Hello everyone! Today we have a guest post from Sawtooth Ideas, Inc. on making your own woodworking plans! Enjoy!
If you’ve ever built something to fit a specific need or space for your home, you’ve likely gone through the design process. You’ve identified requirements. You’ve drawn some sketches. You’ve considered alternative approaches. You’ve made adjustments as you’ve built. And likely, you have a few things you’d do differently next time.
Naturally, the end product is the end goal. But it doesn’t have to be the only goal. Capturing and sharing the artifacts of the design process (notes, sketches, models, and know-how) can be a satisfying and potentially lucrative secondary benefit of your efforts.
When you design something (no matter how simple or utilitarian), you’re creating intellectual property (IP), even if you don’t call yourself a “designer.” You’ve dedicated your gray matter to create something that has value. You own it. And you can choose what to do with it.
If you’ve created something useful, practical, or unique, you might consider formalizing that IP in a plan that can be shared with others. You’ve already done the hard work of figuring out what to do and how you’re going to do it. Now you just need to simply compile that work into some type of package that can be shared.
Creating a shareable plan is fairly easy to do. Consider starting with a template. At Sawtooth Ideas, we provide a woodworking plan template that identifies all sections you might want to include in your plan.
Each section is formatted and ready for you to fill in the details. Our template includes the following sections:
- Project overview
- Required tools and supplies
- Materials list
- Cutting diagrams
- Project diagrams
- Milling instructions
- Assembly instructions
- Finishing instructions
If you’ve already built the project, simply record what you’ve done. If you’re just starting to build, take a few notes and photos as you go. Including what worked well, what didn’t, and what changes you’d make next time. These personal notes can be some of the most valuable parts of your plan.
Once you’ve completed your plan, you have a couple of options for sharing it. A blog is one successful way to share, as shown by these popular blogs: Jeff Branch Woodworks, The Wood Whisperer, and Ana White.
If you don’t want to invest in a personal blog site, bloggers often welcome guest posts. Or you can post your plan on a community site like LumberJocks.
If you’ve invested any effort in your design or your plan, you may also consider selling it. Unlike a physical project which can be used, sold, or given as a gift only once, a woodworking plan can be sold over and over again with no additional effort on your part. This makes selling plans a uniquely profitable proposition.
Websites like Sawtooth Ideas and Etsy make it simple to set up a designer page and start selling your plans. At Sawtooth Ideas, we also provide design assistance. If you have a great project but don’t know how to compile it all together into a high-quality plan, our designers will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Most commerce websites also help you market your plan and manage your sales transactions, nearing eliminating any overhead. Expenses are usually minimal, with little upfront cost to you.
Bottom line: don’t overlook the potential value in your ideas. Even the simplest idea can be valuable and profitable with just a little bit of effort on your part.