All Replies on just trying to find plans....

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View blake0373's profile

just trying to find plans....

by blake0373
posted 07-25-2010 04:25 PM

33 replies so far

View lew's profile


12060 posts in 3754 days

#1 posted 07-25-2010 04:35 PM

Here is a good site:

Several LJ’s have written topics on some of the “free plan” sites and how they were ripped off by some of them. Here is something to help

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

View GrandpaE's profile


15 posts in 2889 days

#2 posted 07-25-2010 04:37 PM

Try plansnow. They seem to have a good variety. I believe they may be associated with Woodsmith magazine. I have used them for a potting bench. The plans are very complete. You can download to your computer if you want or have the plans sent to you.

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#3 posted 07-25-2010 05:08 PM


thanks for your quick response. I just wasnt sure how good the plans where since I am a beginner.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3479 days

#4 posted 07-25-2010 07:47 PM

If you do a Google search on woodworking plans, it will bring up a lot of sites also.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3263 days

#5 posted 07-25-2010 08:28 PM

What type of things are you building or wanting to build?

It wasn’t very long ago I was a beginner too (not that I am much farther beyond that point now) and I learned alot building things for my shop. I would definately start out simple and make mistakes on things that don’t really matter, like shop furniture. A gun cabinet can be tricky or something you don’t want to learn on the hard way.

Personally, I don’t really use plans, I like to design my own things. One thing that has helped me tremendously is a Google Sketchup, it’s a free CAD program that is easy to learn and fun to use. I use it to design alot of my junk I build. One good thing about it though, there is a library full of models that other people have built that are free to download and are probably clearer in some ways than most plans.

Check these gun cabinets I just found real quick in the Sketch Up library.

There are tons of these and they are all free!

Welcome to Lumberjocks. One of the great things about thise place is the knowledge and tools you gain from participating in the community. I didn’t know about many of the things I do now until I ran upon them here, Sketch Up being one of them.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#6 posted 07-25-2010 10:12 PM

I have searched on google and looked for free stuff but didnt seem to be all what is needed for the beginner. I was wanting my first project to be the gun cabinet. My wife wants a jewelry cabinet. Yea since I signed up today and the quick repsonse I have received from the guys on here, I was like man these guys are good. I have also realized that I will probably mess up the first 200 peices of wood but willing to give it a shot.

I saw sketch up but didnt go any further with it. Thanks for all your help.

main reason for starting on the gun cabinet is because I just had twin boys and my dad has already started their gun collection.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3142 days

#7 posted 07-25-2010 10:30 PM

Messing up your first 200 pieces of wood is easier to handle with pine and plywood than walnut and bubinga. In other words, I agree 100% with everything Sailor just said.

Welcome to LumberJocks, prepare to be addicted.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4160 days

#8 posted 07-25-2010 10:41 PM

One of the cheapest way to get plans is subscribe to one (or several) of the woodworking magazines. Each issue they have several items to make. Also, some of them have free plans on their web sites too. Once you make a few of these, you will be able to move on to your own design if you like.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#9 posted 07-25-2010 10:48 PM

here is a picture of the shelves in my shop

yea maybe I should find a smaller project then graduate to the gun cabinet lol

thanks for all ya’lls help.

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#10 posted 07-25-2010 10:50 PM

hahahaha as im looking through some of the projects the guys on here have done…..hahahahaha im like, where in the heck do you start!

but you have to start somewhere

View roaddog's profile


29 posts in 3020 days

#11 posted 07-25-2010 11:27 PM

Yeah I’ll peruse the magazines at a store and pick one with a project I’d like to try. Generally most of the big online sites that have free in their name aren’t free or only offer very simple almost worthless projects for free. Generally if you find a small personal site with plans it’s pretty good. Norm Abrams New Yankee workshop has a lot of neat projects where you can pay fro plans and you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off by him.

-- Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh

View CaptainSkully's profile


1598 posts in 3557 days

#12 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

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3263 days

#13 posted 07-26-2010 03:23 AM


Do you have a decent workbench? How about a cabinet to store your tools in? Or a nice outfeed table for your table saw?

If you are missing a few things like these, which make woodworking easier and more enjoyable, then I would try my hand at them before attempting something you want to keep for a long time.

Also, what all tools do you have avaliable to you? Before you buy plans, you need to make sure you have the tools required to complete the project, and make sure you are familiar with them and know how to use them correctly and efficiently.

If you want some plans, I would recommend heading to your local bookstore and browsing the woodworking section of the magazine and books. There are alot of books out there with a good bit of decent plans.

I really just think you may be paying to much for a set of plans when you could really do without them if you test your basic skills first. If you practice on say a base cabinet, a wall hanging cabinet and maybe a simple workbench/assembly table then you may find your self saying “Self, if I can build these simple things without plans then what is a workbench but the same things I have already learned?”

One of the first things I built was a workbench/outfeed table for my table saw. It was fun and proved to be VERY useful to me and also taught me alot. You can check it out here if you like.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#14 posted 07-26-2010 04:59 AM

@sailor: workbench will be coming next weekend(I would start on it this week after work but with 2 twin boys 5 months old and a step son at 7 years old, I will have to wait till weekend). I have table saw, miter saw, drill, skilsaw, drill press. After next weekend im getting jig saw and band saw. I have ran all of the equipment listed with my grandpa when I was 15 but havent touched it since…kinda the reason for me wanting to get back into it.

@ captainskully: thanks for the advice.

again thanks for the input I didnt expect to get this much response.

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3594 days

#15 posted 07-26-2010 05:14 AM

I have some cd’s of plans that I have accumulated if you want send me a pm and I will send them to ya no charge

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4168 days

#16 posted 07-26-2010 05:24 AM

I agree with the magazine idea. I have a file of many articles from various magazines I have purchased over the years. I use them for reference. I also like plans now. They are a great source for a variety of plans. I have used several of theirs.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#17 posted 07-26-2010 02:23 PM

yea I think im going to look at a few magazines.

man you guys have been great thanks for everything.

Rustic: that would be great

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2959 days

#18 posted 07-26-2010 03:43 PM

If your sons want to keep their collection and pass it on to their grandchildren, buy a safe or heavy steel gun locker. Money well spent. Wish I had done that!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#19 posted 07-26-2010 05:34 PM

You might also want to check out woodworking books at or your local bookstore if you have access to one of the major chains. There are some excellent books out their that have detailed plans and instructions for a number of projects geared to beginning and intermediate woodworkers.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4160 days

#20 posted 07-26-2010 06:58 PM

Agreed Charlie, woodworking books are helpful as well. Find one or two books that cover the types of things you want to build and then you can get started. Most books have 10 to 12 items, so you will get lots of build experience if you do each project.

Check your tools documentation too, sometimes projects are included there too. When I bought my Kreg master jig, it had a nice booklet on building cabinets.

Start simple and with something you can use right away. Like Sailor said, workbench and cabinets are great beginning items.

Looking forward to seeing your projects posted.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 2860 days

#21 posted 07-28-2010 06:07 AM

Hi, I’m brand new to wood working also. About one month ago I was wondering this same question! Where can I find some decent plans to choose from that would be around my skill level. The wood working books I bought offered plenty of these “skill building” lessons, but most of them were things I really didn’t wanna make.

I have only just joined this site, and I wish I would have had valuable advice like this a month ago! Anyway, I went out and bought a Wood Magazine and their Outdoor Wood magazine and found some great ideas I want to work on. One word of caution though, while the authors seem genuinely interested in making these projects accessible to newbies like me…I took a lot of things for granted. I wish there were difficulty and cost estimates on the projects I liked. For my first project I chose a cute clock to build for my daughter…which turned out pretty nice and I have posted on here. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to build but I tried hard and worked patiently trying to get a good result. The article said I could “start with a 6’ 1×12 on saturday and by sunday night enjoy the clock” ....Well, in newbie timeframes that was more like a two week long weekend.

However, the next project I chose was a “simple” garden bench. It looked relatively simple and I would get to practice some new skills adding dado’s and some mortises. So when I went to the mill to purchases the materials I brought my magazine with me. The guy there helped me choose lumber and get it milled down since I don’t have a jointer or planer yet. I (against the mill workers recommendation) insisted on using the same wood the author of the article used. ( 2” thick white oak) I found a nice board about 8 feet long that fit my dimensions great. This board alone cost $103.00! On top of that, I can’t get my cheap-o band saw to cut the pattern out of this dense wood without straying all over the place. Now I’m too scared of screwing up all this expensive wood right now so the blanks are in storage:(

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 2860 days

#22 posted 07-28-2010 06:07 AM

<—double post sorry… I R Noob

View swayze's profile


97 posts in 3086 days

#23 posted 07-28-2010 09:34 AM

Hey Sailor, google sketch up is a very cool tool. Thanks for the link

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3365 days

#24 posted 07-28-2010 08:40 PM

I have also found some plans in magazines but it is hard to rely on them to find what you want.

I think furniture catalogs are a great place to find ideas.

I own an incredible number of books with plans that I use for ideas. I seldom make anything completely like the plans. I always want to make changes. Your public library is a great resource. Many of them will order books in from other libraries if they do not have them in stock.

Hope this helps.


View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#25 posted 08-01-2010 01:16 PM

well I was planning on doing my workbench today but my wife has caught a cold and is not feeling well so it looks like I will be watching the kids today. hopefully she wakes up feeling great so I can get started on it.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2959 days

#26 posted 08-01-2010 10:42 PM

Just give the kids a good slug of Benadryl and go to the shop! ;)

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#27 posted 08-07-2010 02:34 PM

got some wood from lowes yesterday now just need to put something together.

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#28 posted 08-09-2010 01:14 AM

ok guys this is part 1..I put a power strip on left side and light underneath top shelf, I havent put the electrical wires where I want them yet. Part 2 will have drawers and a roll around work bench that will fit underneath bottom shelf. there will be more shelves coming back to the light switch on the right.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3263 days

#29 posted 08-12-2010 02:55 AM

Looks good blake, glad to see your making some progress. From the photo’s it looks to me like your bench might be a little wobbly, I would suggest putting sort of bracing on it. Maybe a 1×4 or a 4” strip of 3/4” plywood running around the legs a few inches up from the floor, just the three sides leaving the front open to allow for your cart to get in and out.

Also, maybe some plywood on the back between the top shelf and top of your bench there. Then you could add some small shelves for some little things that seem to get cluttered up easily. A while back I would have suggested putting up some pegboard there so you could hang a bunch of tools up there but I get aggrivated with my hooks and stuff falling out of my pegboard. I will never use that stuff again in my shop, but you can give it a try and see how it works for you.

One thing that really helped me get orginized in my shop is drawers. I can’t say enough how nice it is to be able to store your tools in drawers where they don’t get covered in saw dust and the shop doesn’t look quite as cluttered.

(Sent you a PM with some more random info that might be helpful to you)

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2921 days

#30 posted 08-12-2010 03:53 AM

Woodcrafters and Rockler has some decent plans.
If you use plans in the magazines, double check the dim’s. They aren’t always correct.

-- Life is good.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3892 days

#31 posted 08-12-2010 04:25 AM

long post

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View blake0373's profile


12 posts in 2861 days

#32 posted 08-15-2010 01:54 AM

yea im gonna have to add something to the back but it did hold me putting up the light and im 280 and didnt seem to move much at all but I will probably put a brace. I thought about the peg board but havent decieded yet.

thanks for ya’lls help. I sent those pics to a buddy of mine he said it was crooked….I said naaaa man i was holding the camera wrong lol.

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3263 days

#33 posted 08-15-2010 02:34 AM

Even if it is crooked, it would be simple to fix with a square piece of plywood. Just cut the plywood square and flush it up with the side and the top of your table and that will square it up and give it great rigidity. There is no doubt it will hold up you weight sitting on top of it, but try getting on it and rocking it back and forth and side to side and see if you trust it then.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

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