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Thread: Design question for hand tool project

  1. #1

    Design question for hand tool project

    I want to build a Japanese style table for my family room which will be a bit of my own design. Should I build a full size mock up out of scrap wood or make full size drawings, or both, to get the details right? I plan to use hand tools to put a lot of subtle shape into the legs and really want to nail the design. Were I doing this with power tools building a cabinet, sketch up or a sketch would work fine, but this is virgin territory for me.

    Thanks!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    The North Bennet street school in Boston teaches a method of sketching plans, full size, on a sheet of plywood or MDF. That way you can make parts and place them directly on the plan for verification.

    Both "front" and "side" views are drawn to size.

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...s-woodworking/

    PS - give yourself permission to modify any curve you make by eye. Sometimes the shadow lines reveal themselves in room lighting.

    PSS - leave the legs a little long and trim the table to level after assembly to get the table level. I place tables on my garage floor and level the top using shims under the legs.

    Once that's done, I tape a pencil to a piece of plywood (usually 1/4") and mark all the way around each leg at the bottom. That's my reference line for trimming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hachet View Post
    I want to build a Japanese style table for my family room which will be a bit of my own design. Should I build a full size mock up out of scrap wood or make full size drawings, or both, to get the details right? I plan to use hand tools to put a lot of subtle shape into the legs and really want to nail the design. Were I doing this with power tools building a cabinet, sketch up or a sketch would work fine, but this is virgin territory for me.

    Thanks!

    Chris
    Chris if you feel you need full size drawings to work than definitely do that. Sometimes even cardboard mock ups will work so you can stand back and take a look at curves and sizes of features. There are some that go as far as building a full size mock up out of lesser quality materials. Only you can know what your limitations are as designs are concerned.

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately, using plywood or MDF can be a real pain for the hand tool woodworker. Hand sawing and planing plywood really dulls tools quickly and is no fun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Last plans I used....were delivered by Moose & Squirrel Delivery Service....

    IF you have a couple photos, and the overall sizes....bring them up here, and take a set of plans home with you....
    June Project, end view.JPG
    June Project, The Plan.JPG

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    Unfortunately, using plywood or MDF can be a real pain for the hand tool woodworker. Hand sawing and planing plywood really dulls tools quickly and is no fun.
    I was thinking of using SYP for the base and plywood for the top, SYP would work fine with hand tools.

    But I have used a hand plane to make MDF parts fit...good thing I can re sharoen.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Last plans I used....were delivered by Moose & Squirrel Delivery Service....

    IF you have a couple photos, and the overall sizes....bring them up here, and take a set of plans home with you....
    June Project, end view.JPG
    June Project, The Plan.JPG
    I need to come up and see you again, and see your current projects.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    The North Bennet street school in Boston teaches a method of sketching plans, full size, on a sheet of plywood or MDF. That way you can make parts and place them directly on the plan for verification.

    Both "front" and "side" views are drawn to size.

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...s-woodworking/

    .....
    Jim, I did not know this ... but this is exactly what I do. Elevation and plan.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    Unfortunately, using plywood or MDF can be a real pain for the hand tool woodworker. Hand sawing and planing plywood really dulls tools quickly and is no fun.
    The plan is *drawn* on the sheet of Plywood (or MDF) so it will last through the project, and can be reused.

  10. #10
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    Come up any time.
    Red Head drill, front.JPG
    I'll be cleaning this thing up, this week.....by Red Head Mfg, New York, USA......needs the chuck rebuilt....

  11. #11
    When trying to make curved legs, yes, I think making a full size mock up is smart. However I only ever make one. I do use hardboard or mdf. I usually sand them with a curved sanding pad. The curve only needs to look approximately right. When you do the real ones, you will use planes or spokeshaves to fair the curve; getting an exact template is not critical as in routing when a pattern bit may be used.

    I will then take the leg, and draw out on a larger piece two of them in elevation. I don't cut these out.

    Curve shaping with hand tools is more akin to carving. You can only rely on the saw to do rough work here (unlike when cutting joinery) and you have to use fairing tools to sneak up on each piece. In this sense, it is ironically for me a stress-free and therefore very enjoyable experience.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 07-02-2020 at 6:11 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    IMHO, chief benefit of life size plans is providing an idea of how the piece will fit into the space. I guess question is what is purpose of life size layout? With regard to proportions, design elements etc. don't know that you need life size. Either way , An alternative to hard template maybe paper flip charts, the kind typically used in meeting rooms etc. Mine are ~ 3' square. I tape them together for large scale design projects.

    Cheers, Mike

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Austin Texas
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    The "Mail Store" type shipping places have large-sized, inexpensive paper for packing stuff up for shipping that can be used singly or taped together for larger pieces.
    David

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