How Much Do You Actually Know About Woodworking?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: Os Tartarouchos/ Moment/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

At first glance, woodworking might look like a job. After all, it requires the use of tools, the investment of time and years of experience to really master the ins and outs of the trade. However, all of these requirements are also present in painting. Leonardo da Vinci might have been born with some talent, but he didn't just pick up a paintbrush and become a master. He had to work for years with the tools necessary to create an artwork. 

Woodworking is not much different that painting. It's an art that provides the artist with a way of expressing themselves through the construction of a wooden object, be it a table, a chest, a bench or whatever other items the artist wants to invest their time in making. There are proper ways to go about woodworking that are universal, but in the end, there's no right way for a product to look when it's finished. That's up to the woodworker, the artist overseeing the project. 

How well do you know the standards of the craft? Some of these standards have been around since ancient times, while others have progressed with time. Can you prove that you're familiar with them all? 

If you believe you've already mastered woodworking or just want a brush-up on the trade, give this quiz a shot and see if you can carve your way to a perfect score.

Insects are major pest for any woodworker. Identify the insect that eats wood to survive.

The most common termites found inside homes are drywood termites, which do not require moisture to survive. These insects are capable of tunneling into homes, where they can tear through wallpaper, plastic or fabrics to get to the wood they desire.


When the wood has been cut and attached, are you familiar with the next step necessary for getting rid of splinters?

It's important to note that sandpaper is divided into open-coat sandpaper and closed-coat sandpaper. Open-coat sandpaper is best for wood as it allows the particles to disperse instead of filling with dust from the material, while closed-coat sandpaper gets clogged much easier.


Name the coating that goes on a finished piece of wood to protect if from scratches and stains.

Unlike paint, a varnish won't cover the grain of the wood as you might expect. Instead, the coating soaks into the wood while preserving the wood's natural color and providing a protective layer from external conditions.


Some trees like the oak come in different colors. Are you familiar with the color that oak can be ordered in?

Red oaks can be found across eastern and central North America from Georgia to Canada. These trees are distinguished by their bark, which has stripes down the center that extend all the way down the trunk.


Identify the most appropriate eyewear to use when operating a saw.

On a yearly basis, around 300,000 people are sent to the emergency room due to an eye injury at the workplace. Usually, protective glasses aren't being worn at all when these injuries occur, but occasionally the eyewear doesn't fit properly or isn't being worn the right way.


What factor does the grain play when it comes to sanding a piece of wood?

If you try to sand across the grain, you'll notice that the wood fibers tear apart, revealing scratches caused by the sandpaper. However, sanding with the grain allows any scratches to be hidden by the grain of the wood, making the surface look much more polished.


Can you identify the wood that's not considered a hardwood?

Evergreen trees with needles that remain on them year-round, pines come in many different sizes depending on the species of tree. Some pines only stand about 10 feet tall while others reach over 200 feet in height.


What's the name for the darkest-colored wood used in woodworking?

Because of its dark color, ebony timber is in high demand, but the trees are slow growing. With the demand exceeding the production, most species of ebony timber fall into one of the categories between threatened to critically endangered.


Do you know the best tool to use when it comes to drilling holes in wood?

Electric hand drills date back to the 19th century. The first portable hand drill was created in Germany in 1895 by Wilhelm & Carl Fein. Black & Decker later added a pistol grip, making the portable drill useable by a single person.


Are you familiar with the most common angle used to create a miter joint, which takes quite a bit of precision with a saw?

The most common miter joint you might see on a regular basis is a picture frame. Picture frames are joined at the edges with 45-degree angles, which is typically true whether they are made out of wood or another material.


Though both can benefit a finished project, do you know the difference between a wood stain and varnish?

A wood stain can provide coloring to wood, but it's not the same as paint. Paint has the tendency to wear quicker, particularly if it's used on walking areas like decks, where a wood stain last longer without needing maintenance, saving money in the long run.


Which type of wood is constructed from wood fiber and a binding agent?

Composite wood became a viable option for decking in the '90s, but the early generations of the product didn't resemble real wood in color and texture. By the third generation, these problems were largely fixed, but the price of the wood also went up with the quality.


If you're trying to create a safe workspace, which of the following is absolutely necessary?

If you're just getting started in woodworking, two sawhorses and a sheet of wood will provide enough of a workspace for most projects. A workspace like this will save money because workbenches cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.


If you're trying to join wood together to make a flat surface, such as in flooring, which type of joint is commonly used?

Handheld routers or table routers are the most common method used today to create a tongue-and-groove joint. The router is fit with bits that perfectly match one another, allowing for a snug fit on the finished product.


Maple wood is commonly used in bowling alleys for what reason?

Evident by its name, the maple tree is used for the production of maple syrup, with sugar maples, black maples and red maples being the most common for this purpose. Of those trees, the sugar maple's sap has the highest sugar content.


When you drill holes into each piece of wood then fit them together with pegs, it's called what?

Dowel joints are beneficial because the pegs, or dowels, are much thicker than nails or screws. This thickness creates a sturdier joint that is less likely to break or warp with time.


Latex paint has one major benefit over oil-based paint. Do you know what it is?

Traditionally, rubber was used in latex paints as the resin of the paint while water was used as the thinner. Most paints that currently carry the title of "latex" are actually acrylic latex, which means they contain a plastic resin rather than a rubber one.


Can you name the type of joint that pieces wood together edge to edge?

Gluing butt joints together at 90-degree angles creates a problem as the glue doesn't stick well to the end grain. However, this type of joint can work well when boards are placed side by side if the appropriate amount of clamping pressure is applied.


If you're looking for a cheap wood, pine might be the best option, but do you know its downside?

Lovers of sunlight, pine trees grow in spaced-out forest where the sunlight can hit the forest floor. With over 100 species, the pine tree is the most common coniferous tree found across the world.


A jigsaw is often the best tool for making cuts because it uses which type of saw blade?

Sewing machines were the inspiration for the first jigsaw when the needle for a sewing machine was replaced by a saw blade. This innovation was made by Albert Kaufmann in 1946 while he was working for Scintilla AG.


Hand tools have been around for centuries to make woodworking possible, but what other type of tools make woodworking easier today?

For the longest time, power tools required cords to provide them with a power source because batteries couldn't produce the necessary energy to power these tools efficiently for a large project. Now, there are tons of cordless power tools that are both lighter and safer to use.


Ash wood is a great hardwood when it comes to which of the following uses?

Found from Europe to North America to Asia, ash trees come in a variety of species that belong to the family Oleaceae. These trees produce a fruit known as samara, which are easily transported by the wind to a new area for a tree to grow.


Inappropriate clothing can often result in injuries. Can you determine what's considered appropriate to wear?

It's important when working with power tools to keep any loose clothing or accessories away from the mechanisms of the tools. That means either wearing a short-sleeve shirt or rolling up the sleeves of a longer shirt will protect your arms from getting snagged in a machine.


How familiar are you with the biggest benefit of using a circular saw?

Circular saws, which have a variety of blade sizes made of different materials, are capable of cutting several materials aside from wood. These materials include various metals from tin to steel, making circular saws extremely useful in construction.


Aside from its density, what's one thing that traditionally separates a hardwood from a softwood?

Though there are some evergreens that fall into this category, hardwood lumber typically comes from deciduous trees. These trees have leaves that are shed as winter approaches only to grow them back in the spring.


To save time and potentially money, you should do what before putting in a screw?

Wood has the potential to split or crack, and that's no different when it comes to putting in screws. To avoid these problems, which might force you to restart, drill a pilot hole through both pieces of wood. Without a pilot hole, small cracks can easily split further, destroying a joint in the process.


The type of wood you use is one of the most crucial parts of woodworking. Name the type of wood that produces seeds without coverings.

The vast majority of the world's lumber, around 80 percent, comes from softwood sources. This type of timber is created from conifer trees, which means the trees have leaves that are shaped like needles. Softwood trees are gymnosperms, which means they produce seeds without any coverings.


How do you define wood that's used primarily for building and carpentry?

There are many benefits of using timber in the construction world, like its ability to provide natural insulation. However, its greatest attribute might be the fact that it's a renewable resource that can be regrown with time.


Some of the best woodworkers stick to tradition and still use handsaws. However, why wouldn't they use them?

There's a reason that innovation led to power saws: because handsaws took time and energy to use. However, benefits like price and portability are major reasons handsaws have remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years and are still used today.


To join two pieces of wood at 90 degrees, a tenon fits into which of the following?

The mortise and tenon joint has been a popular woodworking technique for thousands of years. There's evidence that shows how the ancient Romans used the technique in both wood and stonework to build temples, houses, forts and walls.


Cut into a trapezoidal shape, what's the name of the part of the board that interlocks with the "tails" in a dovetail joint?

The dovetail joint can be traced back to ancient Egypt, which shows just how useful it is in woodworking. In Egypt, the dovetail joint was used in the tombs of mummies as early as the first dynasty.


Which of the following terms is used as a name for the lightest-colored wood?

Holly timber is so pale in color that the grain pattern is almost nonexistent, which can either be a benefit or a negative depending on the look you're going for. To preserve this coloring, the timber is typically cut in the winter and immediately dried so it doesn't develop a fungus.


A strong piece of manufactured wood, identify the wood type that layers together pieces of wood veneer.

Plywood is made out of both hardwood and softwood, though the process for making the plywood is still the same. To make the wood, the layers of veneer are rotated 90 degrees to help save the board from warping.


There are various ways to go about sanding, each with its own benefit. Select the benefit of using an orbital sander.

One of the most common mistakes people make when using an orbital sander is that they move too quickly across the surface. Unlike hand sanding, orbital sanders should be adjusted about an inch per second, which really is like creeping across the wood.


Along with its high price tag, why wouldn't you use mahogany in one of your projects?

Enjoying wet and dry tropical forests, there are three species of mahogany found throughout South America and Mexico. This wood doesn't splinter easily but requires a good cleaning and a special treatment to make it last.


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