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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Willy B. Does It His Way

I talk to a lot of different wood workers, both professional and hobbyists like myself. There is a huge difference in how some view the use of patterns. I, myself, use patterns for just about everything I build these days. I find that it allows me to simply enjoy the wood working that I love so much without having to stop and worry so much about designing, for example, that I don't enjoy so much. I find a design I like in a pattern most times, and work from there. I usually build a project the first time pretty close to the pattern. After, that, the gloves are off. I may take that design in any number of directions.
The one argument I hear the most against patterns is that people like making their projects original. For those that enjoy designing, I think that's great. Some of us don't like designing though. So for that originality argument, I have two key point that I usually point out.
The first is that it is very, very rare for anyone to think up anything that is truly original. It may be a new take on something, but we all naturally draw ideas from what we have seen. I can take aspects of a Chippendale design and a Maloof design and combine them to come up with something that may never have been seen before. In the end though, how original is the combination of two well known designs? That isn't to put down people who design their own projects. It's to point out that even pattern users can still come up with something new using tried and true designs, but with plans.
That brings me to my second point. Just because you use a pattern doesn't mean you are limited to building a project strictly by that pattern. I compare patterns to a road map. Regular readers have read this before, but I think it is a good point to repeat again. If you are trying to get to a destination on a road map, there are usually multiple ways to get there. You can take any of those multiple ways and still arrive where you desire. The same can be said about patterns. You can take many roads with a pattern, and still arrive where you wish with a project. The use of a design on a patter is limited only by your own imagination.
That brings us to Willy B.'s Buffet Cabinet.

The plans for this cabinet can be found here at Wildwood Designs. Some may recognize it as the same cabinet I built a while back. Willy took the design and really made it his own though. That is the inspiration for my rambling before the photos on making a pattern your own way. There are no rules about sticking with a pattern. I really like the way Willy done this one. The changes he made really stand out as inspirational to me, since I have built this project myself.

For starters, Willy's cabinet is six inches deeper than the plans call for. That doesn't sound like much, just extend the depth measurement, right? Well, there is a bit more to that on this project. To extend the depth six more inches means that Willy also redesigned all the side facing scroll work and the scroll design that supports the side shelves. That in itself makes it quite an undertaking.

Willy made his own legs for this project from oak four by fours. If you ever want to build this, the price for the recommended legs can add up quickly. The one's I wanted to use for mine cost over forty bucks a piece, and you need six of them. It's not hard to make these legs. It only takes time and patience. I highly recommend anyone building this project to give it a go before spending that kind of money on legs. It's fun, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you built them instead of sticking something bought on it. The added advantage is that by building them, you can color match the cabinet they are going on easier than if you bought them.

Willy's cabinet is made out of half inch oak plywood. Another interesting change he made was too the shelves in the middle cabinet section. Instead of wood, he put in glass shelves. I am going to have to consider that option next time I build one of these. When I read that he used glass, I had one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments.

Willy, this is truly amazing work. Thank you for sharing it with us. I do hope you have plans to send me more project photos to share.

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