Chris Schwarz's Blog

Expanded Construction Drawings Available for Issue 5

Whenever I build a project for the first time, I always build it first in my head and then on the computer so I can figure out the best way for all the pieces to come together and toÃ?  eliminate superfluous joinery or assemblies. In my head and on my screen, I’ll pull each imaginary piece apart, look it over and make sure I understand its relationship to the whole.

I’ve always wanted to be able to hand all this information over to our readers (because I know that a lot of you do this as well), and starting right here and right now, that’s exactly what we’re going to do with one issue of the magazine.

Louis Bois, a reader and mechanical draughtsman, has prepared two extremely useful (and cool) files for the most recent issue of Woodworking Magazine (Spring 2006, the issue with the Enfield Shaker Cabinet on the cover). Using a free little program from SolidWorks you can download (for both Mac and Windows machines), you can open up these two drawing files and examine these projects in extraordinary detail. And even if you have never used a CAD program, I think you’ll find this program a cinch to use.

When you open up the files you’ll see the assembled project floating in space , this is called a “live model.” And boy is it live! Using the tools at the top of the window, you can rotate this project in every direction to see all sides of it in its assembled form. You can pull individual parts off and rotate those around to look at all the joinery by zooming in and out. See how the dados and face frame and shelves meet. See the rabbet in the back of the door panels. Look in detail at the door stay to see how it is wedged and pinned to the face frame.

It’s the next best thing to inviting you into our shop for you to examine the completed project. Heck, I think this is actually better. The projects are much easier to turn upside down and disassemble when they’re digital.

Right now we’re offering the plans for the Enfield Shaker Cabinet and the Silverware Tray that were featured in the Spring 2006 issue. Other drawings are to come, so stay tuned. Both of these files are compressed to transmit them over the internet. If they don’t automatically decompress when you download them, try double-clicking on them once they are on your hard drive.

Enfield Shaker (823.92 KB)

Dining Room Tray (379.35 KB)

After you work with these files, let us know what you think about the drawings.

– Christopher Schwarz

4 thoughts on “Expanded Construction Drawings Available for Issue 5

  1. Karl Rookey

    Pretty excellent. Once I figured out how to hide parts I could see as much as I wanted about all the parts. Thanks!

  2. Alan DuBoff

    Alas, those of us who don’t use Windows or Mac are left empty handed…:-( I guess I’ll need to fire up a windows system…:-(

  3. Louis Bois

    Thank you for the kind words Mike.

    Since I’m self-taught in pretty much every endeavour I pursue, I depend on books (and now the web) for most of my "learning" material. I soak it all in…keep the good bits and spit out the bad, at least to the best of my judgement.

    I am truly grateful to have an opportunity to share some of the "good stuff" I’ve learned…even if it is in this high-falootin’, modern electronic fashion. 🙂

    I’m glad that woodworkers will be able to make use of these drawings…and hopefully identify problem areas in the projects presented before blade touches wood. I find that these 3D models can help debunk many mysteries that are difficult to fathom from 2D drawings.

    Thank you Chris for your encouragement and for giving me an opportunity to give back to those that have tought me so much.

    Be well,


  4. Mike Wenzloff

    My goodness! My hat is off to Louis and to you for making these available.

    My first knowledge of Louis was months ago concerning the carver’s chops, also now available here through the blog.

    Louis is a credit to the woodworking world and gets the tip o’ my hat again. So thank you very much, Louis, and you, Chris, for making these plans available via this method.

    Take care, Mike

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