We’ve all been there before. You have an idea or two for a project and you’d like to start the process of bringing it to life. Whether you’re building something for a loved one, a client, or for yourself, chances are that you’ve run into a particular dilemma before. We’re talking, of course, about the decision whether to draw up plans or make it up as you go.

However you choose to work, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both methods. As your go-to source for woodworking tools, ideas, and inspiration, we’d like to share a few things to consider as you embark upon the decision making process. Keep reading to learn more, and if you’re in need of tools for your next project, shop our online store today

The Advantage of Using Plans

Depending on the project you’re working on, it might make sense to take some time, sit down with a pencil and piece of paper, and sketch out your idea. This is a great way to get an idea of how much wood you’ll need, which joinery methods you’ll use, and brainstorm other ideas that can help to bring a project to life.

Of course, it can also mean overthinking your project when you could just dive in and start working.

The Advantage of Working From Scratch

The other method is to get a rough idea of how much lumber you’ll need and revise your plan in your mind as you go. There’s a lot to love about this method of woodworking as well because it allows you to make decisions as your project comes together rather than sticking to a rigid plan. 

After all, as renowned woodworker George Nakashima said, “The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential.” It can often be much easier to do this when you listen to the wood as you go.

Everything You Need to Complete Your Project Infographic

Which Method Is Right For You?

So which method should you utilize in your own woodworking? The answer is that it depends. For example, if you’re making an heirloom quality piece that you plan to last for generations, having a firm plan in place might be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you’re experimenting with a new style of table, for example, you might discover new ideas while you wing it.

At the end of the day, our advice is to give both methods a try. Ideally, you’ll use a combination of these approaches in your projects, but we know that as woodworkers, it’s incredibly easy to get stuck in a rut. When it comes down to it, the goal is to have fun making a project and to be proud of what you’ve accomplished when it’s complete. However you choose to get from point a to point b is entirely up to you.

The Most Important Thing? Having Essential Woodworking Tools and Supplies

Whether you prefer to meticulously draft out your projects with precise measurements, notes about joinery, and ideas for finishing before you start or you’d rather fly by the seat of your pants, one thing is for certain — you need the right equipment. Allow us to reinforce one more time that the work you’re doing in your shop should bring you joy and put a smile on your face. That’s the most important thing.

At Long Island Woodworking Supply, we strive to be the online tool suppliers you shop with to outfit your woodshop. Nothing beats having just what you need to finish a project, and whether you’re a planner, an improviser, or a hybrid approach taker, you’ll find everything from Japanese hand tools to bandsaw blades to woodburning kits to finishing and adhesive supplies in our store. Shop now or contact us with any question you may have.

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