Our woodworking plans business began with little knowledge of wood or tools. As the lead plan 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 woodworking plans 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 with an Exacto knife as the primary tool. Construction began as plywood was cut, Formica applied and a couple piano hinges 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. It closed up tight to protect components from little fingers. We submitted our unusual cabinet to the leading national publication Stereo Review. It was accepted as the Installation of the Month. To our surprise, the magazine entered our design in a sister publication’s contest and the cabinet took second place. Folks started writing the magazine to see if plans existed. We went to work, printed up some simple plans and the business was underway. Years passed, home theaters came into vogue along with VHS tapes, CDs, Laser Discs, then DVDs and Blu-ray. A small shop was built and we began working with hardwoods. About ten years after the first coffee table’s success, we reworked the original design into 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 Month.
It is still in use today with updated electronics and flat screen. The top is till perfect for guest’s snacks.
Saved all these years is one of our first wheeled projects. The toy train was made with nothing more than a hand drill and a jig saw. The train’s cars were cut from 2 x 4 remnants. Most wheels trimmed from a broom handle and attached with dowels.
Not much to rave about but bit by bit, skills were honed, hardwoods discovered and one of our best sellers emerged, The Iron Horse Train (below).
The Iron Horse Train woodworking plan was our first train plan. See more images and details on our product pages. Many other train plans have followed and all sell well.
An extensive effort is made designing and publishing each plan’s patterns and text. Plans are finalized in Autodesk’s Autosketch. Nearly all patterns are full size.
ABOUT OUR COPYRIGHTS Even though each product, patterns, text and photo hold 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 thickness noted on the pattern. This allows for accurate cutting. This size format is also easier to manage on crowded work benches. Otherwise, the plans cannot be copied nor the resulting product mass produced without company approval.
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.
Most projects can be accomplished using 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. Plans include full size images, drawings, text, and many have helpful photos.