Woodworking Plans

I hated “Technical Drawing” at school.  I was lucky enough to go to a school where Engineering Drawing was one of the compulsory subjects when I was twelve and it was also a part of my Woodwork course which I chose to study for an extra two years.  The reason I hated it was, I just wanted to get on and make things and spending hours of lessons drawing it first was long drawn out agony for me.  But I realize the importance of drawing and more importantly being able to “read” drawings.

When I studied Forest Product Technology we had to learn “IDEAS” Computer aided design software.  This didn’t do anything for my love of drawing as it was very complex and a steep learning curve.  I think CAD has since progressed and become a lot more user friendly.

I’m lucky in that I can visualize things very well.  Now I tend to sketch what I am going to make and make detailed drawings of any joints. If at all possible I try to use ready made drawings as this saves me having to do what I consider to be a chore.  Ready made woodworking drawings are available in books and are often  given away with woodworking magazines.  The Internet is also a major source of both free and paid for plans and blueprints.

Basic Drawing tools

You will need:-

  • 2H pencil
  • 45 degree set square
  • 30/60 degree set square
  • compass

Although the video doesn’t mention it you will also need:-

  • drawing board
  • T square
  • Good quality eraser

Make sure your T square is flush to your drawing board and using the set squares against the T square you can slide both to draw any lines at the required angle anywhere on the paper.

The convention for labeling is to draw two parallel guidelines 5mm (1/4″) apart and use only plain capital letters.  Headings are the same but up to 10mm ( 1/2″ ) in height.

Using Scale Rules for Drawing Woodworking Plans

There are different scale rulers that you can use to draw your woodworking plans. It is best that you use an architect scale to draw your woodworking diagrams, instead of a regular ruler.  You should start with a triangular shaped ruler that has 11 different scales on three sides.

For instance, you can use the side that is marked one eighth of an inch, where every eighth of an inch will represent one foot. On the opposite end of that scale you will find one quarter of an inch, where every quarter of an inch is equal to one foot.

When you start at zero, each increment that runs along the length of the ruler will represent one inch.  This will continue to the end of the ruler. For example, you will see a side that has a scale of three thirty seconds of an inch, which is equal to one foot. Likewise, at the opposite end, you will see three sixteenths of an inch is equal to one foot.

By using this triangular shaped ruler to draw your woodwork plan, you will be able to create a drawing using any scale you choose. The ruler has exact increments; therefore, this will prevent you from making any mistakes on your woodworking blueprints.

How to Use a Scale Ruler to Draw Woodworking Plans

  • Start by drawing a line. You may use a one inch equal one inch scale, which is also a one to one scale.
  • The first scale you can use to measure lines in your woodworking plans is the one sixteenth of an inch scale. For example, using this scale the line measures three and five eights of an inch.
  • The next scale that you can try is the one and one half inch per foot. There are increments beyond the zero mark. If you use the one and one half inch scale, these increments will represent half an inch. Put the ruler on the line from the zero mark. Let us say that the line measures seven feet with a small piece left over. You are going to slide the ruler to the right until it reaches the seven feet mark, and then count the increments to the left of the zero mark.
  • You can also try the three eights of an inch scale. With this scale, the increments beyond the zero are broken down into one inch increments. Again, you shout put the ruler on the left edge of the line. If there are any is any part that is left over, slide the ruler to the right and count the increments beyond the zero.