Don't believe all that you read. #1: Costly mistake via Woodsmith Mag.

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Blog entry by woodklutz posted 02-20-2011 01:27 AM 2953 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I foolishly believed that the plans that I was following to a T were accurate and tested prior to publication. I refer to a plan to construct a Headbord for a queen sized bed. Last months issue.
I cut my expensive Cherry boards to measurement, rails and stiles I dry fitted them, no problem.
Next step was the edging well that is the problem. Woodsmith shows the stiles 18” when in fact they needed to be 20”. Also they mis labeled stiles and rails (easy to reverse) but I ask, who proofed the plans?
So I am po’d it is going to means an unneeded expense for more cherry.
When I make my stupid mistakes I scream and holler and go DOh, when I pay for a subscription and get incorrect advise I say no more. Yes you say, he should have checked before cutting, a rookie mistake. I agree, and I will no longer take for granted that the plans are right.

Woodsmith magazine should be doing a better job of proofing what they publish. My personal opinion is that there are better publications out there.

Sorry for the rant

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

18 comments so far

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3981 days

#1 posted 02-20-2011 02:03 AM

Due diligence is the best approach for many things in life. No excuse for the published mistakes but….

View John Waddle's profile

John Waddle

7 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 02-20-2011 02:09 AM

Personally I agree, there should be an expetation of accuracy in a publication like Woodsmith. I think they are the greatest and find very little fault with them. I have made many of there projects and have never had an issue except with my own lack of skill. Did you contact them about the problem?

-- John

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3237 days

#3 posted 02-20-2011 03:11 AM

I’ve run into small problems while copying magazine projects. It’s very easy to get complacent even while doing my own project, much less some that are spelled out for me. I’d notify them about it and say that you learned a lesson from it. As soon as I stop thinking ahead and analyzing what I want to do…I’ll totally screw something up.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 02-20-2011 03:35 AM

I always look at these magazine projects as a general guideline for how to get things done. Adjustments are almost always needed.

I am not much good at designing things on my own, but I do know that I am also not real good at getting all of the dimensions specified in a magazine exact. I have gotten in to the habit of interpreting these instructions to meld with the inaccuracies that I introduce into the project. You need to take the original project plans and modify then to fit with your ‘real world’ processes.

-- Mark

View NormG's profile


6208 posts in 3061 days

#5 posted 02-20-2011 04:01 AM

Ouch. Sorry to hear this. I am getting ready to do a Morris Chair, I am gonna check those plans out

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Corks's profile


8 posts in 2747 days

#6 posted 02-20-2011 04:19 AM

I made a very costly mistake a few years ago following the plans as you did. Since then I take the plans (If I really want it that bad) and make my own. You wouldn’t belive how many mistakes I have found in ten years. I even at one point was buying plans, same results, even buying them!

If I had any advice about plans on the web, don’t beleive them! It adds something to the plan when it is their idea and your plan that you changed to meet your needs. I have taken an idea and really really made something out of it!

-- Treat every day like is was your last and some day you'll be right.

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3705 days

#7 posted 02-20-2011 05:29 AM

I had a plan to go to the beach yesterday – but it was raining, so I had to adjust the plan to fit the case at hand.

that is my take on plans – they are great guidelines, and help see the bigger picture, and break a large project into smaller steps, BUT that does not mean I’d follow one blindly.

I agree that a publication should proof read their plans and make sure they hit the marks, but that aside, following a plan should take more than reading one line of text, and cutting the part it tells you, next line, next cut, and so on and so forth – you really have to learn to read the plans and understand what it is that you are trying to make so that as you make the cuts you know what to expect.

sucks nonetheless… hope it’ll be just a good expensive lesson and nothing more.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2945 days

#8 posted 02-20-2011 05:46 AM

The saving idea is that the wood can be reused for something else at a later date. No excuse for their lack of care but it lessens the pain.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4014 days

#9 posted 02-20-2011 05:25 PM

You would think that a published plan would be accurate, but that is just not always the case. I work with a company that sells storage barn plans, and I field all the questions that customers have on the plans. These are plans that were designed and drawn up by a registered architect, and there are plenty of mistakes. Incorrect dimensions, incorrect lengths of pieces in the materiel list, notes about critical elements and procedures not included. I am working with them to correct the inaccuracy, but if a company markets a plan especially if they are marketing it to a do it yourself type of person I think they should make sure the plans are accurate and complete….but I would always check them over anyways!


View Alan Hart's profile

Alan Hart

71 posts in 2749 days

#10 posted 02-20-2011 06:02 PM

I have always checked plans before I start. Found mistakes and corrected them before I started. I made the cradle from Woodsmith. Everything went fine when I built it except the size of cradle did not match the standard size if a cradle mattress. Now I check the standards on everthing too. I have found that it doen’t matter what magazine, book, or company you get plans from, there will always be a mistake in one of there plans. We just need to make sure that there mistakes don’t become our mistakes.

-- Al Hart

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 2709 days

#11 posted 02-20-2011 06:06 PM

I have a goal of offering downloadable plans for the projects I build and while the illustrations I create in SketchUp have the correct dimensions, the cut lists offered in publications need to look prettier than the out put of SketchUp cut list plugins. So mistakes are made due to multiple programs used to create plans and human involvement. Not an excuse, especially with publications like Woodsmith.


View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3634 days

#12 posted 02-20-2011 06:50 PM

As a adult woodworking instructor more times than not the plans students bring to class have incorrect joinery,dimensions that are way off and angles that are not right. Many of these plans are from magazines or plans purchased on line and elsewhere . The only solutions are to make your own plans or to build your projects out of inexpensive material before using your expensive material. I prefer to make my own. In short I don’t trust most plans that I don’t make myself.
sorry for your problem with your project.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3484 days

#13 posted 02-20-2011 07:33 PM

I usually get plans just for the design and overall deminsions. When I start to build I will calculate individual part deminsions that fit with what I am doing. I never build the way the plans show anyway. Like instead of mortise and tenion I might use dowels. I might use the table saw for rabits intead of the router table, etc.
I think you have to adjust based on how you work and what tools you have.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4182 days

#14 posted 02-20-2011 07:51 PM

I occasionally get requests for drawings for some of the stuff I’ve put in my projects page here on LumberJocks, or posted on the web in other places .I’m not sure if these are drive-by attempts to get plans to resell on these various scam woodworking sites or what, because I’ve never had a follow-up dialog about the issues involved with developing plans, but…

I can cut something to within about 1/16”. I can cut two pieces to probably within a thousandth or three of each other. I can often get to within a few thousandths of a dimension I have in front of me in the shop.

So the only thing it usually makes sense for me to draw up are the gross dimensions. Outside sizes. Proportions. Because everything else is going to be fitted to the piece as it evolves.

I’m not saying this is the problem in this case, but this is a difficulty in drawing up plans generally, and is a huge portion of the reason that I don’t put plans on the web.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View SergioC's profile


82 posts in 2724 days

#15 posted 02-20-2011 08:03 PM

I’ve followed plans before and expect 100% accuracy. At this point I usually wing it without plans, but if I found a plan for something complicated where I needed to follow a plan, I would expect it to be accurate. I’m surprised the number of people that are responding with the thought that errors in a published plan are a fact of life, and it’s somehow the responsibility of the woodworker to catch these things before cutting. It’s a recipe to be followed- not a general idea. Yes, you have to know what you’re making along the way, but it should be right. Accepting incompetence is not acceptable.

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