Why Are Woodworking Plans So Expensive?

Before you get started on a project, you’ll generally want to have some sort of guide to ensure the project goes well, whether it is self-made or someone else’s guide. These are known as woodworking plans, and if you have searched for them, you’ll know that they can get relatively costly depending on what you are looking at. So, why are woodworking plans so expensive?

Woodworking plans are so expensive if they are highly detailed because someone had to do the work to ensure all the info and steps are correct. You’ll find more complex projects costing more than simpler ones. However, there are plenty of free plans online to get started with.

Woodworking plans can be expensive, but they don’t have to be, it’s all about what you are looking to do. In this article, we will be going over why woodworking plans can be more expensive than others and where you can get quality plans that range from free to premium. Read on if you’d like to learn more!

What Are Woodworking Plans?

Unless you are creating something very simple or are very experienced at making a particular thing, you’ll probably need a step-by-step process that you can follow. Woodworking plans are essentially guides that show you how to do the project from beginning to end.

Quality woodworking plans will include detailed imagery and should show you everything you need to know from what lumber and tools to use. 

How Much Do Woodworking Plans Cost?

Most woodworking plans are quite cheap, despite the main topic we are going over today. You can click here to browse a selection of furniture plans that can cost as little as $1. Generally, you’ll be paying less than $8 for a plan for most projects unless you are looking at the more elaborate plans for advanced projects. 

These advanced plans can go for over $20, and those are the ones that we suspect you have concerns about. 

Why Are Some Woodworking Plans Expensive?

It’s easy to think that paying over $20 for a guide for one project is excessive, but it’s important to note that someone had to know how to put together stunning projects and create an accurate guide. Companies will charge based on how much they feel their plans are worth, and if a lot of time and effort went into the guide, it could fetch a higher price.

Think of it as a cookbook. If someone putting together an elaborate cookbook is a skilled cook that knows many unique complex recipes, they can charge accordingly. There are certainly many free recipes online, but a premium cookbook is going to be different.

If you’d like to learn about the process of what goes into making a woodworking plan, we linked a video below that explains the topic well. 

Essentially, a lot goes into creating a detailed woodworking plan, and it takes time – time that people want to be compensated for. They have to sketch up accurate drawings, give clear and deliberate instructions, and ensure that the project’s proper tools are being used. 

Are There Free Woodworking Plans? And Are They Worth It?

The internet is an amazing resource to get inspiration for projects, and you can find many free woodworking plans and guides here. You’ll first notice that these projects are more “simple” than many paid woodworking plans, which goes back into the more advanced ones needing more effort to put together.

But can you trust a free woodworking plan? Generally, yes. They are created by people who know their stuff. In many cases, they aren’t going to feel “premium” and might not include absolutely everything; however, they should get the job done if you already have a general idea of what to do.

An Alternative: Video Guides

Many people feel more comfortable following a video guide, and there are plenty of those for free on Youtube. As we said above, the internet is an excellent resource for finding any project. There are plenty of woodworking channels that specialize in teaching people how to do various projects.

The advantage with video guides is that you can follow along and have a visual guide that completely represents what you are supposed to be doing. However, depending on the specific video, you may find that they are going too fast if you have recently started woodworking or trying to follow an advanced project.

You can also use Skillshare for guides, a platform designed entirely around teaching people anything they would want to learn, including woodworking and how to put together various projects. These videos are generally more detailed and “professional” due to how the platform is set up and how it works. It’s a paid monthly service, and so there are higher expectations for guides over there (although there are free videos as well).

Possibly even better, you can consider checking out Woodworkers Guild of America’s Videos. They feature videos that show projects from start to finish, and they are all very well done. These videos are an excellent alternative for those who hate following IKEA-style instructions from a piece of paper or PDF. 

WGAV is a lot cheaper than Skillshare’s monthly cost at just $6 a month rather than $20, making it ideal if you are looking to do specific projects rather than learn the ins and outs of woodworking in general. 

If you want a few Youtuber recommendations, both I Like Woodworking and Molding Wood make videos showing you how to do various projects. Do keep in mind that their videos aren’t as in-depth as WGAV’s videos, but they’ll give you an idea of how these projects are done.

Should Beginners Pay for Premium Woodworking Plans?

You might be wondering if the extra detail and direction from premium woodworking plans are worth it for a beginner, and the answer is it depends. 

As we stated previously, many of the time paid plans are for more advanced projects that would be typically out of the league for just starting. Cheaper woodworking plans can cover things such as creating a chair or a simple table. Considering how insignificant a decent plan costing a couple of dollars is, it might be worth it if you are trying to tackle projects that “advanced beginners” do.

Regardless of what plan you are using, it’s important to ensure it is from a reputable source. This isn’t too hard to do; if you stick to popular sites such as woodsmithplans.com, you are almost guaranteed to get great plans. We also encourage considering picking up a book that included multiple plans, such as the Great Book of Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture.

Like we stated in the previous section, you may prefer to follow along with a detailed video showing how to do a project from start to finish rather than following a PDF or paper plan. However, it’s entirely up to you, and you can experiment with both to get a feel for what works best for you. 


Woodworking plans can cost more than others due to the effort it takes to create them. It’s not easy to create a plan with quality sketches while ensuring the directions are accurate. Most woodworking plans aren’t very pricey, however.

The pricier ones are usually for more advanced projects that required an ample amount of time to put together the plan. They’ll also have higher-than-average quality sketches, so you have a better idea of what you are supposed to be doing.

An alternative to woodworking plans would be to follow detailed instructional videos that show you how to do a project.


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