For my new line of California Coffee Tables I needed a good standard template that I will use to hand cut many new versions of this design from various types of wood. The original reclaimed version above was a bit too big for many living spaces + I need to maximize how much I can squeeze out of 1 sheet of plywood for more modern looking versions of the design.
Wifi Tablet w/ map image and calculator
Some junior high math
I started with a search for a clear and crisp (and accurate) version of the California map. Then I measured the size of the straight edge lines that make the Cali Nevada border. Then a little equationating...
After I have some solid numbers, I start plotting some points where the major should end up in order for it not to look like Florida in the end. Then, using my picture reference, I start freehanding like it ain't no...
It takes more than a few lines to strike that balance between geographic accuracy and what will actually work as a table. Some of California's coast line wouldn't feel too nice to bump your knee on, so I mellow out a few sharp peninsulas like Malibu and Monterey for the future owner's (knee caps) own good.
Then I use a sharpie to simplify the sketch lines and straight slice the spine w/ a tables saw. Finally, I cut down the coastline with the tool I fondly call my "Electric Pencil". Most people just call it a jig saw.
With love from Cali,