If you want to get a project you’re building just right, you make a prototype in scrap or other material first. The purpose being that you can test measurements and joinery, ease of use, placement, etc. That way, when the real project’s done, it’ll function exactly as intended.
I’ve finally found time to do a project my daughter has requested, a display box for a nearly 300-year-old Bible. I’ve settled on a design and have milled the lumber, but before beginning construction I took an extra step to make getting it right easier. I made a prototype.
But here’s the thing: It’s not a prototype for the display box, but rather for the Bible itself. The dimensions of the box I’m making need to accommodate the Bible, but that’s just a simple matter of sizing the components accordingly. What I want is a true feel for just how the Bible will rest in that box, how it will look when it’s in place. I want a tactile and visual sense of how it fits, not just know I’ve allowed enough room for it.
I obviously can’t use the real Bible for that, so I built a “prototype” of it to its exact dimensions of 8-1/4" x 10-1/4", and 3-1/4" thick. Nothing fancy – some scrap pine, a piece of hardboard on the top, and some glue and brads. Essentially, it’s just an open wooden block the exact size as that Bible. But it will allow me to actually build the box around it, tweak what I’m doing as I go, and know that the result will be perfect.