For any beginner in the field of woodworking, woodworking plans and drawings can seem intimidating at first. One look at the plan and you can get lost in the diagrams and projections without understanding much. However, one needs to understand, that for successfully completing any woodworking project one of the essential ingredients is – a good woodworking plan. Just as you need a good road map before beginning a journey, you must have a solid woodworking plan before beginning a woodworking project or you may get lost in the process.
Before you start your search for a plan, give some thought about what you would like to build. If you are looking for inspirations, visit some furniture stores, browse their catalog, look around your surroundings or check some woodworking magazines. You will be amazed to find that there are so many things that inspire you to try woodworking. And in case you already know what you want to make, you may set out to search for the best woodworking plan for that project.
Now the question is how do you know if a particular plan is a good one? What are the essential elements that make a woodworking plan a good one? Don’t worry if you are not sure about it as we have the answer for you.
Here is a list of things that characterizes good woodworking plans:
- It must have the blueprint with step by step detailed assembly instructions.
- All the materials that are needed for the project should be thoroughly listed and itemized.
- The woodworking tools needed for the completion of the project should be listed
- The woodworker should be given a couple of finishing options.
- And most important, it must list the safety precautions that need to be adhered to while working on the project.
Reading the Woodworking Drawing:
When you first have a look at the woodworking plan for a particular project, you will see a technical drawing with various views and projections. To a beginner, it will first look like that some straight lines, rectangular shapes, etc., has been set down on paper in an orderly fashion. These collections of lines, symbols and words are actually put together by the draftsman to convey the idea of the project to the woodworker.
Typically, there are three types of drawing associated with furniture namely: proposal, working and shop. The proposal drawing is often characterized by scaled elevations that are enough to explain the design to a client. A working drawing is one that has complete views and sections. A woodworker should be able to make the piece by referring the drawing details; he can calculate the amount and dimensions of material needed from it. A shop drawing is even more detailed and can help the woodworker make the piece just as specified in the drawing. Often orthographic projections giving four different views from different angles are also provided with.
Lines of varying weights- some lighter, some thicker are used to portray the designs in the piece. Of course there are other components like words and number, but the first major one that we need to understand is lines.
Typically, three line weights are used – bold, regular and light.
Bold lines are used for outlines and baselines. They are what make the piece stand out. The regular lines are what show the parts and details and light lines have a number of supporting and informational roles to play. Typically, they do not represent parts that would be actually present on the real thing and hence, they are generally there in the background. Dimension, break and hatch lines are all examples of light lines.
Typically the measurements are written on the dimension lines for easy reading. Break lines are the ones that indicate a part beyond a particular point. Hatch lines typically indicate the cut surface of a section and are drawn at 45 degree. Broken lines are the ones that show concealed parts. One can use center lines when drawing symmetrical drawing; he needs to draw only half of the object and mark it with the initials CL.
Things that are not visible in a drawing can be explained by means of section views. Such drawings illustrate what will be visible if the piece is cut through. These drawings are characterized by an arrow at one end of the section arm to show you what direction you should look at the section. Such drawings are very useful in explaining what the inside of a joint will look like.
Another important aspect of woodworking plans is the scale:
If the piece to be made is too big to be drawn full scale, then it has to be reduced using a scale to a size that fits the paper. Typically, a scale that is as large as possible should be taken keeping room for all other necessary details. Another interesting technique used in making woodworking plans and drawings is the exploded perspective design. It is pictorial in nature that makes it easy to read. However, it is more suited for small or less complex projects.
Once you know how to read the design, understanding the rest of the things like material and tools needed as well the safety precaution should not be a problem. Now that you have an idea of what exactly comprises of woodworking plans, you would now wonder where you can find some good ones to start with.
Basically, there are three ways to gets your hands on some nice woodworking plans
Get yourself some good woodworking magazine or get some guide books containing woodworking plans from a library or find some great ones on the internet. The free ones found on the internet as sometimes not as detailed as one would have liked. So, if you are going for the free stuff, make sure who choose one that has all the necessary details listed in this article.
Choose a relatively easy plan to start with and gradually progress to the more complex one. This way you will learn reading the woodworking plan without getting overwhelmed.