# Today's top WW tip - furniture design

If you don't get Fine Woodworking magazine take yourself off to a store and buy the latest copy. It has a *great* article on furniture design that explains proportions and how to apply them better than anything I've ever seen. It is an absolute must have IMO. I'm going to make a copy to stick in my design notebook, just so it is there when I need it. What I've discovered is that my eye is pretty good. My designs that look right to me seem to fit the "ideal" mathematical model pretty closely.
Check it out.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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I would agree - great article.

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model pretty closely.
Tim,
Same here, but did you ever notice that when a customer "designs" their order it usually comes no where close to anything mathematical?
--
Rumpty

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Customer??? Oh, you mean SWMBO...yeah, her math is down pat!
About this big = 3ft Add a little here = add 1" That's not quite right = remove 1" Um...well... = dimensions are good, add Nutmeg! Looks good to me = the math is spot on!

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On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 18:34:57 -0500, "Rumpty"

Well, I don't deal with customers - there isn't a person alive who'd pay for what I make at this point - but I've seen a lot of "I designed it myself" stuff that makes me cringe, no matter how well it is put together. To my mind, good design is possibly even more important than good woodworking.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Boy howdy, do I agree! Design is _much_ harder than woodworking to my way of thinking, and I may be the biggest failure I know in that regard. I have yet to be pleased with anything I've designed thus far ... including what I am working on at the moment. I often get the feeling that I should've quit on those 2X4 projects back in high school.
I would think that prototypes are a must for good original design. Unfortunately I can rarely afford the luxury, in either materials, or time. I try to shortcut that with scale drawings as best I can, but still fall far short of what I consider pleasing.
I am going to go out this evening and pickup a copy of the magazine ... to go with the books I have on furniture design, which haven't helped thus far.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/23/03
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<snip>

time.
far
<snip>
It's amazing what you can build with cardboard and masking tape...have done it a few times now just to see how something will look once installed...
It's both cheap and fast....
Cheers -
Rob
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Robin Lee wrote:

That brings back memories!
I grew up very poor. All my Star Wars and other toys were made out of cardboard and masking tape. My AT-AT walked, my X-Wing's wings worked. I got a lot of mileage out of cardboard and masking tape. Occasionally, if I had been a very good boy, I'd get some duct tape too.
I still treasure duct tape to this day, and use it sparingly, as though it were extremely expensive.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan wrote:

My grandfather bought his ranch in South Dakota in 1927 or '28. He was one of the few that made it through the dust bowl & depression not losing everything. Until his dying day (1985 @ 85) he got the maximum distance from every single penny & nickle. He wasn't a miser -- in his later, prosperious years, if the right solution was a new tractor because welding on the old one the umpty-umpth time while crops needed to be harvested meant losing money -- the new tractor was delivered in the morning. But rest assured he got a good deal on the trade in. <g>
Yeah, I miss him.
-- Mark
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Silvan said:

Have you considered a duct tape and waxed cardboard workshop? <g>
As I kid, I played more with cardboard boxes than anything. I built rocket ships out of refrigerator boxes and wired them up with buttons, switches, lights and meters from discarded appliances and test equipment. Even had a two-way radio to talk to 'Mission Control'. Had a blast! Must have had a vivid imagination back then...
Greg G.
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Oh man! ... a cardboard tube was a rare find that could excite the imagination beyond belief. We also fought over Mom's empty wooden thread spools. With one of those, a popsicle stick, a rubber band, and a button, you could make a wind up gizmo that would walk across the yard on its own power ... with NO battery required ... can you imagine that?!
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/23/03
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Swingman said:

Man, what WILL they think of next...
I made those as well. But they wouldn't make it across the yard, too much grass. They wood <OT> scoot across the driveway nicely.
The kids I know today have no imagination, and short attention spans from TV and P.S. Wonder what they'll turn into as adults...
Greg G.
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Gen X wanna-bees.
--
Think thrice, measure twice and cut once.

Sanding is like paying taxes ... everyone has to do it, but it is
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Cardboard tubes are also great for driving dogs and cats crazy with funny voices. <G>
Barry
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Check out a book titled "Measure Twice Cut Once" By Jim Tolpin ISBN 1-55870-428-0. This book has more detail on the golden triangle not to mention all the other design criteria and layout techniques that goes into a good design.
I usually don't keep books in the shop (only as needed) but this one stays in the shop 24-7-365

of
yet
time.
far
far.
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Tim Douglass wrote:

I've designed almost everything I've ever built, and it's well-proportioned and pleasing to the eye, dammit, without ever reading anything about how to design stuff.
One thing, I almost never take measurements. It's all by eyeball to get the overall proportions, then everything built relative to that as needed. I rarely measure anything with a ruler, and my pieces wind up with dimensions like 13 17/64" or whatever.
Of course, I don't make case goods, tables, chairs and such either.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 20:16:48 -0500, Silvan

Eyeball is good. It is what I've done entirely so far, but most of my design is on paper due to lack of shop (still!), lack of time, lack of money. What intrigues me is that my idea of what looks good is confirmed mathematically, and that there is a system I can use to try to make something look right when my eye fails me.
Back when I did carpentry I built a lot of scaffolding. one of the tricks was to develop an eye for stresses and loads so that you could just look at it and tell if it would take the load. One reason why old buildings stood so well is that the engineering by eye called for much more strength than was really necessary.
Chair height is a good one to check your eye on. A chair that is even an inch high or low will look wrong to me.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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It was interesting to see that article. He teaches that same material as a 2 hour seminar at some of "The Woodworking Shows". I sat through the seminar in October at the show in Costa Mesa.
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The Minn. Woodworkers' Guild had Graham Blackburn for a two-day seminar in Minneapolis in November. It was great! In addition to the design rules, he covered a lot of other topics including the use of round and molding planes. On the strength of that I bought a few at an antique store in Austin, Texas -- I'm expecting them to arrive any day now.
Regards, Allen
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