable in every part of every type of construction project, be it residential or commercial. Wood has outstanding stability, versatility, strength, and sustainability, which make it one of the favoured options for construction, including framing, siding, flooring, decking, roofing, and much more. The use of wood in construction projects offers natural beauty with durability over alternative construction materials like stone and concrete.

7. Boxes

Box manufacturing is one of the very common applications of wood. Wood is used for building a variety of boxes and other packaging materials, ranging from small decorative trinket boxes to paper boxes and large storage containers. Normally, softwoods, which are cheap and easily available, are used for making boxes. Craftsmen use their artistic skills to create highly functional and designer boxes tailored to a variety of uses, from showcasing/packing jewellery to storing or gifting keepsakes, and safekeeping tools. Wooden boxes provide both beauty and durability to whatever application they are used for.

8. Cabinetry

Cabinetry is among the most popular uses of timber. It involves making beautiful cabinets from wood by using a variety of tools for cutting and joining. Modern cabinetry woodworking focuses on creating attractive and durable storage solutions for residences and commercial spaces that provide a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Different types of custom cabinets are created and used in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of a building. Both natural wood like hardwood or softwood and engineered wood like plywood are used for the construction of strong cabinets. Polishing, staining and lamination are popular decorative methods used for enhancing the appearance of wooden cabinets.

9. Boat Building

Wood is also commonly used for building boats, ships and other marine applications. It’s, in fact, a centuries-old craft where traditional craftsmanship is combined with cutting-edge tools and techniques to build high-tech ships using water-resistant wood. Wood can be used to create a wide range of vessels and marine products, from small rowboats and canoes to commercial boats, sailboats, yachts and parts for ships. Wood types intended to be used for boat building must be highly durable and resistant to water and weather elements.

10. Woodworking Art

The use of wood for art has been going on for centuries. Examples include the use of wood for crafting creative sculptures, installations, designs, and other intricate wooden artworks. In modern times as well, wood is extensively used in the art industry. Wood millwork is a good example of that. It refers to decorative items made of wood to be used in building construction. Wood is favoured by artists as a sustainable material which is beautiful, durable and easy to work with.

11. Scroll Sawing (scrolling)

Scroll Sawing, or scrolling, is a branch of woodworking that involves creating small specialty items from wood by using a fine-blade hand or machine saw. Wood artists use the saw to make detailed and precise cuts in wood, generally to carve small items, toys like wooden puzzles, ornaments, decorative items, and intricate patterns. It takes a high level of precision and outstanding artistic skills to do this kind of work.

12. Wooden Joinery

Wooden Joinery refers to the practice of joining wood to create high-quality, connected wooden pieces. This is a type of woodworking that is used in many other woodworking projects like furniture making, construction, etc. The goal is to create strong and durable connections between wood pieces. Based on how wood pieces are joined, there can be a variety of wood joints, such as dovetails, mortise and tenon joints. Some are better and stronger than others. A variety of products and tools like glue, nails, screws, etc. are used for wood joinery.

13. Intarsia and Marquetry (Wood Mosaics)

Intarsia and Marquetry, often referred to as Wood Mosaics, is an artistic form of woodworking, which involves the inlaying of wood. In simple words, different types of wood or wood with other materials are combined in artistic patterns to create stunning pieces and designs. Intarsia involves the use of solid wood pieces to form detailed images using wood or other materials. Marquetry uses thin veneers on which decorative patterns are carved.

14. Hand Woodworking

Hand Woodworking refers to a type of woodworking where only hand tools like hand saws, knives, planes, cutters, and chisels are used to create products from wood. This method of woodworking is used for building a variety of products, ranging from intricate wooden art to handmade wooden items like boxes, baskets, chairs, stools, toys, and more.

15. Digital Woodworking

Digital Woodworking involves the use of the latest technological resources and tools like CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to boost the efficiency and speed of the woodworking process. The use of automated or computerized machines in woodworking is very common nowadays. These machines can automate tasks such as wood shaping, cutting, carving, and engraving with high precision and low errors, ensuring detailed and high-quality designs.

16. Power Carving

Power Carving is a woodworking form where carving is done using specialized power tools like grinders and rotary tools. This provides more efficiency and precision over wood carving by hand to create high-quality wood sculptures. These high-speed wood carving tools also help reduce the carving time to create beautiful, three-dimensional wooden artworks quickly and efficiently.

Types of Woodworking : The Final Verdict

There may be multiple other types of woodworking. Having a brief understanding of the various forms of woodworking might help you determine the best choice for your woodworking profession or hobby. If you’re a beginner, you should start with a rather easy woodworking project such as building a simple table or bench or shelf.

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