My first attempt at building from plans....

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Review by RONFINCH posted 05-05-2011 09:06 PM 4152 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My first attempt at building from plans.... No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

It’s a little scary stepping up your projects in size and difficulties. Since I normally am totally lost when looking at most plans, I thought this would be a good project to start with. I wanted to build this chair out of Cypress, however, my local wood store was out of premium Cypress and convinced me to use Spanish Cedar instead….... won’t do that again. I figured I might could stretch 45 board feet into 2 chairs. So, ordering 45 board feet I was charged for 62 board feet because of the irregular widths of the boards. Paying for 6/4 wood, because they claimed to be out of 5/4 , I realized that after getting home the widths were only 1 1/8ths wide? WTH?? Ok, so I decided to get on with the building. The plans weren’t that hard to understand, except the “full size” plan parts are printed all over each other and trying to figure which line belonged to which piece got a little confusing at times. I used tracing paper and cut out templates so I could use them again for future chairs I may want to build. Man I sure wish I could trace and cut straight…sanding the pieces helped straighted out my crooked lines. Speaking of sanding, did you know that Spanish Cedar can clog up a drum sander in no time at all? With hardware list in hand, I headed to BIG BLUE!!!! Can someone tell me where to find nuts for a lag bolt?? Yep, I was looking, knowing in my mind that HAD to be a misprint…... it was. Actual assembly wasn’t too bad, I followed my own instinct instead of going by the plans, after all, they said to buy nuts for a lag bolt! Looking at it after assembly, I was blinded by all the screws used to construct it. So, I cut plugs, filled the holes, and sanded them down. All in all, I am pleased with the way the chair turned out, and plan to build at least one more. At $13.99 cost for the plan, I feel it was a fair value. After all, the chair looks like it’s suppose to, and didn’t collapse when I sat in it! 4 star rating due to overlapping templates and the “lag bolt nut”.

View RONFINCH's profile


143 posts in 3694 days

10 comments so far

View Chuck Anstrom's profile

Chuck Anstrom

92 posts in 3793 days

#1 posted 05-05-2011 10:17 PM

Well done.

-- Chuck Anstrom - Virginia

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3835 days

#2 posted 05-06-2011 06:32 AM

Very good job, it turned out beautiful !! Spanish cedar??? Wow! How much did you pay for that? Luthiers pay top price for that species !

View 53rdcard's profile


21 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 05-06-2011 01:51 PM

i got the woodcraft plans for the same chair while they were on sale, or at least i nearly did, the local woodcraft was having a sale and you could get the 3-pack of plans that had the chair, a foot rest, and a double chair for the same price as just the chair plans, and i know what you mean about the lines for the patterns crossing each other, what i did was go get a pack of different color fine tip highlighters, and traced over the pattern lines for each piece with different colors so they stand out easily.

You also might find some carbon paper if you dont already have some, and put your plans over it, on the wood, then just use a pda stylus to trace over the plans, and it will transfer it to the wood.

View ChrisK's profile


2046 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 05-06-2011 05:20 PM

Lag bolts are designed to thread into holes bored into the wood. The hole should be a little bigger than than the shank of the bolt. Nice looking chair.

-- Chris K

View jeff's profile


1229 posts in 4234 days

#5 posted 05-06-2011 06:15 PM

nice project…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Sarit's profile


552 posts in 3909 days

#6 posted 05-06-2011 07:42 PM

The term lag bolts is a bit of a misnomer. They should only be referenced as lag screws since as ChrisK said they are only intended to be screwed into wood. Therefore there are no nuts for them.

I’m guessing the plans should have called for just a plain bolt.

Nice work on the execution. Based on what you said about the plans, I think you’re being a bit generous with the 4 stars.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3871 days

#7 posted 05-06-2011 10:09 PM

Nice chair. I get a real bad attitude when it comes to poorly written plans. I often wonder if the people who write up the plans bother to watch anyone try to follow what they have written. And the plans from China, well…......

-- mike...............

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3611 days

#8 posted 05-08-2011 02:08 PM

I’e never had the opportunity to buy plans from woodcraft. Apparantly, it’s not much of an opportunity though. I’ve only gotten one plan before that had parts drawn over other parts. That makes a plan very confusing. To say the least, that was also the last plan I ordered from that particular source.
As for hardware, I use a lot of plans and seldom go along with the suggested hardware lists with them anyway. I study over plans mainly for the patterns. Then I create my own plan of action and use what hardware I deem necessary.
On to wood. I’m picky about wood. I would never order wood anyway. The lumber yards hate me. I have to be able to pick through the lumber and look at it if I’m going to buy it. Each piece has to meet my approval before I’m willing to drop one red cent on it. I’ve made a lot of rocking toys that required 2×12s for the rocker runners. I have had employees at a local lumber yard ready to curse me out for going through a whole bundle of wood to find one eight foot piece that I was happy with. My finds were limited and I was determined to get both runners out of one piece. That required the straightest grain I could find with no knots. I started out going though it and they were fine. By the time the entire stack was restacked, and I was walking away with one single board I think both the emplyees standing there were too busy picking their jaws off the floor to say too much though.


View Lenny's profile


1667 posts in 4296 days

#9 posted 05-11-2011 03:05 PM

Hey Ron. If the finished chair is any indication of the quality of the plans, they must be darn good. Nice job on the build. It’s a great looking chair. FYI, regarding lag bolts, as I am sure you know, ChrisK meant that the hole should be slightly SMALLER than the shank of the bolt. If it were larger, there would be nothing for the threads to bite into.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3636 days

#10 posted 05-11-2011 04:45 PM

Congratulations, it turned out real nice.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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