Making everything BUT the kitchen sink...
(and how you can too!)
Living in the jungle certainly has it's challenges but at least for me, the positives of living off-grid certainly outweigh any problems I may face. In fact, having no other option but to figure something out myself has not only saved me a fortune, it has also made me a bit of a 'Jack of all trades'. Once you see where I live, you will understand why picking up the phone and asking for help is not an option.
No ones coming to help me out here!
Now, that's not to say I didn't have any help when first starting to build my home, I was actually pretty lucky as I hands down met the finest carpenter in the whole of Costa Rica. He just so happened to have built 90% of the structures in the community where I live and his name (believe is or not) was Jesus.
He had the skills and experience but more importantly he is super passionate about woodworking. Over time we developed a system where I provided the designs and he followed them. Not as easy as it sounds when you have no carpentry experience and you both speak another language....however, those problems were nothing in comparison to the expenses and I'm talking labor and materials here.
I'm going to share something with you that literally saved me a small fortune while enhancing my woodworking skills and can do the same for you!
Time was money and MJ needed to get upstairs! We hit the ground running and started taking care of the most important parts of the home.
My wife and I had never built a kitchen cabinet before, let alone a house. After some very stressful planning, several trips to the same hardware store (hours away), and some parts that to this day we still don't know are what for (still stored outside with a lot of other materials to this day), with help from Jesus, we did it!
We even added a personal space for MJ under the stairs (which he thanked us for).
MJ and my wife Amy
As mentioned already, Jesus was and is still the best carpenter I know but no matter how detailed my designs were, we just kept ordering too much materials, over and over. I'm not a technical drawer, my wife and I were literally picking designs out of magazines and printing them from the internet. We would hand them to Jesus and he would tell us what to buy - it was either far too many materials (which was costing us a fortune) or on the odd occasion, it felt like we had purchased parts to build a rocket ship and not a simple square table (remember, we live in the jungle, its not like we could just pop down to the local hardware store...
All that wasted material!
Sharing our frustrations and challenges with friends and family one night, an amazing solution was presented to us. Our friend Jon casually asked what we were still planning to build and over a few drinks, we shared a list of furniture and projects needed to finish the home. The next day, Jon sent me a blueprint for a swinging bench design. It was beautifully laid out with super simple easy to follow instructions and best of all, a list of exact materials I needed to purchase! It was so detailed, that I was able to email the hardware store and get a price on the exact parts needed as well as have it all ready to collect!
The swinging bench I built (not swinging)
I was so impressed with having the order ready (and within budget!) that I found myself having more time on my hands. I looked at the materials I had just purchased and then held the blueprint up....I can do this. It was so simply laid out that and I was so pumped already that I just found myself going through the instructions one by one. By the time Jesus arrived for work, I was well on my way and he was just as shocked as I was 😂.
I was saving money on materials and labor thanks to these blueprints. Now, this didn't make me a master carpenter by any means but it did allow me to tackle some of the smaller projects while Jesus continued with the big ones (although, I was a lot more helpful and confident assisting). Together, we were both learning new skills, myself carpentry and Jesus the art of planning and budgeting!
THE ACTION PLAN
After building the swinging bench all by myself, I started to tackle other projects around the house. One by one we tackled each of the main rooms. Because we were living in the home prior to it being finished, we had all the space we needed to get the jobs done efficiently. How did I do this? It's all thanks to this amazing software below (and Jon for sharing it of course 😉).
See my personal results below
The World's Largest Database for Woodworking Projects
If like me, you may have realized that finding the right detailed plans to build some custom projects to meet specific needs can be very difficult. This is among the most common problems woodworkers face today, but luckily for you, this and other related problems shouldn’t bother you.
At Teds Woodworking, Ted Mcgrath, a certified master woodworker, trainer, and author gives more than 16,000 plans, with step-by-step blueprints for various woodworking projects.
So what’s TedsWoodworking all about?
Building complex projects or even the simple ones to meet specific needs can be very difficult even to experienced woodworkers especially when you can’t find a detailed plan. And most of the so-called “step by step” guides found online and in various magazines make building some projects harder than it should be. This is because the plans are sometimes not specific enough or their instructions leave out crucial information assuming that you have enough experience to know what to do.
In addition, often, such plans don’t have enough detail. For instance, some don’t include pictures or the pictures they have don’t match what they are telling you. Still, some don’t even include cut sheets, so you are forced to “guesstimate” materials.
Ted Mcgrath spent over 25 years studying these problems and finding solutions. He put together a comprehensive collection of wood-working plans. Tedswoodworking.com is his website which offers woodworkers solutions to various woodworking problems, especially those related to finding the right plans for various projects. The site has detailed plans for over 16,000 projects. Every plan comes with a step-by-step blueprint to make it easier for you to create stunning, professional wood-working projects hassle-free, quickly, and easily.
Who is TedsWoodworking for?
If you are a woodworker looking for detailed plans to start building your dream projects, or if you want a variety of plans for various unique projects, then tedswoodworking.com has you covered. The website has helpful insights for both beginner woodworkers and the more experienced ones.
Why you should check this out
Occasionally, you are presented with a challenging project, for instance, a customer comes and wants something custom-made for them. Without having a detailed plan, it may be very difficult to build such projects quickly and be able to meet your customer’s needs. TedsWoodworking comes in handy, providing you with a variety of plans with complete easy-to-understand instructions.
You will also get new insights and learn new tricks of completing projects even if you do not have expensive tools or a large woodworking workshop. And given the wide range of projects and complete plans available on the website, you no longer need to spend days or months looking for someone to complete a project for you. You will build even the most challenging projects yourself.
Here are a few things the site has to offer:
Easy-to-understand step by step instructions; Every plan has simple “hold-you-by-the-hand” instructions that will assist you to complete your projects quickly.
Materials and Cutting lists ensuring that you get the right materials and make correct cuttings. This saves you a lot of money.
You get sharp, colorful and detailed schematics. No guesswork is involved, you will know what to do and how to do it and complete your projects within the shortest time possible.
The plans give you views from all angles. You will see how everything should look like before you start building. The intricate details for every joint, angle and corner make sure you are not left guessing.
Various lists of plans (16,000+). In addition, you will also get new plans every month for free.
The plans cover all levels of competence and skills. You don’t have to be an expert wood-worker or have expensive tools and machinery to use the plans.
Whether you are a pro woodworker, an amateur, or a beginner with hand tools, you will find several projects suitable for you.
What You Won’t Like about Teds Woodworking?
Although Teds Woodworking has a lot of good things to offer, it has also some flaws. Since this contains thousands of plans, it takes time to download it, particularly if your internet speed isn’t up to mark (I did manage on a phone signal in the middle of the jungle mind you). Nevertheless, this advantage may be nullified if you choose the DVD version of Teds Woodworking. You’ll have every plan in a portable DVD and you don’t need to spend time in front of your computer to download the pack. But, if you pick the DVD version, you’ll have to wait several days for the shipping. Aside from that, organizing a total of 16,000 plans isn’t a simple task. You do need to utilize the search option to locate the plan you're looking for.
Why Should You Choose Teds Woodworking?
If you are planning to purchase 16,000 plans individually, it’ll cost you loads of money. However, Ted is offering everything for a limited launch price of only $67.
Thousands of woodworkers are using his plans to create awesome stuff out of wood. It's now your turn to get in on the action
HOW TED'S WOODWORKING HELPED ME THEN AND NOW!
Our Jungle Paradise!
I'll be honest with you, we had no idea how we were going to build our home in the jungle, we just started and told ourselves "Hold the vision, trust the process". It's something we live by now. Had you asked me prior to starting construction who would be building the furniture, I would have said Jesus of course, I'm not a carpenter. The thought of myself making anything with wood just wasn't an option, I wouldn't even know where to start. A whole world opened up to me when my friend Jon shared a easy to follow blueprint with me, my confidence went through the roof after completing that project and I found myself excited for the next one. It was fun to build furniture and it felt especially good to be saving money which ultimately allowed us to invest in other needs for the home such as solar power and water heater.
One time purchase / 60 day full refund / new plans uploaded monthly
IT GETS BETTER...
As already mentioned, we live in a community (space far apart from each other - over 96 lots over 600 acres to be exact). I was of course excited to show off our home and couldn't help but smile with pride when other community members would ask me where some of the furniture came from - I made that 😁.
Now this was never part of the plan but I'm forever grateful it turned out this way because it generates me a decent income and its something I love to do. I'm still building furniture to this day, only not only for myself but for my neighbors as well! And not only furniture, I've built a few small sheds to house solar systems and a chicken coop. Its so simple, all I do is find the design, email the hardware store the materials I need, add a percent on top for myself, collect and start building at an agreed rate - I'm getting paid to harness my new skill!
I still could not have done this without Jesus and he will always be the better carpenter. We regularly help each other out now, in fact he heads up the maintenance team for all the homes rented through this website. He is also now building complete homes in the jungle and is responsible for over 80% of all structures within our community. We bonded over the experience as it has greatly improved both our lives. My wife and I remembered that he once told us it was his dream to go to the U.S and once the house was built, we all went!