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?Â 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.
After you work with these files, let us know what you think about the drawings.
– Christopher Schwarz