For a rule to be a good rule - it has to have
at least one exception. Kelly Johnson, who
used Seymore Butts on his secret missions
airline tickets, is suely an exception to the rules.
Anyone whose job is in The Skunk Works HAS
to be an exception - to probably EVERY rule.
I think there is a mix. Numerous like the "doing" and planning, others
groove on the result. I like the result.
A. Something simple = no plans
B. Something more complex = "plans"
1. Get a mental picture of desired result.
2. Get yellow legal pad
3. Doodle the parts, not to scale, and dimension same
4. Doodle as necessary how the parts will attach to each other
5. Cut parts
6. Join parts
As craftsmen, we all know that the best tools fit well and easily in the
hand. Sketchup is in this category. After a surprisingly short learning
curve, the tool becomes transparent. Compellingly simple is a good
description. Many of us have found that we can replace your step 2 above
with "Start SketchUp", and also delete the "not to scale" part. Where the
pencil was once suitably facile at doodling, I find now that it fails by
echoing too closely my faulty imagination and distorted sense of
proportions. (At the same time, "compellingly simple" quickly becomes
"frustratingly simplistic" when you start to wander far from the blocky
shapes that works so well. Which is just as welll. Much of what I would
undertake to build in the woodshop are of blocky shapes.)
I'm learning SketchUp this week and am impressed. However, I can't help but
think about what industrialization (and manufacturing) did to furniture
Is SketchUp users going to encourage "blocky shapes" on its clients? That
may the likes of SketchUp induce a subtle affect much like that of
Just a thought.
There's little danger, IMHO, that your taste in design will suddenly change
to match the tool. If that turns out to be the case, however, you will have
answered your own question: the engineer will accept the limitations of his
tools and environment while the artist will hold true to the ideal and its
exprssion. I was cutting 4-square blocky shapes on the tablesaw, planer, and
jointer long before Sketchup imposed its blocky world. If your taste is
toward free flowing faired curves inspired by and gracefully echoing the
figure and grain of carefully selected timbers, I doubt any design tool can
replace the touchy-feely eyeballs- and hands-on approach. Sketchup or other
CAD can still be the better pencil by overlaying a photo of the grain on the
part, but I would be very surprised to find that person comfortable with an
elaborate design process. I think that's the short answer: Sketchup appeals
to the engineer within. We are satisfied with the design when the
artist-within cringes only minimally at the outcome.
The common aesthetic of furniture and furnishings is dominated by straight
lines. I don't find this to be at odds with an artistic bent. Efficient and
appropriate use of material is itself an art.
As with any tool, only to the neophyte.
"Tools" certainly do influence the outcome of specific tasks, and
therefore influence the collection of tasks that make up a piece.
"Materials" do the same, arguably to an even greater extent.
That said, it is the artistry with which both are wielded that takes a
project out of the ordinary ... take a look at some Michelangelo for an
On Sun, 11 Oct 2009 08:48:18 -0500, the infamous Swingman
And the artiste makes up the last third. Some can do extraordinary
work with the cheapest and worst tools, or the worst materials, so the
artistic bent can be stronger than a third.
Old Mikey? (See sig for comment.)
* Michelangelo would have made ** Website Programming
* better time with a roller. ** http://diversify.com
I am neither, my method of building is to work out a design
mentally and when I think I have all the major points worked
out in my head, I start cutting and assembling. The details
just seem to work their self out as I go along.
I usually pick one or two functions of the piece at hand and
work out the sizing and proportions from there, this works
great for free standing furniture.
I tend to lean toward the utilitarian side and the designs aren't
overly complex to begin with.
My method of working has it downside of course, it will fail
miserably with kitchen cabinets, DAMHIKT.
There are places where planning and drawing it out is
essential to success.
Even on small run production items I will build one to the point of
dry assembly, knock it down and then make my patterns and
jigs. I dislike repetitive work, after about ten of something it
quits being fun and becomes labor and I avoid this kind of
work unless I'm trying to make a few quick $.
I have a love hate relationship with sketchup(damn does anyone know
how to turn off the snap to midpoint), but the hate part is
lessening the more I learn about SU, Goodluck.
Neither artist nor engineer. Ham-fisted amateur would be close to the truth.
My growing up years were spent on a farm, - we were taught to use whatever
we had available to construct something we needed, whether it be from wood
or steel. Function took precedence over form.
Still does for me.
I think those early years helped me to attain the ability to visualise a
number of ways to construct things with regard to what I have at hand, -
ultimately selecting one and building it.
I have never drawn up plans for anything. Doubtless there are those who
would say that the appearance of my work makes that quite apparent : )
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.