You Are the Jury – Cutlists: Yes or No?

The prosecution asserts that woodworkers shouldn’t use cutlists, because it’s virtually impossible to cut all pieces for a project to size, then assemble it and have everything fit perfectly. Woodworkers would be better served to study the drawings for a project and figure out the sizes, as well as how everything goes together – then cut the pieces as they are needed, working from measurements pulled from the workpiece in progress. Further, the cutlist for a substantial project takes up a lot of valuable space on the page – space that could perhaps be better used to provide more/larger pictures.

The defense asserts that a cutlist helps woodworkers estimate the amount of wood needed for a given project – and that PWM readers are savvy enough to know that one shouldn’t cut all pieces to size working only from the cutlist (and the defense does not appreciate the implied insult to the readers). Further, the cutlist provides an interesting visual element on the page.

You are the jury. Please cast your vote:

135 thoughts on “You Are the Jury – Cutlists: Yes or No?

  1. omaskog

    I need the cutlists, I am new to woodworking and the cutlists make it a lot easier to get projects done. I don’t have a problem is the cutlists are only available on line as PDF’s, as long as they are easy to find.

  2. LKWangerin

    I like the idea of an on-line cut list because it can be printed and used for markup. Also, liked the suggestion of building a computer generated drawing that tracks parts and material requirements. The trick is to factor in a little extra for that knot or split that you won’t see and some extra for molding plane landings and takeoffs. I do like the cut list in the magazine though, it’s good for a quick look and you don’t need a computer nearby.

  3. wbsail

    Hello everyone. If possible it would be nice if you just noted on your article where you can find the cutlist.

    It would really be nice if you could create Sketchup models for each project with the cutlist automatically calculated in the program.

    Thanks for asking for my input.

    Wayne

  4. Eddie-Dean

    I think the cut list is a great tool to help when you start a project. I just like to know what the cut list is to be when you are finished with it.
    I think it is a good idea to put in PDF format with the finished project. What it looks like. Thanks

  5. almartin

    As an Anarchist-in-Training, I suppose all I need is a vague suggestion of what the piece is supposed to be, then draw my own plan and materials list based on my own needs for the project. Or something like that.

  6. hmann

    I think there should be a third option for voting, perhaps too late now, but something like “yes, but available online only” Because like many others I use the cut list for additional information or to help visualize how a piece goes together so I voted yes to keep it. However, I would rather have more content in the printed articles and a cut list available only online if I needed it.

  7. franco88

    I’m Surprised by the vast majority who prefer to keep cutlists. I have almost always viewed myself and many of the woodworkers, that I know, to be American rugged individualists who forge their own way forward and do not follow along like good little soldiers….. is everybody that lazy or inexperienced that they need someone else to figure out what it takes to build a modified box?
    Sorry if that sounds harsh….but really guys, come on man!

  8. just me

    I said no to the cut lists because I seldom build a project exactly as it is presented. Something changes to make it work for me, which of course changes the cut list.

    On the other hand, if you don’t have them, I want them replaced with content, not just to make the magazine a few pages smaller.

    One more thing, now that I think about it. There should probably be one simple project in the magazine the has the cut lists included for those that are just starting out and need that kind of confidence. So maybe my vote is really a 3/4 no.

    Tough decision.

  9. dreamcatcher

    I voted to get rid of the “cutlist” but I think it should be replaced by a condensed “materials list” or “bill of materials”. Just something to let me know the ballpark price for starting a project.

    Instead of a complete schedule of each length of wood why not simply provide the lineal feet of similar wood required or the board feet of wood? Then I can call my miller and say “I need N bdft of X wood… how much?” If you use a certain hinge gimme the P/N and where to buy it online or just tell me what you paid for it.

  10. tdazzo27

    I voted to keep the cutlists but I don’t necessarily feel they need to be kept in the print magazine. I find the cutlists to be valuable… to a certain point. On every project there are inevitably pieces that will need to be “modified” to account for dimensional errors on dependent pieces. More importantly, I find myself making one modification or another to just about every project and thus deviate from the cutlist in one way or another.

    I find the cutlist to be a good resource to familiarize myself with the project before I start cutting. It’s also an invaluable resource during the project as a quick reference/sanity check.

    I would gladly give this up in the magazine in favor of additional content though. Instead, I think it would be great to provide the cutlist online. a Soft Copy cutlist could be printed out by those who care to, downloaded to PDF and viewed on a smartphone while in the shop (I doubt I’m the only one who does this). And to enhance usability, you could provide an editable version of the cutlist online where one could make modifications to the part dimensions before downloading/printing etc.

    Just a thought.

  11. tecolote70

    even though i don’t use cutlists for my personal projects it is nice to see the cutlist when i’m not the one that came up with the design of the project at hand. it gives me insight of what the designer was thinking and helps pull the piece together visually and emotionally. ~¿~

  12. Sawtooth

    I appreciate the cutlists because the text and drawings are not always clear about measurements or numbers of duplicate parts. I can figure it out, and sometimes make my own alterations, but the cutlist is additional information about the plan. I like having it in the magazine — I don’t want to have to run to the computer to look something up.

  13. rrich

    For every project that I build, I generate a cut list. It is a valuable tool in any project.

    Should the cut list be published in the print edition? Absolutely not. HOWEVER a unique URL could be published and would direct the reader to a cut list for the specific project.

    Rich

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