Has this ever happened to you? When you get your project mostly complete, you move it to the spot where you want to finally place it and – dang – it doesn’t seem ‘right’ to your eyes. Or, while building, you cut a series of joints on a project, but they don’t seem to add anything to the overall appearance of the project.
Wouldn’t it be great to see what your project will really look like BEFORE you commit to building it?
That’s why woodworkers will sometimes build prototypes of their projects. They’ll mock up a piece in inexpensive No. 2 pine instead of their prized cherry, maple and walnut boards to get an accurate representation of what the project will really look like in its final form.
Of course, building prototypes does consume a few resources along the way – namely wood, time and money – some things that woodworkers often find in short supply.
This week, I want to know if you go through the process of building prototypes for your projects, and how the process works for you.
3 thoughts on “Quick Poll”
I’m teaching myself to use Google Sketchup to do scale drawings, exploded views and other great things. Of course, you can’t do one of a large china cabinet and blow it up to life size. But you can get a look at proportions, joinery issues, etc. Sketchup has a fairly high learning curve, but there are many good tutorials available from Fine Woodworking and on YouTube.
We design almost 150 new projects for our woodworking plan catalog each year. (www.meiselwoodhobby.com) We begin each project with an artist’s sketch. We then meet to discuss construction steps, types of joints and fasterners, type of wood, overall size etc. Next our draftsman makes full size drawings on AutoCad. Our draftsmen often sees additional ways of simplifying construction. We then build the proto type. During construction as well as after it is built, there is about a 30 percent likelyhood we will discover an improved way to build it. This results either in a modification or a complete rebuild. Out goal is always to improve the design or construction techniques, making it more builder friendly and/or asthetically pleasing.
From our experience, I would suggest that individuals designing projects on their own should start by making accurate drawings. This should help you zero in on the appearance and look. But you will likely think of a better way you could have done some things as you go through the building process.
As a pro CAD Drafter/Designer, I will model my designs in CAD to get the angles and movements required. In the shop, I’ll usually mock up the joints to be sure though.