I like graphic design. While in college, I did some freelance graphic design work and I have an interest in typography as well. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy blogging, messing around with the design of my blog and its also one of the reasons I developed my coffered ceiling e-book: I enjoy it.
I am working on my next e-book; downloadable plans for the painted bookcase I made for my daughter a few years back. It will be a free download and I believe a good project for the beginning woodworker. As you can see from the illustration above, I am almost finished with the SketchUp drawing (it still needs the shelves among other things) and I had thought about adding a cutlist to the plans.
At Fine Woodworking.com, Matthew Kenney wrote a post titled, “Cutlists are a waste of magazine space” and I have to say I agree with him completely. After almost 30 years of woodworking, I have used cutlists only a few times, most recently when laying out cuts on sheet goods for the Scott Bookcase project. Again, read Kenney’s article; how a cutlist is valuable, and his suggestions for ways to do without a cutlist (there are some good comments to his post as well).
I will probably go ahead and include a cutlist in the bookcase plans, simply because it is intended for the beginning woodworker and also because its a simple project and shouldn’t be a big deal to do.
Kenney comments that FWW always includes basic dimensions for their projects in exploded views. I have also started an e-book for plans to my TV Console project and have been working on the exploded view for it…
This exploded view is about 2/3 of the way finished. The base has not yet been exploded and I am playing around with the spacing of the various parts in order to better show how they all fit together. Then I’ll add some dimensions here and there, and I have a version of this drawing without shadows which I think is the way to go (although the shadow looks cool). But, are exploded views with basic dimensions enough? Should the woodworker that uses cutlists learn to do without and therefore expand their ability to think through how a project comes together?
What are your thoughts about cutlists, are exploded views sufficient, and what about global warming? – well, scratch that last one. If someone purchases downloadable plans (I struggle with what to call them: downloadable plans, e-books – at 27 pages, my coffered ceiling project is much more than just a plan) my feeling is that it probably should include a cutlist simply because some people expect them. Plans without a cutlist should be pointed out prior to purchasing them.