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    Draw It Full Scale

    Whether one is drawing a project by hand or on the computer, drawing to scale is very important. A concept drawing of what you would like to make, may look nothing like the actual piece you envisioned once the right dimensions are added. A scale drawing shows the piece in the right proportions according to the correct dimensions. For me, in addition to drawing a project “to” scale, I also like to draw it “full scale.” I’ll take whatever scrap sheet-good material or cardboard I have lying around and draw my project to its exact size. It doesn’t take long and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. Here are some of the benefits to drawing a project full scale.

    Drawing a project full scale helps to:

    Visualize the piece in the space  If there is a question of whether or not your dimensions are going to be appropriate for the space, drawing it full scale helps one to visualize it. This allows one to see if the project looks correct, or needs to be resized.

    Provide a true reference point to pull exact measurements  Even though you can use a scale ruler to find a measurement on scale drawing, it sometimes takes awhile to try and figure out what that tiny measurement is. A full scale drawing on the other hand, allows you to pull a tape measure across it quickly and efficiently to get an exact measurement.

    Create a roadmap to make sure parts/or the entire piece is correct  When making a difficult piece of furniture that may have out of the ordinary parts, a full scale drawing provides the opportunity to lay out parts on the drawing to make sure they are correct. It provides a roadmap to check parts as you go, and also to compare upon completion.

    Show joinery placement/construction and make jig setups faster A full scale drawing is nice because the joinery methods one is going to use can be drawn out. This allows one to have a guide for the placement of joinery, such as a mortise and tenon joints. A table leg, for example, should be mortised before it is shaped or tapered. Having a scale drawing allows one to know the exact placement and depth of the mortise before the leg is cut out of the leg blanks. It also makes setting up or creating certain jigs easier.