Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Plans" or "No Plans"? Part 2

     As I mentioned before, I usually don't work with very detailed plans when I'm building a project and there's a number of reasons why;

One:  I can visualize most projects in my head and as I've developed my woodworking skills, I pretty well know how I would like to build a certain project.

Two:  Owning my own custom woodworking business for over 25 years, I've built hundreds and hundreds of projects and even though they are custom pieces, you use a lot of the same techniques from one project to the next, so it's not really necessary to draw out ever detail or know every dimension from the very beginning.

Three:  I used to do all my drawings by hand with a lot of detail and it would become very frustrating when a customer decided they would like to change something and wanted to see what it would look like and I would have to do another set of drawings.  I invested in a CAD system for the computer that allowed me to do basic drawings and make changes without starting all over again.  I learned over the years just how much detail I had to show a customer to get the job without putting in every little dimensions.

Four:  I also learned that a lot of my designs I wanted the option to change things as I progressed with the project.  Things like the style or size of moldings used.  I've even found that what might look good on paper looks out of proportion when actually built to size.

Five:  I like to start with the very basic dimensions:  width, height and depth and kind of design and build from there.  Let me show an example.

         This is a large wall unit I designed and built for a customer in Raleigh, NC.  As you can see, It's huge (approx. 9 ft. tall x 15 ft. wide).  Wall to wall, floor to ceiling.  This is pretty much the drawing I used to sell the project to the customer. 

     Why not more detailed drawings?  I really didn't need more details then that to build from and I found most customers have a hard time visualizing something from a drawing anyway so it is usually a waste of time to go into much more detail then that. 

     Actually what really sold this piece is the top doors in the center section housed the 50" TV.  They are bi-fold pocket doors that open and slide inside the columns.  The upper section of the center columns open and the pocket doors slide in and the columns close.  The doors totally disappear and the unit looks like there are no doors at all for the TV section, so I built a small prototype of how the system would work and took that with me for the final sale. In fact, all the bottom fluted columns opened so they could be used for storage for CD's, albums, etc.

     Here's a few pictures in the building process:
     The basic design and dimensions where worked out in drawings to start with, but most of the details where worked out as I went.  The whole design process started around the TV they had and also designing to allow for some expansion in the future for a larger TV.  That opening dictated a lot of the overall design and dimensions. Then having columns that not only where functional for what we wanted to do for storage and hiding the bi-fold doors for the TV, but also looked in proportion to the rest of the unit.   Base board and top for Crown molding was dictated to what the rest of the house was.   Here's a couple more pictures taken while I was installing it.  No pulls yet (customer still hadn't decided what she wanted for pulls.
I built a face frame around the existing TV that would allow 6 more inches in both width and height for a larger TV in the future.

     Anyway, very few drawings or plans.  Probably not the best way for most woodworkers, but for me, that's the way I love to build. 

    I envy the woodworker that can draw out all the details before they ever start cutting wood!  What ever works for you, then that's the best way to do it. 

BTW.  It took the customer 3 months to decide what she wanted for pulls.  She used the blue painters tape I had attached to the back of each door and drawer all that time.  She had a hard time making decisions and her husband was shocked that I ever got her to commit to the design.  He felt it was because I didn't give all the little details that would only confuse her in making a decision............Go figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment