What's the best website to download plans?

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Forum topic by Crickett posted 09-30-2014 01:28 PM 1695 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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137 posts in 1477 days

09-30-2014 01:28 PM

I think my library is completely overcome with woodworking trade-related literature, including many books with plans and mostly focusing on developing certain skills. But now I’m scouring the internet looking for quality website where I can pay to download PDF file plans for various projects. My taste tends to lean strongly towards Arts & Crafts and Mission style. Can you please lend a thought or two on websites you’ve come across…..? Many thanks – Crickett

17 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#1 posted 09-30-2014 02:01 PM

I’ve downloaded some plans from Wood magazine and Fine woodworking and they were very good quality. However, I get most of my plans from magazines and books and just about every plan that I use I modify to my own needs. I also just make plans for some things from scratch.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Crickett's profile


137 posts in 1477 days

#2 posted 09-30-2014 02:06 PM

I’m in the same boat in that I subscibe to several magazines and pick and choose which projects suit my taste. I’m just kind of looking for a quality online resource where I can sift through different furniture plans and purchase the ones I want.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#3 posted 09-30-2014 02:27 PM

Depending on the type of plans you want woodsmith has free plans,unlike a lot of plans they have been tested ,I’ve yet to find any errors in any of there plans.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Crickett's profile


137 posts in 1477 days

#4 posted 09-30-2014 04:02 PM

Woodsmith is ok, but their plans are a bit limited. I was hoping for more of a comprehensive site with a large library of furniture plans. Does nothing like this exist?

View HerbC's profile


1755 posts in 2856 days

#5 posted 09-30-2014 04:09 PM

Woodsmith is ok, but their plans are a bit limited. I was hoping for more of a comprehensive site with a large library of furniture plans. Does nothing like this exist?

- Crickett

Well, there’s always Ted...

(OK, don’t hit me…)


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#6 posted 09-30-2014 04:15 PM

I think at a certain time in a woodworkers learning curve they come to a point where they need to learn to develop their own plans. It certainly free’s you from having to hunt down a plan for every thing you make, and gives you the option of designing a piece to the size, proportions and details you or your customer wants. Just my opinion .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Crickett's profile


137 posts in 1477 days

#7 posted 09-30-2014 04:30 PM

I would agree with that Jim, but I’m many years your junior and haven’t built enough furniture to know what my style is just yet. I was just reaching out to the community as a friendly resource for inspiration on some upcoming projects. I want to be able to compare plans to know exactly what I’m after.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10384 posts in 3645 days

#8 posted 09-30-2014 04:49 PM

There may be a few reasons such resources are
not available.

One, any PDF can be pirated and that Clickbank
woodworking plans guy has no shame about
fluffing up his download product with stolen

Two, a proper blueprint has some scale considerations
that don’t translate well to small sheets of printer
paper. If you’ve ever examined a dress pattern
or something similar you’ll notice such things are
printed up full size to use as direct patterns.

Good luck anyway.

Mark Ripley’s book of furniture designs is very good. Lots
of exploded drawings and pithy comments. The
designs are wood products Ripley actually sells to
clients and shows at exhibitions in a sort of arts and
crafts style generally.

I think there used to be some catalogs where you
would see a little picture in the catalog and could
order the plans. This was before the internet. I’m
sure one or two of these catalogs must still exist.
The used to run little ads in the backs of handyman
and woodworking magazines that read something
like “woodworking plans, catalog $1”. or “free
catalog”. Look in the back of Popular Mechanics
or something like that.

Here’s one of favorite old-school resources:

A search for “woodworking plans” will yield a lot
of results and the whole site is quite a rabbit hole
of interesting DIY information.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2484 days

#9 posted 09-30-2014 04:53 PM

For me, I have never used plans. Maybe it’s from designing stuff and drawing those plans for the inspectors when I was contracting, maybe it’s just arrogance.
If I make a plan at all it’s usually just a crude sketch of what I want it to look like.
If something goes wrong with putting the sketch into a finished piece, I will just back up and regroup and try something else.
Don’t get me wrong, I look at plans sometimes, just to get some ideas, but the final piece is mine and has very little relationship to the half dozen plans I looked at online.

Never be afraid to make a mistake. You won’t learn anything if you don’t.

In my personal opinion, (and this isn’t for everyone), using a preformed commercial plan that someone else made will retard your ability to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Good luck with your quest! I hope it all goes well.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#10 posted 09-30-2014 04:57 PM

Please know my comment was not meant to be critical . It’s just in general I feel plans tend to stifle our creative juices so to speak. I’ve seen projects on line that basically are made from two pieces of wood that people ask for plans for.If know one has the web site that meets your needs you might explore Videos that you can do a build along with,I like Charles Neils Mastering woodworking were he builds a variety of pieces of furniture and shows you step by step how to build that item,unlike store bought videos you can contact Charles with questions about any questions you might have.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View drobertson's profile


57 posts in 3113 days

#11 posted 09-30-2014 05:05 PM

I have always been an avid reader of plans and designs, mostly so I can use the good ideas to come up with my own projects. To directly answer your question I have not found a one stop shop of plans anywhere that actually made me happy. On the other hand a little work with Google and a few other sites and I can find more information than I ever thought existed. You will find some plans are worth paying for and I strongly urge you to support those people. You will also find HUGE amounts of free information. I have a collection of links that I go back to regularly because they have such great stuff.

I often use to find interesting ideas. You can throw out a few search words and find a huge amount of projects that other people have found interesting. In some ways it is a self curating list of ideas. In many cases the links lead right back here.

Fine Woodworking always has top notch articles and plans, but I would hardly call them a one stop shop for information. Other magazines have similar resources, both good and bad.

The last one I am reluctant to suggest, but it can have some interesting things. The site (or whatever it is now) has many plans that can be downloaded. They are of dubious legal origin and you will need to wade through lots of fairly nasty adds to find what you want. There is also the risk of downloading a virus. This is not a place to be if you are not expert at computers, but they do have great digitized copies of some amazing old woodworking texts (legally out of copyright). I personally find these old books to be very instructive and inspirational. Please use care and good judgement if you do try this resource.

If you can get by the fact it was written 330 years ago you should read through “The Art of Joinery” by Joseph Moxon. Great stuff that is still useful today. The should be free someplace, it is WAY out of copyright.

View CharlesA's profile


3320 posts in 1794 days

#12 posted 09-30-2014 06:11 PM

There is a great difference in plans. Sometimes I start with a plan, sometimes not. It often has to do with the complexity of the project. I am building a Find Woodworking curved front desk, and it is a complex construction that I would never have had the imagination to come up with. OTOH, I built a kitchen island using my own design.

With more simple pieces, even A&C, you can come up with your own plan with a pic and basic measurements (or even a guess).

I haven’t found a one-stop shop for plans that I like. I tend to look project for project.

But for A&C, Popular Woodworking has a ton of plans. Bob Lang, whose work I find very easy to follow has these in digital format:
Classic Arts and Crafts Furniture
This is paperback, but has drawings for 57 craftsman pieces

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View pintodeluxe's profile


5657 posts in 2810 days

#13 posted 09-30-2014 06:33 PM

1+ Bob Lang plans. Popular Woodworking, as well as Fine Woodworking online magazines are excellent resources.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JADobson's profile


1034 posts in 2108 days

#14 posted 10-01-2014 01:35 AM

For A&Cs I really liked this book:

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3228 days

#15 posted 10-01-2014 01:48 AM

For some of my projects, my wife provides the plans…in the form of a picture. “Can you make this for me?” :-)
And what do you think my answer is each time?

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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