Do you make scale model for every project?

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Forum topic by woodworm posted 10-30-2009 02:30 AM 2112 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14470 posts in 3794 days

10-30-2009 02:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip and trick

In making a furniture, sometime we begin with the idea, translate it into sketch drawings by incorporating the concepts (if any) with the usage, materials used, finish and colour. It is indeed a tedious process and time consuming.
And sometime we make a scale model or even full size mockup to visualize the dimensions and proportions of every part of the piece is in harmony.

Any of you guys/gals strickly follow the above path? Does the sketch drawing, model or mockery really helps you making the actual furniture looks better? Or in other word, does the success of furniture making depends upon this initial stage?

Share your experiences with us!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

18 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 10-30-2009 03:06 AM

I design on the fly. Very seldom even draw a plan, much less make a model:-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Chris Wright

540 posts in 3685 days

#2 posted 10-30-2009 03:10 AM

I’ve never made a model, but I almost always make a scale drawing.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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1879 posts in 4195 days

#3 posted 10-30-2009 03:34 AM

I have actually have taken to using SketchUp my prototyping work….

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3762 days

#4 posted 10-30-2009 03:36 AM

Draw to scale and go from there.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4026 days

#5 posted 10-30-2009 03:41 AM

I have to develop a drawing to work with. From this I will use the Sketchup drawing to work up a material and cut list using Cutlist. But I have never made a scale model of any of the furnitue that I have built.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3458 days

#6 posted 10-30-2009 03:44 AM

I always work from some sort of drawing. I don’t make scale models but I do make some parts out of scrap first especially if it’s something that I’ve not tried in the past or a new “technique”. The one thing that I do do is I make a “dry run” of most every cut. I will set up table saw up with the blade all the way down and run the workpiece through the saw. I’m checking for interferences, how the piece fits against the fence, do I need a push stick, etc.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View Karson's profile


35149 posts in 4604 days

#7 posted 10-30-2009 03:47 AM

I usually make a sketch, I’ve only made a model for a lingerie chest that I was making for my daughter and daughter-in-law. I wanted them to visualize it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3372 days

#8 posted 10-30-2009 04:21 AM

It all depends on the project for me. If it is for a customer I will draw it using Google SketchUp and get their approval on the final design before making it so after it’s done they can’t say “thats not what we agreed upon” then I simply bring out the drawing with their signature on it and say “yes it is”. On the other hand if it is something I am building for myself or a gift I rarely even sketch it on a piece of paper, everything is neatly organized in my head, this doesn’t work for everybody but it works for me.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3646 days

#9 posted 10-30-2009 04:46 AM

I never have made a model. I usually make a rough sketch that shows the overall dimensions and a few design ideas, but beyond that I build on the fly. However, I do stop and think a lot about what lies ahead after I complete a given section of the work, for example the frame of a cabinet. It is sort of like chess; I can think about three or four steps ahead and in woodworking that seems to be far enough. In chess it is not and that may explain why I am such a lousy chess player, or as the good players put it, I am just a wood pusher. True statement I guess in more ways than one.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

View lew's profile


12437 posts in 3959 days

#10 posted 10-30-2009 05:39 AM

Like most of the responses, I make a sketch and work from that.

Sometimes, when the layout/fit is critical, I make a full size drawing. I find this really helps get the measurements correct.

DaveR has helped me with some Sketchup drawings and I try to use it when I have lots of time.


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

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117340 posts in 3781 days

#11 posted 10-30-2009 07:56 AM

Rarely do I make models but have on a couple of occasions

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3572 days

#12 posted 10-30-2009 12:38 PM

I draw up a set of plans if requested before the piece is delivered.

View john's profile


2376 posts in 4585 days

#13 posted 10-30-2009 03:09 PM

I design as i go . Most of the stuff i do is scaled down as it is .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4303 days

#14 posted 10-30-2009 03:35 PM

I hand sketch and do clean drawings.

I have made several models for expensive projects but got paid for it. The clients wanted to insure they were comfortable with the way they were spending their money.

The model or drawing never hits 100% of the finished project. Once I get the drawing close enough, we make design modifications on it and I just note it on the drawing, sketch, or in the notebook for models. Then I just go straight to making the project.

The model or drawings are a platform to work from but it is only once in a while do I have drawings or a model that is 100% complete and accurate to the finished project.

Small shops can get away with this. Start adding employees and everything needs to be completely detailed.

Most of my work is sold on rough sketches and designing on the fly. I only need key measurements. I think that you will find many experienced cabinetmakers or craftsman that have small shops work this way.

I have not taken the time to learn Sketchup but I plan on it. I realize it’s potential as a communication tool.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View rosewood's profile


234 posts in 3545 days

#15 posted 10-30-2009 07:52 PM

i have never made a model, just grab the wood no matter big or small and make what on mind,


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