Plans for Woodworking and the Psychology Behind the Craft

psychology of woodworking and plans
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Woodworking is one of the most popular hobbies that never seems to go out of style, and many turn it into a successful career. Woodworking simply is the process by which to create something from wood using tools. While the items made by the carpenter may go out of style, or be relegated as “antiques,” the physical activity of building something with our own hands is an enjoyment that apparently has no end. All that is needed is some woodworking plans pdf and you’re all set to begin creating.

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I have enjoyed woodworking for several years now and always have at least one project going at any time. I like this hobby because it gives me a chance to build something and focus on that and really clear my mind of anything else.

In reality there are likely other reasons of why I, and many others, enjoy woodworking so much. A Hungarian psychologist from the University of Chicago, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, wrote a book called “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience in which he discusses the elements of enjoyment. The concept of flow that he recognized is a highly focused mental state in which the person loses all sense of time and space while fully immersed in the task at hand. The basic conditions for achieving the “flow” are: clear goals, immediate feedback, and a balance of opportunity and capacity. When these three things are present, people flourish at those activities and a more enjoyable experience is created.

Woodworking is a fine example of a hobby that encourages people get into the flow simply by performing the task. Since building projects is a structured hobby, it can give you the things you need to grow your achievements in a complex fashion. Learning what the building blocks are for creating an enjoyable experience helps to explain why we enjoy the things we do for fun.

Here are some of the expanded blocks:

  1. We enjoy things that challenge us. If woodworking was always simple it could get boring. However, since it is more challenging then it can provide problems that we must overcome, and in doing so will keep our attention and drive.
  2. You are one with the actions being performed. When building something, you are actively participating in the process of constructing whatever it is you are building. Whether you are working from playhouse plans or gun cabinet plans, you are “in the zone” and not an observer on the sidelines.
  3. You have SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. When you have goals that fit along with the SMART principles you are going into the project with a clear outcome. You know what you are building based on the woodworking plans book you are using to build your project.
  4. You get immediate feedback in the form of looking at your project and knowing if it is correct or not. Woodworking is a hobby of measurements, cuts, and fitting things together. If parts do not align properly or don’t fit together, the woodworker knows right away that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
  5. Aligning with #2, a high degree of concentration is needed for woodworking. Again, you are “in the zone” when building something and putting your full concentration into performing this task. In fact, it can be downright unsafe to not be 100% concentrated on building your project. Working with power tools can be very dangerous and requires the full attention of the person using the tools.
  6. Time seems to move quicker than we expect while doing something we enjoy. It is nothing for me to be in my shop working for many hours and not even realizing how late in the day it is. I’ve missed meals and lost track of time more times than I’d like to admit simply because I was enjoying myself so much and was so engrossed in the project that I was building.

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These points all show why we enjoy woodworking so much from a psychological standpoint. And reading them and looking at my own experiences I can say they are absolutely true for me. I’m sure it applies to many other woodworkers as well. This is the reason why woodworking is still as popular today as it was decades ago.

If you are new to woodworking, then welcome to a fantastic hobby! I truly mean that too. Go ahead and read those six points again above and you will soon realize as you build your first woodshop projects that they will apply to you as well. When you start looking at what woodworking plans and projects you will start first, whether it is toybox plans for the kids or maybe bluebird birdhouse plans to hang outside in the spring, I promise that you will enjoy the whole process and woodworking will become one of your favorite activities.

Where to get Woodworking Plans

woodworking plans listNow that we know the psychological reasons about why woodworking is so satisfying and popular, there comes the question on where to get woodworking plans, like loft bed plans, so we can build our projects.

Let’s take a look at Ted’s Woodworking. I feel that this collection of woodshop plans has gotten a bad reputation in the past few years by some woodworkers who were never the intended customer of this product. I bought this product over 5 years ago and it has been worth its price many times over.

This product is aimed at those who need plans and designs made by someone else in order to complete a project. Let me reiterate, if you want to design your own plans, or want to build highly intricate designs to sell at high end furniture stores, then this product likely is not for you. It was never intended for that audience. Ted’s Woodworking is a collection of thousands, over 16,000 to be exact, plans and projects for beginners and intermediate woodworkers.

So look at it this way. If you only want bird house plans, and only intend on building one basic birdhouse, then maybe this collection of plans is not right for you. There are a lot of random blueprints that you can find all over the internet that can show you how to make a birdhouse.

Buy say you want to build a few items. Maybe you want to find some good wine rack plans, and some other small projects just as a start. Then you are thinking you’ll want to get into more projects, maybe still small ones but maybe larger. If you are going to need a few different project plans, then why not buy one package that has pretty much all of the plans that you will ever need?

The alternative is to buy a single plan every time you have a new woodworking idea and that can get costly in the long run. Buying decent plans can get expensive very quickly. And you never know if the plan is right for you until you buy it and look at how difficult it will be and if it will really fit what you are looking for.

With this collection of woodworking plans you won’t have that problem. It is one price for all of the plans that you will own forever. You will get a whole bunch of birdhouse plans that you can choose from. And what if you want to build a new bed? Well there are a ton of bed plans to choose from as well.

I mean it when I say these plans are for beginners and intermediates alike. If you only want to make standard cuts in 2×4 lumber and use screws to hold the project together, then this collection of plans has thousands of projects for you.

However, if you have grown past that in your abilities and want something more complex that will look more elegant in the long run, then this group of plans contains even more thousands of designs for you. You will have the time of your life looking through all of the plans and choosing what project to build next.

Is there a Weakness?

The only weakness in this collection of wood projects is that there are a bunch of zip files to download. They are categories of all of the projects contained in the collection, so it actually helps to keep track of which plans are what type, whether they are plans for a kitchen table or a bed. So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all to have them in separate zip files. If you are only looking for workbench plans at the moment, then you only need to download that file for now and you can browse all of the workbench designs. You can always log back into the website and download the rest of the files at a different time.

In addition, I guess that having over 16,000 woodworking plans can be a little overwhelming, especially when you only want one to build right now. Again, the nice part is that they are all divided into categories so it makes finding the project you want relatively simple.

The collection of projects from www.TedsWoodworking.com is a great resource for anyone who would like to get into woodworking or are looking for some new woodworking ideas for their next project. It has plans for beginners and intermediates that are easy to follow and contain plenty of photos to help in your build process. While it may be overwhelming to get so many plans at once it will be easy to find what you are looking for and give you some great projects to sell or show off.