Using thin wood wafers called biscuits can strengthen wood joints by providing more glue bonding area. You can use a biscuit joiner (also called a plate joiner) to cut precision mating slots in boards for the biscuits, which are available in three sizes. Or, to save money you can buy a kit to convert either your router or right-angle grinder. The conversion kits will generally cost about half that of a dedicated biscuit joiner.
When starring out, pre-dampen your brushes slightly before dipping into the paint. Slightly damp brushes apply paint more evenly. When working with latex paints, moisten with water: when applying oil-based paints, first dip them into paint thinner, then pat them with paper towels to remove excess thinner.