Reply by CaptainSkully

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Posted on just trying to find plans....

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1589 posts in 3521 days

#1 posted 07-26-2010 03:05 AM

Hey Blake, I think the first thing you should focus on is what you’d like to build, then try to find plans. At under $20, most plans (even paid ones) are just a percentage of the actual cost of a project once you factor in lumber, time & tools. Unless you’re ripping out dozens of different projects full-time, I’d make sure you’re building something you love. There’s too much blood, sweat and tears in woodworking projects to just approach it willy-nilly.

With that being said, you can start to get a feel for the quality of plans a couple of ways: free plans are worth what you pay for them, and read and reread plans you get, looking for inconsistencies, difficult techniques that can be done an easier way (e.g. using a router to make a dado/rabbet, when a table saw will do it easier and more accurately).

I’ve found that even the most popular plans from the best websites have you make a panel for a cabinet, then do a bunch of other stuff, then make a panel for the door. This is where reading the plans really kicks in. In the above example, I made the panels for the door with the same setup as the cabinet, saving me a bunch of time.

Keep in mind that the publishers of plans are trying to make woodworking more easy and accessible to beginner so they sell more stuff, so they break it down into manageable steps (which might be more inefficient). The reality is that the plans can usually be rearranged or the processes can be achieved using other techniques (e.g. maybe you don’t have a table saw, so you need to use a router to create the dado/rabbet). That’s where you come in. Make the project yours in many small or large ways. You’re going to be doing the wood selection, and doing all of the labor.

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

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