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18th Century Spice Cabinet by 21st Century Woodworking

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Step 6: Cut-List and Hardware List

Picture of Cut-List and Hardware List
A cut-list is the link between what is in your mind and has been drawn, and the physical reality of making it as a  cut-list shows how to cut a given set of parts from a given set of available stock.

 A cut-list is time consuming and the first few will be frustrating as in the process of compiling a cut-list issues will arise that you never thought of, or will have thought wrong about.  A cut-list is of great assistance in avoiding the dreaded operator error.  For every 10-minutes spent compiling a cut list, 60-minutes will be saved in making the object, in addition to avoiding immeasurable amounts of frustration.

A couple notes before the narrative: 

1.  Decide on and buy and have in your possession all the hardware for your object preferably before you begin drawing and definitely before you compile the cut list. 

2.  When compiling the cut-list, think about clearances among parts, and among parts and the hardware.

3.  Always remember:  The dimensions of hardware in catalogs are always wrong.


To continue:  This is a good cut-list: http://www.finewoodworking.com/pages/w00166.asp. 

The above cut-list was the starting place for the cut-list developed with the use of a spreadsheet program coupled with an outline compiled with the word processing program. 

This is the word processor outline entry for the case portion of the spice cabinet.  The organization of the outline entries matches the construction process; a process that starts with the most major item, and then moves, if you will, inward.

1. CASE and Sub-Assembles
1.1 Case
1.2 Drawer Shelves Carrier
1.3 Drawer Shelves
1.4 Drawers
1.5 Rear Panel
1.6 Door
1.7 Hardware

Looking at the attached cut-list PDF it can be seen that a major portion of the object is listed, and then sub-assemblies are then delineated.  One item to note is that the cut-list is more detailed than the outline, and that it contains construction notes as well as miscellaneous reminders.

For instance concerning the Case, for each part a Part ID is given, the number of  this part required, all finish dimensions for the part are given, the material the part is to be made of, plus Notes/Comments.   For the Case, the sides are noted as Pin Boards, the Top & Bottom are noted as the Tails Board as this is the designation used by the JoinTech dovetailing system.  The details concerning the size and type of dovetails are also noted.

There are several non-obvious purposes of the outline and the cut-list.  The first is that in compiling these and working back and forth from the drawing to the outline to the cut-list, interrelationships become obvious that may have been overlooked when just designing with the CAD program, or in just compiling the outline, or in just compiling the cut-list.  Second, and probably most importantly, once the cut-list is finally compiled, you will no longer have to think about the design or the material or names, numbers or sizes, that was all done in compiling the cut-list. 

It may not be obvious now, though it is so very true [and at times painfully so]:  The last thing you want to do when you are making anything is think.

Once you are done using the drawings to make the outline and the cut list, put them  all in the three-ringer binder.  One of the best aspects of having all the paper based materials in one place is that you can write reminders on the pages as you are working rather than leaving them in your head where they are sure to get lost.

Now, before you begin cutting materials:  With a blank piece of paper, measure everything on the drawings again.   Then compare these dimensions to the dimension on the cut-list.  With any luck, they might  be identical.