Unplaned in the shop!

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Blog entry by bigike posted 12-02-2009 02:28 AM 10794 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was just wondering how many people did projects in their shop with no plans the only thought is what your making? like a box, but you dont know the size, the wood you just start cutting,clamping and glueing when your done its a work of art. If u have any stories like this please share them with us here on LJ? Pics are even better? I know all if not most of my projects are done with out even thinking, i just wing everything all i know is that i want to make a picture frame, a box or something i need around the house like a step stool that’s it. Then i come up with the wood then if i need it to be a certain size i try to shoot for that size. But the project comes out alright, or after a bunch of adding other stuff to it, it comes out fine. Like i made no mistakes knowing in the back of my mind i made many on that one project. I often show people and tell them all the places i messed up and had to change this or that. I think this is why i ask so many people here on LJ for plans for stuff they made plus i want to put my own twist on it.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

31 comments so far

View OregonBurls's profile


585 posts in 4391 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 02:29 AM

Plans! What plans? LOL

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4801 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 02:34 AM

Who needs plans? Just take an idea and go for it.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View BlankMan's profile


1491 posts in 4596 days

#3 posted 12-02-2009 02:36 AM

Haven’t made anything from a plan yet, size is dictated by where it’s going, where it has to fit. A lot of times it changes while I’m making it because I think of something better, looks or construction wise. As I’m going along I’ll do sketches of complicated stuff so I mill/cut the wood to the right size or to minimize waste but that’s about it.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4513 days

#4 posted 12-02-2009 02:45 AM

I usually start with a plan….then after I botch the plan….or find some part or process I prefer doing to the one on the plan…poof…no more plan…..I think the plan gives me a base idea….and perhaps a size…..but I find that I do not like copying something that is already done…its more fun to improvise. That is one of the reasons I like turning so much…it is pretty difficult to produce the exact same results on a lathe…..

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5029 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 02:50 AM

I did that once. It was supposed to be a baby changing table for shipmate of mine and his wife. We made it of solid Walnut. We worked on it and what came out was a large television cabinet. She had given us a plan. We just didn’t use it. His wife was not happy. However, he got a new big screen TV out of the deal.

Now I plan it out. The results are always better. I can conceptualize in the brainstorming phase. But drawing up a plan allows me time to work out details I would otherwise miss.

I have made a few things from pre-made plans. It is a real time saver. Someone else has already worked out proportion and dimension for you. If it is a plan I like I make a permanent pattern in Luan when practical.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Rustic's profile


3260 posts in 4839 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 03:45 AM

I do it occasionally kinda fun to mix it up

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4475 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 04:38 AM

I’m in the middle of just such a project… I knew the size I wanted, and figured my cuts in my head on the fly.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View woodcrafter47's profile


353 posts in 4348 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 05:04 AM

Yep just finished a cutting board than turned out better than I thought it would.

-- In His service ,Richard

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5028 days

#9 posted 12-02-2009 05:14 AM

I think the un explored road is the most fun…..why would it be any different in the shop….lol

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3882 posts in 4680 days

#10 posted 12-02-2009 05:27 AM

I just think about it for a long time. It gets made several times in my head. Sometimes I’ll sketch out the thing before making it just to write down some dimensions.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4584 days

#11 posted 12-02-2009 05:29 AM

just some rough sketches sometimes ,
look at the wood ,
see what it’s got .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View DocK16's profile


1199 posts in 5330 days

#12 posted 12-02-2009 05:33 AM

Every project that comes out of my shop can be put in 2 categories, my own design or something out of a magazine, often Woodsmith, I believe they have the most detailed project plans. It’s nice to have a set of plans and a cut list to work from, things seem to go faster when you’re working from a plan and they can be easily altered on paper instead of after you’ve already cut into some expensive wood. But there’s a great deal of satisfaction completing something of your own design. The only problem with working from plans in your head; yeah you can see the finished product but unless you put it down on paper or make a 3-D model sometimes the proportions in your head don’t come out in ther final product. I never used to put my own plans on paper but I have been the past few projects, except for small boxes. I think it does help to get a better vision of the final outcome.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26784 posts in 4348 days

#13 posted 12-02-2009 05:54 AM

I very seldon work from a detailed plan. I usually design all that I make working to the size need to fit the use. Sometimes I work from a picture and scale it, but I always draw out a sketch on paper so I can list all the rought and finished cutting sizes and any hardware I need to buy. My sketches are not real detailed but they have the key dimensions I’m working to. If I screw up, I make modifications to the sketch, if possible, to save the material from being scrapped. I’ve become a master of rework situations. It is fun to do it that way becasue I don’t like to make exctly what someone else has made. It is like THEIRS!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5231 days

#14 posted 12-02-2009 06:31 AM

I always have an idea what I want it to look like and go from there. I will make my own sketches and sometimes AutoCAD drawings if it needs patterns.

I’ll usually build according to what wood I have available.

The good thing about making something like this is that if you screw something up, you just make changes to accommodate it. The key to being a good woodworker is being able to recover from your mistakes. Someone looking at the end product will never know.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 4449 days

#15 posted 12-02-2009 07:46 AM

I love to make projects from just an idea. I find more satifaction in a project when I’ve made it from just a thought or sketch on a pad than when I use a plan.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

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