Plans: What A Great Idea For Woodworking!

Plans: What A Great Idea For Woodworking!
by Peter Wilson

Planning is always a good idea when it comes to home projects, especially if the project has the goal of completing a bookshelf, cabinet, small desk or other furniture item. Woodworking plans are essential for constructing a bathroom cabinet, a headboard for the bed or a shelf to organize all the books scattered about the home. If a homeowner or amateur craftsman has woodworking plans in mind, then those plans should probably be in print as well.

However, the first question to ask might be: What’s in a good plan? Many people have found that commercially available woodworking plans can eliminate the guesswork in a project and provide a solid set of guidelines for completing the wood item successfully. Such a plan should include a list of all the lumber needed by type and quantity, but should also provide a time estimate for completion of the project. The better plans will make suggestions as well, such as steering the beginner toward simpler projects, such as a birdhouse, while other plans will state that they are for someone with more experience.

A complete plan should not only be a pattern for the project, but should also include a list of the hardware and accessories needed. It is essential to know, before starting, the type and number of hinges, drawer pulls etc. required for the project. Good plans give a written description of the materials that will work best and may even suggest where to buy these items.

Wood Furniture Refinishing

Some of the best woodworking plans and project plans will include a tool list, to help the craftsman complete the job with the least amount of stress and manual labor. The best plans will not assume the individual owns all the necessary tools and will be very thorough when listing the tools and equipment needed. Good plans usually include such details as the type of saw blade needed to make the proper cuts, etc.

Perhaps the key benefit of using good plans is the availability of measurements, clearly printed in black and white. For example, a particular type of bed frame plan should indicate clearly how wide individual headboard drawers, cabinets or sliding doors should be so that the overall measurements are exact. Generally, the person writing the plan, whether it is purchased or available free, has completed the project two or more times. This means that any small “bugs” and details have been worked out.

How Hard Is It To Read Plans?

This is a good question, one that is often brought up by those with less experience in woodworking. Photographs and line drawings help overcome language barriers, allowing plans to be used in various countries. The best plans illustrate the project step by step. Some of these plans don’t even need extensive written instructions, if the illustrations are complete and clear. In recent years, written directions have been provided in several of the most-used languages. The greatest benefit of good woodworking plans and patterns is this: A beginner doesn’t need to study and become an expert to make the plans work. Woodworking plans, followed carefully, can be surprisingly easy to use.

Good plans will also have a nice photo of the finished item, in addition to ideas for finishing with stain or paint. Some even suggest placement in a particular room or home location. It is quite likely that someone has created a great furniture item previously and has created a plan that will work for anyone else.

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