I’ve always loved architecture. In fact, after graduating high school, I went on to earn a degree in architectural design. It was the “Residential” aspects of that degree that truly enticed me. As much as I admire the bombast of high-end commercial architecture, my heart has always been in homes. Not where we work or shop or vacation. Where we live.
That degree earned me my first full-time job, but quickly I transitioned out of the drafting and design field. Another paid-for degree that never got its legs.
But as a friend of mine told me, “Nothing’s wasted.” Everything we learn has value.
My drafting skills demonstrate theirs best through my woodworking. I love the design aspects of furniture making as much as I do the actual build steps. Defining proportions, refining lines, constructing each piece in my head and on paper, instead of in the shop.
Do you know many woodworkers? I hate to make blanket statements, but nearly to a one, those that I know are some of the most generously helpful people on the planet. They seem to find great pleasure in helping another craftsman sort through a challenge. To give insight or perspective or support. To share their experiences and sometimes even their tools.
To the best of my ability, I aim to do likewise. Opening my shop doors to the fledgling woodworker. Weighing in as appropriate online. Sharing whatever I’ve discovered through trial and error as I have navigated through piles of sawdust.
One thing I see come up all the time is people looking for plans. Measured drawings with easy to follow instructions on how to make something nice with as little frustration as possible.
There are tons of resources available for this. I myself have learned the craft primarily through a small mountain of books and magazine subscriptions consumed over the past 25 years.
In the spirit of “help others as you yourself have been helped,” I’ve started formalizing my own designs. Keeping track of steps as I work through the creation process with an added goal in mind of passing the lessons on to strangers. Making note of challenges I’ve either avoided due to experience or that have revealed themselves uniquely during a particular project.
The platform available to me to reach the most people with the woodworking plans I create is Wood Crafter — a mobile woodworking app that is part of the Crafter Companions suite of hobby apps, which I co-founded and to which I heavily contribute new content for each release.
The goal is to grow a repository of woodworking plans and patterns that are easy to follow, fun to make and result in something that is both useful and attractive. And, of course, to help other woodworkers grow in the craft through experiencing success.
The first published plans are for the Arts and Crafts TV table featured in the “Gallery” area of this website. It’s a beautiful little console table with three drawers. The joinery is straight-forward, but with a fair number of mortise and tenon joints, plus a few less-obvious steps that I’ve learned help ensure the resulting piece of furniture is strong and stable. There is a more extended post specific to these plans on the Crafter Companions website.
I currently have in the works several other project plans — from household items to furniture designs — which will be included in future releases of the app.
You can learn more about the app (it’s a terrific resource for both beginners and experienced woodworkers alike, if I do say so myself) by visiting wood.craftercompanions.com.
I’d also recommend following the social media feeds. Worth noting is that Crafter Companions is a growing suite of hobby apps whose current lineup consists of Wood Crafter and Yarn Crafter, the latter being for knitters and crocheters, so the social media feeds are a mix of content, not 100% woodworking.
- Crafter Companions on Instagram
- Crafter Companions on Facebook
- Crafter Companions on Twitter
- Crafter Companions on YouTube