Our woodworking plans business began with little knowledge of wood or tools. As the designer at Forest Street Designs, I only had an 8th grade shop class having learned not much more than what a block plane and ball-peen hammer were. At one point, there was a desire to build something not found in the market place, a coffee table stereo cabinet. It was the beginning of what was to become a worldwide wood products plan and pattern company. In 1970, a 10″ long prototype (top left image) was assembled to test the concept for this custom cabinet. It was fashioned from poster board, contact paper, Plexiglas and using an Exacto knife. The product was constructed following some crude sketches during an evening shop class. Plywood was cut, Formica applied and a couple piano hinges were installed. It turned out to be far more practical than expected. Stereo components were slid into place and records and tapes were housed. Remote controls were just coming on the market. But even with those, it was still handier to reach down to change a record or push “play” on the tape deck. Snacks were close at hand on top. We submitted our unusual cabinet to the leading national publication Stereo Review. It was accepted as the Installation of the Month (black and white photos, left). To our surprise, the magazine entered our design in a sister publication’s contest and the cabinet took second place. Folks started to inquire about the cabinet and we had to go to work to put together our first plan. We were off and running. Years passed, home theaters came into vogue along with VHS tapes, Laser Discs, then DVDs. A small shop was built and we began working with hardwoods. About ten years after the first coffee table success, we designed a new version in a stylish cabinet with tambour doors. It too, was submitted to the same publication, now catering to the budding home theater market. And again accepted as another Installation of the Month (below).
Above is the second coffee table design from the early 1980s crafted in White Ash and Purple Heart. Early home theater electronics were installed and a (then) giant 32″ screen monitor added. The cabinet is still listed with our line of woodworking plans.
Now, 45 years later, the same hardwood home theater cabinet is still in use and matched with a 75″ 4K TV, Atmos sound and the latest generation of digital media. Snacks are still served from the table surface.
Also, in the fledgling years and with youngsters around, shop made toys were bigger hits than metal or plastic toys. They too evolved into hardwoods and refined designs. In 1972 our first attempt at a toy train was made with nothing more than a hand drill and a jig saw. We used a pine 2 x 4 for the cars and the small wheels were sliced from a broom handle and attached with small dowels.
It became a stepping stone for what would become one of our all time best selling plans, The Iron Horse Train (below).
Our Iron Horse Train is a display piece, though many playable toys have been added to our catalog of wood products. Our First Toys plans and our Plump’N’Tuff plans are great value packages and among our best sellers.
An extensive effort is made designing and publishing each plan’s graphics and text. Often several prototypes are assembled to verify accuracy. Plans are finalized in Autodesk’s Autosketch. Nearly all patterns are full size.
ABOUT OUR COPYRIGHTS Even though each plan package holds copyrights, we allow duplication of the 11″ x 17″ sheets on a copy machine for making full size patterns (see examples below). The patterns from these copies can be trimmed out, a spray adhesive applied, then attached to wood prepared to the needed thickness. This allows for more accurate cutting than tracing to wood or re-scaling plans. This size format is also easier to manage on crowded work benches. Otherwise, the plans cannot be copied nor the resulting product mass produced. We do, with written approval, allow an extra product to be made under some circumstances, such as a fundraiser. Contact us with questions.
See our Testimonial Page for a sample of comments from woodworkers. Eleven of our projects have won accolades in Rockler Woodworking’s past annual national contests. Products from our customers continue to win county and state fair and guild contests. Pictures of our finished plans frequently appear in national magazines and on the internet. Our plans are inspired by historic objects and places we have visited across the world. See our Inspired Bypage.
Only general shop tools are needed for our plans. This includes a table saw, band or scroll saw, drill press, router, sanding equipment and assorted hand tools. A few plans require lathe work. Color images at this site may be helpful for ideas on wood types or paint colors.