WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Designing Furniture

Designing Furniture
by the Editors of Fine Woodworking

Taunton Press: 2004
paperback, 154 pp., $17.95
ISBN 1-56158-684-6

     This is another collection of articles in the new series "The New Best of Fine Woodworking," taken from recent issues of the magazine. Having all these articles published together creates an excellent one-volume text on furniture design. From experts Mario Rodriguez, Graham Blackburn, Roger Holms, Jim Tolpin, Garrett Hack, Craig Vandal Stevens, Christian Becksvoort and many other leaders in the field, this advice on what is and what is not effective design, is bound to make a better woodworker out of anyone who reads it.
     Details include creating working drawings, drafting, making models, and creating projects without plans. Michael Dunbar discusses the four objectives of furniture design, and specific design elements are covered by others, such as graduated drawers, large carcases, legs and feet, the impact of different edge treatments and styles of cabinet doors. Graham Blackburn has a long article on designing table legs, showing different styles of tapers and explaining what effects they give and the appropriateness of combining different elements.
     Specific styles are covered: Arts & Crafts, Greene & Greene and Shaker. One article advances design ideas by explaining how to go beyond simply square casework, to individualize a design with front curvature, a cornice below a tabletop, or an added plinth to raise a cabinet slightly above its base and feet. The process is outlined clearly, from what the designer wanted and why, to how it was achieved.
     The book is full of tips from master woodworkers. If you are into designing your own furniture, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. You can learn a great deal from those who have already wrestled with the problems and are willing to share their experience in this collection.

. . . Barb Siddiqui