Although your grandpa might have created all his projects through practice and repetition, you can make your life a little easier. There are plenty of great woodworking apps to help you decide which wood to use, measure angles, and add the finishing touches to all your woodworking projects. Consider downloading some of these five apps for your smartphone, whether you do woodworking just as a hobby or as a career.
Image via Flickr by Jordanhill School D&T Dept
If you want an app that does just about everything for woodworkers, then WoodMaster, available for iOS, is worth the $7.99 price tag. WoodMaster offers features such as calculations, conversions, and ratios. You can input the size of your board and the type of wood, and the app will tell you the total cost for your project. You can also find the Golden Ratio. If you want to split something into parts, simply put in the total measurement, and the app will tell you the exact measurement of each section. It also offers measurements for different screw and nail sizes for finishing your woodworking project.
American Species Guide
Although most woodworkers tend to have their favorite woods to work with, it’s always important to know many different types. The American Species guide, available for both iOS and Android, outlines 20 different types of woods. The app helps you easily navigate each type of wood, including its properties and capabilities. This free app should be downloaded on every woodworker’s phone, from the person just starting out to the experienced woodworker.
Although the $24.99 price may make some shy away from this app, the features make it well worth the cost. Available only for Android, BuildCalc is designed for larger projects such as staircases and fences. Easily calculate layouts of railings, stairs, and other woodworking projects without having to write anything down. The calculator saves your calculations in the app for easy retrieval. It also shows imperial unit results. If you’re a builder who uses your smartphone regularly for work, you know that tools can consist of both hardware and software, from cases and stands to protect your phone on the job, to Bluetooth wireless technology, to smart apps like BuildCalc, all of which make your work easier and more accurate.
Basic Angle Finder
Sometimes the easiest part of the job turns into the most frustrating. For woodworkers, making sure the angle is perfect is incredibly important. This app offers digital measurements to find the correct angles for your project. It even allows you to zero out an angle to any surface, for example, the angle of your table saw blade relative to the material to be cut. While serious woodworkers may not be willing to replace their existing digital gauge, the measurements in this app are pretty close to being exact. Available free for iOS.
This app provides a suite of valuable related tools on iOS for just $3.99. Two of these are particularly useful.
The type of wood you use can make a huge difference in the result of your project. The Wood Comparisons utility shows you vital information about different types of wood, like density and hardness. You can pick out two woods you are considering using and compare them side by side to see which would work best for your project.
For the finishing touches of your project, Shellac Calculator takes the guess-work out of the ratios necessary for various cuts. Simply input the specific cut, and the app will tell you exactly how many parts alcohol to shellac are needed. Although people who use shellac often may have these numbers already in their head, this app is a useful tool for people who don’t use shellac regularly.
Woodworking is one of the many fields that have come to benefit from smartphone apps. Even if you have been in the industry for years, these apps can be used as tools in many of your projects. If you’re just starting out in woodworking, they can make your life a lot easier, and help you to become an expert in the field — or even just complete projects around the house.