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free DIY furniture plans
February 19, 2012 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Ana White shares hundreds of free furniture plans on her website, encouraging those who may have never built furniture before. Formerly known as "Knock Off Wood" since she had DIY versions of popular retail styles, she changed her name after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Williams-Sonoma (owner of Pottery Barn and West Elm). An audio interview with Ms. White and a Flickr pool of completed projects. (via Balancing Everything)
posted by flex (24 comments total) 271 users marked this as a favorite

 
So this woman is essentially the new Norm Abrams?

That's... pretty cool. Like really cool. Unfortunately I do not have a single carpenter's bone in my body (or a workshop), so I will never build any of this stuff! But I think that the site exists is pretty amazing.
posted by kavasa at 5:38 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


An awesome site, I have a list of stuff I need to do next summer... this was my first attempt!
posted by ddaavviidd at 6:01 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is fantastic! I see projects in my future. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Cuke at 6:02 PM on February 19, 2012


Wow, this is amazing stuff! As someone who really is not the builder-type, I feel awestruck.
posted by peacheater at 6:05 PM on February 19, 2012


What a great post! Ana White is awesome. I particularly like her easy plans for raised garden beds made out of cedar fence pickets ... you can build a good-sized bed for under $20.
posted by Ostara at 6:21 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This perfectly timed for me. Thanks!
posted by dejah420 at 6:47 PM on February 19, 2012


I love Ana White. I spent a long time looking for platform bed plans online until I stumbled upon her site. Her site is so much better then all the other "free plans" sites I've found it is really kind of amazing.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:24 PM on February 19, 2012


flex, this was worth it just for the fire station loft bed. Pretty much going to happen for Jack's room i the next house. Thanks.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:48 PM on February 19, 2012


Wow, thanks for this. As someone with a talented, loves-to-build partner, I am 99.9% thrilled by this and cannot wait to show it to him and plan what his next project might be.

The non-thrilled .1% is somewhat uncomfortable with the realization that I'm turning into my mother. But new furniture will totally help me get over that discomfort.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:13 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, that is amazing. I loved the fire station loft bed. But, being somewhat incapable, what I would prefer is if someone told me how to do a hack of the Ikea Kura bed so that it would look similar.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:44 PM on February 19, 2012


So....does anybody want to let me borrow their wood shop?
posted by schmod at 10:10 PM on February 19, 2012


This is awesome. I've got several projects I've been putting off for lack of not-really-knowing-how-to-go-about-it-ness. Stuff like a small bench for the front hall, fold out tables for the balcony, and some day, when I actually know what I'm doing, I'm going to build a hutch (what some might call a china cabinet) with bookshelves on top for the cookbooks and cabinet doors on the bottom for big pots and dishes I don't use all that often. Sites like this are exactly what I need.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:40 PM on February 19, 2012


She's quite inspiring. My partner and I are borrowing a friend's workshop and building one of Ms. White's simpler beds right now. We're at about $70 for all materials, and will have brand-new "real" furniture for the first time once we've finished, and it feels fantastic.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 11:58 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a fantastic resource, and Ana's story is inspiring too. I just built a desk out of reclaimed pallet wood and was thinking about an adirondack chair to use up the rest of the lumber; looks like Ana has some plans on her site.

Ooh, and there are links to a Kreg Jig owner's forum? that's fantastic. I have a Kreg Jig and love it; such a useful tool.
posted by dubold at 1:14 AM on February 20, 2012


If I could figure out how to get a king-sized bed frame out of my local hack space and into my house, I would be ALL over this bed.

Dammit.

(But, yeah, if you need a place with woodworking tools, look for a hackspace near you - they'll probably have the basic tools, and membership costs less than buying and storing all the tools yourself!)
posted by Katemonkey at 3:00 AM on February 20, 2012


(But, yeah, if you need a place with woodworking tools, look for a hackspace near you - they'll probably have the basic tools, and membership costs less than buying and storing all the tools yourself!)

Actually this may not be the case for basic woodworking. I looked into our local hackerspace and membership is $40 a month, so works out to nearly $500 a year. You could buy a good few tools for $500. Although maybe people don't tend to pay membership on an ongoing basis; just for the month(s) when they are building something? I don't know.
posted by lollusc at 3:53 AM on February 20, 2012


For those thinking about making something: Ana's plans are quite easy to build. There is no complicated joinery, which is something that often trips up novice woorworkers. (Disclaimer: I'm a novice woodworker. I just built the world's crookedest bookshelf for my eldest son. But I will paint it and install it in his room anyhow...)
posted by Harald74 at 4:37 AM on February 20, 2012


Re: bed plans: The incomparable Mathias Wandel has plans for simple-to-build beds, that us mere mortals can attempt.

Actually, by summer I hope my boys will have a slightly off-kilter, but lovingly built bunk bed to call their own.
posted by Harald74 at 4:42 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Katemonkey, you can totally build that bed frame. Just assemble the head & foot boards and the mattress support, cut the siderails to size, and assemble it onsite with a few screws. I build a lot of my own furniture, and my rule is that everything has to be small enough that I can move it myself if need be. Big things like beds and dining tables get built so that they come apart into manageable chunks.
posted by echo target at 6:27 AM on February 20, 2012


I have a Kreg Jig and love it; such a useful tool.
Me too. I'm happy to see her recommending this -- I can do box joints, I've handmade mortise and tenons that look pretty cool, and I still aspire to making decent dovetails one day, but pocket holes are simple, sturdy, and quick, and the Kreg jig pays for itself pretty quickly.
posted by Killick at 8:17 AM on February 20, 2012


I'm a serious woodworker (whatever that means) so I'm of two minds about the Anna White stuff. On the one side, a lot of the designs, being essentially knockoffs of designs that are, themselves, essentially knockoffs of more traditional designs are missing some key components or have some other flaws that are going to pretty seriously limit their quality or survivability. On the other side, putting plans for a Queen Anne secretary desk in front of someone with minimal experience and saying "Go for it!" and "You can do it!" is a major weenie move that deserves a good beating with a rolled up newspaper hornbeam mallet. So she's providing a key stepping stone to get people to actually try things, which is a good thing(TM).

But people have been convinced of a lot of things that aren't exactly true and she's not exactly dispelling those myths. For example, people have been conditioned to believe that you need really special high end power tools to do ANYTHING serious. And that hand tools are a either a joke (well, ok, a lot of them are a joke) or the exclusive prevue of a secret brotherhood of woodworking monks somewhere. Add to this the fact that the local DIY place sells their decent furniture caliber lumber at from two to four times the price I pay for it at boutique stores which is two to four times what I pay at saw mills. And that there are a lot of incidental skills that you need to know that often aren't clearly spelled out anywhere and, yeah, a lot of people think this stuff is really hard.

The thing is, well, sitting on my table saw right now is a box I made where all the joints are perfectly flush. If you closed your eyes and ran your finger over them, you literally couldn't tell where one board ended and the other began. Did I achieve this by very carefully cutting them with machine tool accuracy using my superior woodworking skill? Hell no! I cut them so they were about 1/16th oversized and planed them flush! Tada! Perfection!

That same plane and a shooting board (and a cheap back saw) will give you square corners that miter saws can only dream of. Or you can use it to true up stock, because twisted, cupped and bowed wood is the bane of quality results - doubly so if you're using machine tools rather than hand tools (and probably a large portion of Harald74's problem with his bookshelf). Or you can use it to take planer scallop out of a piece of hard wood in a fraction of the time it would will take with a random orbit sander.

So what the hell, if you want to learn this stuff, send me a mefi mail. I've got some stuff I need to get off my plate in the next few weeks, but I've been meaning to start a blog anyway.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:46 AM on February 20, 2012 [28 favorites]


Two of White's project plans have proven to be big hits with my 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade woodworking students.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:03 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of thing that makes the internet great.
posted by Mitheral at 6:11 PM on February 20, 2012


lollusc writes "Actually this may not be the case for basic woodworking. I looked into our local hackerspace and membership is $40 a month, so works out to nearly $500 a year. You could buy a good few tools for $500. Although maybe people don't tend to pay membership on an ongoing basis; just for the month(s) when they are building something? I don't know."

Man $40 bucks a month sounds really cheap if they've got any kind of tool selection at all. I spend more than that just maintaining my workshop space before I've bought any tools or spent any money maintaining them.
posted by Mitheral at 6:16 PM on February 20, 2012


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