Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn complicated skills like woodworking, painting, or even cooking, the best way to learn was from a friend or in a class. Thankfully, now we have the internet and sites like YouTube, where anyone can upload content to teach you new skills. And if you’re interested in woodworking, we’ve put together some of the best teachers out there.
Update, 5/12/22: Verified videos, links, and content still up to date.
Woodworking, in particular, is an incredibly popular subject on YouTube. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of creators uploading woodworking projects. Most of them don’t focus on the process of learning, though. Instead, they show you what they made and a fast hypercut of the process they used.
That’s good enough if you already know the difference between a rabbet and a dado joint. But if you’re new to woodworking, most of those videos will feel intimidating. So we’ve focused on YouTubers who want to teach you from the ground up, or at the very least show you enough of the process that you come out knowing more than when you started.
If you’re worried that you can’t learn a complicated skill like woodworking from YouTube, don’t be. I started with zero experience and knowledge and learned nearly everything I know from YouTube. Since then, I’ve built mallets, cutting boards, stands, desks, parkour vault boxes, and even a dining room table that doubles as a board game table.
That said, let’s get into the YouTube videos!
If you’re brand new to woodworking and you’re worried you can’t afford the tools you need or scared to hurt yourself in the process, Steve Ramsey is the best person you can watch. Through his Woodworking for Mere Mortals series, he’ll teach you how to use a table saw, miter saw, and even your drills more effectively and safely. He also maintains a constant list of the tools you need to get a basic shop going.
He even focuses on simple projects that anyone can complete, including the basic box. That might sound too basic, but a lot of woodworking is realistically a variation on the box. Whether that’s your desk, your desk drawers, cabinets, or nightstands, you’re really making an intricate box.
If you want more than a YouTube video can offer, check out Steve’s Weekend Woodworker site. There, he offers paid classes with hours of content that will walk you through practical projects. His latest series focuses on projects to build a woodworking workshop in a small space, like a garage.
Maybe you’re brand new to woodworking but power tools (or their cost) scare you. Or perhaps you’ve mastered power tools and you’d like to delve into handtools. In either scenario, you should check out Rex Krueger.
Through his Woodworking for Humans series (yes, it’s close to Steve’s series name), you’ll learn all about the handtools you need to get woodworking. It’s not just a focus on handtools that separates Rex’s body of work from Steve Ramsey’s. While Steve focuses on buying new affordable power tools, Rex goes a different route by focusing on used tools.
For instance, he’ll show the best places to look for and buy a used plane, how to flatten the bottom, how to sharpen the plane’s blade, and then how to use it. In some cases, Rex will show you how to build your tools from scratch, like a spokeshave or a mallet. And you’ll use those tools to build other projects, like a low Roman bench you’ll use to complete even more projects. And of course, he’ll teach you how to build a box.
Rex isn’t entirely against buying new tools, though, as long as they’re affordable. To that extent, he’ll often order three or four similarly low-priced tools, like dovetails saws, and then test them for you to find the best cheap option to buy.
You’ll find fewer projects from Rex than you will with Steve Ramsey, but you’ll come out with a solid understanding of what tools you can use and how to use them.
If you already have the absolute bare basics down and you’re ready to do more, you should check out Colin Knecht and his WordWorkWeb channel. Although Colin does cover some basic knowledge, like setting up a Drill Press, using a Jointer, and yes, building a box, he typically covers techniques for improving your current skill level.
If you already know how to use a table saw, then learning about creating storyboards is a sensible next step. If you’re comfortable with a router table, then you might be ready for router hacks. And if you’re going to mill wood and all you have is a planer, you can learn to use it to joint your wood.
If you’re ready to start tackling projects, you should check out Marc Spagnuolo’s channel dubbed The Wood Whisperer.
The Wood Whisperer has been around for over a decade and covered projects large and small. And while Marc does get into practical teaching topics like how to set up a bandsaw or make rabbit joints, the vast majority of his video is centered on building stuff.
When you are ready to move up, you’ll find yourself building everything from sleds for children to a desk for your office with hidden drawers and built-in wireless charging, and even a dining room table.
Marc’s project videos typically run between seven minutes a half-hour and cover all the basic steps you need to complete the build on your own if you have the experience.
But if you want truly in-depth tutorials, you may want to check out the Wood Whisperer Guild subscription site. There you’ll find hours of videos for a single project with everything you need to know to build a project from start to finish.
The more you learn, the more you can expand on the YouTubers you learn from and watch. Eventually, you’ll find it useful to watch videos that do focus on hypercuts of projects, like the Jackman Works channel.
Much of woodworking is using various common concepts and cuts and applying them in different ways, and you’ll learn to recognize that when you see the process in action. As long as you start slow and you take safety precautions (like wearing safety glasses and hearing protection), learning Woodworking from YouTube is perfectly possible to do and enjoyable too.