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Forum topic by Tony Bryce Perez posted 10-31-2016 11:51 AM 2430 views 0 times favorited 65 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tony Bryce Perez

14 posts in 1212 days

10-31-2016 11:51 AM

I got something real big to say about this Lumberjocks site.

All these brilliant ideas that these brilliant guys make, how come there are NO PLANS available for these builds?
I’m new to woodworking and It would help me a great deal to learn from some of you brilliant gents.

How they did things, concepts they used, tools they used, all sorts of things I could learn. But everything is just show pieces with no how-to’s to it. That sucks for guys like me.

I wanna learn from some of these brilliant talented people with their awesome no-hows.


-- Tony Bryce Perez

65 replies so far

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2523 days

#1 posted 10-31-2016 11:57 AM

I feel your pain. Such is life

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2740 days

#2 posted 10-31-2016 12:23 PM

Tony, I would agree that plans with every project would be awesome, but A LOT goes into making plans.

Most of the guys on here don’t do this for a living, and it simply isn’t worth the time to make a set of plans for free, or even a nominal fee. On top of that, several still sketch their work on paper, or build off the cuff. That adds more effort to make plans.

I think the vast majority of guys add pretty good detail to the project post. If you want more info, just ask. You’ll probably get a response.

One other thing to note is that many of the LumberJocks that use sketchup will add their creation to the Sketchup Library which makes it a free download for anyone.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16173 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 10-31-2016 12:30 PM

Many, many concepts and how-to musings are in the blogs that support (lead up to) final project postings. Quite a few times there are blog installments that go from inception through build on any given project. Also, not sure how robust the search function is these days, by a search for ‘sketch up’ on LJs might find you some guys offering plans. Here’s a sketch up file for a workbench build:

Otherwise, it’s just ‘build.’ A small side table, for instance, can just be an idea turned into reality, no drawings required:

Good luck, and go build something! :-)

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

View bondogaposis's profile


5497 posts in 2807 days

#4 posted 10-31-2016 12:55 PM

A set of plans and step by step instructions with photos in many cases would take longer than making the project. So for most of us it is not gonna happen. I suggest you subscribe to a wood working magazine that publishes plans and instructions and informative articles. That will get you started.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ChuckV's profile


3227 posts in 3982 days

#5 posted 10-31-2016 12:58 PM

When I post a project that I built based upon a publicly available plan, I always give the source. I have seen many other do this as well.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View JayT's profile


6243 posts in 2666 days

#6 posted 10-31-2016 01:11 PM

As has been alluded to, a majority of projects on the site are probably not made from plans. I’m not claiming to be one of “brilliant guys” you are referring to, but I never use someone else’s plans exactly (I might use them for inspiration, but will always modify them to make the project my own) and only part of the time do I do a full Sketchup of an idea before starting a build. Most of my Sketchup work is just to see how a joint will go together or a rough outline to check for proportions and visual appeal. After that, time is used in the shop to build not to draw.

I understand that plans may be helpful for some, especially a newer woodworker, but after you’ve done some projects, many people find it’s not that hard to go without complete plans and a rough sketch or even just a picture is enough to understand how they would build a similar project. Just a matter of transferring the skills and techniques already learned to a new project and there really isn’t a reason to make a whole set of plans to show how to do techniques you already know.

So it becomes a catch 22 for someone getting into the craft. The best projects that are worthy of imitation are made by experienced woodworkers and most experienced woodworkers don’t really need plans or want to take time to make them.

I would agree with bondo that if you are wanting plans for projects to build, the woodworking magazines (either print or online) are a good place to start. There are some really talented woodworkers writing for the magazines and they understand that part of submitting a project for publication is taking the time to make plans for others to follow. They are also getting compensated for that time, which makes it easier to swallow.

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

View bonesbr549's profile


1583 posts in 3522 days

#7 posted 10-31-2016 01:41 PM

First off welcome and realise we all were in your shoes at one time. I think most like making things rather than doing plans and it takes a lot of work to do it right. I know a lot of people who like making jigs as much as making furniture and that takes a skill to draw it up.

If you just getting started, I’d reccomend I got a few good ones from them. I like them because you get the PDF and so I could keep it and print it as often as I like.

I know Norm Abrams retired, but he has good plans and his drawings were great. I still have one of his around somewhere. His website still has some.

Finewoodworking plans are very good high quality drawings, but I bought the country hutch plan from them and found math errors in it. I used it as a reference and built the bottom case and kinda took it on my own from there.

I think you will find thats what you will develop. Worst mistake I ever made when I was young (long time ago). I got some plans for a cradle for my first son. I took the cut list and cut all the parts to spec then started my build. Well as they say spit happens. It did not go quite that easy. Had to get some more stock to deal with the issues (that come up everytime).

Now if I start with plans, its just that a start, and I make to piece as it goes and life is so much easier. You will find you like certain parts of the piece but not others and you will put yourself into the piece.

Finally you will get to where you do your own.

Finally take some time and get to know a drawing program like sketchup or others. As you do one plan you can easily start with that and take components or scale it to something else easily.

I had one client who wanted one of my pie-safe’s but with some “minor” changes. I was able to do that in sketchup by scaling the piece. In the end his minor changes were turning a pie-safe into a bureau.

What ever you do….I mean this…. Stay away from “TEDS plans”.

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

View Gentile's profile


342 posts in 2274 days

#8 posted 10-31-2016 01:49 PM

I don’t use Sketch Up, one of these days I’ll check it out…
When I’m going to do a large (expensive) project I’ll draw it out actual size on Rosin Paperwith pencil…
Sometimes I need to tape two sheets together.
From the life-sized drawing, it’s easy to measure the pieces needed.
There’s also plenty of room to add notes and use an eraser.
I’ll lay out things with a drywall T-Square and a framing square.
You could roll up and save the drawings or use them as a dropcloth when finishing a project

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 1299 days

#9 posted 10-31-2016 01:57 PM

If you are like me, I make a crude sketch and mark some of the dimensions and then wing it from there. I’ve never used store-bought plans. I have borrowed some construction techniques and basic design concepts but the final design has always been mine. But no documentation remains.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View johnstoneb's profile


3123 posts in 2628 days

#10 posted 10-31-2016 02:07 PM

I am like most of the people here. I sometimes will work from an idea and no plans, sometimes a rough sketch. I do use sketchup but very seldom do a full up plan. I will use it to get the right proportions and see what it will look like.
I do get several wood working magazines, Wood, Fine Woodworking, Woodsmith are some of them. I use their plans sometimes. I used to follow the plans to the letter now with more experience even the full plans I purchase I usually end up making changes to fine tune to my need. For example I built this toolbox from Fine Woodworking plans but added a third drawer and then built a rollaway box using the same idea and wood.
Start with simpler projects and as your skills grow work up to more complex and always challenge yourself.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Enyalius's profile


16 posts in 3073 days

#11 posted 10-31-2016 02:09 PM


I notice many projects on LJ are made from readily available commercial plans. Since these plans were purchased from a vendor it would be inappropriate to post them here for free.

In a number of instances woodworkers on this site just make the item from their head, without plans. Once you acquire a minimum base of skill this turns out to be easier than you might imagine.

If a project interests you, try sending the LJ member a PM and asking them about it. Just understand, that few people want to work for free, but many will be glad to send you in the right direction if they can.


View Woodknack's profile


12877 posts in 2835 days

#12 posted 10-31-2016 04:26 PM

If you want to learn woodworking start by reading books by Tage Frid. Learning by osmosis one project at a time is slow and will leave gaps in your knowledge.

-- Rick M,

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 1299 days

#13 posted 10-31-2016 04:32 PM

I learned about woodworking from a book. I still have that book. It was a reprint, probably from the 1950s.

In that book they made the distinction between “dadoes” and “grooves”. “Dadoes” went across grain on solid lumber; everything else was a “groove”.

Other than that, all the information was good except there was almost no mention of plywood in any project.

And certainly no mention of biscuits or pocket screws.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 1299 days

#14 posted 10-31-2016 04:38 PM

And for me, this is “whoa”:

And this is “woe” :

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1340 days

#15 posted 10-31-2016 07:36 PM

Expecting this forum to provide plans smacks of an entitlement mentality.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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