New Yankee Workshop PLANS--HOW TO COPY

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Forum topic by Alex Lane posted 04-21-2008 05:23 PM 18851 views 2 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Alex Lane

593 posts in 5231 days

04-21-2008 05:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: norm new yankee workshop plans adirondack chair

I have a plan for Norm’s Adirondack Chair and all the drawings are shown on a grid. The plan says the grid layout is on 1” squares, but I don’t really have a way to blow this up on my copy machine. Unless I find someone with an architectural plotter, I can’t make copies. The plan shows the grid at I think 1/4” squares.

How do you all do it?


-- Alex...builder of wooden wings for vintage sport biplanes...I'm your wingman :)

20 replies so far

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 5129 days

#1 posted 04-21-2008 05:37 PM

I would be curious to hear from the community on this one as well. I built these chairs a while back and at first I used a piece of 1/4” mdf. I laid out a 1”x1” grid across the entire piece and used the plans to mark intersections. This quickly got very hairy and I stopped thinking there must be a better way. In the end, I took it to a local copy shop that could do oversize copies. It took some work to get it right because blowing it up increases the grid line size as well, but I was able to come to a percentage that got the final dimensions of the pieces within 1/4”. All told I only spent about $11 in copy services. I still have to belive there is a better way to do this. What does everyone else say?

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5140 days

#2 posted 04-21-2008 05:38 PM

If you go to a place like Kinkos, they can blow it up for you. Make 2 copies so that you can have a spare for later.

The other way it to get large graph paper and do it by hand. I prefer the copies.

-- making sawdust....

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 5331 days

#3 posted 04-21-2008 05:48 PM

Norm recently recreated this Adirondak set (with a female accomplice too!) and he referred to these original plans and the grids being sized to fit. What he did was to create a piece of 1” graph paper and transfer the project lines accordingly. It’s not as exact as copying the plans at Kinko’s but will get you into the proverbial ballpark quicker and cheaper.

Another thing to try is using your computers “printer” or “scanner” programs to resize photos of scaled plans.

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View steve3604's profile


27 posts in 5081 days

#4 posted 04-21-2008 06:37 PM

There is a most excellent book, Practical Shop Math and companion book Pocket Shop Reference by Tom Bengal. The first book actually has a chapter on enlarging grid patterns, there’s a formula and a chart that you use. these books are awesome in many other ways also. I would look for these books or build yourself a pantograph. just my .02$ worth. as stated previously you can make your own grid paper with a ruler and transfer the design good luck.

View tigger959's profile


50 posts in 5070 days

#5 posted 04-21-2008 06:49 PM

Whenever I want to do anything using graph paper, I use Excel and then re-define the columns and rows. Print a page and then measure to ensure size. Hope it helps.

-- Tigger, Texas

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5053 days

#6 posted 04-22-2008 01:38 AM

Hmmm, I have access to a 42” plotter and the budget for the paper and ink…but it would be wrong to use this for non work related stuff…right? Seriously though, often community colleges or some universities have these large plotters and maybe can print the things off for you…you are probably looking for a blueprint copier or large scanner/plotter combo. Perhaps a nice desk organizer in the right direction could get you access to these tools in the off academic season?

In Winnipeg there are two places called Mondrian and Lewis Instruments that will blow things up, they usually do architectural or survey type things. I am sure there are similar vendors across the continent that can help. I’m not related to these organizations except as a satisfied customer.

Another solution I’ve seen is those opaque projector things where you place it over the material to be scaled and project the image on paper taped to the wall. Hey presto a big image. I think Lee Valley sells one, I am sure there are others… I know the elementary schools used to have them in the arts classes.

One other suggestion is a pantograph, a series of interlocked arms that allow you to scale up or down just about any line work. I just googled panotgraph and there are many available. Is googled really a word? Just checked out LV for this, they have one also.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 5109 days

#7 posted 04-22-2008 01:44 AM

at Staples you can get a poster board with the 1” graph squares on it. Thats what I do to blow up the templates and make my own templates.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 5156 days

#8 posted 04-22-2008 01:45 AM

I have done this with an Adirondak chair plan. I got some big graph paper at the local engineering/drafting store. Then I just put points on the big graph paper where they intersect lines corresponding to the ones on the original. Then draw the curve (connect the dots). It is fairly straight forward really (although not as high tech as a gigantic plotter)

-- Scott - Chico California

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5096 days

#9 posted 04-22-2008 01:52 AM

This may help solve your problem, although it will take some work to get large enough sheets of paper. This web site has a program that prints graph paper to your specifications. While you are there checkout the wood cutting software.

Graph paper


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View edp's profile


109 posts in 5301 days

#10 posted 04-22-2008 12:16 PM

Can anyone say…..pantograph? A seldom used but invaluable drawing tool for enlarging existing drawings in perfect scale.


-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry.

View tooldad's profile


665 posts in 5056 days

#11 posted 10-08-2008 05:16 AM

It wont save you much $, but definitely some time. Rockler sells a plan and dvd for adirondack chairs that is just about an exact copy of norm’s. Video is downright boring though, but gets the job done. This set costs about $10-15, but comes with cardboard templates for both an adult size and a child size. I just traced over to masonite and made ridgid patterns for kids to use. We built 78 of those chairs last year as a fund raiser project for teachers and parents. This year I am limiting to $50 and raising the price $10. Kids enjoyed the first 50-60 or so, but they started to get burned out on seeing treated lumber around the shop.

Another thing I am creating is some assembly jigs. But if you are only building 2, then maybe not worth the time. I personally built 6 over the summer for a neighbor of inlaws. It sure would have made putting them together by yourself alot easier.

View bayspt's profile


292 posts in 5045 days

#12 posted 10-08-2008 05:29 AM

ditto on the pantograph. you could use a scale rule for smaller projects. It would take some fiddling but the overhead projector would also work. just print on clear projector paper. you could also scan the pic and resize then print through an on line printing service for large prints.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 5042 days

#13 posted 10-09-2008 12:02 AM

I saw the NYW episode in which Norm teaches his young assistant (Sarah, I think, a producer on NYW) how to build the Adirondack chair from his plans. He showed the scaled down drawing and how to solve the upsizing problem. To make a real-size template, he cut a piece of MDF to approximate size. Then, starting in one corner, he drew the squares in the pattern to size on the MDF. Then he counted squares and put the curves in the right places (more or less; there is a slop factor to this). Then he cut the MDF to size, and voila, a template that can be reused.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4926 days

#14 posted 10-09-2008 12:20 AM

you should be able to gat a blow up from any architects office or small newspaper printers or simply bnuy a big block book they come big of grid paper or if you don’t mind the work make yourown I did this dfor my rocking horse whaen I made it

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View KRAIG's profile


10 posts in 5361 days

#15 posted 10-14-2008 04:52 PM


-- kraig stewart

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