This page will talk you through some of the important limitations to keep in mind during the design and making stage

Limitations When Making

Limitations when making include:


When thinking about making a piece of furniture, especially when the piece has a deadline, it is imperative to write yourself a timeline to understand how long your piece will take to complete and whether or not it is possible to meet your due date. Do this by evaluating how long each step of your making processes will take, and then add on 50% and usually it helps to add 1 day buffer to any project. Use the information below to help you from under-estimating the time. After evaluation, if this design will not fit your time-line, you may need to re-think your design and adjust accordingly.


Inductions onto new machines may take from 15 minutes up to a few hours or so depending whether or not you have used the machine before, how busy the workshop staff are, how busy the machine room is, and whether the machine you require is in high demand. The beginning of the semester is the best time to get inducted on workshop machines as the staff are able to go through inductions in small groups and it will give you the whole semester to make your project.

If you have not completed you level 1 or 2 inductions, please make sure they are completed EVERY year before you come into the workshop for level 3 machine inductions.

Use this link to complete your level 1 and level 2 inductions:

Understanding your design

Before you begin the making process, be fully acquainted with your design and all the elements involved. This will reduce the amount of time your are looking at your plans, and trying to figure out your drawings, giving you more time to work with your tools and finish your piece.

Make sure your plans are clearly documented with all measurements and angles, it may even help to have diagrams of and a list of the processes for each part to keep you on track.

Dressing the timber

Timber dressing can take from an hour up to a full day or more depending on your skill level using the jointer and thicknesser, how much timber you are needing to dress and the condition of the timber when you purchased it.

If you have purchased timber with warping, twists, cups, or uneven surface you may spend more time on dressing than anticipated. To avoid this you can read tips on purchasing timber and how to check your boards.

pagePre-Purchase Checklist


When you come to the stage in your project when you start to glue up, it is important to know that glue must be left overnight to set and dry completely, before cleaning up the glue and sanding.

If your project requires multiple glue ups due to interlocking parts or limitations due to clamp placement, you must account for each step taking one day during the glueing up stage in your timeline.

Use the link below to read the step-by-step guide on how to correctly glue-up:



Finishing is similar to glue as most finishes usually require time overnight to dry depending on the ambient humidity and temperature for the first coat to dry. At the workshop we recommend applying a second coat of finish at minimum, which can then be followed by third or forth subsequent coasts if you are inclined.

Use the link below to read the step-by-step guide on putting a finish on your final piece:



Before embarking on your design process, it is important to know your budget to stick to. With projects in the workshop, without planing, it is easy for the cost of timber and other materials to get away from you. Luckily, if you use the resources available at the MSD Workshop, you do not have to include basic hardware, glue or finish into your budget, however you will have to buy your own timber.

All species of timber come with their own price tags depending on where they come from, how readily sourced they are, if they have been recycled, how long they take to grow etc. Use the link below to generate a cost estimate of the most popular timbers used in the workshop based on species, width and thickness calculated per linear meter:

pageTimber Cost Estimator

Experimentation and Failure

When designing and making, especially when you are still new and practising your skills, there will no doubt be times when you fail when trying new techniques. Be prepared to make mistakes and have to find creative ways to fix or alter your design when this happens.

The Workshop staff are here to support you when you make a mistake or get frustrated so do not hesitate to talk to them about your design strategies and new ways to approach your design.

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