Test building is something I do constantly, especially for pieces destined to become published project instructions. Over, and over, and over, particularly if the project is something I’m designing for a beginner to build and has the look of a project requiring more skill.
And it’s another reason why I tend to keep and store scrap wood – scrap wood use #2 if you’re keeping a tally.
Odd bits of plywood are may favorite pieces because I can cut them to any length and width. Any scrap will do, although I tend to not keep much scrap treated lumber around, and I wouldn’t test build it except for very specific circumstances.
Below is the test build of the sketch I posted from the last blog.
Notice that it is all plywood, and is darn close to the sketch. Well, it didn’t get that way on the first try. I played around with a couple of different ways of making the step and the bottom of the storage area in the back. I settled on one solid piece extending from the front to the back.
And that’s what test building is all about – toying around until you come up with the best (strength, accuracy, ease) solution for the project and for yourself. Some woodworkers recommend test building in a smaller scale than the final project will be. I’m not a big fan of that – I’d rather build as close to the original size as I can. I feel there are subtle differences that could become an issue when jumping around from one size to another. Besides, that’s extra work to convert the size of a project.
Hold onto a bit of scrap to have a ready supply for your test building, and by all means make notes and keep them close at hand in the shop – a building bible if you will. Every project I build has some sort of notes associated with it, and are filed (maybe not as neatly as I would like) so I can access them right away.