poll: How do you select proportions for small projects

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 Christmas present.
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? Dead reckoning?
Curious minds need to know.
-Sometimes I wonder. Othertimes I'm sure -Zz "Zz Yzx" rhymes with "physics"; or " Isaacs" if you prefer. http://www.abandonedbutnotforgotten.com/zzyzx_road.htm
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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 there.
Doesn't mean that all my decisions are equally visually pleasing. But every piece -- even the egregious mistake -- is an equal learning opportunity.
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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.
Puckdropper
--
Make it to fit, don't make it fit.

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Zz Yzx:

I found the books by Franklin H. Gottshall helpful for this.
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Which books? Amazon lists 86.
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Lobby Dosser:

I think it was How to Design and Construct Period Furniture
There is quite a bit of discussion on proportions, layout, balance, etc.
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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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio
-- I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. --Duke Ellington
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Larry Jaques:

With furniture I would say the rule of thirds is more important.
Interesting looking books, I might pick them up sometime.
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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
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Larry Jaques:

I hadn't either until I read some books on furniture design.
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Proportion is everything visually but function and available materials trump. I design first for function, add proportion for looks and then buy what I need.
Dave
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On 1/17/2012 3:41 PM, Teamcasa wrote:

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.
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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 know it. 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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