Turning Archive 2005

Designing with Triangles? *PIC*

Keith Tompkins
>I teach wood turning at a well known craft school as well as Woodcraft, and also give turning demos. A major topic that comes up is woodturning design.

We all want to turn attractive pieces, yet we all not all blessed with the same set of design skills. It is challenging(to put it mildly) to come up with a meaningful way to teach design elements, especially when many students have no background on the subject at all. Here is a new one I have recently come up with.

I mention the golden rectangle and the golden triangle as design guides, and show how they can be applied to turning.

A golden triangle is formed by drawing a pentagon, then connecting the intersecting points.....you end up with a five-sided star pattern made up of several triangles. A closer examination reveals that the golden triangles can be divided into two right-angle triangles....

This is where it gets interesting....If I draw ANY right triangle (a triangle with one 90 degree angle) and create a mirror image of it, as in the first drawing, a new triangle is created. This can be used in designing a bowl.

The second drawing shows a shallow bowl form that fits within the drawn triangle...notice how the size of the foot is automatically configured.

The third drawing shows a deeper bowl, using a different right triangle as a starting point. It also fits within the triangle, and the foot size is created also...I have now drawn page after page of these triangle-derived bowl forms, and all have a very pleasing form.....have I perhaps stumbled on a new way of designing a bowl?

A bit of a survey: Does this seem like a good way to "see" and learn bowl turning design to you? does this seem like a good way to teach ( or learn) bowl design? Would this make a good article? Does this seem too "contrived" for your taste, reducing an art form to a basic formula? Would a turning video based on this and similar ideas be viable?

Thanks for your input in advance and sorry for the hand-drawn sketch, Keith

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