One of the most commonly asked questions that I get as a wood furniture designer is “what does your design process look like?” To be honest, there really isn’t a simple answer to this because I look at designing from two different angles: designing for my collection and designing for a client. Because of this, how I approach each type of project is markedly different.
When it comes to designing for my collection, I hesitate to even use the word process as to me it doesn’t truly resemble the word. I have a general idea of where I am going, but I do not get there by taking a straight line. I want it to be clear that it couldn’t be more opposite when I am working with a client. When designing with a client, I have a clear set of parameters that I am working within and a specific end product that I am working toward. That isn’t to say that designing for clients is less creative, but that my creativity has more direction.
Months ago, I promised you all a video of the new-to-me General 16" jointer at work. It has been set up and has been in use in my shop since I have gotten it, but, and thankfully I might add, because I had a very busy holiday season due to multiple orders, I have not had time before now to get footage of me using it. It is still not in its forever place in the shop, but if you recall, getting it to that spot is not only going to require rearranging the shop but also adding on a room to house my dust collector. This is not a project to undertake during winter in Colorado.
Creative Design Process
With day one of Woodworking I firmly tucked away and my boards happily glued together, I couldn’t wait to get back into the shop, but man....I had to wait an entire week before the class reconvened. But when it did, believe me when I tell you that days two and three of Woodworking I class went by in a blur, hence why they are getting combined into one telling.
I didn’t want to wait a week to start shaping my curly maple and walnut into my idea of the perfect side table. But wait...what was my idea of the perfect side table? Um…um…crumbs, I had no idea. No idea other than a side table that doesn’t wobble and can hold things without collapsing, I felt those are two very important table qualities. As for what my “perfect” side table looks like...that’s an excellent question. Guess I should try to sketch that out. Well, okay...here I go. To the drawing board!
A Piece of Functional Art
When you buy a piece of custom wood furniture, you aren’t just purchasing another piece of furniture; you are investing in a piece of functional art for your home. This isn’t just a buy it because “well, it fits” purchase to fill a space. It is a process, planning and searching until you find or help design exactly what you want. You are investing in a piece that fulfills your needs but also makes a statement and looks good while doing it. This piece is perfect in every way possible.
Woodworking Class - Proper Power Tool Use
Good Morning class! Here is your lumber and some giant power tools that could all easily remove your fingers and a lecture on the myriad of ways that you could do that. Oh gee!
Good thing I wasn’t already nervous about trying my hand at building custom wood furniture. Only joking...sort of...there really are over a hundred careless things that you could do that would result in the loss of finger or at least a really big boo boo. Good news is that I’m not undertaking this unsupervised, and Brian is there to tell us all exactly how not to do that.