What’s Your Usual Approach To DIY Projects?

| 6/15/2009 11:40:13 AM

Tags: question to readers,

Some projects require detailed plans. You may need to have precise measurements, a materials list and templates to duplicate the fancy hutch project you saw in a woodworking magazine. Other projects allow for more flexibility and personalization, such as those in Build Your Own Tables. At times, you might simply want to start building without even a sketch — only working from the plan in your mind.

Are you good with math and measurements? Do you follow building plans step-by-step? Or are you the kind of person who just envisions a project and jumps right in?

We all have our preferred styles for doing and learning. Some can eyeball measurements and see the end result and just make it happen; others prefer precision and the guidance of instructions. How are you wired? Share your thoughts and stories by posting a comment below.


7/20/2009 7:24:52 AM

As far as I can observe from real life, if you want to make something simple then you can do it by youself, without any instructions,otherwise you have to be really prepared. Usually my uncle listens to his intuition and experience. He likes to build or make something of wood and does it very quickly. But the things turn out to be rather rough and that doesn't please my aunt. On the other hand my Dad is very accurate in doing everything. He never starts making anything without knowing it for sure. He downloads different how-to books and TV-shows with instructions for decoreting and other important things. I guess he gets them from http://www.picktorrent.com. He studies everything thoroughly and only then proceeds. "Look before you leap" that's his motto. As far as I can judge from these examples, it's better first to find as much information as it is possible and only than make the thing you want. In that case you will surely enjoy the result!

6/29/2009 6:22:19 PM

It starts as a vision, a solution to a problem. I'll browse my cut-offs and scrap collection, then the home improvement store for more ideas. Eventually the idea becomes too complicated to remember every detail, so that's when I use Google's free 3D design program, Google SketchUp. I like to have everything down to the last detail before I even begin if I'm designing something and SketchUp allows me to do just that. I can built to entire project to full scale in 3D without spending even one penny. Usually while designing the project more things come to me and many modifications are made. For small projects or small fixes I just let my ingenuity take over with the materials and tools on hand.

6/26/2009 12:17:31 PM

on smaller projects its always by the seat of my pants. the plans are in my head and it just comes together. on larger ones I draw out all plans and do a list of materials and costs before hand. and then change and re change the plans until it suits me, then end up changing things in middle of project. Like what we here refer to as monster shed, started as a 8x10 shed for mowers. this ended up as a 12x20 shed with a loft to store canoes and row boat and a 4x20 lean-to on one side to house rabbits chickens and a dog.

6/26/2009 12:39:50 AM

I tend to do a lot of research-- I have to, in order to convince DH that yes, it can be done and no, it probably won't kill us all. I notice, however, that mostly all my reseach really does (aside from enabling me to argue with Mr. Can't) is confuse me. If I want to do something, I pretty much have to jump in and learn by trial and error. I guess if it's too big to learn all at once by the seat of my pants, I'll have to start with smaller pants. Hmmmm. I wonder if my kids would like a playhouse????

gus l
6/17/2009 7:24:26 PM

I have almost always done my projects "by the seat of my pants", so to speak. I have been tinkering, remodeling, rebuilding, building small buildings since the early 70's. I just completed, with the help of a couple of good neighbors, building my first major project from scratch. It is a 24 X 40 foot barn that started out as a shed roof design, and ended up as a gable design with a loft for storage. Just couldn't see the sense in having to build two buildings when one would do the job. For this project I actually drew up a set of plans, but went off on a tangent with the roof line about halfway through construction. In the middle of that project my girlfriend's father helped me build a hen house for our flock. The next job is to build a house in the woods. The barn's complete framework was built with hand tools, since all my power tools are tucked away in storage and totally inaccessible. We finally caved and I bought a power saw, compressor, and nailer. The house will be definitely be bult with power tools, though probably not much more than we used on the barn. We also have a professionally drawn set of plans. This is a link to the photos of the barn construction, but the pictures are sadly not in order, and I can't figure out how to put them in the proper sequence. But you can get the idea. http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa212/megantpatrick/property/property5/barn/

pat miketinac
6/15/2009 8:40:18 PM

I have collected a lot of wood, scrap metals, hardware, car parts, obsolete elevator parts, etc. so that I usually have what I need for small repairs and projects. For large projects like my earth shelter house, I do a lot of research first and always try to improve on the designs I find, such as extra waterproofing or stronger foundations. My first career as an aircraft mech. gave me most of the skills I need, The rest came from how-to books and, of course, Mother Earth News since 1970!

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