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Thread: Interesting how project plans/scope can morph...

  1. #1
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    Interesting how project plans/scope can morph...

    I've mentioned in the Weekly Update thread that I have a project to make a small kitchen island that includes "eating seating" for our younger daughter and her now fiancée. It's interesting how this project has taken on some additional requirements "just because" as well as due to the kitchen storage shortcomings in their new Old City (Philadelphia center city) studio apartment. Not. One. Drawer. In. The. Kitchen...except one tiny one that can't really hold much of anything. It's certainly not unusual for a project to evolve a little for various reasons, but this one brings a chuckle, for sure. Visually, all the iterations take off from the mid-century stuff I've already made for them.

    Iteration One: A simple 1220mm x 915mm (48"x36") top surface for food prep and eating, knock down, for easy transport and install. (it's a walk up)
    Iteration Two: The same simple setup for the surface, but adds a removable leaf so seating can be extended from two to four.
    Iteration Three: All of the above but need to add drawers, so the simple knock down becomes a cabinet internally with removable end panels for decorative purposes
    Iteration Four: All of the above but leveraging the space below the drawers for pot and pan storage
    Iteration Five: Let's hope there are no more major changes since I started building this sucker yesterday! (thread to come)

    Have you had projects that went from "Yea, that's simple" to..."oh, wow, what am I getting myself into?" ?
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
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    A bit of scope creep in your project planning? It's nice to have skills that are in demand

    I don't have any similar stories to add but I did hear an interesting take just yesterday on the NPR program, Hidden Brain, on the concept of removing or subtracting elements from a design in order to make it better. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen very often, especially in the types of commissioned projects our lot takes on.

  3. #3
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    I've always told people that you really need to live in a place to get an idea of what you actually want. Even then things change. Then you have the "that can be done" question. Your daughter should be well aware of your skills so that shouldn't have been too much of an issue. But I'm sure that you still gave her ideas that she didn't even think about.

    My niece was over yesterday and she asked about a set of bi-fold doors (4 off them that all slide to one side to take advantage of the bathroom layout. One of her first questions was "where did I find the doors that were the right size. When I told her I made them out of cheap pine it took her a moment to fully realize what I was saying. In other words, yes I can custom make stuff to fit.

    The reason she was asking is because her house is a story and a half. The builder didn't spend a lot of time laying out the second floor well. She would love to make changes but everyone keeps telling her "it's custom work and you'll pay far too much". I think I've finally convinced her that's not the case when you know someone.

    I'm glad your daughter is able to take advantage of your skills. I can't wait to see the final project once it's installed.

  4. #4
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    Had a bathroom paint job turn into a new floor, toilet, tub to shower, vanity and lights. Lucky the room was fairly small.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    I've always told people that you really need to live in a place to get an idea of what you actually want. Even then things change. Then you have the "that can be done" question. Your daughter should be well aware of your skills so that shouldn't have been too much of an issue. But I'm sure that you still gave her ideas that she didn't even think about.
    The original ask was "can you make us a small kitchen island because there's not much counter space?" Of course, the answer was "yes". The scope creep, other than the drawer thing, was, um...all mine. LOL You know, "suggestions"...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post

    Have you had projects that went from "Yea, that's simple" to..."oh, wow, what am I getting myself into?" ?
    I usually have the exact opposite problem,
    Knowing what it really takes to get the job done and convincing others that it's not as easy as they think it is.
    Trying to convince people that you have to do a,b,c, and so on, usually brings the reply "can't you just...."
    Project creep can be a pita, you're working with family, that just adds a different element entirely, sometimes good sometimes not.
    Good luck, look forward to seeing the build.

  7. #7
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    I’m glad it’s not just me Jim. I have a hard time with this too, especially for loved ones. But hey, I figure this is one of the extra rewards the hobby gives me. And my “clients” are always super appreciative of the final product and their timelines are never demanding.

    Looking forward to the build.

  8. #8
    I have never, in the long run, regretted going the extra mile. On the other hand I have several times regretted not going the extra mile. Nuff said!

  9. #9
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    I always considered those types of changes as part of the normal process. Where I get my jaws jacked is when I am in the finishing process and the "OH, by the ways" start coming into the conversation.
    Ken

    So much to learn, so little time.....

  10. #10
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    Good that you have the skills to adapt and conquer. Sounds like either way it will be well done. I've saw photos of your work before and you are a skilled craftsman. Look forward to seeing the finished product.

  11. #11
    I don't even make plans. I just come up with a picture in my head and get to work. I've tried plans in the past. They'll last an hour if they're good. I rarely even measure. I just line things up and mark where to cut. I find the chaos therapeutic.

    But I come from the art world where nothing is ever finished, just abandoned. You work on something until you get inspired to work on something else instead. Then you clean up your mess and on to the next! It's the process, not the product that interests me.

  12. #12
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    Jimmy, I also do not do formal plans. I do, however, do some basic sketches for something complex like this to be able to better envision things and provide a platform for me to note general dimensions. For example, in this project I know the intended finished size of the top surface, both "normally" and with the leaf in for seating for four. The width will not vary, but the length, maybe a little due to the material but that has no impact on anything critical. From there, I've determined the size of the "box" that will be the cabinet portion under it on the fixed end by subtracting an offset for both overhang and the thickness of the decorative side panels I intend to use from the width of the top. Those numbers were written with a genuine pencil on the printout of the sketch that I did using PowerPoint. (it works...) So while I was flattening some wide boards on the CNC, I stood at my workbench and then calculated the sizes for the pieces required to build the box from sheet goods. Everything else will get measured off that box.

    Now, CNC work, I get very detailed because that's necessary. But for an overall cabinet or furniture project like this, the space that will be occupied sets the overall dimensions and everything else comes during the actual build.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    So true … I actually model most everything in SketchUp and I rather enjoy that part of the process. However, sometimes the modeling is much easier than the building!

  14. #14
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    I always have a set of plans which I usually do on Shaper3D. Often it isn’t super complicated, just main dimensions that I extract to a traditional 2D CAD drawing that I print out. Once I start cutting the dimensions are all relative and “close” to targets but maybe not exact. I’m also fluid and maybe change here and there as I go, but I always start with something on a furniture build.

    It also helps share what is in my head with others that are more visual.

  15. #15
    I've been helping/consulting my son on his projects. The water pipes needed to be replaced, but then the washing machine died, which led to replacing and relocating the water heater to a demand one outside, with a gas line, new water lines, etc. The plumbing for the old water heater backs up to a half bath, which was then torn out and reframed. That led to adding a shower by bumping the sink into the adjacent bedroom where a door had been. This required all new plumbing, and a fuse box will have to be removed for the shower. The utility room off the laundry area was made into a bedroom, so an exterior door to the garage was cut into the garage wall. Now rebuilding the two steps down from the main floor level to the laundry room slab floor, which also has a new closet, nook for a freezer, ceiling, lighting, storage above the stacked W/D, and flooring.

    Just talking over everything on the phone has been like a part time job, let alone the hands on work.

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