WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Designing Your Own Furniture

Designing Your Own Furniture
by Jim Stack

Popular Woodworking Books: 2002
Paperback, 128 pp., $24.99
ISBN 1-55870-655-0

     From Jim Stack's introduction: "I hope this book will help furniture and cabinet makers learn the language of designing and building. After you've learned this language, you'll have your own voice." This book has been out for several years, but is still a fine introduction to furniture design, simply because the author's text leads the reader to think through the examples presented.
     It is not a book of high brow philosophy, nor is it a representation of historical development in different styles. It is a book teaching us how to see and interpret. Stack will give two examples of beautiful huntboards and challenge the reader to discover why they are different, examining the appeal of each type. He'll show a tall chest of drawers and ask that we picture it with solid panels instead of raised panel sides, with straight feet instead of ogees, and a flat top in place of the molded edge. With Stack's guidance, details take on a significance in reference to the whole, which is the basis of furniture design.
     The author discusses design considerations for beds, dressers, hutches, bookcases, media centers, tables, chairs, desks and wall cabinets. He shows how to create a drawing, make a materials list, and size from a photograph. He even has a section on small shops, discussing how work flow impacts your space and encouraging large projects by organizing the construction in managable parts.
     This is a practical design book full of examples, heavy on the emphasis of what is needed for attractive, functional furniture, and the whole idea is to allow each builder to develop their own vision.

. . . Barb Siddiqui