Below is a general guide to choosing which direction to take with your project if you are not quite sure where to begin. Scroll down the page to read about Size, Wood Types and Wood Finishes to help you with a few ideas.
Of course, if you know what you want, you might want to skip this section.
Probably one of the most important things for you to decide upon with your project, is roughly what the dimensions need to be. You will know best what your requirements are. Of course we can help with final measurements, but if you can provide us with sizes, it could save a lot of time in the beginning.
Below are some basic ideas of what to measure. All you need is any type of measuring tape or smartphone app (see below) to get started. Usually we work in millimeters, but any information will do.
Custom made lends itself to fitting an alcove with a book case or shelving. Here’s what we need to begin with:
Should your project be accommodating a TV, the size of the TV is determined by the screen size on the diagonal. More importantly for us though, we need to know the overall width and height of the TV including the stand.
If you are interested, here are some free Smartphone or tablet measure apps, just click the link to your app store for an example from each.
The apps basically open up the camera, for you to place a dot at each end of what you want to measure. Some have a level too or a way to measure angles.
There’s often short tutorials made about these apps to get you started. Once you have the name of your chosen app, look can for it in YouTube.
Click below for Apple measure app tutorials.
Click below for Google Play Store app tutorials.
The information above is intended really just to save a time in general planning of your project. Measurements will give an idea of approximate cost for the job as it determines the amount of materials needed. Basic measurements will do, however if you want to to take this much further in the design phase, the sky is the limit.
Below is an example of a project which I got involved with in the past. I was planning to remove and replace a Sunroom attached to the back of a house. I used free desktop software to create this in a rotatable 3D image. This is an image taken of the existing structure which I created within the program, all to scale and with some key measurements highlighted.
SketchUp is the program which was used. If you click the logo below, it will take you to a YouTube link which I found that is designed to help you get started.
Some woods are better suited for some applications than others. It could also alter the price of the job quite a lot. Here is a basic general idea of what you could choose from:
Generally speaking, Evergreen trees are Softwood like Pine, Fir or Spruce. The wood is generally cheaper and softer. Deciduous trees are Hardwoods like Oak, Ash or Maple shown below. They are more dense, stronger and more expensive. There are exceptions such as Balsa, which is a “Hardwood” but is very soft and very low density.
Construction Pine: Softwood. Usually used in large project construction which is hidden behind wall or ceiling coverings, but can be used outdoors. Treated for insects, fungus and moisture protection.
Pro: Lower Cost.
Con: Lower quality, softer wood.
Redwood Pine: Softwood. Used in numerous applications where budget is monitored. Can be finished in many different ways.
Pro: Versatile and cost effective.
Con: Lower outdoor durability
Pressure treated Pine: Softwood. Used in numerous outdoor applications.
Pro: Best for outdoors.
Con: Medium price
Hardwoods: A multitude to choose from, subject to availability. More popular examples such as Oak, Ash, Maple (seen below). Used in specialty applications where budget is of lesser importance and quality of material is of higher importance.
Pro: Durable and beautiful.
Con: Higher cost.
Plywood: Very popular, used in many different applications, coming in many different sizes, thicknesses and qualities.
Pro: Strong and versatile.
Con: Edges which are seen will not suit all applications.
MDF: (Medium Density Fibreboard) Also, very popular like plywood and has many applications. Can come laminated, but again, the edges can be seen. Comes in different thicknesses. Used in many flat-pack type furnitures due to lower cost than solid wood.
Pro: Versatile and economical.
Con: Not suitable for outdoors, susceptible to moisture, needs sealing well from humidity.
The finish on your project can be as varied as the types of wood you can choose from. This many times comes down to personal preference, but there is also practical aspects which should be considered. Bare wood could be the finish that you choose as it looks, feels and smells great when its new. Depending on the application, there could be better choices, such as if will be sitting outside in the weather, it needs to be protected. Paint is on the opposite end of this spectrum, where you could achieve great durability and some weather resistance, however you will not see the natural beauty of the wood grain showing through the paint. In between these options, there’s two popular options. Stain, comes in a range of colours, without losing the sight of the natural beauty of the wood. Plastic polish is a clear coat to protect your wood well against marking and humidity effects.
Bare unfinished wood:
Pro: All the natural beauty in the wood is on show.
Con: Vulnerable to dirt and humidity changes.
Stain or Dye:
Pro: Many colors to choose from and you see the natural beauty of the wood.
Con: More labour required in finishing to protect it from dirt and humidity.
Pro: Protects wood well with a silky smooth finish.
Con: Soaks in over time requiring further wax treatment.
Plastic coating: Used on bare wood, stain or dye for protection.
Pro: Excellent sealing and protection from dirt and humidity with a silky smooth clear finish.
Con: More labour required, especially if stain is applied first to colour the wood.
Paint: Used in many applications where consistency is of prime importance.
Pro: Good protection, can be used in many applications.
Con: The natural beauty of the wood is covered up.