The Real Value of Woodworking Plans

The first thing I ever tried to construct out of wood, as a boy of seven years, was a soapbox derby racing car. I planned to make it out of wood pieces and metal pieces I found lying around. I soon found out that I had absolutely no idea of how to do this. I bent over nails and hit my thumb with the hammer many times. Soon, I felt overwhelmed and surrendered completely. I could have used some adult help and I certainly could have utilized a good set of plans.Many years later, I emerged as a professional woodworker and furniture designer and president of a corporation that made hand-made, custom furniture for well-do-do clients. In between the soapbox derby car and the furniture corporation, I made a lot of mistakes and learned from each one of them. What assisted me in the beginning was the revelation that reasonable woodworking plans were to be had that could show me how to make things out of wood. I discovered that some plans were badly drawn and often ambiguous, which left me scratching my head about what I ought to do next.Sometimes, I would find well-thought-out, well-drawn, step-by-step plans that I could actually use. They had not only finished, easy-to-follow drawings, they had clearly-written, detailed directions and a precise catalog of materials needed. I discovered that with this type of plan, I could not lose.To start, I would look for plans that I admired and then follow them exactly to the end. I absorbed a lot of basic, intermediate and advanced woodworking abilities from doing this. As I grew, I would use plans that I felt secure in changing to my taste, just a bit, here and there. As time went on and my abilities developed, I tried drawing my own plans, thus giving an outlet to my individual creativity.To date, I never initiate a project without a plan in my hands, whether it be someone else’s plan or my own. So, I guess what I am pointing out is that the beginning woodworker should consider following someone else’s plans precisely and then, as his or her woodworking skills evolve, branch out into changing plans and even drawing your own plans.Am I done with following pre-made plans? Not at all! In fact, I continue to make use of them. Now, at the very least, they give me ideas for projects that most likely would have never entered my mind. They are quite effective for constructing things around the house, inside and out.Are you excited at the thought of initiating a new woodcraft project, learning new skills and building what is drawn in the plans to a textbook finish? There are plans for beginner, intermediate and advanced expertise levels so you can straightforwardly pick a plan that is in concert with what you have learned previously and what you are ready to learn.I was going to say “Good Luck” to you but following these expertly-crafted plans has very little to do with luck or skill. All you need to know how to do is follow simple, clearly written directions. So, instead, I’ll just close with “Have Fun” and “Be Proud” of the end result!Bob Gillespie
WoodworkerAbout the Author:

» Tags:

Comments are closed.