What Every Girl Should Know About Woodworking

Shop classes in schools are predominantly male, but Timbertown Austin is out to help change that. Our very own Steve has three girls of his own, and on Take Your Daughter to Work Day he uses the time to make sure they’re up to speed on basic woodworking skills that can come in handy whether you’re a boy or a girl.

Grils Woodworking

Explanation of Woodworking Tools

The first step to teaching anyone about woodworking is to go over the tools and what they do. Below is a list of woodworking tools to go over:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Chisel
  • Clamp
  • Hand Plane
  • Tape Measure
  • Drills
  • Sanding Paper
  • Eye Protection

Discuss how each one works and safety precautions that need to be followed.

Discussion of Different Wood Types

Before using the tools, first explain the other part of the equation – the wood. Different types of wood have different characteristics that could come into play while performing various tasks. It’s also worth paying particular attention to what workability means and why it’s important when choosing the wood for a project. At the very least you’ll want to discuss the differences between hardwoods and softwoods.

During the discussion it’s a good time to go over how to choose the right kind of wood. Steps to cover include:

  • Considering the appearance of the final product – color, texture and grain
  • Maintenance needs
  • Longevity and durability
  • Looking for defects such as knots and warping

The Basic Skills of Working with Wood

Now it’s time to start working! For demonstrative purposes and practicing it’s best to use a softwood rather than a hardwood.


Discuss the different measurements that are available on a standard tape measure. Next, show your pupil how to measure from the inside and the outside of the board as well as the difference between the two. Finally, discuss marking measurements with a square for the most accurate cuts. Remember – measure twice, cut once!


Once measurements have been marked off have them practice cutting a straight line with a handsaw. Show them how to line up the saw where the cut should be started holding the saw at a 45 degree angle. Instruct them to make a few slow, smooth strokes pulling then pushing to create a groove in the wood. Let them first saw the wood without the use of a clamp and then have them do another cut, this time with a clamp holding the piece of wood in place. You can also give them a demonstration on how to use a circular saw, but don’t push them to use it if they aren’t comfortable with doing so.

Hammering in a Nail

This is the most basic and commonly used of all woodworking skills. However, that doesn’t mean proper technique doesn’t come into play. The most important parts to teach are choosing the right nail and the correct way to hold it between the thumb and forefinger. Next, have them tap it in to get the nail planted before hammering it completely into place while their fingers are out of the way.

Drilling a Hole

First, discuss how to choose the proper drill bit for your hole. Next, mark the spot where you want to make the hole. Position the drill directly over the marked spot. Show them how to apply steady pressure as you drill through the wood.


Together decide which type of sandpaper will be best for the project. Have the student make straight, long sanding motions along the grain of the wood. Explain the need for paying attention to the edges and corners when sanding. Finally, have them go back over the edges and corners with a finer grit of sandpaper for a nice smooth finish.

Going over the tools, how to select wood and the proper techniques for some of the basic skills is a great start to getting your daughter introduced the to world of woodworking. Build on this basic woodworking lesson by doing a small project together from concept to completion. At the end of the day she’ll have learned a few new skills and gained a greater appreciation for woodworking.

Image Source: flickr.com/photos/tamuc

Original Source: http://timbertownaustin.com/timbertown-austin-news-and-events/what-every-girl-should-know-about-woodworking/

Leave a Reply