There's a simple 3-step method for finding success when designing your woodworking projects… The rest is up to your imagination!
I was searching through my favorite websites this morning and found a great article by the Pop Wood Editors over at PopularWoodworking.com. We can spend a lot of time and energy designing furniture and projects just to find out that we missed a few things. It gets frustrating when projects don't turn out how we'd like and time and materials are wasted. Of course, there's the education we receive from such failures… but hopefully what we learn is that a great plan from the beginning leads to a great finished piece.
So this article is about 3 simple steps to take to turn an idea into the project you're really trying to build. If you're already a pro at designing your own plans then this article might be a bit basic, but I still believe something can be learned here. If you're not ready to design your own plans then you can get access to a huge variety of plans here. So let's explore these three steps:
- Function- What are you building? What parts does it have? For example if you're building a table, does it have drawers or shelves? What would the drawers or shelves be used for? How many? What is the table for? If its a dining table are there leaves? And so on…
- Dimensions- If you're designing a coffee table then how high is it? If there are drawers or shelves where are they placed? Etc…
- Style- Rounded corners or square? Decorative joints? What type of wood and finish? Is there a period style you'd like to model?
Here's what Popular Woodworking had to say about their approach to this Greene & Greene pantry shelf:
Design has always been one of my biggest challenges in woodworking. To be frank, I didn’t know how to create my own designs. I’m always amazed by the innovative designs of other woodworkers, but aside from copying, creating my own seemed beyond my capacity. How woudl I begin to create a vision? Where would I get ideas? And how might I create something that is coherent, makes sense, has “style”?
I started out with the functional requirements in mind: It needed shelves – about five seemed right, varied in height to fit different-sized cans and boxes. I wanted retaining rods to keep the goods from tumbling to the floor. It needed to be a size and shape that would fit on the back of my pantry door, its intended destination. With these features in hand, I had my functional objective.
Now for dimensions. I decided to use whole-number proportions, as advocated so convincingly by Jim Tolpin and George Walker. I settled on a 2:3 ratio for the main case: 24″ X 36″. I added top and bottom decorative rails, each 3″ high, as punctuation. This gave me the proportions for the piece.
Then, with the functions and shape established, I considered how to build in some style. I’ve always liked the harmony and freshness of the Greene & Greene style and decided to apply it. The Greene & Greene idiom includes many elements that are variably applied across its many exemplars. I chose to use some of the more familiar ones: reveals, cloudlifts, ebony plugs and inlays and finger joints.
Read the rest of the article at PopularWoodworking.com
Photo courtesy of PopularWoodworking.com