# Golden Rectangle

Say i make an end table with a top 26 x 16 (golden). And it's 24" tall. How can the legs outer perimeter come close to golden when their outer width is about 23" and they NEED to be about 23" high. according to the formula, they could only be about 14 inches! I know this need not be EXACT, but that's not in the ballpark. BTW, the legs will be approx 2 1/4" square. What am I missing about conforming to pleasing proportions?
dave
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There's an article in the most recent Fine Woodworking about the Golden Rectangle. One of the points made in the article was that it's impossilbe to design a piece of furniture in complete conformity with the GR.
Try adding stretchers that leave 14" space between them and the top. Also, remember that the GR doesn't HAVE to be in landmark orientation; it can be in portrait orientation, too. Does that work with your dimensions?
LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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Not really. it's closer to square. I guess with the apron, that'll reduce the apparent square to a landscape rectangle.
dave
LRod wrote:

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The article in FWW is a total stretch by some Limey to try and get everything in life to fit some preconceived set of matematical rules [well at least furniture]....mjh
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Mike Hide wrote:

In defense of Graham Blackburn, the author of the article in question, he's fairly well credentialed - a prolific author (www.blackburnbooks.com), an extremely proficient neander, a pretty good teacher, engrossed in solid wood furniture making and fascinated by form and function - be it furniture, architecture or, I suspect, the female form, which includes many golden ratios BTW. And he draws most of the illustrations in his books.
To be a little sexist, Mother Nature has had a lot of time to come up with forms and proportions that work, and work well.(also stated as God don't make junk - but Ikea on the other hand...). Understanding the underlying principles of Her/His "designs" seems to be why we're here (see Bucky Fuller's Operation Manual, Space Ship Earth) - to figure out how and why things work and then use that knowledge to make the place a little nicer, or at least no worse, than we found it. The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Series and Fractals are just some of the insights humans have come up with for much of what forms occur in our universe. They're elegantly simple - a forte of "nature" and, to me, fascinating. When you can boil something that appears to be random and chaotic down to something clean and concise - E = mc^2, you've got a handle on understanding and using "nature's" approach to things.
Given the infinite range of height/width/depth relationships, why not use some relationships that have been codified as at least a starting point when you have no constraints in a design?
charlie b Extant Human (for the vocabulary builders - extant means old but still around as opposed to extinct - old and gone)
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there's that word again! "codified" Is that what you get from certain plates of seafood? Is it painful? :)
charlie b wrote:

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wrote:

e = mc^2 is far from clean - it's simply the expression of proportionality between our arbitrary human units for mass and a universe that really considers energy to be the important quantity.
e^( i * pi ) = -1
Now _that's_ pretty.
-- Smert' spamionam
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wrote:

That was a joke response, wasn't it? Hmmm.
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[well
I didn't read this article too closely, because I already got the presentation live. I don't know if he covered this in the article, but in his presentation, he clearly made the point that it's not the golden rectangle or any other specific rule that makes a design good. The real key to a good design is having a reason for each and every dimension (stomp, stomp, stomp). Applying the golden rectangle, where it's appropriate, has been demonstrated to result in well proportioned designs that are pleasing to the eye. But the idea is not to slavishly follow this rule.
Now... the quiz: What is the key to a good design?
Cheers, Eric
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The key to good design is in the eye of the beholder. If you look at enough pieces of whatever you are designing either in the flesh or pictures of superbe pieces then the brain will decide what pleases it. Another example is the common bow front chest, produced for the last couple of centuries and still to this day just as popular as the first day it was built, why ,because it is not only a functional, but a pleasing design to most of us.
A simple example in my case is a table with a tapered leg ,legs tapered on the inside and outside look clumsey whereas legs tapered on the inside only have a much more light and airy look .....after a while you look at pieces and some uplift the sensibilities whereas others jarr them .
In the case of furniture, design is one aspect .to end up with something good the design has to be good and be functional, the construction must be good and the finish also. mjh

key
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"Mike Hide" wrote in message

only
Well said ... I have one table, out of the dozens that I have built, that pleases me whenever I look at it.
It is simply a "table", as simple in its design as to be just past a board placed on top of legs, but it has a graceful inside taper on the legs from the bottom of the apron to the floor.
The best word to describe it is "elegant" ... as if a thousand lines of computer code were distilled into three, still performing the same function.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/02/04
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David Eisan knows a lot about it. Why not email him?
John
Bay Area Dave wrote:

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It is not math, nor science, but art that this is made of.
"Once you have truly understood - trees are once again trees, streams are once again streams - and, sometimes - a cigar is just a cigar."
Good Luck.
thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) (Real Email is tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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It sounds like you are trying to make the Golden Ratio match your image of the table you want to build, rather than matching your table to the Golden Ratio.

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Geoff, in the most simple terms I can use, I'm trying to determine if by using the golden ratio for the table top and given the fact that the height of the table must be 24", how can the legs conform to the rules? I'm missing some basic concept regarding the application of the golden ratio.
dave
Geoff Clark wrote:

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In this case, the chicken existed before the egg. The golden ratio exists as an ex post facto attempt at quantification regarding the pleasing nature of the form.
You are trying to put the formula prior to the eye. The a priori value is in the look - a posteriori justification is a concept that can exist as a codified check against the existant but can not determine its form prior to its existance.
In a previous post I asked you to look into the drawings of people such as Palladio, so that you might gain an inkling as to that which is pleasing to our enculturated eye. You rejected that approach. Now you are asking for a formulaic understanding of what is pleasing.
I would encourage you to go back to the Orders of Architecture, so that you can absorb that which is best in Western thought about the relationship of forms.
Look up Fibonacci Numbers. Look up The Golden Mean.
Better yet, since it is more visually organic, look at the buildings that please your eye. In my case this would include Classical, Neo-Classical, Federal and Georgian structures. Once you have come to a conclusion as to what you like, research the mathematical design underpinnings of those structures - trust me - they are there.
The values and relationships are not absolute. We are not mathematicians. We are not Aristotelians. We are Platonists in search of an Aristotelian shorthand to further our communication and the prediction of aesthetic acceptance - not excellence, since that is inspired.
A danger of the misapplication of the Golden Mean is that it can work well in two dimensions but not in the X axis. You can draw a nearly perfectly realized design that includes Golden Rectangles within a Golden Rectangle, and still have a beast of gross propertions when it is extruded into the 3D world that we are all forced to live in.
Furniture is sculpture. It must exist in three dimensions. The Golden Mean does not allow for mass - and mass is critical in furniture.
Engage and educate your eye. Find that which pleases you and then try to come to an understanding of what makes that possible.
It doesn't work the other way around.
Thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) (Real Email is tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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In your inimitable style, I can say that you've answered the question, Tom. The key is the x-axis issue and 3d. To paraphrase your post: using the golden ratio for a table top precludes using the same rule for placement and size of the legs when the height cannot for practical purposes be changed. If that's not what you intended feel free to correct me. (You used a couple of words that flummoxed me, but I got the gist of your ideas. Thanks!)
dave
Tom Watson wrote:

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You can also use the square and the double square along with the golden rectangle. Very common in the Renaissance. Your base is close to a square. -Jack
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Hi Tom,
I couldn't agree more with your post (the bits I understood anyway!). I had a discussion with Paully Rad on this topic and he started me off on the search for the holy grail ^H^H^H^H^H Golden Mean and Fibonacci Numbers. Whilst I found some good sources, and enjoyed the journey through a few hundred websites, I did not come across what *I* would call a 'definitive' reference.
Probably the most valuable research I did was into columns (amazing where these things pop up). Do you know of any comprehensive books on the subject?
I have not yet been able to obtain Joyce's work:
Joyce, Ernest. The Encyclopedia of Furniture Making ISBN 0806964413
Regards,
Greg
"Tom Watson" wrote... <snip>

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brought forth from the murky depths:
Poor Grogs cain't foind no copy o':

Wail, we's help him.
It's available from Amazon.com who charges \$6.99USD to ship all the way Down Unda.
Used for \$4.00, maybe he'll ship to AU. <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
http://www.biblioz.com/main.php can get them from here in the States for \$29-90. (out of print, seekbooks.com.au
http://www.collinsbooks.com.au/ and http://www.angusrobertson.com.au / both have it for \$47.41AU
Try some other sources: http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/resource/bookpub.html
Dymocks doesn't have it.
(Yes, I have too much time on my hands this morning whilst waiting for a client to call back.)
-------------------------------------------- Proud (occasional) maker of Hungarian Paper Towels. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
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