Where to find plans and projects?

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Forum topic by Hawkes posted 03-23-2016 03:33 PM 1366 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hawkes's profile


8 posts in 1273 days

03-23-2016 03:33 PM

Hello everyone. I’m new to the woodworking scene. Aside from some of the various projects here on the site, I was wondering where you all find your projects and plans? I’ve found a couple sites and some magazines seem to have a couple free plans on their websites, but I am looking for larger collections. Is my best route purchasing a book at the local bookstore, subscribing to multiple magazines, or just scouring the internet?

Thanks in advance,


15 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1931 days

#1 posted 03-23-2016 03:36 PM

My plans are all found in my head. Starting with a blank pad & pencil is half the fun.


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View jdmaher's profile


459 posts in 3057 days

#2 posted 03-23-2016 04:39 PM

All of the above.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 2815 days

#3 posted 03-23-2016 06:01 PM

I make my own plans, but when I started on the woodworking journey I got an online subscription to Fine Woodworking that was one of the best things I could have done. Plans, projects, how to’s, all downloadable as PDF’s.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View MrFid's profile


890 posts in 2382 days

#4 posted 03-23-2016 06:12 PM

Woodsmith Shop has a bunch of online plans that you can access if you sign up for emails from them.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View MrUnix's profile


7468 posts in 2677 days

#5 posted 03-23-2016 06:19 PM

Do a google search for this guy named Ted and his 16,000 plans :)

No, no, no, I’m just KIDDING!!! If you run across him and his various incarnations touting the 16,000 woodworking plans, run away screaming and don’t look back. It’s a scam, so just be aware. I’m sure you will run across it multiple times searching for plans.

MM 4-7-12 Ted's Woodwdorking fraud and Clickbank's compliance in piracy


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Waldo88's profile


207 posts in 1774 days

#6 posted 03-23-2016 06:35 PM

Designing is my favorite part of the whole process.

View Hawkes's profile


8 posts in 1273 days

#7 posted 03-24-2016 04:54 PM

@MrUnix Haha! I think I’ve been redirected to that site a thousand times.

I appreciate the responses and they are all pretty much on target with what I’ve been doing so it’s just a matter of finding the right one or as Waldo88 suggests, designing one.

Thanks everyone!


View jmartel's profile


8551 posts in 2628 days

#8 posted 03-24-2016 05:10 PM

Honestly, the best way to go about doing it is to buy a DVD of a magazine’s archives. Woodsmith is a very good one, and is only $80 for the online library of every issue.

Fine Woodworking has something similar, as well as other magazines.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View pmayer's profile


1064 posts in 3543 days

#9 posted 03-24-2016 09:47 PM

I’d suggest not buying a bunch of plans, but rather decide what you want to build for each individual project, then look for a suitable plan and buy it individually, or part of a small collection if necessary. If you are not comfortable designing from scratch, it works well to start with an existing plan and modify it to suit your needs. And while many woodworkers prefer to design their own projects, often times you can spot those projects from a mile away as amateur designs, so I say there is nothing wrong with starting with a good plan that was designed by a professional.

And as Brad said, whatever you do, ‘just say no’ to Ted!

-- PaulMayer,

View CaptainSkully's profile


1610 posts in 4036 days

#10 posted 03-25-2016 02:05 AM

Hey Hawkes,

I think people are forgetting what it’s like when you’re starting out, and eff Ted. Anyway, the first goal is to decide what you want to make. You’re going to invest time and money into each project, so make it count. For example, one of my first projects was a tabouret table. I saw them on the cover of a woodworking magazine either at Home Depot or at Rockler. They fit my aesthetic and it wasn’t something I wanted to risk designing from scratch. So I bought the magazine and off I went.

Another project was a potting bench. I had no idea what a potting bench was supposed to look like, so I did a ton of research and found plans that I thought looked functional and nice looking.

Next came a commission piece. We had a sink from Ikea and we knew we wanted to use recycled oak from pallets. This dictated the design so strictly that I had to draw it up for the customer.

The alleged moral of this story is to build what you love, if that means buying plans, there’s nothing wrong with that. Purchased plans are often better than free ones, but I’ve built a ton of stuff from free plans. Once you’ve built enough things from plans, they will become a little less mystical to you and you’ll feel brave enough to venture into uncharted territory with your own designs. Start small then work your way up. One of my first designs was a little magazine rack for the bathroom. Eventually, I built my dining room table from my own design.

Good luck and keep at it! Oh, and post build blogs, projects, etc. Make sure you document what you’d do differently in addition to your successes because you and we will both learn more.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View a1Jim's profile


117708 posts in 4055 days

#11 posted 03-25-2016 02:53 AM

Welcome to Ljs
You can find projects,here under “projects” or other sites take a look on Pinterest also. Picking plans is a little different,there are lots of them in home improvement stores or online,the only problem is many of those plans may be from people who are good designers or draftsmen but know very little about the correct joinery for each project,in addition, many times their measurements are wrong. A good source to start is with some plans from “Woodsmith” online or through their magazine,they actually build their projects before the print their plans ,some are free and some you have to pay for. In time you will be able to develop your own plans.

View bonesbr549's profile


1583 posts in 3545 days

#12 posted 03-25-2016 03:08 AM

I like and have done several of theirs. I’ve also enjoyed Norms’ plans, and Finewoodworking does well at theirs as well.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View esmthin's profile


77 posts in 1659 days

#13 posted 03-25-2016 04:49 AM

Have you checked out the Wood Whisperer Guild? He has some very good plans on there and they all include hours of instructional video with them. I’m not affiliated with them and I’m not being reimbursed for this.

-- Ethan,

View Waldo88's profile


207 posts in 1774 days

#14 posted 03-25-2016 07:22 PM

I think people are forgetting what it s like when you re starting out, and eff Ted. Anyway, the first goal is to decide what you want to make. You re going to invest time and money into each project, so make it count. For example, one of my first projects was a tabouret table. I saw them on the cover of a woodworking magazine either at Home Depot or at Rockler. They fit my aesthetic and it wasn t something I wanted to risk designing from scratch. So I bought the magazine and off I went.

There are other ways to go about doing this though.

Good design is rarely done in a vacuum, it is generally a remix or evolution of design concepts that already exist, truly original things are rare.

When I set out to design a credenza, I looked at hundreds if not thousands of credenza photos and saw several in person. The lead up to a design can be long (I knew I wanted to make one so I mentally cataloged the aspects I did and didn’t like) but is casual. When it came time to actually build one, the design came together quick, I knew the elements I wanted and the proportion, it was just a matter of putting it to paper.

I love Pinterest for working out designs; project inspiration is what it does best. I’m always working on future designs.

View dday's profile


172 posts in 1907 days

#15 posted 03-25-2016 08:00 PM

There are many ways… I know a lot of youtube content providers provide plans for free or for a small fee. A lot of websites have free plans. I subscribe to a couple of magazines and have the archive thumb drive as was mentioned above. I also have some books that I’ve found at the local discounter on joinery and using a router, etc.

Download Sketchup and learn to draw your own plans. Who knows, a few years down the road, you might be selling plans.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

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