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From Tools to Finishes – Planning Your Projects

Back in the old days, woodworkers didn’t have the opportunities for design and planning that we now have.

Nowadays, we have sophisticated computer modeling programs to accomplish this, but what if you couldn’t rely on this technology?

When I first began my business, I, as well, had to rely on physical drawings, mental pictures, and experience to produce a project that had some planning involved.

The problem was that I didn’t have any experience, other than the occasional project that I remembered my dad working on in the garage or something I wanted to build for my own house.

Reading helped a lot, but ultimately, I needed to be able to break down a project from tooling to the finish.

An invaluable process for me was to draw little thumbnails of the different steps involved, to see the joints and dimensions in 3D.

Every step of the way, I would stop and think about how the big picture could be broken down into its component parts and draw them, highlighting the effects and potential problems.

Just to get a better idea, let’s break it down into 5 easy steps.

1) What is the function of your wood piece?

Make sure the dimensions required to fulfill its purpose are well planned.

2) What type of materials will you need?

Planning the techniques required as defined by the material you will use.

3) What tools and cutters will you need?

This will take some thought as well as quite a few thumbnail drawings to determine what type of router bits, saw blades, shaper cutters, and other tooling necessary to complete your project according to your design.

4) Be prepared to re-develop your thumbnails

As you progress on your project, it is inevitable that you will come across things that your original plans did not foresee.

5) Establish the glues, fillers, and finishes you will need

Thoroughly research the different finishes and wood glues you will need to ensure that what you have suitable for your material and for your piece.

Read 5 Steps for Planning Your Woodworking Project for more information on this topic.

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