Hand Tools Archive

visual appeal is more than a mater of proportions

ian neuhaus
In an ideal world, a working drawing (or 'shop drawing') is the dividing line between the design stage and the making stage of a piece of work. There is no shortage of books and articles on the making of a piece of furniture, but there is far less published about the design phase, from the initial conception to the working drawing. In a book about design, what would further your understanding of the process or be of help in designing a project?

What do I think?

"Design" is the process of getting from an idea or nominated need to a rod or shop drawing.
Design includes the selection of the most appropriate joinery for the article. I know of only one reference which describes the joints most commonly used for different pieces of furniture.

Design is much more than selecting pleasing proportions and dimensions.

and design also includes ergonomics -- matching the users' stature and limitations to the purpose of the piece. Perhaps the simplest example of this is selecting an appropriate height for your workbench.

But perhaps the most important aspect of design is matching the visual and structural properties of wood species to the project. When to use something like white or red oak as opposed to cherry or maple. I'm sure we can all think of pieces constructed of white or red oak which which would look quite bland in maple or cherry.

perhaps bringing all the "design rules" into one place would be very useful.

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