(If you want to skip this article you can head directly to the bottom of this page for some of our free plans and patterns.)
Finding "listings" for free woodworking patterns for beginners is actually pretty easy. If you're using the internet just do a search at one or more of the top search engines.
Just pick out the type of pattern you're interested in and a multitude of projects are instantly provided right at your fingertips. Maybe you're looking for toy patterns or maybe shop jigs or maybe even casework. It's all there. Some are free and some aren't.
Getting to the point I'm headed for, how do you choose which project and how do you knowwhich company offers free plans that are actually usable. Even when the project plans are freeyou're still committing your time and materials to the project.
For some projects the materials alone could run in the hundreds of dollars.
Some woodworkers just use a rule of thumb that free plans just aren't the same quality as premium or paid plans. This, in my opinion, just isn't true. There are many reasons why woodworking plans are offered free.
I've also seen a lot of costly plans that weren't worth your time to download must less trying to build a project from them.
Just why would anyone offer free plans anyway?
Believe it or not, companies can make a lot of money giving away free plans! There actually are too many ways to mention but some of the most profitable reasons are . . .
Traffic - Companies have always used incentives (in this case free plans) to get you to visit their store. Websites are actually online stores and the more traffic they can generate the higher their online ratings. The higher their online ratings the more traffic they get. The more traffic they get the more sales they make. A profitable circle that keeps building and building.
Reputation - Plansmakers normally offer free plans to show off the overall quality of all their plans. If you've tried and like a free version of their plans then you're more comfortable purchasing a premium plan later on.
Related Products - In order to build most woodworking projects you normally use up shop supplies, hardware, and finishes. You may even need different tools to complete your project. Most companies will gladly give away the plans for a chance to sell the supporting products.
Affiliate Sales - Some companies offer free plans from other places. If you click through to the actual free plans site then any sale made in a certain time period will generate income for the original company (or person).
As I said before, there are lots of ways to make money by offering free woodworking plans. As a woodworker hoping to find usable plans, you should look any plans over start to finish before committing your time and materials to the project.
The best places to get free plans. . .
By far the best place to get free plans is from the person or company that made the plans in the first place. You can normally get suggestions, tips and technical support far superior than the support you'd get from the dealer that only offers the plan and probably never even looked it over.
Suggestion: Let the plansmaker know what you think about their plans. They even appreciate photos of completed projects. They want to know so they can improve their plans if needed and everyone likes a pat on the back if all goes well. This little gesture could also get you some free plans to try out. Free plans for feedback is very common.
2. Support Companies.
Support companies are companies that have products that are of interest to woodworkers. Lowes, Minwax, Rockler, and Woodcraft are just a few of the woodworking support companies that offer free plans. These are mostly basic plans that make good projects for beginners or plans that are combined with a sale of some type.
Another example would be a public information organization such as the California Redwood Assn. (www.calredwood.org.). They have free outdoor furniture plans to promote the use of sustainable redwood lumber.
Bird House Plans - This page lists several bird house plans that almost anyone can complete.
Rabbit Hutch Plans - These plans are a little more advanced but can be completed easily if the plans are followed step by step.
Bird Feeder Plans - A very useful plan for beginners or groups.
Free Router Tabletop Plans - Make one or a dozen. these router table tops make your projects go faster.
Wood ToolBox Plan - Build this classic but simple version of a age-old toolbox.
Toy Wheel Making Jig - If you use toy wheels in your projects then this jig is worth making.