ever start a project with no real plan?

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Forum topic by Mike Gager posted 02-12-2011 02:39 AM 1687 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mike Gager

665 posts in 3508 days

02-12-2011 02:39 AM

i mean i know sort of what i want it to look like and i have some wood laying here that should be enough…

anybody ever just throw something together on a whim without really planning things out either on paper or sketchup or whatever first?

im in the process of building a small mail organizer that i thought up and i didnt draw out any plans and its really coming back to haunt me. so far ive cut pieces to short, made the sides a different height. put dados in the wrong spot several times. ive had to rearrange things several times to work with the pieces i cut. its a disaster!

on top of everything else im not even sure i like the “design” lol

34 replies so far

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 3025 days

#1 posted 02-12-2011 02:53 AM

.....”ever start a project with no real plan?”

Yep, practically every time. That’s why all my stuff is one-of-a kind! ;-)

-- Website is finally up and

View doninvegas's profile


334 posts in 3148 days

#2 posted 02-12-2011 02:54 AM

That’s pretty much how I do all of my projects. I visulize something and start building. It’s disign as you go.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View Pop's profile


429 posts in 4187 days

#3 posted 02-12-2011 02:55 AM

Been there, done that. It always ends up as a disaster. This is why I put my old drafting skills to ork on everything I try to make. Not always with success mind you.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Rustic's profile


3255 posts in 3837 days

#4 posted 02-12-2011 02:56 AM

All the time. I just start with an idea

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3359 days

#5 posted 02-12-2011 03:08 AM

Yes, most of my boxes are made with no plans, but, I do have a general idea of size and style, there is a system of construction, first this cut, and then making the other following pieces based on the first cut, there is no way to go wrong if you are working from a starting point and progressively follow the proper procedure, like a chess game, you have to think through any new ground that you may have not been through before, lessons learned as you go, will help fine tune your construction method, trying to cut a bunch of pieces so that they all fit together later may not be too much fun, when there are small problems in size. Don’t get me wrong, it can, and is done, making a project to exact specifications is done all the time, and following a detailed plan as well, for me, that takes away from the enjoyment of creating my own design and being innovative as I go along. I have been making the same type of designed box for a while now, continually fine tuning and perfecting design and construction technique, that’s a lot of fun for me, just my opinion, nothing against having plans and following them.

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4459 days

#6 posted 02-12-2011 03:25 AM

Yep, you described my scientific method to a tee!

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

View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 3479 days

#7 posted 02-12-2011 03:33 AM

Would be easier to ask who starts with a plan and sticks ( pretty much anyway ) to it.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3224 days

#8 posted 02-12-2011 03:52 AM

There are about 5-6 projects that I have used plans or have done a sketch up of. All the rest have been done with the vision in my head. That isn’t to say that others projects don’t inspire me or pictures of items of interest. It isn’t to say that I won’t use plans but I tend to change things to my liking. I think of most projects as nothing more than a box with different embellishments to produce a desired project. I like coming up with a basic form and measuring and adding to as I go to produce a project.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Frank V's profile

Frank V

22 posts in 2921 days

#9 posted 02-12-2011 05:08 AM

You mean to tell me that some people actually plan out projects…..weird

-- To Beer...the cause of and solution to all of life's problems - Homer J. Simpson

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 3025 days

#10 posted 02-12-2011 05:10 AM

Keep at it Mike. You’ll get it eventually.
I can’t remember how many times I have either abandoned an idea or cut up the start of a project to begin again.
In fact, that’s what happened on my current endevour. I began putting maple around a plywood center and it just wasn’t going right. I ended up cutting off the 3 sides I had done and reduced the overall size and began again.
Making something to a preset plan would be boring to me.

-- Website is finally up and

View Pop's profile


429 posts in 4187 days

#11 posted 02-12-2011 06:24 AM

When I build it on paper I’ve built it. Now all I have to do is put it together.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View shipwright's profile


8188 posts in 3039 days

#12 posted 02-12-2011 06:28 AM

I often have planned out almost every detail and built it in my mind, but all that usually hits paper is a rough sketch. This is usually used to answer the inevitable question “whatcha buildin?”

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3315 days

#13 posted 02-12-2011 06:39 AM

Building without a plan is my favorite way. I often change my mind halfway through a project based on how it looks to me.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3314 days

#14 posted 02-12-2011 06:39 AM

That’s pretty much the only way I build boxes. I just go with the flow of the wood and do whatever feels right as I’m working. Sometimes things come out really nice and sometimes they end up in the fireplace. And sometimes they end up sitting on a shelf for years 90% completed waiting for me to get inspired on how to make the last piece like a lid or a pull.
I’ve tried this method occasionaly for real furniture like tables and that generally comes out pretty bad since it needs to functional and not just look good. It’s also a lot more wood to be tossing into the fireplace. With small boxes it’s no big deal if that happens because it’s a small amount of wood and sometimes just scraps from a larger project that might have gone in the fireplace anyway.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View TJ65's profile


1381 posts in 3290 days

#15 posted 02-12-2011 07:38 AM

yea always, I start with no plan then if it turns out ok I draw a pretty simple one up so I can remember for next time. Because it always changes along the way.
Actually, doing one now and considering its looking pretty good.

-- Theresa,

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