Design a Week – 26/52

On the last day of 2010, my final design to share is an angled frame:

I first flirted with this idea back in March, initially thinking of it as a picture frame. The more I look at it, the more I think of it as a decorative edging for a frame and panel section of some piece of modern furniture. I haven’t come up with the correct application yet, so I just have this frame. There is definitely attitude in this frame, a little aggressive, so it will need the perfect fit.

As I’m posting this on the final few minutes of 2010, let me take a few lines to reflect on this challenge. Obviously, failing to post 52 designs means I didn’t get to “a design a week.” By getting to 26, I did manage to post a new design every other week. For having never done any serious sketching in my life, I think it is quite the accomplishment despite not reaching the initial goal.

I want to thank everyone who has dropped in during this exercise. I couldn’t have made it this far without your encouragement, suggestions, and feedback. Make sure to check back for more crazy ideas, designs, and challenges in 2011. Happy New Year!

Design a Week – 19/52

I had planned one more entry for my round table series, but after several attempts at my last idea, I just can’t seem to make it work. Maybe I’ll revisit it at a later date. Moving on, I present a wood-crossed coffee table:

This table arose from a simple idea that got refined with every iteration.  Originally, it was a simple cross:

But it eventually made its way through several small changes before arriving at the first picture.

I felt like the original drawing was too bulky, so I added the inner cross to the center of the piece – as seen in sketch 1. After drawing it, it looked flimsy and would be a huge P.I.T.A. to build, because those inner squares are separate from the outer wings.  With those two thoughts in mind, I came up with sketch 2 – where I clipped the inner corners and widened the inner cross. I really like how that design balanced the piece, so much that it is the direction I went with the SketchUp drawing atop this post.  I drew sketch 3 to make sure that I hadn’t made a mistake making the inner cross wider. I just needed the visual confirmation to confirm my choice. Sketch 4 contains the same cross as sketch 2, but rather than straight edged wings, I’ve made them curved. My wife definitely likes that version best and I might as well. I thought about drawing #4 in SketchUp, but I felt that the straight edge piece would be easier (and quicker).  If nothing else, sketch 4 gives me some closure to the round table series.

Design a Week – 7/52

When I first started working on Briana’s crib, I was already thinking about this week’s design – a coffee table:

I’ve thought of a few possible variations on the details of this piece, perhaps adding keys to the mitres at the top of the legs. I’ve also envisioned a couple of different bandings of a third wood that wrap the legs and center cross pieces. Right now I see the frame being made of walnut with maple plywood for the panels. Maybe I should choose a more figured wood for the panels. It would be more distinctive, but would it be too busy?

I’d also like to put in a plug for SketchUp here; it’s the program I used to create this drawing, as well as the drawing for Week 1’s end table. I do actually plan on building this table and that task would have been ridiculouly more difficult, if not impossible, without having created this detailed of a drawing. If anyone is interested, I can post a picture of one of the tabletop sides and the crazy overlapping cuts/joinery contained in just that one component.

Design a Week – 1/52

I’ve been following Jamon Schlimgen blog over at The Drawing Boards for a few months now, so I was excited to see his commitment to designing something new every day of this year.  Interacting with something new each day has been a great mental exercise, not just for Jamon, but for myself as well.

Even outside of Jamon’s site, there has been plenty of encouragement within the woodworking blogging community around sketching up new ideas whenever the muse strikes. So in this spirit, I’ve decided to sketch on a regular basis.  I know I wouldn’t be able to maintain a daily batch of drawings, so I’m committing to something new each week. 

Here’s is my catch-up for Week 1 – a Compound Tapered Leg Side Table:

I got the flash of inspiration for this table while listening to Bob Rozaieski‘s podcast, Hand Tools & Techniques.  In Episode 12, Bob is building a story stick for a porringer top tea table. As he’s describing some of the dimensions, he talks about the height of the “knee” on the table leg. For some reason, hearing that work struck a chord within me and this table was the result.

I like the simplicity of this piece. It is all straight lines, yet it avoids looking like a box. Having the table top offset from shelf by 45 degrees also adds a dynamic element to the piece. If you wanted to spice it up, you could add an ogee profile or even a simple chamfer to the table top.  I think I’ll add this to the list of pieces I’d like to build.  Getting those multi-tapered legs cut will require a lot of thinking and planning to get right.

Bringing this idea to light was a  labor of love – I just could not manage to draw it 3-D by hand. Hopefully my drawing will improve over the course of this exercise and I won’t have to build everything in Sketch-Up!

If you are interested in starting your own sketching exercise and need a place to get exposure and feedback, check out Jamon’s new community design effort Furniture Design and submit your own designs!