Health and Psychological benefits of woodworking

disclaimer – i’m not a doctor.

Humans have been working with wood for as long as we’ve existed. We’ve been trying to make spears and other tools, use it as shelter, and burned it to get warm. It’s almost like working with wood is in our DNA. We’ve forgotten that for a long time, but now, i’m happy to note that woodworking is cool again. I see many youngsters get excited about DIY projects, buy tools and try to do the best they can to make a furniture or simple object.

 Most furniture made today is by professional woodworkers. Amateurs usually take longer but that’s the point of being an amateur. But what i’ve been wondering about, and wanted to share here is –  is woodworking good for your mental health? I’ve started thinking about this a while back, because to my surprise, woodworking had exceptionally calming effect on me. I would come back home, tired from work, and for some reason, i wasn’t lazy to work with wood. I was excited. So my love for woodworking grew organically, and i have been going at it ever since. I’d love to find out that it has health advantages as well. I have anxiety problem, and as far as i’ve noticed, woodworking does very good job of curing my anxiety.

For those who work on it professionally, probably not. I think woodworking is universally liked activity, because it’s wired in our DNA to enjoy making stuff. But too much of it can get boring.

But most people with tools aren’t professionals. They are average guys, who work boring jobs and come home to enjoy their hobby in their free time. By the way, i’ve heard of a lot of guys who got started as amateurs, and slowly moved into doing it professionally. I guess, deep down, that’s my dream too. Maybe after retirement.

So it’s not unlikely to find me in my garage, in middle of the night, working on something. It might be furniture for my friends or relatives, or for myself. Ideas come to me all the time, and sometimes i have to sacrifice sleep to get them all done. What can i say, i’m hooked. I recently got myself best wood splitting axe, and i can’t get enough of using it. 

So what’s so special about woodworking? First of all, i think woodworking is getting popular among young people because it gives them something they’ve been deprived of – possibility. Much like the game minecraft, piece of wood can be shaped according to your creativity. You can create something tangible and cool out of dull product, and i think that’s very intriguing. It stimulates creative part of your brain to come up with new designs and new solutions to existing problems. It basically allows your creativity to be wild. One newspaper article i’ve read, even said that woodworking can improve your long term memory and can reduce the risk of alzheimer’s. It’s also proven that the skills you improve when you work on DIY projects are transferable to real life. Funny as it may sound, thanks to woodworking, you might be able to advance in your career faster, or make decisions more rationally.

Essential tools for homeowners

Owning a home has always been my dream, and most Americans would probably feel the same. But to me, owning a home is more than just signing documents and having legal proof that this is your property. It’s more about becoming self sufficient and independent person, who can handle his (speaking from guy’s perspective) problems on his own. It’s almost like becoming adult. Which means, that, sometimes when something breaks or malfunctions, you should be able to fix it on your own. At least basic stuff. And you and me are in luck, because we live in era which allows us to buy variety of simple, yet effective tools for homeowners.. Here are few of the tools off the top of my head, there are probably other tools that might be better suited for this list, but i’m writing this based on my personal experience and by no means do i claim that it’s universal truth.

 First, i wanted to get started with basic tools for taking care of your yard. These are – lawn mower, leaf blower, shovel, cultivator. And the list is endless, but i’ll just discuss these, because i have experience of owning them.

Buying separate lawn mower isn’t necessary, but in my opinion, if you have big yard, it’s definitely worth the investment. Mowers price range usually varies between few hundred and few thousand dollars. And if that seems crazy to you, that’s because you haven’t calculated costs of paying someone else to do the job for you. Simply put, quality lawn mower will recoup its cost in few years. Although, we should also factor in cost of your time and energy. Some people hate mowing their yards, and if that’s you, i guess it would be smart to outsource.  I think purpose for having a shovel is obvious, same for leaf blower and cultivator. I must say though, that shovel is a must have. It’s very handy and cheap.

Then there’s my second favorite hobby in the world – DIY and woodworking. If you’re not into it, that’s fine, and you can skip this part of the post. But i have to say that nothing gives me bigger sense of accomplishment than making furniture out of scratch on my own. We humans have evolved to interact with tools and make something tangible from them, and in 21st century, that doesn’t happen. My job doesn’t offer that sense of accomplishment, but luckily i have woodworking to fill the void. I strongly advise everyone to get at least a circular saw. Even the top notch worm drive saws are affordable, yet they are very useful and agile. Check my favorite saws on this tutorial by TheSawExpert. Circular saw is the best kind of saw i know, it can do literally anything that other saws can’t. Sometimes it does require effort, but that’s just one small flaw.

 I hope you have nice home-owning experience, and i hope i helped.