Hey, Frank here, the Woodshop Projects Rookie. As I told you before, I am not a woodworking pro. I’m just a regular guy who wanted to get started doing some beginner projects in the woodshop and around the house and needed some quality plans. In fact, the economy recently forced me to move to a different part of the country and into an older home which needed a little “work.” So finding some helpful instructions is pretty important to me right now.
My Personal Search
Just like you, I searched long and hard for some cool woodshop projects I could do and helpful instructions for setting up a wood workshop, knowing the right tools for woodwork, and finding woodshop plans that were easy to read and simple to follow. There are so many books, magazines, and websites out there that it was really confusing. Finally, I found one that I really settled on because it was more of a library of woodworking and woodshop projects and even includes other diy projects, as well.
A Personal Review of Ted’s Woodworking Site
I found it difficult to sift through the few reviews of sites, books and magazines and so I thought that I would write a comprehensive, uncensored review of what I really thought about the one I finally settled on and purchased which was Ted’s Woodworking Projects.
I even made a brief video that lists just a few of the different projects and plans you can try in your woodshop or class. It is only a few, because it would be hard to include the 15,000 or 16,000 different projects that are listed. But the video contains some actual screenshots from inside his massive woodworking library.
This is just a review though, so if you want to find Ted’s Woodworking Projects website, then you can click here and see it for yourself, and then come back and finish reading the review.
So, why am I writing this? Well, I am more of a writer than a woodworker anyway, and when I was thinking about which product to purchase and then about buying this one, there were not that many reviews around. There were several endorsements of different sources, but not many reviews, so I thought I would write one out. My hope is that it helps someone who may be in the same position as me. And even though I purchased it myself, I realize that it may not be the right fit for everyone, and money is tight nowadays and nobody can really afford to waste it.
So, please be aware that I will be covering both the negative points and the positive points about Ted’s Woodworking Library. If you are not interested in that or you see something that helps you decide against it, then that is OK, feel free to take off at any time.
What I Was Looking For
When I started looking for some woodshop project plans, I really was more concerned about finding a few simple plans for school woodshop projects for my kids. (As I said in a previous post, the ones I had in school were pretty lame.) I also wanted to find some basic woodshop plans for home projects. I am not a real handyman. I have never been good at working with hand tools or power tools, but in this economy, everybody has to make a few things and be able to do some basic repairs around the house.
Since I am not a woodwork pro I needed something that would be able to show me the very basics of woodwork such as which timber for which project and which tools were best for a specific project. I wanted something with instructions I could read easily. I wanted something with diagrams and pictures that were understandable. (A picture is worth a thousand words, right?) I did not expect it, but I wanted something that even had some step-by-step video instruction. And, of course, since money is always an issue, I wanted something that was affordable and reasonable.
If you just type “woodworking projects” into your search engine, you are going to find thousands of sites that advertise products that sound very similar. It got pretty confusing, but I like to do more research than the average person, so I read through many of the sites and narrowed it down to a few sites that seemed like the “Real McCoy.”
Ted’s site came to the top of my list for several reasons. The author / compiler was a real carpenter and woodworker with over 30 years experience under his belt. He had real world experience to know what was good and what was not. He was also an educator which said he had done research of his own and was also able to instruct people. He was also a member of the AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Institute. That tells me that he is associated with other professionals. The product did win the “Reader’s Choice Award” from the Woodworker’s Association for 2009. And, he just seemed like a genuine, helpful, hardworking, capable guy.
I’m going to start with the negatives because I like to get right to the point and some people are looking for a specific negative and if you find it here, then you will be able to move on to find something else. There seems to always be some hesitancy when you purchase a downloadable product on the internet. Will I be able to download it easily? Will it be worth the money? Will I be able to use it? Well, you definitely need a computer and an internet connection to be able to purchase it and download it.
1. Overwhelming Size
Since there are 16,000 plans inside the members area, it is a lot of material to sift through. If you are the type of person who says, “Just give me a plan and let me get started,” then it might be a chore. There are 19 different wood bookcase plans. There are 56 wooden bench plans. There are 34 wood birdhouse plans. There are 14 different plans for wood swings. There are 136 wood cabinet plans. So there is a lot of material to sift through and a lot of pictures to look at.
2. Large Download Size
Another downside of having a library this large is the sheer size of the package and how long it takes to download something this size. If you have dial-up, or a very slow connection, then it can be tiresome to wait for it. Fortunately, I did not have that problem. I have to say that Ted has recognized this problem and gone a long way to overcoming it with 2 solutions. One is an optional DVD that you can purchase which contains the entire library including bonuses. They will mail the data DVD with all of the projects already on it. A second solution, which I opted for, was to download just a little bit at a time. In the member’s area, you can choose to download the entire library at once as a zip file which could take a long time, or you can download “cabins plans” or “sheds plans” or “trellis plans” or “gun cabinets plans” or “gazebos plans” or “pergola plans” or “wooden toy plans.” You can just download what you need at the time, just like a library.
3. Duplicate Projects
With 16,000 plans you would assume there are some duplicates. I think I found a couple, but surprisingly few. But you will probably find some as you browse through the different project plans and pictures.
1. Sixteen Thousand Woodworking Projects
There are more projects than anyone can do and plenty of quality projects to choose from. The projects are usually in full color. The plans include all the important information such as schematics, blueprints, lists of the needed materials, lists of needed tools, and correct dimensions. I found the plans plans to be clearly drawn with step-by-step directions of how to do the plan and put it all together.
2. Well Organized Download Page
After you purchase the package you are directed to the download page. It is very well organized and easy to find your way around. As I said earlier, you may choose to download the entire package, or just one group of projects at a time. You can even select to download the all bonuses individually. (The bonuses alone were worth the price of the entire package to me. It is organized topically with projects placed into groups.
3. Lifetime Membership
One of the most positive aspects of Ted’s Woodworking site is the fact that when you purchase it, you automatically have a Lifetime Membership at no extra charge. You receive a membership id and a password and you can come and visit the site as often as you want to. If you lose the materials you have downloaded, or if your comuter crashes, you don’t lose the plans you were working on. You can download them again. You can print out the ones you want and work from paper, like most people choose to do. That is why there is no pressure to download everything at once. You can just download what you want or need so you don’t have to go through the agony of waiting for it to download with a slow connection, or use up big chunks of your computer’s hard drive. And, as new things are added to the Membership Area, you have access to them, too.
4. Good for Multiple Skill Levels
There are woodshop projects in this plan that elementary and middle school students can easily follow with the right tools and instruction. There are cool highschool woodshop projects included. And there are more complex plans for the experienced woodworking professional or hobbyist. In fact, I think more advanced woodworkers will really like the incredible selection that they will have at their fingertips or mouse clicks. The value is that instead of wasting hours online or in the bookstore, they can have lots of good quality plans to start on immediately. They will find plenty of projects that will challenge their level of expertise.
5. Moneyback Guarantee
Not all products on the internet come with an unconditional moneyback guarantee, but this one does. If you do not like the product, or it is not what you expected, then you can simply email them and let them know and they will give you a full refund within the first 60 days. In fact, for the price, you can just read it, review it for yourself, try a couple of the projects, and if it doesn’t float your boat, just email them and let them know. I have purchased several products through Clickbank and never had a problem, if I needed a refund. Clickbank works with hundreds of different vendors and requires them to give full refunds during that period. That is how they maintain the quality of their service.
OK. Really, the value was a key selling point for me. Thousands of plans at less than a penny apiece. Do the math. You won’t use all of them, but the ones you will use will be more than worth it.
7. Quality Bonuses
Some sites offer bonuses that are really not worth much and that you will never use. However, I have had a chance to look over some of these bonuses and they are really helpful. He offers four valuable bonuses in his package at this time. (Although, to be fair, he says on his website that these bonuses are not always going to be available, so I don’t know what kind of license he has with them. It may be limited to a certain number of members.)
1st Bonus: “Free DWG/CAD Plan Viewer “ This software allows you to view plans that require professional CAD software to even view, much less modify. I know from construction projects I have worked in the past just how valuable this is. I have not personally downloaded and used it for any of my projects yet, but it is valuable to own when you happen to get a set of plans you cannot even open without it. It also gives you the ability to even write your own plans in DWG format or modify someone else’s plans in DWG format.
2nd Bonus: “150 Premium Woodworking Videos “
I have looked at these and they are amazing. There is a series on how to build a shed, and how to build custom furniture, how to build a backyard gazebo, and so many more. If you are in a woodshop class, or even a woodshop teacher, having all of these instruction videos available just a click away is an incredible value. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth?
3rd Bonus: “How To Start A Woodworking Business “
Have you ever walked into a store and seen some items made out of wood, like little tables, chaires, or wooden toys, and said to yourself, “I could make that or something even better.” Well, how do you actually get started in making some things that you can sell for a profit? This book tells how to find the gigs, the suppliers, even some small business information to get you started.
4th Bonus: “Complete Woodworking Guides”
This is a quality 200 page guide filled with woodworking tips and tricks. It also includes detailed full color drawings, and pictures. It explains how to cut dovetails, for example.
One More Unannounced Bonus: Complete Home – DIY Guides
I don’t know why he did not mention this on his page, but i found it in the Private Membership Section is the Complete Home – DIY Guides. This is AWESOME! It is not limited to woodworking, but covers topics like three-way switches, annuals and perrenials, asphalt drives, brick fences, broken windows, building driveways, ceiling fan hookups, ceiling tile, ceramic floor tile, ceramic wall tile, chimes and doorbells, circuit breakers, clogged drains, dishwashers, disposal trouble, and the list goes on. This is an essential for any homeowner, especially these days. I don’t know why he did not mention it on his website.
Ok, in spite of some of the negatives, which think he has done a good job of fixing, the size of this woodworking projects resource is massive and in my opinion, worth the price. As I said earlier, I purchased it and I have liked it. I am working on it and learning through it. And, to repeat, it will not be for everybody, but for my money, it is a good quality resource I will use over and over for years and years and so will my kids.
If you want to go check it out for yourself just click on the link below.
Thanks for Stopping By.
Be Blessed Today!
If you have been looking for a list of woodworking tools and essentials you can take to the hardware store to start stocking your woodshop, then today is your lucky day. We will be providing you with a list of important woodshop tools to get you off on the right foot!
For those who really enjoy it and plan to make woodworking a long term hobby, they’re better off choosing quality tools instead of the cheaper one. Quality woodshop tools will perform better and last longer.
When it comes to basic hand tools, it is fine getting used older ones if they are still in good condition. Quite often, the quality of older tools tends to be better and they were made to last.
However, every woodshop pro uses power tools for many projects. Power tools make woodworking projects go faster and easier. One word of caution. You should be suspicious of purchasing used power tools or ones that are heavily discounted. If you do buy some discounted power tools be sure to try them out first to make sure they work safely and properly.
The good news is that you have time to spread out your woodworking tool purchases. No need to get it all at once. In fact, you can even make a few bucks with this hobby that can be invested into more tools.
What often happens is that when friends and family members learn that you are starting a woodwork hobby, then some of them have extra tools laying around that they are happy to let you borrow or have. You can reward their kindness by helping them with a project.
Here’s a list of basic woodshop tools to get you started:
Tool #1 Claw hammers are the most kinds of hammers used for woodworking and ordinary repair work. Claw hammers come with a variety of handles made of stell, wood, with rubber or plastic grips and even fiberglass composition. There is no special rule for choosing a claw hammer, just a personal decision. Start by holding the hammer in your hand like you were going to hit a nail. The hammer should feel balanced and the grip should feel comfortable since you will be holding it for a long time. A 16 ounce hammer is good for all around work. Heavier work may require 20 ounces. Smaller weights are more appropriate for tacks or children.
Tool #2 Screwdrivers seem to be the most commonly needed tool for woodwork projects. You need a selection of different sizes. You need to have slotted and Phillips head. One of my favorite screwdrivers is cordless, self-charging, electric screwdrivers, with interchangeable bits. I like to keep one plugged into the wall charged up and ready at all times!
Tool #3 Wood chisels are another essential tool for your box. They vary in size from 1/4″ to 2″ wide in 1/8″ graduations. Chisels come with both wooden or plastic handles. You will only need a couple of different sizes of chisels in the beginning – no need to buy all sizes when you’re just starting out! You need a chisel about one half the width of the cut you have to make. To make thin cuts you can simply push by hand; and to make heavier cuts you must tap on the handle of the chisel with a wooden mallet.
Tool #4 Levels are absolutely essential for your shop and come in numerous sizes and shapes. The most comon length of levels is 24 inches. Levels are composed of wood, aluminum or plastic and have both fixed and adjustable vials. Quality levels have one or more vials for vertical and horizontal use, some have 45 degree vials. The vials are filled with fluid and with an air bubble. When the bubble is centered between the two index lines then surface is level. The purpose of the level is to guarantee that your woodshop project turns out straight. This way the books will not slide off your brand new bookshelf.
Tool #5 Framing Squares are important to any building project. With a good framing square you can measure and layout any construction project or plan from a table to stairs to rafters to a house to a pyramid! This cool woodshop tool is also called the steel square or carpenter’s square. The most common size has a 24″ blade and a 16″ tongue. I would recommend that you not purchase a smaller one. A quality framing square will have the framing tables stamped on it. That is very important.
For a complete list you can download instantly and take to your local hardware store or garage sales, click on the link below.
Who is America’s top expert when it comes to woodwork plans and projects?
Some might say Bob Vila, popular home improvement expert and celebrity. He is certainly a candidate.
Others might name Scott Phillips, host of the well-known, PBS show, The American Woodshop.
Still others, probably only one, would nominate, Tim “The Toolman” Taylor. OK, maybe that dates me, but he is still fun to watch.
However, because of his new, massive publication, I am going to suggest that America’s top expert for woodshop plans just may be Ted “Woody” McGrath. He may not be as entertaining as those guys, but I think you will find him even more helpful.
Ted is a professional woodworker who lives in Slater, Iowa. He has been a carpenter for 36 years. He is also an educator, so he knows his way around a wood shop. He can probably even tell you how to build a woodshop, or how to furnish a woodshop. Woody is a card carrying member of the AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Institute. The AWI was founded back in 1953 as an organization to support professional woodworkers, suppliers, and manufacturers. It is a non-profit organization with a membership of about 4,000 people. The AWI publishes an incredible quarterly magazine called, Design Solutions. Design Solutions helps to inform architects and other design professional. It discusses what is true architectural woodwork and the lasting benefits of including it in their designs.
What makes Ted Mcgrath so unique is that he has recently compiled and released a massive and comprehensive package of woodworking projects and plans with more than 16,000 plans. These plans included detailed drawings, schematics, building designs, blueprints, even “how to” videos. So, whether you are looking for Bed Plans, Bedroom Plans, Bench Plans, or Bird Feeder Plans, you will find them here. You can literally find out how to build a cradle, or how to make a clock. In fact, his package, can literally teach you how to build a wishing well, or how to build a windmill for your backyard.
When I scrolled through the extensive list of wood plans I really got excited and wanted to build something, whether I needed it or not. Let me just say, that if you have a woodwork project coming up soon, you will be 99% sure to find plans for it in this package. And, you will be glad you have it, because it will literally save you time and money since you will have a list of the materials and tools you will need. I have wasted both time and money buying more than I needed, or finding out later, that I did not have all I needed and having to go back to Lowe’s several times. That is so frustrating.
If you have kids and ever need to help them with a school woodshop project or if you are a teacher who has to put projects together, then this is a must for you. You will be so glad you have it and can print out a simple set of plans and instructions whenever you need to.
Can I prove that Ted Mcgrath is America’s top woodwork guru? Not really, but take a look at his offering and you can be the judge.
Frank the Woodshop Projects Rookie
Thanks for visiting my site which is dedicated to woodshop projects.
As a parent, and homeowner, I seem to always be needing to find some woodshop projects. I can remember that during school, when we had woodshop, I was always on the lookout for easy woodshop projects for high school students.
That was before the days of the internet. Cool woodshop project ideas and woodworking plans were hard to find. We all did a shoe shine box which I kept for a long time, even though it was really lame. I did not ever have the right woodworking tools at home so I never had the practice or the place to work on these plans.
As an adult, I have found myself needing to do a wood project more often than I ever thought. I have needed to find woodshop plans that are much more useful and practical than just a shoebox. Sometimes I have to build something, or mostly just do repair work. It may involve simple stuff like building a dog house, or a playhouse, or a greenhouse, or maybe more complex like kitchen projects, or shed plans to make your own man cave.
Even, though I am still not very good when it comes to working with my hands, I have found it helps so much to find the right woodworking plans for the job. Even someone like me can follow instructions if they are simple enough and the steps are in order. (Pictures are really helpful, too.)
I can remember when I was a young parent going down to the lumberyard to get wood to build a playhouse. I was young and thought I could do it on my own without looking at some instructions. Boy, was I ever wrong! I ended up wasting a lot of wood and a lot of time and being kind of embarrassed, too.
Please take a look around my site. I think you will find some helpful resources that may save you some bucks, some hours, and some headaches on your next wood shop project.