How’s your woodworking hobby coming along? If you’re a DIY carpenter who now has some experience under your toolbelt, it may be time to ramp up the challenge. Think bigger. Think more complex. Stop thinking about bird houses. And to add to the fun, maybe some more powerful woodworking tools, too!
Once you get the woodworking basics down, you have the foundation to level up a little above a simple cutting board or a coat rack. Need some woodworking ideas for projects that will stretch your skills? Look no further. We’ve put together this handy list of 10 excellent wood projects for the more advanced woodworker.
First things first: If you’re still using sawhorses topped with planks as your main base of woodworking operations, it’s time to build a proper bench. This is something that can be a beginner woodworking project, or an advanced woodworking project, incorperating drawers and cubbies for power tools, as your needs warrant.
Since it’s built to handle workloads, not look glamorous. You can typically save some money and use scrap wood or pallet wood for most of the structure and drawers of the workbench, but we don’t recommend doing this for your bench top. Use a thick, solid piece of wood for that. Since this is something that almost every woodworker, handyman, mechanic, or person in general needs, you can very easily find a ton of step by step tutorials or woodworking plans for one.
2. Bed Frame
A handmade wood bed frame with a headboard may be the perfect DIY carpentry project. You can make it any size you need—from twin to king, or in between. Or any style you want—from a traditional frame, to a mid-century style, to a raised platform. Plus, you can find plans online for wood bed frames that accommodate skill sets from beginner to expert. So you’re sure to find the right fit for you.
The only caveat is that you’ll need a decent amount of space in your shop to pull this project off. Also, a good circular saw is in order. Handy additional tools may include a pocket hole jig and a drill press (particularly if you’re bolting the frame together).
3. Dining Room Table
You deserve a dining table you love. After all, you’re going to eat there all the time. But it’s often hard to find just the right size, shape, and style of table for the room. So why not make one yourself?
If you’ve ever shopped for dining room tables at any of the fancy home decor retailers, you’ll know that going DIY here will also save you a ton of money.
For example, the materials for this pedestal dining room table design are estimated at just $100!
If a small round pedestal isn’t your thing, a quick search will turn up a huge variety of other designs. Squares, ovals, rectangles. Solid, slatted, planked. From alder, cherry, or reclaimed wood often times from a pallet.
It’s a big diy woodworking project in physical size but not necessarily in scope. If you’ve already taken on some basic projects, you’re ready to build your own dining room table. You can pull it off and be eating off of it in just a few days!
A good desk with contoured edges, drawers, and an elegant finish, might seem like a big undertaking. And it certainly can be a step up in effort and skill. But this is another case where, if you make it yourself rather than buy, you’re more likely to meet your specific needs and save some serious cash.
And, of course, a DIY desk doesn’t have to be fancy. You can opt for a classic, drawer-free flip-top design like this classic school desk. Or use reclaimed wood pieces for some, or even all, components to simplify the task and create a one-of-a-kind result. But if you’re ready for a more involved project with a great payoff, try this Pottery Barn knockoff design.
5. Kitchen Island
An eat-in kitchen elevates the welcoming vibes of any home. The way to add eat-in space while maximizing functional use is a kitchen island. And to make sure your island meets your needs and matches your style, it’s best to build it yourself.
Building one entirely from scratch is a complicated job that takes several days. Or you can save some of your trouble and adapt a kitchen island from a prebuilt section of base cabinets or even an old bookshelf. With some basic tools and a couple of days of cutting, bolting, sanding, and painting, you’ll have a new surefire hit feature in your kitchen.
6. Infinity Mirror Table
You could buy a decent-looking manufactured version of most of the pieces on this list. But that’s not the case with an infinity mirror table.
OK, you’ll find some options on Etsy, but where’s the fun in that when you can build one yourself?
A DIY wood project is your best route to be able to bliss out to the illusion of endless lights inside an infinity mirror table. For this project, you’ll need a router, miter saw, and your fast-developing woodworking skills. Spend a few hundred dollars on materials, give yourself a full day in the shop, and you’ll end up with one seriously cool, ‘70 style coffee table that’s an excellent centerpiece for your living room.
This project isnt limited to a coffee table either. You can follow the same general process to make wall art, end tables, side tables, an entryway table or a myriad of other things.
7. Chess Set
For another great project to test your developing woodworking talents, try building a chess set. Not a chess player? Remember that a chessboard does double duty as a checkerboard. Or it makes a wonderful gift idea.
Choose a contrasting light and dark wood—ash and cherry, for example—to create the handsome checkered top.
Now the board is the easy part. Now try to stretch your lathe skills a little bit with some pieces. Go grab yourself a thick dowel, and get turning.
You can make a simple, stylish board with little more than basic techniques. Or you can take on some more elaborate plans with skill-intensive features like dovetailing. In either case, you’ll benefit from a good table saw, miter, clamps, and sanding equipment.
8. Picnic Table
A wood picnic table with a climb-over bench is a humble classic of outdoor dining. Plus, the simple, satisfying symmetry of the design makes this piece easy to build. You might be able to find a cheap wood table at an online retailer, but it wouldn’t be as sturdy as the one you make. And you wouldn’t admire it as much on your patio or in your yard.
You can do this project in a few hours, starting with a naturally weather-resistant softwood, like red cedar, attached with carriage bolts and exterior wood screws. A few miter cuts are as complicated as it gets. Besides your cutting equipment, you may also want an orbital sander to get all these surfaces nice and smooth.
9. Porch Swing
After a hard-working day in your woodshop, what could be better than kicking back on a porch swing you made yourself! After just a day or two of work, your whole family will enjoy swaying on a bench built from cedar or another weather-resistant softwood.
To take a swing at this project, you won’t need high-precision skills, and you’ll use many of the same tools you’ve used for the other projects—a miter saw, sanding equipment, and clamps, among other things.
No porch? No problem. You can find many plans that incorporate a stand for your swing (although that will increase the time and materials involved, of course).
10. Storage Shed
How many times have you peered into your crowded garage and thought, if I only had a little more space?
But getting a custom shed built, or buying one that’s prefabricated from metal or plastic (no thanks!), can put you out thousands of dollars. With a little DIY magic, you can save lots of money and end up with something that’s just right to store your outdoor stuff.
As you might imagine, this project is the most complex and time-consuming on our list. Break it down into steps like in this shed tutorial. Trust the process. There’s nothing here you can’t handle, and you’ll be proud and pleased with the result.
By the way, if you’d rather take on something smaller and work your way up to this cool woodworking project, building a dog house or a playhouse is another big money-saving outdoor project with many similar steps.
What You’ll Need to Do These Projects
All of these projects represent a step up in skills, time, and effort. Along the way, you’re going to benefit from some quality equipment. Tools you may want to invest in (if you haven’t already) include:
- Compound miter
- Table saw
- Band saw
- Drill press
- Belt sander
Investing in all this high-powered gear is exciting, but you need to make sure you have the power to handle it all. This is especially true if you’re opting for durable three-phase equipment. Do you have three-phase electricity in your shop? Most likely, no.
The good news is you can run 3-phase tools, plus other single-phase machines, all at the same time, with a good rotary three-phase converter. Did you know American Rotary phase converters can deliver balanced power for everything in your shop? Our units are robust, sized for your needs, and made in the USA. Learn more about American Rotary phase converters for woodworking here.