Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
... is to draw the piece life size on 3mm MDF sheets. This may be done from different sides.
3mm MDF is cheap, plus it may be cut up for templates, such as ensuring the legs are the same shape, curves are transferred consistently, etc.
My preference for this is because it is quicker and I can visualise well enough from the drawing to get an accurate understanding of the changes needed. Changes are then easier - and again quicker - to make. I have neither the time nor the patience to build the piece a second time (that is, build a model first and then again in full scale).
Regards from Perth