Find programs and mentors near you with CYSTEM (Check it out!)

Woodworking Image

Are You Into It?

Woodworking is a valuable skill for a hobby, household repairs, or even a career. Learn about types of wood, uses for various kinds of wood, how to make connections and joints, safety tips, common tools and project ideas from the very simple to impressive!

  • Develop an understanding of fiber products from the forest.
  • Develop skills in the selection and uses of various types of wood and wood products.
  • Develop skills in the selection, care, and safe use of woodworking technologies including tools and machines.
  • Learn about and develop responsible attitudes toward the science, engineering, technology and math behind the woodworking process
  • Learn about environmental protection and the wise use of natural resources.
  • Develop problem solving and logical reasoning skills.
  • Gain experience in problem solving and decision-making using science process skills.

Here’s what you can do all year!

Starting Out Basic / Level 1

  • Identify tools and needs for your work area
  • Learn safety rules, tool safety settings and how to use safety gear
  • Identify what different woods look and feel like
  • Understand how to use a variety of hand tools
  • Learn how to connect wood using glue and nails
  • Finish wood projects by sanding and painting

Learning More Intermediate / Level 2

  • Learn how to use the right hand tools
  • Determine which woods are good for a product
  • Learn to measure and cut angles
  • Learn the importance of proper sanding and finish application

Expanding Horizons Advanced / Level 3

  • Discover joining, clamping and connecting techniques
  • Using stain to emphasize the grain of wood
  • Understand difference between wood, laminates and veneers
  • Correct and safe use of power tools
  • Explore woodworking careers and entrepreneurial opportunities

Take It Further

Project Hot Sheet

Fair Exhibit Tip Sheets

Tip sheets are used by judges to evaluate your exhibit. Use them to help make the best presentation of your work. Choose a tip sheet based on your project's intended purpose.
If your project:

Exhibitor Fair Information Form (Word or editable pdf)
Exhibit Evaluation Form (pdf)

Other Opportunities to Explore:

  • Contact your county ISU Extension Office for local woodworking workshops, activities, or events
  • Sign up for the distribution list
  • Visit a cabinet making business to see how they apply what you’ve learned in their craft
  • Use online resources to learn advanced techniques
  • Explore local woodworking groups and shows to find ways to connect and to learn more
  • Visit your local community college to learn about woodworking careers and degrees
  • Attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference and participate in workshops, motivational speakers and a community service project, bringing ideas back to your community
  • Is it county fair time? Consider taking an exhibit, a piece of your project learning to the fair for judging and to show off what you have learned throughout the year. It might get selected to go to the Iowa State Fair
  • Meet others interested in woodworking? Check out camps at the Iowa 4-H Center.
  • Interested in a college education in the area of woodworking, architecture, industrial technology or engineering? Schedule a visit with Iowa State University to explore those majors.

Step It Up

Pass it on! Now that you know how, share it with others. Here are ideas to get you started.


  • Conduct a wood finishing seminar
  • Prepare an exhibit that explains types of wood and best applications for each
  • Give a safety demonstration for safe woodworking tool usage
  • Develop an exhibit comparing different wood finishes


  • Complete a Service-Learning project
  • Build a bird feeder for a neighbor
  • Build toys out of wood for a homeless shelter
  • Make a bench and donate it to charity
  • Join a Habitat for Humanity build


  • Conduct a basic building workshop for a younger club
  • Organize your club to assist older community members winterize their home
  • Be a project helper for younger members in woodworking
Share |