Woodworking Plans – Woodcraft Ninjas http://www.woodcraftninjas.com Mon, 18 May 2015 23:19:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 Creating Your Own Plans http://www.woodcraftninjas.com/creating-your-own-plans/ Mon, 18 May 2015 23:17:23 +0000 http://www.woodcraftninjas.com/?p=584 After you develop into a more seasoned woodworker, you might want to try your hand at creating your own plans. Start with the end in mind. Think about what you want the finished project to look like. If you have any drawing skills, make a sketch of the picture you have in your head. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look great. (Only you will see it!) At first, don’t be too detailed or technical. Just get a basic drawing down on paper. Later, you’ll add dimensions and detail. Now, decide what you want the overall size of your project to be: front to back, top to bottom, and side to side.

Imagine what materials you’d like to use to construct the project. Do you want to use nicer wood for certain portions that show, while using less expensive wood for areas that don’t? What other materials would you like to use, like adding a glass panel, for example? About how much of each type of material would you need? (Again, not too detailed yet.) What types of fasteners, handles, shelf pegs, or other hardware would you like to use? If your project involves moldings, will you buy them ready-made or shape them yourself? Make notes to yourself about each of these things. Take a few minutes to brain-storm and just jot down any other items, ideas, or details that comes to mind.

Now, start with a fresh piece of paper and start to make a more detailed drawing, which you’ll add dimensions to later. Figure out what scale you want to use, like 1 foot = 1 inch, for example. (Make sure it will fit on the paper, using that scale!) Now, start with the longest straight line in your project and draw that line first. For example, if your finished project is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 2 feet deep, you’ll draw an 8 inch line (using the scale above) using a straight edge or ruler. Using a square, protractor, or t-bevel, make lines for additional pieces off of that main piece. Continue this process for the rest of the drawing.

Don’t worry about making a 3D drawing at this point. Start with a front view, then draw a separate side view, and maybe a top view. Also, remember that the actual size of wood is not what is commonly referred to. For example, a 2-by-4 is actually 1.5-by-3.5 inches. (You’ll only make this mistake once.) Just Google “lumber dimensions” if you’re not sure.

Now, start to add measurements (dimensions) to your drawings. Do this for each line in the drawing. Are there any angles that aren’t 90 degrees? If so, mark those. Are there any arcs, circles, etc? Mark the radius of those. If you need to make “zoomed in” drawings of certain details, do that. Add any helpful notes or instructions to the drawings.

Once all of your drawings are done and marked, make photo copies of them so that you can mark up some of the copies. The next step is to create a materials list / cut sheet. Go through your drawings and mark each piece of wood, and write down the dimensions of that piece. Continue this for the entire set of drawings. After you’ve got a list of the pieces you need, is there a good way to cut those pieces from a larger piece of stock? For example, you could cut 4 pieces that are 2 feet by 3 feet from a single 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of wood, which may (or may not) save you money. That means that your materials list would include that large sheet, while the cut list would note that those 4 pieces come from that sheet.

Next, add anything else you need to that materials list, like screws, nails, glue, finishes, hardware, and so on. Estimate how much of each you need, but guess on the high side to avoid making multiple trips to the store in the middle of your project. Also, make a list of what tools you need. Do you have all of those tools? If not, would you borrow, rent, or buy them?

Finally, take your material list to the store with you and write down the price of each of the materials. Add them all together, and that’s your estimated cost for the project. Remember to add tax, if applicable. It’s often a good idea to add a little “oops factor” to the budget, in case you make a mistake either in the planning or the execution of the project.

That’s it! Drawing your own plans, if you can’t find what you need or want to do something custom, will help keep you organized, avoid over/under purchasing materials, and avoid making incorrect cuts. It will also help you think through what you want to accomplish, making adjustments along the way, before settling on a final design. All of these will, in the long run, save you time, money, and frustration, compared to “winging it” without plans.

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Woodworking Patterns http://www.woodcraftninjas.com/woodworking-patterns/ Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:31:10 +0000 http://woodworking.bmagz.com/?p=119 As mentioned in previous posts, woodworking and woodcrafting require precision. One thing that will dramatically help you be more precise is preplanning. Before you even begin, have a good understanding of the raw materials needed, the tools to be used, the amount of time involved, and the goal which is the finished product. Using patterns, either developed yourself or obtained elsewhere, can both improve the final result and save you time in the long run.

A pattern can be drawings, or even paper cutouts, or they can be templates of individual pieces that you make out of scrap wood. They could be example edges or moldings, which you will duplicate in the final piece. The use of patterns or templates can not only improve the end result, but can save you from wasting materials by failing to plan appropriately.

Ready-made woodworking patterns and plans are available from a variety of sources, from books to online. Using pre-developed plans and patterns provides many benefits. First, and most important, most are put together by woodworking professionals who have honed their skills over years of trial and error. If there’s a mistake to be made, they’ve probably made it, and kept the lessons they’ve learned in mind while developing the plans. Second, having plans allows you to work on projects that may be outside of your current comfort zone, and develop new skills in the process. Third, if your personality is more utilitarian than artistic, patterns and plans may give you ideas beyond what you might think up on your own. And finally, they’re just flat convenient, allowing you to work faster than if you had to spend the time to develop a plan on your own. There are plenty of resources on this site for ready-made plans and patterns, so check out some of them to see if they might be helpful.

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Woodworking Plans http://www.woodcraftninjas.com/woodworking-plans/ Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:28:01 +0000 http://woodworking.bmagz.com/?p=117 For almost everyone, it’s not enough for a woodworking piece to simply fulfill its intended purpose; it must also be aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, an entire industry revolves around interior design, home decor, landscaping, etcetera. So, a woodworker / woodcrafter must consider not only function but also form when exercising their craft.

The skills required include not only the mechanical aspects of constructing a piece, but the artistic skills of forming and shaping that piece into something beautiful, or at least interesting. It’s actually relatively rare to find someone who excels at both of these areas. Most of us have our strength in either one or the other. But, no matter which is your strength, either can be helped by a good set of plans.

Woodworking plans, available in books or online, provide guidance in the structure and assembly of a project, and also in the contour and character of that project. Whether you’re an expert or a novice, an artisan or utilitarian, professionally developed and published plans can help you fill the gap, whichever it may be.

Plans are available for probably any project you can think of: commercial or residential, indoor or outdoor, from buildings to furniture to decorations and more. When considering a plan to use for your project, start with the end result in mind. What are you trying to accomplish? Then work back, considering the purpose, the size, the shape, the design, the look, the feel. The varieties available are nearly endless. Then consider the complexity of the plan. Do you have the necessary skills, tools, time, resources, and desire? If the answer to any of those is “no”, don’t necessarily let that stop you. Unless you do something beyond what you are currently capable of, you will never grow in your abilities. It reminds me of the saying, “The game isn’t big enough unless it scares you a little”.

Also, when considering a set of plans to use, examine them to see if they are clear and easy to follow. Do they include not only instructions on the assembly but also the artistic design? Are the plans of high quality, giving good descriptions and explanations? Do they include good diagrams, illustrations, and/or pictures? Do they include precise measurements for each and every component, or are you going to be left guessing half way through? Do they include a good “bill of materials”, so that you neither buy unnecessary materials nor have to drop what you’re doing and make a trip to the hardware store to get a critical item that you didn’t get up front?

In summary, get a plan, and work that plan, and you will be pleased with the outcome!

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