Beginner Woodworking Projects

We have two beginner woodworking projects below. They will be a good exercise for your cutting, carving, whittling, measuring, and drilling skills. Of course some machine work will also be needed. These projects are easy enough for any beginner.

Basic Peg Rack

Peg racks have always gone behind the door or at the back walls, which keep them out of sight. Well, that was how they were used during the days when wire hangers weren’t invented yet. With a little fine tuning you can make these peg racks look great. They can contribute to your décor and add some much needed functionality as well.

Note that this project will be an exercise of your whittling skills. Of course along the way you’ll practice measuring, drilling, cutting, and assembly. Whittling takes away a lot of machine work and it gives you the opportunity to practice some real raw hand crafting skills.

Tools and materials needed:

  • Block plane
  • Whittling knife
  • Scroll saw
  • Table saw
  • Drill
  • ½ inch drill bits
  • Leather thumb guard
  • Wood carver’s glove
  • Small square
  • Lint free cloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • Safety glasses
  • Pencil
  • Stain brush
  • Water
  • Mineral spirits
  • Finishing gloves
  • Respirator
  • Steel wool
  • ¼ pine for whittled pegs
  • 20” long back board

Cutting List

  • Peg blanks – 4 pieces, dimensions: 9/16″x1″x 3-1/2″
  • Back board – 2 ¾ inches wide, cut this according to your desired length. Space each peg about 4 to 5 inches apart. Dimensions: ¾” thickness


  1. Cut the template of the pegs out of the cardboard. Shape the profile as you need – make sure that hook curves out. Cut the pine board according to the profile that you drew. Make as many pegs as you want or need. Remember that you should orient the grain so that it runs parallel to the blank’s bottom edge.
  2. Put on a wood carver’s glove and a leather thumb guard. Whittle away on the peg blanks using your whittling knife. Remember to make smooth, clean, and controlled cuts. This means you need to keep your knife really sharp.
  3. Make sure that the shoulder lines of the head of each peg are extended across the blank’s top. You can cut squarely along the lines to define the shoulders. Use a backsaw to remove the waste outside of the tenon.
  4. Make shallow flat cuts across the end grain of the wood to create a convex curve for the head.
  5. Chamfer the outer edges to finish each peg.
  6. Cut the back board to the needed length. You should measure the back of the door or some other area where you want to install this peg board. Mark where you want to install each peg. Space them evenly.
  7. Drill ½ inch holes on the areas that you marked.
  8. Apply some glue on the insides of the holes and then insert each peg in their designated holes. You may have to twist them in to fit. Make sure that they are perpendicular to the board. Use a small square to make sure.
  9. Finally, allow the glue to dry and then stain and finish your peg board.

Western Style Candle Holder

This project is a lot easier than the first one. You don’t need to do any whittling on this one but you will have to practice some drilling. You also need to find a pair of horse shoes to complete the effect.

Tools and materials needed:

  • 2 feet long 2 x 4 block
  • A pair of horse shoes
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • 5 candle holders with candles inside (get the ones that look like water glasses)
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Your choice of finish


  1. The first thing you need to do is to get clean the wood and the horse shoes. You can even use an old 2 x 4 block that you have on stock – no need to buy a new block.
  2. Sand away on the wood to give it a nice new look
  3. Place the candle holders on top of the block of wood and trace their bottoms with a pencil. Make sure to space them evenly.
  4. Drill holes for the spots for each candle holder. Make each hole about ½ inch deep.
  5. Sand out the excess material from the holes
  6. Nail one horse shoe on each end of the block. Make sure that each horse shoe is secure.
  7. Apply wood finish
  8. Allow the finish to dry and then place the candle holders on each of the holes or place holders. And there you have it.