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View Planeman40's profile

Envisioning every step of a project before beginning

by Planeman40
posted 03-08-2019 04:45 PM


26 replies so far

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

1311 posts in 1148 days


#1 posted 03-08-2019 05:11 PM

I work within a system and stick to it. I’m good at it and I reuse/recycle ideas on a lot of new projects.

Admittedly, most of my stuff is pretty amateurish and easy to make. And I’m doing this to make money. But I think if you don’t re-invent the wheel on every single project, things go much more smoothly.

View percent20's profile

percent20

18 posts in 711 days


#2 posted 03-08-2019 05:24 PM

I am just getting into wood working, but I really like using sketchup to design what I am thinking. While I am modeling it out I think about how I would do that step.

-- My Attempt at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buddylindseyjr/

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

6640 posts in 3235 days


#3 posted 03-08-2019 05:28 PM

Well, I am as usual-odd man out- many of my things just seem to form themselves as I go along. Starting with a basic idea and let it work itself out.

I do not do super complicated things though; way past my patience levels.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

4054 posts in 2826 days


#4 posted 03-08-2019 05:29 PM

I visualize my projects then do a rough sketch. After that it’s to the shop to build it and after to draw an nice blue print if I want to make another one. Visualizing a project worked for Nikola Tesla and it hasn’t let me down yet.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2790 posts in 4412 days


#5 posted 03-08-2019 05:31 PM

The “throne” is a good place to relieve the pressure on the brain so maybe that is why it is easier to get mentally organized. However having hemorrhoids makes prolonged evaluations on the throne painful. I know TMI…..LOL

For all but simple projects I do a schematic drawing with a CAD program or Sketchup if I need 3D, to make sure everything works and even then I sometimes make modifications during the building process. I also tend to think out complicated or difficult projects for multiple days. It seems the over time the sub-conscious often find a solution the active mind misses.

-- Les B, Oregon

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

27490 posts in 3652 days


#6 posted 03-08-2019 05:34 PM

I use the Single Brain Cell Sketch Up…..sometimes I’ll make a paper copy of what it designs…otherwise, it is all in my head…

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

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

3026 posts in 1909 days


#7 posted 03-08-2019 05:47 PM

In architecture and construction, logic flow diagrams or flow charts are used to plot a logical order of events. They illustrate how one aspect or process of a project influences another and when a process or component can be deployed or implemented. They can also provide a timeline of events. I only just started employing this in my workshop projects. They’re mostly just notes or blurbs attached to my sketches. Nothing formal, but they seem to be keeping me out of the weeds. I guess the suggestion is to write your throne thoughts down ;)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1532 posts in 3730 days


#8 posted 03-08-2019 05:53 PM

Interesting replies. I guess I should point out I have been building stuff since I was a child, beginning with model airplanes and moving on to wood and metal working at about seventeen (1957). I worked weekends and summers at a local hobby shop and used the money to begin building my shop. The first big purchase was a 6” Atlas metal lathe sold by Sears. I say this as building things in my mind is as natural to me as breathing as I have been building for 70 years. Occasionally I will make a rough pencil sketch with dimensions, but that is as far as I go.
Anyway, I suggest some of you try the “build it in your mind”. You will find it eliminates many mistakes and re-dos and makes the project go easier.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

2092 posts in 3982 days


#9 posted 03-08-2019 06:02 PM

I also mentally go through the steps of procedures of my projects like you do. I also consider the order of the steps so I donʻt do one step that makes another step more difficult.

Sometimes I use screws to temporarily hold pieces together or dry clamp parts before gluing up.

An example was when I was building my rocking chair. I found out that if I didnʻt put the seat loosely in place before I glued up the chair I would never be able to put it where it belonged. I found that out when I dry clamped it before gluing. After the glue up the seat was screwed in place.

The best tool in my shop is SketchUp. I can virtually build things before cutting my first piece of wood. It also helps me see where problems in assembly may arise.

Even projects as big as an addition to my house can benefit from this tool.

This was the concept in SketchUp.

This is pre-construction.

This is post-construction. Itʻs not finished yet. So far things are going as planned. The only changes made to the original design was the addition of the balcony support posts due to inspectorʻs guidance. That required a change in eliminating the complex stairs I originally designed to a simpler straight stairs.

I spent a year in designing the addition. I started construction in July 2018. Hopefully Iʻll be done in April 2019.

The hardest thing in building things is being patient. We all want to get projects to the completed state and just canʻt wait to get there.

After my final building inspection Iʻll be working on setting up the additional basement space which will be my new shop addition which prompted the building of the addition.

And now you know why I havenʻt been posting projects in the last 2 years.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View pottz's profile

pottz

13703 posts in 1953 days


#10 posted 03-08-2019 06:05 PM

thats how i do all my projects,i run a project through my mind step by step even envisioning the smallest details then i will do a crude drawing basically just for keeping dimensions straight.look at my last project and you will see what i mean,i show my “sketchup” drawing.the only project ive ever done from plans was the maloof rocker.plus i will often redesign as i go altering my original idea.it works for me.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1532 posts in 3730 days


#11 posted 03-08-2019 06:08 PM

Tyvekboy, having been in your shop, you can sure use a little more room! I hope to see the new addition one day.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

471 posts in 3548 days


#12 posted 03-08-2019 06:43 PM

I’m a very part-time hobbyist, but over the years I’ve tried two basic approaches –
1. Think it thru VERY carefully.
2. Make it up as I go.

I do not recommend the latter. It took 5 years to finish that project. However, the result is my absolute favorite piece – by far.

Usually, I build a piece of casework, almost always inspired by someone else’s build. So, I know at least a general approach to what I’m going to make. But I always want to do something at least a bit different than my inspiration piece. So I proceed like this.

I do a rough sketch of the inspiration piece, using Sketchup. Then I sketch out my modifications, trial and error, on a copy of the inspiration drawing. That always seems to generate several different versions, but I keep all of these “rough”. Until I get something I like.

Then I re-draw the final concept. This time, I use fairly precise measurements and include all the details (e.g., joints, hardware, etc.). Importantly, I re-draw the finished components in the build sequence. If I intend to build the top first, I draw the top first. If the legs will be tapered and have apron mortises, I draw the mortises BEFORE I “trim away” the tapers. As I do this re-draw, I actually think through exactly how I’m going to perform each operation in the real world – and make a note of it (usually on a text file of “steps”).

I even think through milling steps. If I’m trying to build a 1” thick top and I know I have two pieces of 6/4 material I’m gonna use, I draw the rough boards, place a copy of the drawing of the finished top in front of the drawing of the rough boards, and “place” the finished top approximately where I’m gonna cut it out of the rough boards, and draw some lines on the rough boards drawing to show the rough cut size. This way, I know exactly how much of the rough boards I have left for other components. And, of course, I take notes (e.g., plane to 1”, and rough cut dimensions).

This process also helps me minimize operations, since diligent placement of components on the rough board drawing means I can often use a long rip down one side for Part A to serve as the side cuts for Parts B & C. Just as you’d do if you were laying out components on a sheet of plywood for maximal yield.

The point is that the final drawing exercise is used as a framework within which to plan each of the build operations. It also serves as a final check for “forgotten” component and operation requirements (e.g., table top button fasteners and the slots to seat them in).

And, for me, the drawing steps are almost as much fun as the real world build.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Rich's profile

Rich

6391 posts in 1558 days


#13 posted 03-08-2019 06:45 PM

+1 SketchUp.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

1311 posts in 1148 days


#14 posted 03-08-2019 06:57 PM

One aspect I used to struggle with and believe most beginners do-finishing.

Personally, I apply the KISS method as much as possible when it comes to finishing. And please, samples, samples, samples.

View kevskoolstuff's profile

kevskoolstuff

1 post in 683 days


#15 posted 03-08-2019 07:30 PM

I like to read plans, tips, and tricks from magazines and buy books online to research the hec out of things. Mostly procrastinating I think. Here is the latest book I ordered online to help me set up a brand new shop in a single car garage that I just got. https://bit.ly/2NP3JyP

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1792 posts in 3818 days


#16 posted 03-08-2019 07:51 PM

Learning SketchUp has saved me so much in time and materials

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View JohnDon's profile

JohnDon

140 posts in 2138 days


#17 posted 03-08-2019 09:11 PM

Rule #1: Never operate power tools while on the throne.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2712 posts in 2958 days


#18 posted 03-08-2019 09:39 PM

Every project gets thought through from idea to material selection to required processes to the finish. This may take 10 seconds in my head, or hours and hours using sketchup, depends on complexity. Cant imagine not having a compass and a map for a trip.

View AwlThat's profile

AwlThat

55 posts in 1055 days


#19 posted 03-08-2019 10:02 PM

I have been planning a workbench for my new shop (as I venture into the world of woodworking) and I have done it on paper and in my head. A lot of the planning has been how I’m going to make different parts. I want to do some mortise and tenon joinery for the frame so I’ve looked at how I’m going to accomplish that, e.g. what tools will I need or can I do it with what I have. I’ve spent many a weekend morning laying in bed before everyone gets up thinking about what I want to do and how I’m going to do it.

I can’t think on the throne. I’m too busy playing with my phone.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3990 posts in 2463 days


#20 posted 03-08-2019 10:14 PM

I must be scatter brained?
When I contemplate projects while on ‘throne’, my mind wanders from initial project to making more localized solutions. That is a reason this became a project:
Click for details
.
Have one bathroom, I refused to sit down in. One look and all I can imagine is making a corner shelf for one side, and medicine cabinet next to the sink. The house is rental. So no way I am going to make built-ins for the landlord without getting paid back. He doesn’t want them, bathroom is for standing in only.

On to the original question:
Being a mfg process development engineer professionally for many years, project plans are always some what frustrating. I stopped making detailed plans, as I Klutz too many times – and plans change way too often. Now I layout build plan in modules or steps, and document major steps on shop project white board. Most of key design decisions are made upfront, but leave little details or the decision on whether to use router to table saw for dado based on what other activities I have in shop. This also helps with random ability of me to get shop time. I can clean up, and walk away for 6 weeks; and white board plus drawings/pictures show me where i left off. Some times the hardest part is finding the box with all project parts. :)

Cheers!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Bluebuick's profile

Bluebuick

3 posts in 1976 days


#21 posted 03-08-2019 10:20 PM

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

View clin's profile

clin

1127 posts in 1965 days


#22 posted 03-08-2019 10:36 PM

I always think through the steps of a project. Most projects are one-offs, so it needs to work the first time. Usually projects are a sort of 3-D puzzle and the design needs to include thoughts on how best to fabricate the parts and how it will go together. This avoids problems like assuming I’ll use my brad nailer where there is no chance it will fit were needed at the time.

For wood working in particular, I make a point to figure out how to get the best fit possible without relying on only measurements. So the steps make a difference. This starts with things like how to cutup sheets goods to minimize waste.

For me, the mental process is a large part of the fun.

-- Clin

View Rich's profile

Rich

6391 posts in 1558 days


#23 posted 03-08-2019 10:43 PM


The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.

- Bluebuick

I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve been creating things for decades, whether from wood, electronic components or software. I can’t count the number of times when, after much rumination, I’ve had a perfect solution pop into my head. It’s often when I’m not even thinking about the project at hand, or during sleep (I always keep a pad and pencil by the bed). Yes, you can show up and just “get to work” and generally produce a lower quality result than if you do sift around for some inspiration.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View pottz's profile

pottz

13703 posts in 1953 days


#24 posted 03-08-2019 10:58 PM


The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.

- Bluebuick

I couldn t disagree more. I ve been creating things for decades, whether from wood, electronic components or software. I can t count the number of times when, after much rumination, I ve had a perfect solution pop into my head. It s often when I m not even thinking about the project at hand, or during sleep (I always keep a pad and pencil by the bed). Yes, you can show up and just “get to work” and generally produce a lower quality result than if you do sift around for some inspiration.

- Rich


same here i have a project whether my own or someone elses and then i seek inspiration from others that i use to create my final design.i never just go into the shop and start making something without a plan or vision,that is how one creates firewood-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Tarek_Ezz's profile

Tarek_Ezz

1 post in 682 days


#25 posted 03-09-2019 12:01 PM

+1 Sketchup, although all my ideas are so simple that they r only about using wooden blocks… lol.
but its definitely a very good tool to pre view what u r imagining.

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

752 posts in 2904 days


#26 posted 03-09-2019 12:42 PM

I like to follow a set of plans typically. Sketch them out on a piece of paper with dimensions. Yes I end up building on the fly also but easier to end up with a project that something could have been done better. I think it can save you time and money if done properly. Lot easier to rework something with an eraser or in Sketchup (don’t use much) than rework in wood.

I think one tends to see a lot more design issues with guys that like to head out to the shop and go for it. Proportions are off, spacing, just a piece with some short comings in regards to visual appeal. Seams they like to use the word “functional” a lot in describing stuff they have done.

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