8 Ways to Make Wood projects look good

By Woodworking Street •  Updated: 04/01/18 •  8 min read

How can you make your wood project look better? Is there anything you can do? Well, we have all noticed flaws and realized that we could have taken care of the issue at an earlier time.

Often you don’t see the problem until the final finishing and staining. At that point, all small imperfections are highlighted by the stain. While it is possible to re-sand, it is not often a practical alternative.

As we shall see, there are many things to consider in the early stages of a woodworking project. By just taking care of a few issues, you can make a vast improvement in overall quality. So, your project will sell for a greater price and you’ll receive fair compensation for your hard work:

1. Sanding

You can make the project look better by sanding it. Generally, you want to sand with the grain of the wood in order to avoid putting scratches or other marks on it.

However, you need to need careful with softwoods such as pine. Pieces of sand and other materials can leave marks on the wood surface.

You need to sand out any marks before putting on the wood stain. If this is not done, the stain will make them more visible, and hurt the appearance of the project. It can give the project an amateurish look.

2. Use a Drill

Most of the time, you fasten the wood pieces to each other with nails and screws. You should really drill holes for these items before using them. This helps to make sure that they are put in the proper locations and reduces the marks from hammers: Since the fastener is more stable in a drilled hole, there is less of a tendency for the hammer to slip off the fastener head and mark the wood.

Also, it is a good idea to countersink wood screws. This practice has many advantages and adds to the overall quality of the woodworking project.

Another alternative is a Push Drill. This hand tool drills a small hole in order to help you start a nail or other fastener. It does this by rotating the bit when you push the drill toward the wood.  This hand tool is both portable and convenient.

3. Use Brace Hand Tool

Consider using brace and screwdriver bit. I have written before that the hand tool known as a Brace can be used as a screwdriver. In summary, it gives you more control than you would have with an electric drill/screwdriver.

Screwdriver bit for a Hand Brace. The flat blade srewdriver tip is on the top of the image. This part is inserted into the screw head slot. The bottom part of the image shows the Tang. This is the part that gets inserted into the chuck of the the Brace.
Screwdriver Bit for Hand Brace

The picture above shows a Screwdriver Bit for a Hand Brace. The top-end has a screwdriver tip. In this case, it is a flat blade. At the bottom is the Tang. The Tang is inserted into the Brace chuck. You then tighten this so that the bit is held tightly.

You can also use the Brace with other bits. When you bore a hole, you need to be careful when the hole is almost done. If you push too hard at that point, you might cause the wood to splinter as the bit breaks through the wood.

4. Tack Cloth

A Tack Cloth is made of a sticky material and is used to pick up sawdust, steel wool particles, or similar materials. There are several things to know:

5. Be Careful When Drilling

Measure holes carefully and try to make sure that they are drilled at the proper angles. This is of particular importance when attaching hardware such as hinges, knobs, etc. You don’t want these items to be in the wrong places!

Also, be careful when attaching doors to a cabinet. Make sure they are in the proper position before putting in the screws.

In addition, you want the holes bored by the drill to be as clean as possible. Make sure that the screwdriver does not slip off the head of the screw and mark up the wood. Also, it should be properly seated on the screw. The flat blade or screwdriver tip should not chew up the wood as the screwdriver is turned.

6. End Grain

By End Grain, I am referring to the end parts of the board or cut pieces. These end grain parts will soak up more stain and be darker. So, you should make plans so as to avoid end grain in visible parts of furniture (unless you like that effect and want to make end grains more prominent).

7. Measure Twice – Cut Once

This old adage is certainly true when it comes to woodworking. You must be precise in your measurement, and only make cuts when you are sure that the measurement is correct. Here are some of the times when you need to measure:

This image shows Modern Art made up of non-square rectangles. Small image.
Modern Art

8. Planning

Spend the time to draw up informal plans for the woodworking project and know exactly how much wood the project will take. This is even more important when you will be producing more than one of an item. This approach has several advantages:


In this article, we discussed several ways to make wood projects look really great. While this was targeted toward the beginner, experienced woodworkers need to make sure that their projects are as good as they can be. By doing this, the projects will sell for more money and all of your work will be worth more.

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Did I leave out anything? What are some other ways to improve woodworking projects? Please feel free to leave an addition or comment.

Woodworking Street

I've had an interest in woodworking and building things since I was a child. With a good plan, the right tools, and a bit of know-how it's possible to build anything. That's what this website is all about. The internet can be an intimidating place for someone new to woodworking. My goal is to provide you with great resources and information to help you get started.

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