I have very limited make-up room lately so I generally have been
making small projects: keepsake boxes, tea safes, jewelry boxes and
the like. I've settled on a fine dice tower for my oldest daughter's
The Q: How much attention to proportion do you guys/gals pay when
making small projects? What determines your L:W:H ratios? The golden
ratio? The double cube? Root-of-2 box? 3:2:1 box? Available stock?
Curious minds need to know.
-Sometimes I wonder. Othertimes I'm sure
"Zz Yzx" rhymes with "physics"; or " Isaacs" if you prefer.
Generally, I go with whatever feels right, particularly if it's a small
item using materials at hand.
Larger projects start with some commonly accepted dimension -- seat
height, table height (coffee, work, dining...), or similar, and go from
Doesn't mean that all my decisions are equally visually pleasing. But
every piece -- even the egregious mistake -- is an equal learning
I build things to perform a task. The proportions are a secondary or
even tertiary consideration. Physical constraints play the majority of
the role in determing a project's size. Once the constraints are known,
the project can be designed.
The eye is the final judge of proportion and size. While many common
proportions are a good starting point, one may find doing something
unusual gives the best results. Draw it before you build and let your
eye be the judge. After all, it already is.
I have http://goo.gl/TrdPI and it was pretty good. I think I might buy
Graves' book http://goo.gl/4HAXs today, instead.
One of the key ideas is the Golden Ratio, the Fibonacci series.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
I've always used that in photographic composition but hadn't
considered it for furniture design. Food for thought.
So many books, so little time...but without TV, lots more time.
I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during
my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Count Diodati, 1807
The old Sears catalog was really good about giving you the dimensions of
almost anything from a king size bed to a tiny jewelry box. It sure
gave you a normal, common, usual, time-tested point of beginning.
I tend to adhere to the Form-Follows-Function school's way of
thinking. When a piece of wood-grain forces you to follow 'its'
function instead, art is born. When proportions are right, to you, you
What mathematician is going to tell me what looks good to my eye?
What 'rules' did the Stickley's follow? Ellis used 'rules'?
The great designers made what THEY thought was nice to look at. We, as
observers have the right not to like it, but can it ever be called
'wrong' because we don't like something?
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