Restoring Fine Woodworking

Plant Stands and Foot Stool

There are different ways of creating fine woodworking projects.  My husband prefers to build new woodworking projects.  He does very well and generally works without a woodworking pattern or plan.  His accomplishments include a desk, book shelf, toy box, foot stool, dresser, scenery for church play, tool box, jewelry boxes, and some things to aid working with power tools, just to name a few.  My preference is restoring old, ugly and beat up pieces, not to their former beauty, but to a newer modern look.

It is here that I must call on my husband for help (I don’t do power tools, etc.) which he freely and patiently gives.  I look for treasures at garage sales and in thrift stores.  He comes along to offer advice on whether an item can be fixed and is worh the money and effort it will take to do this.  Then he painstakingly puts the pieces back together as sturdy, usable items.  Actually, my only contribution is to strip and paint the piece and upholstery if needed.  Some of our successes are four dining chairs with rounded and spindled back (cost $5) the seats were split, legs were falling off, very unstable; several plant stands in stages of disrepair ($2-$15 each), oak dining table weathered and worn ($20), and other items I can’t recall.  This was done with the thought of selling them at a garage sale.  The dining table was donated to the church, the four chairs were given to a needy family and the rest are scattered about our house because I can’t bring myself to let them go yet.

There is a restful sense of accomplishment about taking something old, broken down and ugly  and making it useful and attractive again.  So, although my contribution to creating fine woodworking is small, it gives me joy in each new woorworking project I complete.

 

Public Domain Woodworking Patterns and Plans

Unless you design your own woodworking patterns and plans, one of the first things you will need when starting a new woodworking project is a pattern or plan to follow.  In today’s economy we look for ways to cut costs when we can and a free pattern or plan is a great way to do that while creating fine woodworking projects.  And thankfully there are thousands of free woodworking patterns and plans in public domain.

“Public domain” woodworking patterns and plans are those which are no longer protected by copyrights because the copyright has expired. They have no restrictions attached.   Any plan that requires payment is not in the public domain and cannot be redistributed.  Commercial use of copyrighted plans is considered to be an actionable offense.  So before using free patterns and plans be sure to check the status of the copyright.

Detailed diagram from Woodworking pattern

Anyone can use the woodworking patterns and plans from the public domain in any way they choose.  Some believe the best plans can be found in the public domain while others think they have more errors and are more difficult to understand than the ones you buy.  Therefore when using woodworking patterns or plans from the public domain, it is important that you carefully check them over before you start.  It’s a good idea to read the whole plan for step by step instructions, diagrams and drawings, making sure you understand everything first.  Remember the saying “measure twice, cut once”.  That’s good advice.

The good things about woodworking public domain are that there are so many woodworking patterns and plans available, endless different types and styles and best of all they’re free.  So gather as many plans from the public domain as you can and go forth creating fine woodworking projects and spreading happiness along the way.

New Woodworking Projects

Starting new woodworking projects can be hard.   I admire people who decide on a project, gather the materials needed and BAM! They’re on their way to creating fine woodworking projects. I comfort myself with the thought that they already have plenty of experience in starting and creating new projects and are confident that they will succeed.  I also tell myself that there are many who, like me, have no idea of what they are doing but are determined to try anyway.

Starting a new project is like hard labor to me.  In fact, hard labor sounds like a lot more fun.  I usually know what I want to do but convincing myself that I can do it is where the trouble begins.  I agonize over all that can go wrong.  My imagination goes off in all directions.  Even when I have a pattern and instructions I hesitate and allow the smallest things to interfere with taking that first step.

Some things that interfere with starting new projects are cost of materials, having a clear picture of the finished product in mind, does the level of expertise match up with the skill required to do a good job, how much time will be involved in completing the project, and the space and tools needed to do the work.


The cost of materials is mostly dictated by the family budget.  Getting the rest of the blocks to starting new projects out of the way is easier taken on one by one.  That being done, I am well on my way to starting on a new fine woodworking project.  And the real fun bigins!