What type of Woodworker?

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Forum topic by Woodango posted 08-13-2020 06:11 PM 375 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 1360 days

08-13-2020 06:11 PM

As I read through forums here and other places; a common question is, ”..can I get a copy of your plans…?” or some form of this. In the back of my head I think, “why? You are a woodworker, figure it out.”

From a philospohical point of view and not trying to be mean to any person who requests plans – Is it not part of the woodworking process/skill to be able to visualize what you want, design it, list/spec it out, procure/collect materials and build it? The design aspect of woodworking is half the fun, if not more. What type of woodworker are you if you rely on plans? Or what type of woodworker are you if you design and build everything yourself?

-- The Woodango

13 replies so far

View Peteybadboy's profile


2174 posts in 2795 days

#1 posted 08-13-2020 06:34 PM


I think there are many different skill levels on LumberJocks. Personally I would hate to build from a plan, but thats me.

-- Petey

View pottz's profile


11164 posts in 1829 days

#2 posted 08-13-2020 06:44 PM

plans we dont need no stinkin plans!!! actually i never use plans except when i made my maloof rocker.if i see something i like i design it the way i want and build it,never had the need for plans.i totally agree about the design’s kinda like cooking their are those that create recipies and those that follow them,i prefer creating.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


15024 posts in 1984 days

#3 posted 08-13-2020 07:04 PM

I think some have the ability to see something and create their own plans (or just wing it) based on that. For others, I don’t think that part of the process is intuitive and may not be something they enjoy. For me, the concept and design stage is part of the fun. But for others, I’m sure it’s just tedium that has to be done.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View sansoo22's profile


1125 posts in 500 days

#4 posted 08-13-2020 07:12 PM

I think it has a lot to do with the varying skill levels here. I would like to think most wood workers, whether new or seasoned, do not really need a plan to visualize and execute.

One of the issues for a novice can be figuring out which joints to use that provide both strength and allow for seasonal movement. No one want’s to build something only to watch it fall apart from a bad design or humidity. On the flip side the internet is full of too much doom and gloom about wood movement in my opinion. I was told on this very forum that my workbench would tear itself apart because of a couple apron pieces I put on the ends. Two years of time in an unconditioned garage shop…with a clothes dryer out there…and not a singe thing has happened to it.

I think the ask for plans is many wanting to avoid making unnecessary mistakes because they enjoy building more so than learning from failures. When I was very new I picked up some plans for some outdoor chairs and tables because I couldn’t figure out what the angle of the legs were supposed to be. The plan gave me the info I needed to build what I wanted without wasting material figuring it out.

View pottz's profile


11164 posts in 1829 days

#5 posted 08-13-2020 07:18 PM

i agree about the doom and gloom part,i think these forums sometimes scare the hell out of newbies thinking if it’s not done an exact way it will fail.hell if that was true id have a lot of firewood-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Rich's profile


5851 posts in 1434 days

#6 posted 08-13-2020 07:22 PM

It sounds like you are quite a talented woodworker. I’m sure we could all learn from you if you’d post some of your projects. Maybe even share some of your design concepts.

I’ve learned a great deal about design proportions from Tolpin and Walker’s By Hand & Eye.

P.S. Your Pinterest link is broken.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Brandon's profile


4359 posts in 3797 days

#7 posted 08-13-2020 07:45 PM

Plans have their place, especially when you’re trying to mimic a certain style or piece. That said, I’ve only followed plans a handful of times. I generally like to make it my own and that usually involves basic sketches or just winging it.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4188 posts in 3954 days

#8 posted 08-14-2020 12:51 AM

I’ve looked at plans. I’ve even asked for plans to share, and got my ass handed to me. Some people are hard-over about intellectual property, but I only worried about that when I designed specialty tooling that maintained a competitive advantage over rival companies. Most of that would have fallen under “prior knowledge”, anyway, AFAIAC. :shrug: In general, plans can help with a project that one wants to build, but then they are locked into exactly that design. I usually make my own drawings, simply because I can, and when I’m designing something, it’s pretty specific for what I want. I’ve given design drawings to people who have asked for them, but I don’t know if they’ve actually used them.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View CWWoodworking's profile


996 posts in 1024 days

#9 posted 08-14-2020 12:58 AM

I like to look at plans to learn things, not to follow them. I fully except that a LOT of people are smarter than me.

View pottz's profile


11164 posts in 1829 days

#10 posted 08-14-2020 01:11 AM

now if your a proffesional furniture or cabinet maker and you have a certain piece of furniture say a maloof rocker well then id say screw off,but i find most hobbiest’s on this forum are more than happy to share.there is nothing wrong with using plans because many just dont have what it takes to design from scratch,and thats fine.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2644 posts in 1008 days

#11 posted 08-14-2020 12:10 PM

Woodango – you introduced yourself with some photos of your shop
back in 2016 and never returned. where you been for four years ??

I am a very different kind of “woodworker/craftsman/artisan” in this forum.
yes – I work with wood, and I work with my hands, and I also work from patterns.
in my line of work, I have to provide the customer with a rendition of what their
project will look like. sometimes it is just a simple sketch on notebook paper and
sometimes it is a full size drawing or plans that have to be approved by a committee.
so to answer your question: there are so many different types and styles of “woodworkers”
in this world that it is impossible to narrow it down to just one or two . . . .


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View MrRon's profile


5931 posts in 4089 days

#12 posted 08-14-2020 08:47 PM

I design all my projects using detailed plans done on Autocad. When I start making the project, any mistake I make tosses the plan out the window. I than have to take into account the mistake made and go from there. It’s either that or starting over from scratch. I’m always deviating from any plan I make. Yes! at 85, I still make mistakes.

View Firewood's profile


1294 posts in 2479 days

#13 posted 08-15-2020 03:52 PM

My woodworking journey started a bit later and slower than most of the seasoned woodworkers here. as I learned about joinery, many of the projects I’ve completed were from plans. But as my skills and confidence grows, I find myself leaning less and less on plans. In other cases, if I find a plan I like, but not quite, then I’ll modify them to suit my needs and go from there. For some, building a desk from a pile of lumber and a napkin sketch is fairly simple. For others, a little more guidance is needed. In the end, they will both have a desk they can enjoy for years to come and they can both proudly say they built it themselves.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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