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View Nostradamit's profile

Plans or Inner creativity

by Nostradamit
posted 01-26-2018 12:45 AM


48 replies so far

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

549 posts in 4247 days


#1 posted 01-26-2018 12:52 AM

I like pencil sketches of what I want to make. Especially taking the time to draw a perspective “3D” view helps me visualize fit and proportion. But many times I get ideas or inspiration from the projects posted here on LJ or articles in Fine Woodworking magazine. When I get into the shop, I often deviate from any calculated or measured plans to accommodate my available materials or a new idea right in the middle of the build. Sort of design on-the-fly I guess.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Kelster58's profile

Kelster58

744 posts in 897 days


#2 posted 01-26-2018 12:58 AM

I never purchase plans. I start out with an idea, a picture, a YouTube video, a sketch….anything. Then I go to AutoCAD and draw up plans. I draw enough to get started on AutoCAD including a cut list and go back to AutoCAD to trouble shoot or confirm measurements. CAD saves me time and money and I can do the plans on my computer while I am sitting on the couch watching TV or having coffee with my wife. Just how I do it…....;-)

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

913 posts in 1941 days


#3 posted 01-26-2018 01:01 AM

I’m with Alex.

I don’t buy plans, and I don’t use any form of an auto CAD package.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1793 posts in 520 days


#4 posted 01-26-2018 01:02 AM

agree with Alex – simple drawings can get your personal thoughts into it.
just copying from someone else’s plans is not really your “personal project”.
and these new design programs such as SketchUp are okay for architects and designers.
but, for the weekend handyman, it is not so good because you can sit in your recliner
and design stuff that is beyond your skill level to actually build and you become frustrated.
if you stay within your skill level and start with something that you know you can do
and something that you can actually use or sell, then you are off to a good start.
start small – work your way up to the more complex or larger projects.

learn how to read a tape measure – measure twice = cut once.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5964 posts in 2766 days


#5 posted 01-26-2018 04:24 AM

I am with Alex, mostly I just wing it based on a original design sometimes drawn on a napkin..

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

22740 posts in 3040 days


#6 posted 01-26-2018 04:54 AM

Callled the Single Brain Cell Sketch Up…...at least that is what I use.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1256 days


#7 posted 01-26-2018 05:12 AM

I use my inner creativity to draw anything with sketchup, from a small box to a full kitchen.

”it is not so good because you can sit in your recliner
and design stuff that is beyond your skill level to actually build and you become frustrated”.

Disagree!

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12769 posts in 2737 days


#8 posted 01-26-2018 06:52 AM



How does everyone start a project. Do you use purchased plans, Magazine plans, or your inner creativity.

- Nostradamit


I’m interested in how you do it. Show us some projects, explain the inspiration and how you started.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3923 posts in 2346 days


#9 posted 01-26-2018 12:13 PM

I hand draw some plans. For simple things, it is just a sketch. For more complicated things, I will hand draw to scale and use that to create a cut list. I will also detail some joints or more complicated parts.

Sketch up is fine but I just did not want to spend the time learning it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8277 posts in 3733 days


#10 posted 01-26-2018 12:23 PM

I never buy plans, but usually start with something I’ve drawn or sketched up. I started out drawing out fairly detailed plans, but found that I usually deviated from them so much that I stopped putting so much detail in the drawings.

I’ve also done several simpler projects with no plans at all.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1004 days


#11 posted 01-26-2018 12:30 PM

Having spent years drawing exploded isometrics for various cabinet shops, I can now see a photo, or imagine a piece of furniture, and see the exploded isometric drawing with the mind’s eye. I may make a few rough sketches if I want to change a particular detail, but mostly I just visualize and go for it. However, just recently I had to produce a full size drawing in order to make templates for a rather complicated door panel.

It is my contention that plans can sometimes be a hindrance. We need to be able to visualize particular joinery, based on our tools and skills. I address that here: Plans or No Plans ...

View JayT's profile

JayT

6154 posts in 2568 days


#12 posted 01-26-2018 12:41 PM

Depends on the project, though I never use pre-made plans. Some projects are from my imagination and many are based on inspiration from something I’ve seen. If the project is simple or involves techniques I’m comfortable with, then I just build it. If there is anything I’m unsure of, then Sketchup is used to solidify the ideas. That might mean anything from drawing up just a corner to makes sure of how the joinery should work, doing a quick overview to look at proportions or a complete workup that shows every detail.

There is no wrong way, just what works for each person. We have one member of our woodworkers guild that only uses plans. In many ways he is a better woodworker than me, as his attention to detail and precision are really good. He’s just not comfortable drawing up his own plans. He gets enjoyment out of seeing a precisely done finished project. I do woodworking more as a creative outlet, so prefer to design and try to do things that are a bit different than what has been done before. We both enjoy the craft.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

888 posts in 2261 days


#13 posted 01-26-2018 12:44 PM

I start with a hand drawn sketch almost always. I’ve only ever bought one plan explicitly; Matthias Wandel’s bandsaw. For that I needed and was grateful for the plans, but for client work or projects for myself I haven’t used plans. I do subscribe to FWW and Woodsmith, which I flip through and occasionally get inspiration from.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

315 posts in 478 days


#14 posted 01-26-2018 01:46 PM

I’ll go with “it depends”.
If I’m building a one off custom piece, I’ll typically just start on it and sometimes even do the “figure it out as I go” method if I’ve already thought about it for awhile. Generally I don’t even write things down or draw them out for this.
Though, if I’m going to build several of the same or have precise needs in mind, I’ll do a Sketchup plan so I have all of the dimensions and know the necessary cuts beforehand. Now, I’m not necessarily using those plans as a step by step guide, but they provide a point of reference to ensure my output is precise and repeatable.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

934 posts in 1576 days


#15 posted 01-26-2018 02:07 PM

im also an “it depends” one.
sometimes ill get plans.i consider plans as suggestions.ill use some of them- mainly dimensions- and change up different techniques or features.

sometimes ill have the vision in my head and just run with it and, as with brian, figure it out as i go.

then theres the scrollsaw work i do. i have a tendency to stick with the plan/pattern, but do make changes when theres some flimsy parts.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

521 posts in 976 days


#16 posted 01-26-2018 03:47 PM

I rarely use plans. Sometimes, if dimensions are important, I’ll sketch things out to make sure I get it right. Many of my projects come from the wife seeing a picture in a magazine and asking if I could make it for her.
For large projects, measured drawings, cut lists, parts tracking lists are in order. The wife wanted interior shutters for 6 sets of sliding doors and 4 windows. All 3 panel double bi-fold. Keeping all the parts straight was a real test of my poor organizational skills.
When I have used plans, they always get modified to suit our needs. Sometimes it is changing joinery, other times dimensions.
I keep a sketch pad handy at work to capture ideas. Helps to sketch things out a bit.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1884 posts in 960 days


#17 posted 01-26-2018 06:11 PM



im also an “it depends” one.
sometimes ill get plans.i consider plans as suggestions.ill use some of them- mainly dimensions- and change up different techniques or features.

sometimes ill have the vision in my head and just run with it and, as with brian, figure it out as i go.

then theres the scrollsaw work i do. i have a tendency to stick with the plan/pattern, but do make changes when theres some flimsy parts.

- tomsteve


+1 If I see something I like and there are plans available I might grab them just for the joinery etc. I’m not experienced enough to know intuitively what to do. Other things I just sketch it out and start cutting.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16103 posts in 2975 days


#18 posted 01-26-2018 06:21 PM


How does everyone start a project. Do you use purchased plans, Magazine plans, or your inner creativity.

- Nostradamit

I m interested in how you do it. Show us some projects, explain the inspiration and how you started.

- Rick_M

+1

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

401 posts in 2357 days


#19 posted 01-26-2018 06:24 PM

I’ve never used plans I didn’t make myself, sometimes that ‘plan’ is a picture in my head, sometimes it’s all drawn out in sketchup with cut lists, and dimensioned drawings etc. I DO however often get inspiration or outright steal ideas and make things I’ve seen at craft fairs or places like Lumberjocks.

-- Ted

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2352 days


#20 posted 01-26-2018 06:50 PM

I have done all o the above. If there is a plan for something I like, I am not opposed to buying it. Sometimes I follow it exactly, other times I modify it some.

Most of what I do I draw up out of my own head. Either Sketchup or just on paper. Even then I sometimes modify them as I go….

The more complex the project, the more detailed drawings I produce.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2189 posts in 2155 days


#21 posted 01-26-2018 09:39 PM

I try to ignore what others are doing and look to the wood for guidance. Obviously common sense is needed a 3 inch thick cabinet door would look silly.

-- Aj

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

300 posts in 1980 days


#22 posted 01-27-2018 03:28 AM

I’ve never had purchased or magazine plans. Some projects I just start cutting. Sometimes I make rough pencil sketches. Sometimes I do a full blown CAD design. Sometimes just a partial sketch or CAD model to figure out some critical dimensions or angles. It all depends on the complexity of the project.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1422 posts in 2468 days


#23 posted 01-27-2018 03:45 AM

I have no method. If I see a plan for something in a book or a magazine that I like, I’ll build it. If I have an idea for something or a need for something I’ll build that from (depending on the complexity) my head, a sketch, or a detailed sketchup model.

In the end I do whatever I feel like doing.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5425 posts in 3600 days


#24 posted 01-28-2018 08:00 PM

I never use a plan other than the ones I develop personally. There are always changes I would want to make to any plan, even my own. I like the idea of being 100% responsible for my project, that no one had any input into my design. I am big on making models, so scale and realism are important to me; something I can never find in a store bought plan.
Being a retired engineer, I strive for precision in my projects, whether they be in wood or metal or a combination. I use Autocad© to design my projects, something I spend a lot of time doing before I start a build. This may not appeal to other woodworkers who would like to get to the building period quickly. As I said, I am retired and can devote the time to designing. In fact, I greatly enjoy designing over building. My computer is full of designs that have never been built.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3367 posts in 1838 days


#25 posted 01-29-2018 02:04 PM

I’ll look at plans and images and get an idea in my mind, then set it to paper.

I’m really big on drawing things out it helps me get proportions, joinery and material list together.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1061 days


#26 posted 01-29-2018 05:28 PM

I mostly look at other completed projects as inspiration. I’ll take inspiration wherever I can find it. Magazines, web pages, furniture stores, model homes, etc. I’ll do up my own design with tweaks and adjustments and my own creativity. Sometimes I’ll combine elements from multiple projects into a new, unique design. Occasionally, I’ll come up with something fresh out of my head. I’ve never purchased plans.

I typically draw things up using SketchList 3D. Its design software that was built from the ground up specifically for woodworking. I’ve found it way easier to learn than more generic CAD programs. I don’t get overly detailed, like including joinery, shaping and hardware, although the software allows for that. Even still, it quite often helps identify errors in specific board sizes and can help to tweak proportions and aesthetics. It also makes it pretty quick and ease to look at “what-ifs” and different design options.

Most of the time, I’ll generate cut lists from the SketchList design and organize boards by thickness, length and width. This helps organize my workflow in the shop which maximizes the efficiency of my time in the shop (which is a rare and precious commodity). It also allows me to minimize machine set-up changes which improves accuracy as well as minimizes time wasted on adjusting things.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117614 posts in 3934 days


#27 posted 01-29-2018 06:34 PM

On rare occasions do I use plans other than my own, sometimes I’ll draw full-scale drawings to check my dimensions and or the design I have in mind, plus any out of the ordinary angles.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

22740 posts in 3040 days


#28 posted 01-29-2018 07:35 PM

All done in my head…

Single Brain Cell Sketch Up…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BikerDad's profile

BikerDad

347 posts in 3958 days


#29 posted 01-31-2018 12:30 AM


How does everyone start a project. Do you use purchased plans, Magazine plans, or your inner creativity.

- Nostradamit

Yes. I’ve built multiple projects from magazine plans (FWW, Wood, American Woodworker, etc). I’ve only built one from tweaked purchased plans (Split Top Roubo, Benchcrafted), I’ve drawn up detailed plans, loose sketches, and I’ve built things totally on the fly without even a sketch.

It basically depends on the project and my mood. As an example, I’ve built four beds so far. The first is entirely my design, sketched out on paper with critical dimensions. The second was similar, although much more complex because it was a platform bed with storage, a torsion box, and a bookcase headboard. I did full plan for that. The third was, IIRC, 100% faithful follow of a platform bed from FWW. The most recent is an adaption of the staked bed from Christopher Schwarz’s The Anarchist’s Design Book, which, frankly, didn’t really have “plans” so much as “here’s how you build this.”

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#30 posted 01-31-2018 03:22 AM

If woodworking is a hobby do what please you and have fun.

A lot of people like to do reproductions. it’s really hard to to put your personal thoughts into a reproduction and keep it a reproduction. I do both from with in me and from plans and from plans where I change thing.

Do what please you.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 948 days


#31 posted 01-31-2018 05:43 AM

You can express your creativity with Sketchup or similar or even a piece of paper. It takes $0 dollars to extend a piece if it does not fit
You can directly create with wood. You will run out of the supply very fast but as a bonus you will have a lot of shorter and narrower than needed pieces fro which you can make an end grain cutting boards.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2901 posts in 2871 days


#32 posted 01-31-2018 01:23 PM

Years ago, (actually around 1988 through 2004), I tended to buy and use plans, especially out of books I bought. Then I started experimenting with my own designs, and never looked back.

These days, I will see something in a book, maybe while shopping see something that I like and take a picture of it with my phone, then if I decide to build it, I will sketch out on paper my own version. I almost never, ever use the original idea as shown. By the time I sketch it out, it morphs into something that I like better. And sometimes, I just come up with things that I think I like, and design them out.
One of my favorite things used to be having a sketch pad on my lap while watching TV a night, and seeing something that I should not be able to build out of wood, and doing it. That is where these two things came from.
Started out as a bouquet, which morphed into a bouquet of hearts jewelry box.


Building a jewelry box meant to be a replica of a bunch of candles from a Harry Potter movie.

Both of these sold in one of my galleries where I exhibit.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View LesB's profile

LesB

2075 posts in 3800 days


#33 posted 01-31-2018 06:31 PM

While I’m a good problem solver I seem to lack the artistic design genes so I usually need some visual stimulation from something or someone else then I can draw up my own plans and adjust them as needed; often making changes and improvements with my problem solving skills. As a consequence my work tends to be more pragmatic and function oriented than artistic.
Before computer CAD programs became available I use drafting skills i acquired in high school. Then I advanced to the early computer drawing programs (like MacDraw) on the computer and on to CAD programs and finally using Sketchup, mainly for it’s 3D functions….although when I build something complicated I go with 2D CAD drawn plans which I find more precise. My wife particularly likes the Sketchup 3D so she can visualize the final project better.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2175 posts in 2995 days


#34 posted 01-31-2018 07:39 PM

I prefer to use my own design, even if I know my design is likely to be inferior to something designed by a more experienced person. However, I now think I would have been better off building as many things as possible from other people’s plans – just to get the exercise in woodworking. Design and woodworking are not the same thing. (Of course, I’m designing a bunkbed now … just because I want something different.)

When I’ve not made a complete plan, sometimes I’ve gotten myself boxed in a corner and ended up with an unfinished project, so for me now, I want a complete plan before I start.

After saying all that, I should admit that I now get very little time in the shop and have not finished anything more complex than a mallet in a couple of years.

-Paul

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5425 posts in 3600 days


#35 posted 01-31-2018 08:09 PM

When you build from a plan, you are building someone else’s design, not your own. I would venture to find something built from a plan that wasn’t modified to some degree to suit personal taste or type of wood used. A plan is not a “one size fits all”. I feel no satisfaction from building from a plan.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30320 posts in 2695 days


#36 posted 01-31-2018 08:12 PM

I virtually never use drawings. If I do, it’s simply for the starting point and I alter it from there.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#37 posted 02-01-2018 12:22 AM

Some people never use plans because they can’t follow them.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#38 posted 02-01-2018 12:25 AM



When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design, not your own.

Is there something wrong with that?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2175 posts in 2995 days


#39 posted 02-01-2018 09:56 PM



When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design,...- MrRon

I’m sure MrRon meant somebody else’s plan. For complex projects, I like to have my own plan complete, in Sketchup. I spent over 20 years working for a CAD company, so Sketchup is pretty intuitive for me.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5425 posts in 3600 days


#40 posted 02-01-2018 11:09 PM


When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design,...- MrRon

I m sure MrRon meant somebody else s plan. For complex projects, I like to have my own plan complete, in Sketchup. I spent over 20 years working for a CAD company, so Sketchup is pretty intuitive for me.

- Ocelot


I use Autocad© for all my planning and projects and I work to thousands of an inch. It is second nature to me. Of course my main interest is metal working. I find that working to close tolerances with wood, the project comes together much more precisely as long as I maintain dimensional accuracy. With hard woods, it’s easy. With soft woods, not so easy. Besides working with precision, I ensure my tools are dialed in as precise as they can be. Working on my projects takes me much longer than others take. Being retired, I can afford to take my time.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1004 days


#41 posted 02-01-2018 11:32 PM

I just completed the construction phase of my latest Prie Dieu. No plans were used per se. I studied photos of Louis XIII and Reformation Era church furniture until my eyes bled and dove right in to cutting lumber. Towards the end I did make a full scale drawing of the door, as I needed to make templates of the various parts. I won’t say this was a design as you go project, as I did have a clear vision of what I wanted from the beginning.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

300 posts in 1980 days


#42 posted 02-05-2018 08:52 PM


When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design, not your own.

Is there something wrong with that?

- AlaskaGuy

Depends on what you want. For me, there is more pleasure in designing something new than in the actual fabrication. Others feel differently.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#43 posted 02-05-2018 10:00 PM


When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design, not your own.

Is there something wrong with that?

- AlaskaGuy

Depends on what you want. For me, there is more pleasure in designing something new than in the actual fabrication. Others feel differently.

- MalcolmLaurel

Maybe I’m dense but how does that answer my question?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

22740 posts in 3040 days


#44 posted 02-05-2018 10:19 PM

I guess no…all depends if all you want to do is copy other people’s work

Then you can help sell some of Ted’s 16,000 plans….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

913 posts in 1941 days


#45 posted 02-05-2018 11:54 PM



When you build from a plan, you are building someone else s design, not your own.

Is there something wrong with that?
- AlaskaGuy

Depends on what you want. For me, there is more pleasure in designing something new than in the actual fabrication. Others feel differently.
- MalcolmLaurel

Maybe I m dense but how does that answer my question?
- AlaskaGuy

I can readily sort out how it answers your question.
Your question, highlighted in the quote above, is asking what is “wrong with that”.
Then, in reply, Malcolm said it depends, and pointed out there are pleasure sources from both designing and from fabricating.

Hope that helps.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#46 posted 02-06-2018 12:48 AM


I guess no…all depends if all you want to do is copy other people s work

Then you can help sell some of Ted s 16,000 plans….

- bandit571

Why would I want to help Ted when three plenty of legit plans available. To suggest that is shear stupidity and inflammatory which of course is you goal.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

913 posts in 1941 days


#47 posted 02-06-2018 12:51 AM

Who’s Ted?

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5233 posts in 2666 days


#48 posted 02-06-2018 01:16 AM



Who s Ted?

- jimintx

Since Bandit brought it up I’ll let him explain it to you if he wants.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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