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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(Please fight the urge to roll your eyes as you read this...)

Hi,

I´m new(ish) to woodwork and I´ve decided to take the plunge after a few smaller projects and build a large drawer unit for our kitchen.

I´ve got a general design in mind (pg 100 in Collin's Complete Woodwork Manual) but, my annoyingly simple question is: how do you go about adding your details to a very vanilla plan? The outer dimensions will be easy, but I'm thinking of tips for planning for the smaller pieces inside the project as well as things like tenons and joints.

So basically I'm asking more for advice from the more experienced people out there on how they sketch and plan their ideas.

Any links for beginners would be welcome!

All the best, and thanks for reading,
Russell:thumbsup:
 

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where's my table saw?
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OH Lordy :)< 0

Details come in 2 types: design and construction.

Things like visible mortise and tenon joinery or dovetails, dowels, wood grain variations or complements, book matching panels etc are construction methods that add detail and personalize the project. The overall size and proportions are independent of these details.

Design "details" are more like the proportions of the major pieces, the use of glass or other kinds of panels, the light vs dark of stain or colors, contrasts of materials like wood/stone/tile either for accents or they can be integrated into the design itself. What's the design/piece look like in other words....?

So, you start with a basic design with the sizes of things, like drawers and spacing etc, the choice of materials in the various places, then add the construction details to that design.
 

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Details come in 2 types: design and construction.

Things like visible mortise and tenon joinery or dovetails, dowels, wood grain variations or complements, book matching panels etc are construction methods that add detail and personalize the project. The overall size and proportions are independent of these details.

Design "details" are more like the proportions of the major pieces, the use of glass or other kinds of panels, the light vs dark of stain or colors, contrasts of materials like wood/stone/tile either for accents or they can be integrated into the design itself. What's the design/piece look like in other words....?

So, you start with a basic design with the sizes of things, like drawers and spacing etc, the choice of materials in the various places, then add the construction details to that design.
DO everything mentioned above and once you have all that in mind either make a copy of the plans you want to use and draw directly on the copy including any of your own design ideas,

~~~~~~~~ OR ~~~~~~~

Draw the entire piece from scratch with either pencil and paper or with design software on the computer.

Google Sketchup is free (Google it and you'll find it easily) and a lot of guys here use it. I own one of the industrial strength design programs and I use that for most things I design and build. However,don't over look those ideas that come to you as you progress during the actual building. Those can be done "on the fly" and are sometimes to best part of a project.
 

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I normally just sketch a drawing of the project. The project I do are for customers and they need to visualize what I'm proposing so there won't be any surprises when I make delivery.

 

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Old School
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I´m new(ish) to woodwork and I´ve decided to take the plunge after a few smaller projects and build a large drawer unit for our kitchen.
If you are adding a a large drawer unit to your kitchen, it may be wise to take into consideration the existing kitchen. I would first use whatever scheme you already have and when designing another cabinet you'll have the basics to start with. There is a degree of continuity that looks good when followed.






.
 

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I used to teach high school drafting and when it came to working out details, dimensions and changes, 1/4" graph paper and pencil worked well. The lined paper helps keep your sketched lines straight and the 1/4" grid lets you keep things in scale. Formal drawings and CAD can come after if needed.

At home, I work out most of my plans the same way - by sketching on graph paper. I realize the benefits of CAD and SketchUp but it's usually easier for me just to grab a pencil.

Bill
 

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If its a new piece to me I start with a drawing.Just pencil and paper.If really want to work the details I make the piece almost to the end in popler before I start cutting my expensive wood.
It may seem like a waste of time to some. But when you build the piece you may feel more confident.And make less mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks very much for the excellent responses. I was looking for "tried and tested" ideas from experienced woodworkers, and I think that box has been ticked. I'll certainly be a little calmer now when settling down to design everything.

Thanks again!
 

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When I read your question it seems to me you are asking how to add details that "beautify" a project. That is a problem that I have. I think of it as a lack of imagination. I can design and build a great "box." However, when it comes to the little things such as adding a piece of small molding I just do not think of it.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@ phinds: Bookmarked! Thanks.

@ George: Nothing that complicated really. Beautifying something is not the most important thing for me right now. The point I was trying to get across was that how do you go from following detailed plans to creating your own. Obviously calculating the main dimensions is relatively simple, but I wanted some views from old hands on how they design a project, going from simple design to calculating what joints they're going to use and where.

Thanks to the answers I got, I feel a little more confident about setting down with my pencil and sketching up a unit.
 

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As somebody mentioned above, SketchUp is a great tool for this. I start with paper and pencil to get some general ideas (or from a plan I picked up elsewhere), then start "building" in SketchUp, one board at a time. As I'm "building" in SketchUp, design changes for my particular situation occur to me more or less organically. Only when I can build the item successfully in SketchUp am I ready to start thinking about cutting wood... and I use the printout from the Cutlist extension to guide me along at that stage.
 

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Maybe this thread will help. This vanity started off about as basic as it gets.

The first thing was to draw the design wanted. Then determine what type joinery is needed to get it from plain to special. In this case moldings were milled and applied to the sides and face frame. The face frame was planned to overhang the sides enough for the moldings to fit flush. Same for the drawer fronts which were planned out to be flush with the face frame.
 

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In History is the Future
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Maybe this thread will help. This vanity started off about as basic as it gets.

The first thing was to draw the design wanted. Then determine what type joinery is needed to get it from plain to special. In this case moldings were milled and applied to the sides and face frame. The face frame was planned to overhang the sides enough for the moldings to fit flush. Same for the drawer fronts which were planned out to be flush with the face frame.
This is what I sent to rrbrown when he started on the vanity - the subtle details pr either understood or discusses verbally. There's no point in drawing every little detail.
 

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@ phinds: Bookmarked! Thanks.

@ George: Nothing that complicated really. Beautifying something is not the most important thing for me right now. The point I was trying to get across was that how do you go from following detailed plans to creating your own. Obviously calculating the main dimensions is relatively simple, but I wanted some views from old hands on how they design a project, going from simple design to calculating what joints they're going to use and where.

Thanks to the answers I got, I feel a little more confident about setting down with my pencil and sketching up a unit.
Creating your own basic plans is very simple. A few pencils, a few triangles and some 1/4" square paper. Then you just lay out what it is that you want.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all your help, I'm going to settle down with Sketch Up later this afternoon and have a play about with it.

Have a great weekend!
 
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