I know we all work differently and often our work flow is based on different priorities. I thought it might be interesting to compare notes just for fun. While there must be certain logical ways to operate as a professional for the sake of efficiency and profitability we hobbyists can work in whatever way suits us. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way for us, just the most fun way, unless of course you are not enjoying the work and/or the results. I will stick my neck out and go first. Please don’t follow my example. It is just the way I enjoy working and there is certainly nothing smart about it!
I work in a very undisciplined way. I’m not at all concerned with productivity and I don’t really care how long my projects last (except before Christmas).
I normally make a crude sketch, usually on graph paper if proportions are an issue and often with just a side or front view and I write on the width and length or other measurements I deem critical. From my rough sketch I do a rough estimate of materials and I often add 10% for waste. I do try to select the best pieces or planks I can find. I check to see where it came out of tree, for imperfections and warpage when that is an issue and I try to imagine based on my design what bad parts if any can be cut out without too much wastage
On dimensioned and planed materials I go to rough cutting the lengths and widths I need and then machine or hand plane to final dimensions. Next comes the joinery work. I like to do this with hand tools if there isn’t too much, but I’m all for using power tools to avoid actual work.
I try to get as much out of machine set-ups as possible, so Its good whenever different parts can have similar dimensions widths or thicknesses to reduce wasted time to reset machines. I try to get as many parts through one set-up before changing for different cuts
I try to get the stuff required for the next step joined, sanded and glued-up first so it can be ready the following day or sometime just an hour or so later so I don’t get too many glue-ups at once and I don’t impede the work. I often change details as I work. I like to do this because seeing partly constructed pieces stimulates me to make design and construction improvements.
I usually don’t clean up much while I’m working on a project. My shop gets dusty with lots of cut-offs and tools laying around. Please do not follow my example!
How do you carry out your projects with regard to:
- Purchasing materials, quantity, quality, etc.
- figuring out the work flow
- setting up your machines
- keeping your workshop organized and clean underway
I’m not planning on changing my way of woodworking no matter how good someones else’s way is, but I am wondering if there are wide differences between us or just small ones.
Mike, an American living in Norway