Facing with the options between walking into a furniture store like Ikea and a DIY store like Home Depot, what would you choose? I chose the latter, after picking up a set of woodworking plans that still proves useful to this day.
Before I begin, I have a confession to make. I was never a DIY kind of person, but my dad definitely was. I inherited the tools and decided to do something with them. It was just the right time as our house needed a change of furniture, and the summer Sun gives another great reason to venture out to the yard and work the magic as they would say.
The Quest to Find Beginner’s Woodworking Project Plans
Looking back, I guess the hardest part for me was at the beginning, when I was at a lost and totally didn’t know where to start.
I did not know which woods to use, what additional materials that I needed, and the list went on. I knew I needed a blueprint to begin with, and that I should start with a small project so that the success of the small woodworking project will give me the additional confidence to carry on.
I searched the internet for various free woodworking plans for beginners and I was delighted to find so many of them available!
My Virgin Experience As An Aspiring Woodworker
My first project attempt was to build a wooden rocking horse for my granddaughter, which will really be a great fit for that Christmas. I drove to Home Depot, bought the wood, materials, and took out all the tools listed, according to the woodworking plans pdf that I’ve downloaded for free.
You would have thought that I would have completed the rocking horse and gotten my granddaughter all excited for Christmas, right?
However, this couldn’t be more different than what actually happened and I am almost embarrassed to even mention it. But if I had to learn it the hard way, then I guess I can prevent other folks like you from being in that position!
The free woodworking plans for beginners were crap, period. The scale was off, the list of materials needed was misleading, and the supposedly step-by-step instructions left me scratching my head constantly, not knowing what did I miss.
Needless to say, the rocking horse wasn’t completed and I got my precious granddaughter a ready-made one instead.
After the incident, I was dejected, but I wasn’t prepared to let the defeat get the better of me. I was determined to pick up this hobby of woodworking.
Most woodworking plans for beginners that are available for free online, aren’t worth your time, and can seriously hamper your progress.
I’m sure there are good and possibly great ones, but it definitely takes some digging, searching, and testing. I for one don’t have the patience and would gladly pay a reasonable sum of money if someone were to put together a comprehensive and truly step-by-step woodworking plans to jumpstart my progress.
Woodworking Plans That Work!
I started visiting woodworking forums and participated in the most active and reputable ones, hoping to find some golden nuggets and possibly a mentor who could guide me along.
Having spent a few weeks there, I noticed a clear trend, that a program was very popular in the woodworking community and it provides many useable plans for the beginner, as well as the everyday woodworker.
Ted’s Woodworking is seen as a reliable guide for anyone into woodworking and I am impressed by the sheer number of woodworking plans to be downloaded. 16000+ and counting, when I really needed only 5!
Now that gets many ideas flowing inside my head… I could build furniture, toys, beds, pergola, and the list goes on.
I knew that I needed to try it out so I went ahead and purchased the plans with a leap of faith.
Needless to say, I was extremely impressed by the quality of the plans for various woodworking projects. The dimensions are specific enough, and the diagrams are very easy to read, especially for beginners like I was.
I especially like the fact that the plans include many different variations of the same project, so I could choose whichever appeals to me. This is a big plus point as it gives the flexibility to customize, according to our skill level and creativity.
I embarked on my second project, building an Adirondack chair. I could sense that I’m on the right track, comparing the instructions with the previous plans that I’d gotten for free. But only the results will tell…
2 weeks later, I’m a proud owner of a self-constructed Adirondack chair! It is simple and basic, but this gives me massive confidence boost that I could build something meaningful for my family and myself from now on. It is a personal triumph and what’s better is that my wife loves to hang out in that chair!
A note for total beginners. I feel there are simpler plans to start with instead of my choice above. I started with the idea because I sorted the plans alphabetically and arrived at Adirondack chair plans as one of the first on the list of many woodworking plans.
Moving on from there…
These are the items that I would have bought anyway, since the old ones were pretty worn out and they needed to be replaced.
A trip to some of the furniture stores in person and also browsing online, reveal the prices of those items:
Bunk beds – $1,399 (Macy’s)
Adirondack chair – $585 (Macy’s)
Computer desk – $439.99 (Bed Bath and Beyond)
Bookshelf – $509 (Macy’s)
Rocking horse – $149 (Wayfair)
If I indeed bought these items from the respective retail stores, I would have spent a whooping $4251.99 (since I needed 3 Adirondack chairs in my lawn)…
Instead, my expenditure at Home Depot (DIY Store) totalled: $1,754.99…
This includes the wood, nails, paints, stains, sandpaper, etc. that were needed to complete these projects.
Based on the prices, I managed to save $2,497 by opting to build these furniture and toys myself, instead of buying ready-made ones from stores like Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond.
However, bear in mind that I’ve had the luxury of inheriting a host of power tools that might have saved me a bit more as compared to you, but nevertheless, you’ll have to agree with me that in the long term, you’ll see so much savings when you build these wood crafts yourself.
My Next Projects, Based on My Secret Woodworking Plans
After all these projects, I certainly feel a marked improvement in my woodworking skills. For example, I feel confident making my own modifications to the plans to cater to the space of my home. I’ve also gained insight into how to use the tools and complete the project safely.
These wood project plans definitely give a solid base to start from, and once you have that basics setup, it becomes an art where you showcase your experience and maturity as a woodworker. I still have much to learn, and to me, I get increasingly excited working on these projects and I’m glad that I’ve pulled the trigger to build that failed rocking horse project.
I feel that it is time I move on to a more complex project, to fine tune my skills as a woodworker, as well as giving myself a more challenging goal to work towards to.
I plan on building a storage shed in the next 2 months, and I’ll be posting my progress if time permits on this blog.
I hope you will benefit from my experience and I highly recommend that you try out Ted’s Woodworking, if you intend to have a set of solid and simple woodworking plans to work on, right in your own backyard.