Your opinion on my night stand design ?

Below is a working sketch of a "mission style" night stand I'll be making:
http://home.att.net/~slurban3/Photos/Nightstand-sketch-480.jpg
The bed will have slatted foot and headboards, hence the slats on the night stand. What bothers me is the side view: the panel covering the ends of the top drawer is larger than the bottom section, making it appear top-heavy, I think. Any opinions on this? The Stickley catalog shows a few stands, but with solid sides (Stickley pieces are a bit taller, and a bit wider, but same depth as mine). Not sure if I will leave the back open, or make it solid.
Thanks,
Scott
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"Scott" wrote in message

Looks like a damn good start to me. You might want to consider making the bottom rail on either side of the shelf just a little narrower in width. That will give you more taper on the legs and may offset some of your concerns when seen from a perspective other than a head on drawing.
On my website below (Projects Journal - Page 3 scroll to A&C End Table), is a (very) rough CAD drawing, along with the actual finished product (without the finish on it) that is almost identical to your design.
Might give you some ideas, as well as make you feel better about your design. :)
The table in question sits in the living room and does not look top heavy in the least. One of the things I've found with furniture is that your sense of proportion changes significantly when actually viewing a piece in a real life situation (i.e. from a standing or sitting position). When you view a drawing, you lose that real life perspective, which can really fool your eye.
A good example of this is an architectural drawing of the front elevation of a house. The actual roof line of the house, when seen from street level, can be vastly different from what you see on the drawing.
That's why prototyping in furniture design is so important ... I've been bitten by lack of that too many times to count.
Just some thoughts ...
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"Swingman" wrote in message news:...

of
a
One of the little, and most important "tricks" (design elements, or "things I've learned the hard way") I forgot to mention to address your particular worry.
Since you're worried about a "top heavy" look, try this: Increase the amount of overhang of the top on all four sides.
IOW, make your top a little wider/longer than you may have planned (however, not so as to get in the way of the drawer).
It's that simple ... just 1/2" more overhang of the top will make a big difference in proportion when viewing the table from a more human perspective.
Net result is that the top aprons now "look" smaller because the overhang masks some of their view, particularly on a low table like and end table.
A prototype will show this "effect" ... a drawing will not.
HTH
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On 28 Feb 2004 07:48:29 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote:
|Below is a working sketch of a "mission style" night stand I'll be |making: | |
http://home.att.net/~slurban3/Photos/Nightstand-sketch-480.jpg
| |The bed will have slatted foot and headboards, hence the slats on the |night stand. What bothers me is the side view: the panel covering the |ends of the top drawer is larger than the bottom section, making it |appear top-heavy, I think. Any opinions on this? The Stickley |catalog shows a few stands, but with solid sides (Stickley pieces are |a bit taller, and a bit wider, but same depth as mine). Not sure if I |will leave the back open, or make it solid.
I'm far from an artiste but you're doing something pretty close to my design for a living room end table. The difference being that mine is deeper that it is wide. Also, my drawer is sized to hold the remote controls for the TV, DVD, etc, so it's only 3 1/2" deep thus my side aprons are proportionally narrower too.
Breaking some from tradition, I also have 3" wide rails (or are they stretchers?) all the way around that will house the lower shelf and as yet I haven't decided whether to cut fair curves on the bottoms or not. I'm inclined not to for two reasons, 1) it's another chance to screw up, and I'm done otherwise and 2) I think that there is better balance between the apron width and the bottom rails without the curves. I'm probably wrong about this.
You might consider raising the shelf a bit which would allow for a longer taper on the legs and if you can, increase the overhang on the top. You could gain a little here by skinnying the legs down. I went to 1 1/2" overhang with the 3/4" thick top tapering to 5/8" over that distance.
I'd leave the back open if possible although in my bedroom there are enough telephone, clock and electric blanket wires hanging down so a back might be a good idea [g].
You might consider reducing the number of slats. This might give the illusion of greater depth. I used four 1 1/4" wide, spaced 1" edge-to-edge, centered in a 14" space and it looks pleasing to my eye. I dry fit the legs, rails and aprons and played with this for quite awhile before committing to cutting the mortises.
Have fun,
Wes
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I didn't do the whole golden rectangle thing but the design worked great for Sticley and the Green Brothers so it should work ok for you.
It's tough to tell about the side panel though. On the sketch it does seem a bit wide but then it also appears to be wider then is necessary to cover the drawer essentials and the drawer doesn't appear to be out of proportion.
If it really bothers you play around with it and the golden rectangle and see how close or far out you are.
--
Mike G.
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woods.net says...

As someone else suggested, build a prototype. It doesn't have to be fancy or use great joinery methods, just some hardboard, or use some poplar or other inexpensive hardwood. I did this for my last major project -- it showed me where the design would not fit in its intended environment as well as the paper drawings showed it would. After narrowing the design slightly on the prototype, the final design was set.
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"Mark & Juanita" wrote in message

I may have been the prototype advocate.
I make a good part of my income from music ... both live performance and recording. I see a strong analogy between furniture design/building and music performance, which may explain that, while I like and enjoy both woodworkers, I have a bit more respect for David J. Marks than for Norm as a woodworker, in the finest sense of the term.
_What_ the truly gifted musician hears in his head while playing coincides precisely with what the audience hears. What a lesser musician hears in his head while playing does not necessarily translate the same way to the audience.
I've walked out of many a live concert perfectly thrilled with what I played, but rarely have I ever walked out of the studio thrilled with what I heard on playback (what the audience hears) ... to me, the playback never has quite the same "feel", or proportion, that I intended.
Recording (fixing what you play into a form that can be played back and thus heard from the audience's perspective) is one of the best ways for a musician to become a better musician, and to ultimately make these two images coincide.
This same phenomon is analagous, IME, to furniture design.
It is very difficult for the un-gifted/un-trained to effect a furniture design that is well proportioned from all angles and in all situations. Some folks do it naturally, the rest of us have to work at it, mostly by playing back (building) what we hear/see, and then making adjustments "for the next time" in order for it to be closer to what we are playing/seeing in our heads.
What continually amazes me is the impact 'perspective' has on good design ... obviously, if I knew more about classical design, it wouldn't be so amazing (witness the reason for the slight curve on the sides of the Greek column). I also remember seeing statues of horses in Rome that were designed specifically to be seen from a great height .. viewed from the ground, where they now rest, they looked "out of proportion". IME, all the "goden rectangle design" advice is worthless without also taking perspective into consideration.
Thus the importance of the prototype for someone who wants to be the serious about their design chops ... something that you can walk around and view from as many different perspectives as possible, in order to tweak your design.
</soapbox>
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I don't think that slats are a given in order for them to match.

mmmmm... I dunno, I think I would use fewer, wider slats or close it in.

Here are a few pieces just to give you some different design views.
http://www.jmwgallery.com/furniture/fu16.html
http://www.treadwaygallery.com/ONLINECATALOGS/March2004/ACWEB/0038.jpg
http://www.treadwaygallery.com/ONLINECATALOGS/March2004/ACWEB/0039.jpg
http://www.treadwaygallery.com/ONLINECATALOGS/March2004/ACWEB/0042.jpg
http://www.ragoarts.com/onlinecats/09.21.03AC/602.jpg
http://www.bermangallery.com/inventory/detail.asp?id &11
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Hi Scott,
It's a bit hard to tell from your hand drawing, but are your hand drawn measurements in proportion to each other? Is your table top 1/4 as thick as your drawer? I'm sure they are, but just checking. Not to brag, but I have a pretty good sense of visual balance and such (I'm very good at leveling a painting without a level) and the side panel looks lower than the front of the drawer in your drawing. In fact, when I just put a straight edge up to my computer screen to comfirm my thoughts it's true. It's about an "inch" lower, while the top and legs are about even in both views. In fact, the bottom of the two tops are a little off too which will add to the height of the side panel.
Even though your drawing is very good, it's a rough from a drafting standpoint. If you have access to a good CAD program (like TurboCAD, AutoCAD, etc.) technical drawing program like Micrografx Designer (what I use)...now called Corel Designer, Illustration program (CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator or Freehand), or maybe even a page layout program like Pagemaker...something that has rulers and grids and can snap to the grid points when you want to will help a lot in keeping your drawings proportional. If you don't have any of these programs you can use gridded drafting paper and a pencil....and an eraser. :-)
If you correct these "mistakes" and the table still looks too top heavy you could shorten the height of the drawer by another 1/2" to an 1".
Also, I think the table is a little too wide. As is it looks a little squat. I think narrowing the width of the table from 22" to maybe 21" - 20" or even 19" might give it better overall balance. Or, you could deepen the table from 17" to maybe 19" and increase the height a bit from 24" to maybe 26". The legs *might* be a bit thick at 2". Try another drawing with legs 1 3/4" or 1 1/2" thick.
I agree with the others in that building a prototype might help...especially when building large pieces or pieces that must fit in a particular space. You could build a very simple and easy 1:1 or 1:2 model out of cheap corrugated cardboard.
Of course these are all just thoughts...take them or leave them. :-)
Hope this helps in some way,
Layne
On 28 Feb 2004 07:48:29 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote:

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Layne <> wrote in message

Yes.
Yes, the top is 1", and the drawer is 4"

drawing.
It is. I wanted to be sure the bottom hardware slider will not be visible from the side, so the upper side panel extends 1/2" below the drawer bottom. Having said that, I am thinking the hardware will actually sit higher than originally though, so I may scooch the side panel up 1/2", which will help alot. Also, there is no reason I cannot add 1/2" to the bottom panel. As it is, the shelf will sit 1/2" below the top of the lower panel; changing it to a 1" offset probably won't hurt a thing.

This is a "working sketch", something I use to remind me that the top goes on top, and the legs go up and down. Gives me an initial sense of what the balance will be too. The rest of the details bounce around in my head . . .
;>)

For reference, mine is 4" narrower than most Stickley night stands. However, I am thinking of making mine 25" high, not 24." This is because the bed I will make will be slightly taller than the present bed. Also, in doing so, the width-to-height ratio of my stand will be the same as the Stickley's (not that Stickley knows anything about furniture, but they make good starting points. ;>)

I went though this with my recent coffee table. I made a set of legs that were 1 3/4, and they looked too spindly with a 1" top, so I went to 2" (see below links):
http://home.att.net/~slurban3/Photos/Coffee-table4-480.jpg
http://home.att.net/~slurban3/Photos/Coffee-table5-480.jpg

I tend to sit and stare at the woodpile, then I make a rough sketch, then I sit and stare some more. Sometimes I'll ask for opinions, or look at the works of others. Eventually I come to terms and begin chopping. Probably be faster to make a prototype, but I have never been motivated to do so . . .

Thanks!
Scott
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Hi Scott,
I like the general design of your night stand. Along the same lines, I built an end table that closely resembles your design. You might want to take a look as it may help with the proportions. Woodsmith design from issue 127 <http://store.yahoo.com/plansnow/misend.html
There's several design elements I like about this end table you might want to consider incorporating into your night stand (BTW, except for the drawer all wood is QSWO). -- the top, 3/4" think with a 1/16" chamfer on the top edge, with a bevel on the bottom. It gives the top a lighter appearance. -- I deviated from the plans by making splats (not spindles, not slats) rather than spindles for the sides, the finished product can be seen at: <http://www.public.iastate.edu/~darwin/end_table/ -- The legs are 11/2" nearly everything is MT, top has those figure eight fasteners, drawer is DT 1/2 hard maple sides with QSWO front. -- the drawer if I remember is right at 3 inches tall, with 3/4" strip at the top and bottom.
I agree with your assessment of the tall sides looking top heavy. I would make the top shorter keep the bottom as they are and consider adding the same (bottom) design to the front and back. The end table has a cleat screwed in the bottom of the lower shelf, and into the front stringer to center the shelf.
You asked about keeping the back open or not -- I personally think with this style, it looks better to have it open. I think it may look odd to have slats on the 3 sides....but then again it's your call.
I dry fitt everything to the point where it every joint would seat with out being clamped. I stained, and finished prior to assembly, and would do it again in a heart beat. Drop me a line if you need any additional details...
I just got an email that the Woodsmith store will be having a free design seminar with the Creative Director Ted Kralicek @ 630 on Thursday (3/4/04) @ the store if you're in the Des Moines Iowa area...
Good luck...
Darwin

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