If you’re new to woodworking, a common mistake is to tackle a big build as your first project. It’s better to start small so you can hone skills and see successes sooner. Weekend projects are perfect for new woodworkers. Or even seasoned pros short on time. These YouTube projects are the kind you can complete in a single weekend or whatever hours you can spare.
For the YouTube videos we’re featuring, we tried to center on a few specific goals. The video should feature someone with an engaging personality focused on teaching you most, if not all, the steps necessary to complete the project. The project should be functional, easy to build, and something that gives you a sense of pride upon completion. And bonus points if the YouTuber offers plans with measurements and cut diagrams.
All of these videos assume you already have standard woodworking tools like table saws, miter saws, circular saws, or routers. You may see jointers and planers, but if you buy the right wood, you can skip milling steps. And there’s always another way to make a cut if you don’t have a specific tool used in a video.
You don’t have to complete any of these projects over a weekend. But the idea here is to pick something you can finish and enjoy, which will instill a sense of accomplishment. Let’s make something!
A Lumber Cart From Steve Ramsey
Steve made it into our last set of YouTube woodworking videos and given that his specific focus on weekend woodworking, it shouldn’t be a surprise he made this list too. But we’re delving deep into his archives for this project from seven years ago.
That’s because, despite the age of a video, a lumber storage cart might be one of the most functional projects you can build in a weekend. As you take on more builds and expand your skills, your stock of wood will only grow. One day if you’re not careful, you might come out to your workshop to find a stack like this:
But a good lumber cart can turn that nightmare into this:
You can find other great lumber carts on YouTube, but we like Steve’s because it holds longboards, shortboards, and half-sheets of plywood. Additionally, it’s made from inexpensive plywood and doesn’t take up a lot of space. It’s also not hard to modify. In my case, I took out the slots for storing wood horizontally as that didn’t work well for the available space.
Best of all, in addition to a fairly thorough video, Steve offers a free set of plans with measurements and cutting guides.
A Kitchen Cart with Serving Tray From David Picciuto (Make Something)
Not everything has to be about making stuff for your shop, of course. This simple kitchen cart is a great place to store stuff and, in this case, the top shelf doubles as a serving tray.
While you will see a drill press and sanding disc in use, you could use a handheld drill and random orbital sander if you’re careful. You might make a mistake, but as you’ll see in this video mistakes are common in woodworking. Just take it slow, look over your work, and find a way to correct (or worst-case scenario, cover up) the problem.
The best part about this kitchen cart is, it isn’t hard to modify to your needs and tastes. You can make it taller, shorter, wider, or narrower. And if you don’t like the handles David used, just use different ones.
David’s plans for the project seem to be missing from the Make Something site, but this one is simple enough you likely won’t need them. We did reach out and ask about them though, if he adds the plans back to his site, we’ll update this post.
A Set of Floating Shelves from Glen Scott (DIY Creators)
If you type “how to make floating shelves” into YouTube’s search bar, you’ll get approximately elventy billion results. That’s probably because floating shelves are relatively easy to make and look great in a thumbnail.
With that in mind, I chose Glen Scott’s for a few reasons. First, most floating shelve tutorials call for buying expensive metal dowel hardware to attach to your walls. This video bypasses that entirely, and you’ll use inexpensive wood dowels instead.
I also like that Glen’s video calls for simple tools—namely a circular saw, a drill and a half-inch bit, and an orbital sander. If you have a miter saw or table saw, you can use those, but if you don’t, you aren’t out of luck.
Along the way, Glen will show you what cuts to make, how to create the hanging hardware, and even some good tips for drilling and sanding. Despite the pretty results, this might be the easiest project in the list.
A Cutting Board from Brad Rodriguez (Fix This Build That)
Typically you’ll find three styles of cutting boards: face grain, edge grain, and end grain cutting boards (listed in order of difficulty and durability from least to most). But the lessons you learn from creating a cutting board will spill into other projects, from edge joining wood to understanding wood species, to rounding over sharp edges. I chose an edge grain cutting board video as a happy medium between difficulty and durability.
If you don’t have a jointer, you can buy pre-milled wood to jump straight to the cutting and glue-up phases. You should choose a hardwood with closed pores, like maple, cherry, or teak. While oak is a commonly found hardwood, its open pores will cause it to absorb bacteria, making it a bad choice for cutting boards. To make a flat cutting board, you’ll need a planer (whether that be a hand planer or an electric planer) to complete the project, though.
Brad’s advice on spraying water on your cutting board before the final round of sanding is spot on, so don’t skip that step. Without it, your cutting board will take on a rough feel after the first time you wash it.
Just a word of warning: once your friends and family learn you can make a custom cutting board, everyone will want one.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of easy to complete woodworking projects. Consider this a jumpoff point. But the real goal here is to pick something that won’t take a month or longer to complete, and you can enjoy when it’s finished. That way, you can enjoy the hobby whether you’re brand new or experienced and short on time.