I've been woodworking for about 10 years now and have built many
projects using detailed plans. I've also done a few designs of my own.
I'm realizing that I need to learn how to produce detailed drawings of
my concepts to help avoid design mistakes midstream. Not to mention to
have something to show my wife what I'm building. Right now I just
have to describe it the best I can and then say "trust me, it will be
I looked into taking a drafting class at the local schools, but can't
seem to find a non-CAD drafting class (I want to start on paper). I
also found it difficult to find books on this subject as well. Does
anyone have any suggestions on how to teach myself designing on paper?
BTW, my drawing skills are somewhat lacking, so I need to start at the
Another related question:
I've also looked quite a bit online for relatively inexpensive
designing software suitable for woodworking. I have either found
useless software that is very difficult to use and not very efficient
or very cool, but expensive software. Has anyone found anything in
between that is useful?
I'd still like to learn by hand, but with limited drawing skills, I was
looking for a software package to improve the quality and give others
the ability to understand my designs.
I use KeyCad but learned the basics in school woodshop years ago on how to
draw your project. Its not real hard to do depending upon how big a table
you have. Basically KeyCad makes you calculate the measurements as if you
were puting it on paper I just like the ability to cut and paste. Here is
the link if you want to look at it.
Might try your local library for old drafting textbooks. Libraries seem
to abound in out-of-date books...
Since cad became the rage, no one is writing, much less selling
drafting books. Too bad. It's much faster to learn to draft than to
You'll need a minium of equipment to start: small drafting board,
t-square, couple of triangles, scaling rule (to draw to some scale, say
1/4 or 1/8), compass, drafting pencil, sharpener, eraser.
No need for fancy, expensive drafting sets just to start.
I'd try to find books that had lessons in them to get started.
Hope this helps.
On 21 Jan 2005 10:23:41 -0800, " email@example.com"
===================I am now in my 60's.... and I "learned".. woodworking from my Dad..
who was a draftsman ... BUT he never sat down and "drew" up a complete
set of plans in his life that I know of...
He did make rough sketches for a basic design all with correct
demensions etc and he did make enlarged sketches of some of the
joints...again with measurements....
I continue to use the same methods...I sure can not draw either
but to make something like a end table or chest of drawers or a desk
you really do not need to be an artist...
I will admit to a "few" screw ups.
It has been about 15 years since I last looked at it, but Frank Ching's book
"Architectural Graphics" is a standard. It covers all types of drawing and
does not limit itself to "drafting". Looking at ebay I see it is selling for
anywhere from $0.99 to $5.00.
The techniques in there will come in handy when you need more than an
isometric drawing to show to your wife.
On 21 Jan 2005 10:23:41 -0800, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
go to a book store. go to the oldest store in town, the one with the
oldest books, the oldest booksellers and the been at that location the
look for a really old copy of architectural graphics standards.
Architectural Graphics Standards does not teach you how to draw/draft. It is
useful if you want to find out standard width of parking stalls or flashing
details, but it won't help this poster as much as many other more topical
This doesn't answer your question about learning how to draw on paper.
I guess that's been covered--get thee to a library or bookstore.
On the subject of CAD software, I realize it is expensive but may I
suggest a different way to look at it? Think of it as another workshop
tool. One that will help save you money and time in mistakes not made.
I doubt that anyone would argue against proper planning.
I find that by the time I've completed a drawing whether with paper and
pencil or on the computer, it feels almost like I've built the project
once and I go out to the shop with much more confidence.
The link is to a drawing of a cabinet I built for my shop. although you
can't see it in the drawing, all parts were drawn as individual pieces
and "assembled" to make the cabinet. Duplicate parts were drawn once
and copied. Everything was worked out in the drawing down to the
No, the software wasn't as cheap as a pencil and a pad of paper but it
is makes it easier for me to make 3D views which I am able to do on
paper. It also lets me "walk" around the model to ensure I haven't
Guess who, yes, it does have a name. The software that I use is called
SketchUp ( http://www.sketchup.com ). It was developed as a tool for
architects to do design work. It isn't really a CAD application
although it has the ability to do dimensioning and can be a very
effective tool for woodworkers. I have several CAD programs as well but
I've found that SketchUp has a much shorter learning curve and is more
intuitive to use. The company's site has tutorial videos under Training
if you'd like to see it in action.
I also use a 2D CAD application called Anvil 1000 which is ancient but
very effective. As CAD software goes, it is about as easy as you can
get. It runs in DOS so it doesn't have a pretty GUI but it runs faster
than AutoCAD or other similar software. That program and a bunch of
drawings will fit on a 1.44Mb floppy and will run from the disk. That
makes it very portable. Unfortunately, Anvil 1K would be tough to find
any more. Admittedly, since I bought SketchUp, I don't use Anvil as
much as I did before.
Guess who, I've tried DeltaCAD--it's on my computer. Still not as easy
as Anvil 1000. ;)
I think I'll stick with SketchUp for 3D work. Take a look at these.
This is just a little of what I've drawn with it.
The last is a 3-view drawing of a child's sled. This is done with out
dimensions but it shows that 2D drawings can be made from the 3D model.
Edwin, dimensioning is a simple thing. I'll post a dimensioned drawing
As to your other question, I'm not certain what you mean. If parts are
drawn to the desired size, they will be in proper size relationship to
It is possible to draw components that can be later inserted into a
drawing. Maybe you have a standard hinge that you like to use on your
cabinets. You could draw the hinge and save it as a component. Then
draw the cabinet and insert and place the hinge component where you
I just did a quick one for illustration. This is that shop cabinet I
built. The tops, doors and slide out tray were left out of the drawing
for clarity. I only put in a few of the dimensions just to show that it
can do it.
hope that shows what you wanted to see, Edwin.
Yes, it is. My other question was in reference to the dimensions. In this
drawing you show the base as 3' 2" and the top as 3' 6". If you go into the
program and change the base to 4' 5" will the drawing change proportions or
just the dimension be noted? Am I expecting too much from a low cost
Another way of putting it, will the program allow me to put a 12" diameter
dowel into a 6" hole?
Edwin, the dimensions shown are based upon the sizes things were drawn
when I was working out the design of the cabinet. For example the base
is drawn to be 5" wide stock (by 1-1/4" milled from 2x6 construction
lumber). I controlled the lengths of the various pieces. The
dimensioning is simplt derived from the distance between the endpoints
selected when applying the dimension.
As far as putting a 12" dowel in a 6" hole, well you could place the
dowel through the piece containing the hole but it wouldn't look like a
6" dowel in a six inch hole.
You could change the dimension as you say from 3' 2" to 4' 6" but it
won't resize the cabinet. You could, however rescale the piece so that
the dimension is increased to the desired 4' 6" if you'd like.
By using grouping and layers you can draw all the individual components
so they can be edited indepently from each other.
What I'd hope to happen is a big error message "you can't do that dummy"
and then crash my computer or something.
I sometimes draw things out just to get the cut sizes and figure dimensions.
Appearance is not a big factor as I know what it is going to look like.
Sometimes I draw a piece out and don't like the proportions. To change the
drawing on paper you have to re-draw. The re-scale may be what I'm hoping
it would do.
I guess I should try out a couple of programs to see how well I can handle
them. They all look so simple when an experienced person is doing the
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