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Hello all..I've been in the shop scrounging around for wood , I've got boards tucked away here and there, and always find myself building projects around what's in hand. The wood just kind of "tells" me what I'm gonna make, then I go on a reading expedition, then I end up with a finished project. I like the freestyle build. How do you approach things?
 

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Differently. (You were expecting something else?)

Seriously, I start with an identified need/want, and then, unless the project requires design or engineering, I do some of what you do - look at what I've got to see if I can make it meet that need/want.

In other cases, (like my OSB stuff), I'm trying to make a point of sorts, and will expend a LOT of time to make my solution work the way I think it ought to be - even though there may be other solutions.
 

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I will occasionally build something from my own design, most recently the country cabinet in my photo gallery, and a potting bench for my dad. Most often however, I find a plan, then I modify it to suit my needs. Sometimes I am fortunate to have some of the lumber on site, but usually I am not that lucky and have to head for the lumber yard.
 

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Buffalo,

Id have to say that i operate the same way. I like to let the wood "talk" to me as well. I mostly use reclaimed stuff from demo projects that i have done. With a mental backlog of projects, as soon as i see some lumber worth salvaging, my mind starts racing as to the things i can and cant build with it. I love the freestyle build.
 

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I usually build off of ideas that pop up in my head…either a need or a want or even something that I don't really need but I think would make a cool project. (though most of those are still in my head and have yet to make it to the work bench!)

Because I don't get that much continuous time in the shop, most projects stay in my head for a while as I mull them over and do a "thought experiment" about the build process and design features. I've started drawing the basic idea out in AutoCad in 3D to help me visualize it..but only the basics. I try not to get carried away with drawing it out because I'm not that proficient at AutoCad and it takes up time, plus, at this stage, I usually don't have all the fine details sorted out. So I'm basically looking for what the external appearance will look like. Also, because I don't have a ton of experience, I use all of the fine craftsmen and women here to help me think it out. And it helps a ton!

When I am ready to build, I usually have to buy stock…or at least some stock. I now have a good variety of wood in my shop and plenty of cutoffs of various size so I'm trying to incorporate that more but invariably I've designed in a species of wood I haven't used before and absolutely need to have…that is…assuming there is enough money in the project fund! I usually don't print or dimension the individual pieces from my drawing, I just make a few notes and start building. Then adjust, and start building again, then adjust…all with the picture in my head of how I want the final project to look.

The real fun for me is developing the idea…then making it appear on my bench.

So what is in my head now?
- A recipe box for my sister's wedding this fall. Curly maple with colorful inlaid striping. (Bloodwood, Purple, Paduk, Yellowheart, ect.)
- A peppermill, built without a lathe. A companion to the recipe box for my sister using the same color scheme.
- A bar top to go on the half built bar that is in the basement of my parent's newly purchased home.
- A 45-50" tall cross made from walnut with Bloodwood and Paduk inlay. I've been thinking about this one for a year or so and I envision a big honkin' cross. (This is one of those projects that I have zero use for but I think would make a cool finished project and a challenge to design/build. I'd probably donate it if I ever get it built.)
- A large edge grain cutting board with a nested, mini board that slides out of the bottom and is held in place below the main board with magnets. (I have some red oak, walnut and ash coming from a friend and this would be for he and his wife as a think you.)
- Toy building blocks. Simple squares and rectangles. For my nephew.

...but first I have to finish the chess board!

Now that I've completely overwhelmed myself by putting my project list in "writing" for the first time…

Thanks for posing the question Bill. :)

Greg
 
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