Sunday, January 31, 2010

No. 31 Rest and Let's Talk -Stool Week

Two stools again today. Or maybe it's four. No, definitely two. These stools share more similarities than past pairs, however they too are totally different.


 Top: I call this stool "Rest" because it has a foot rest (just blew your mind didn't I). I would probably use maple or ash but it is pretty universal so any wood would do.
Bottom: This stool is called "Let's Talk:". The design encourages social interaction and is well suited to public spaces, galleries, etc. Wood species could be almost anything.

Grab a pencil, some paper and start drawing your own stools. After you're done share them with the rest of us at

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No. 30 Tall and Short Stools -Stool Week

Today we have two stools on representing opposite ends of the form spectrum. One flat and square the other round and duplexinvertconic (yeah its a word, and if it isn't it should be).

Top: Utilitarian and modern, this stool showcases it's joinery and is proud of it's "basic" label. Made in any wood species,though walnut does come to mind first.
Bottom: The almost-but-not-quite-hourglass turned shape of this stool is further decorated by top to bottom carved coves. Made from maple or similar tight grained, light toned wood.

Grab a pencil, some paper and start drawing your own stools. After you're done share them with the rest of us at

Friday, January 29, 2010

No. 29 Couple of Stools -Stool Week

     This post kicks off Stool Week. Seven days, seven different stools, well, except today there are two. Anyway, it is also the first day of the new short format. This change will allow me to continue doing this without it consuming too much of my day. It goes like this: six short posts then a seventh, expanded post to end the week.
     These two stools are not related in any way, I just felt like posting them together. The top stool might be best suited as a table or bar stool. The bottom stool might be better suited as a table.

Top: I see it in cherry though any wood would be just fine. The legs need a little work and I might lower the stretchers.
Bottom: I would probable use ash or white oak for this. I'd either leave it natural with no finish, or ebonize it.  

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No. 28 Circular Vanity -Reader Idea Week

     This post marks the end of Reader Idea Week. I want to thank all those who submitted their ideas, even if they were not picked for sketching.    
     Here on the final day of the week I find myself a little conflicted. When I announced this idea I had very high hopes for the experience I would gain and the body of work that would result. The fact of the matter is that I am rather disappointed with the work, and have more experience than I bargained for. Let me explain.
     The ideas were unique and perfectly suited to this challenge. My mindset on the other hand was not. Choosing and sketching an idea at random has been the norm in this process, however when there are people on the other end of those ideas, my brain ceases normal function. Rather than taking an idea as just that, my normally obsessive nature kicks into hyper-drive. In addition to considering the task in detail, my mind begins to take into account the expectations and needs (real or imagined) of the person who submitted the idea. This is one of the services that I get paid for in the real world, but it is not very productive in a quick sketch exercise. This one little thing stained an otherwise fun idea, yet escaped my full attention until this last sketch was complete. Now I know, and I'll be working on it in the future. If I can get it under control, I'll try this Reader Idea Week again.
     Terrie Hall (@terriehall) wrote "I'd like to see a cabinet/vanity with 2 sinks to fit into it that sits into a half circle wall." After contacting Terrie, an Interior Designer in Colorado, I found that she had a some very specific cabinets in mind. She shared her plans for a bathroom renovation that she is in the midst of, telling me she was still open to ideas. After looking over and considering her plans I realized that her design was the best for the space and that anything I would change essentially offered less utility and would severely disrupt the atmosphere that she had created in the room. Therefor, I abandoned the specific idea in favor of the general one that she had originally submitted.
     With time ticking away, my brain nowhere to be found and my weakest technical skill ahead (perspective drawing in the round), I sketched out the best version of a circular vanity I could come up with at the time. (Reading this post through at this point I have to admire my wonderful sales technique). Though not complete rubbish, this design would need some serious revision before one could even think about producing it.

     All in all I am happy with what I have learned and experienced this week. I just wish I had some more impressive drawings to go along with all that knowledge. Tune in tomorrow for a new week, a new theme and a tweaked format. 

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No. 27 Toy Box -Reader Idea Week

     Scott Meek got another shot at telling me what to sketch. Last time it was a Japanese Inspired Jewelry Box, which I knew precious little about. This time however, he asked for a Toy Box which, having two girls under the age of eight, I know a thing or two about (though I have never built them one so don't tell them about this, OK).
     I chose to go floral with this piece. Daisy-ish to be specific. The petals and center part of the flower (ovary) are hinged and lift for access to the box's contents. The box would not be fully round, but flattened at the back to allow for hinges and enabling it to be located nearer a wall. The box should be painted with Milk Paint.

This was another short post but tomorrows will more than make up for two short ones in a row. (And if not I'll just come back and edit this out)

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No. 26 Round Drawer, Square Case

     Steve Taylor is back as the idea man for today's sketch. His idea was simple: Rounded drawer front(s) on an otherwise square case. Warning: Simple Concept = Short Blog Post.
     Talking to Steve later, he assured me that he would be content with either a case of drawers or an end table. I have not drawn an end table on this blog to date so that is what I chose to do. This is a very basic interpretation. I literally sketched an end table and put a rounded drawer front on it. The only modification to the rest of the design is relief of the top to allow space for the top of the drawer.

So, that's it. Um. Thanks for dropping by and we'll see you tomorrow then? (Gosh this is awkward)

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Monday, January 25, 2010

No. 25 Bombe Chest ... on Crack -Reader Idea Week

     I was going to title today's post "45 degrees" as Steve Taylor had called it when he submitted the idea; but after finishing the sketch I didn't feel that it was quite adequate. Before we go there though, lets look at Steve's idea, in his own words: "45 degrees - A piece of furniture that prominently features parts that aren't orthogonal to horizontal or vertical."
     After much frantic sketching and mind changing I decided to update (probably not the right word) a classic: The Bombe Chest. It's elegance and fluid lines seemed to scream to me "enough already, I need some angles". So I obliged.

     I am going to preempt the comments of "is that in perspective?" or "how many vanishing points does that have, like 100?" or whatever by saying, "let he/she who has posted a better sketch on FD throw the first comment". While I'm on the preemptive path, let me assure all of you Chippendale lovers (of which I most certainly am one) that this is merely a fun exercise and not, in any way, meant to insult or diminish the beauty of its inspiration. 

     Aside from that, all I would say about this piece is that it was crazy to think up, crazy to draw and would be equally crazy to build.

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No. 24 Hanging Entertainment Center -Reader Idea Week

     Hanging Entertainment Center is the idea submitted by Ken Weinert, his second in this series. The basic reasoning behind his request was that entertainment centers have been a staple for years, yet remain relatively unchanged despite the growing popularity flat panel TV's. A hanging cabinet to go with a hanging TV makes perfect sense.
     I have to admit that this sketch suffers from two problems: a mind with too many ideas and a day with too few hours. This, nonetheless, is the result.
     The piece consists of three elements; a top display shelf, two vertical "supports" and the main cabinet. The top shelf can be used for storage of speakers or decorative items, but also serves to supply overhead lighting to surfaces below. The "supports" are little more than hollow pieces for routing necessary wires. The main cabinet has three sliding doors. The doors conceal components in the upper half of the cabinet, and drawers for CD/DVD storage in the lower half. To give the bottom of the cabinet a finished look I added "interlocking timbers" which also tie into the vertical pieces. This base also conceals an infrared receiver allowing components to be used with the cabinet doors closed.

As I suspect will be the case with all the reader ideas, I wish I had more time to devote to this worthy concept.

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

No. 23 Japanese Inspired Jewelry Box -Reader Idea Week

     Today's idea comes from Scott Meek. It was one of a few ideas that he submitted and was short and to the point: Japanese Inspired Jewelry Box. Knowing very little about Japanese culture, architecture and craft I set out to do as much research as I could in the spare time I had in one day. Obviously I was only able to scratch the very outer layer of this deep and rich culture in such a short time, which was a real confidence builder for this exercise (sarcasm, in case you missed it). I have been meaning to do more research into Asian and specifically Japanese craft for some time so thank you Scott for getting me started.
     Due to my lack of confidence in this area I tried my hand at two different designs, though I fear they are both so generic that they may qualify somewhere in the category of bad tourist gifts. The first box is very heavily based on a traditional Japanese gate called a torii. When I say "very heavily based on" I mean I basically copied it and turned it into a box. This was not meant as an easy way out, but rather as a sign of admiration to a form that I find very beautiful. The second box is taken from many of the common themes and forms found in Japanese architecture.

To Scott: I hope I have adequately represented your idea.
To those who know and love Japanese tradition: I hope I have not offended you.
     This idea has forced on me the whole basis of this 365 Project: explore beyond what you are familiar and comfortable with. I only wish I had had more time to learn before attempting this particular idea. As I learn more about this subject I may revisit this exercise and see how that knowledge influences the design.

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Friday, January 22, 2010

No. 22 Recycling Cabinet -Reader Idea Week

     Here we are at the start of week four. This week is Reader Idea Week. In short: I asked for ideas, you supplied them, now I'm going to sketch them.
     A little aside here regarding the format of this blog. I can whip out sketches in minutes but writing these posts is a serious time drain. I am no writer and though I fully believe that practice improves ability, I do not have the luxury of time to do it right now. Therefor, starting next week I am going to cut the writing portions of each days post to the bare bones. The closing day of each week will see an expanded post that deals with lessons, details, or what have you. This format change will not effect comments. Feel free to leave comments and I will answer any questions that are posted there.
     Today's idea came from Ken Weinert. Ken wrote: "Since I have something specific in mind, I'm interested in your take on it (if my idea gets chosen.) A recycling cabinet. Requirements: a place for newspapers, a place for cardboard, a place for miscellaneous stuff (cans, glass, etc.)".
     Speaking to Ken later he mentioned the idea of having a single piece that could be easily adapted to it's environment: garage or utility room, to kitchen. With that in mind, the details and construction methods can be easily changed to make this design suitable for almost any environment or decor.
     Three sliding panel doors conceal three plastic trash cans (without the lids, though the design could be changed to accommodate them). The cabinet top is split and hinged making disposal of cans etc. easy when in a hurry. The trash cans alone could hold the required materials, but I have also included lower drawers for the newspaper or any related supplies. The top two sketches were to establish the style and layout, while the mid sketches are to scale, to ensure that everything fits. The bottom sketch is a scale drawing of the side with the dotted line representing the trash cans, drawers, etc. as well as the top/lid operation.

So there you have the first reader idea. What do you think? Have I met the requirements? I would love to hear you thoughts.

NOTE: See what Ken had in mind when he submitted the idea (I like his better, much more functional and realistic).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No. 21 Toppled Dresser -Bedroom Cases Week

     Getting this post out late today, but sick kids and other commitments are greater priorities, so it is what it is. There are a few things to cover before we talk about today's design, so lets dig in.
     First, I want to thank Matt Kenney, Associate Editor at Fine Woodworking Magazine, who mentioned this blog, as well as my newly started Furniture Design Community Blog, on FWW's website today. I really do appreciate it Matt, many thanks. As a result of this I'm sure I have a few new readers today, and I want to thank you for stopping by and encourage you to join the growing community over at the FDC Blog. We would love to see what is in your sketch books and on your minds.
     This is day 21 of 365 which means that, in addition to being less than one percent of the way through this challenge (keeping things in perspective), we are at the end of week three, and moving into week four: Reader Submission Week. The premise is simple: you share ideas for furniture that you would like me to draw and I pick seven at random go to work. I announced the winners last night on Twitter and will list them here as well.
          Ken Weinert- Recycling Cabinet 1/22
          Scott Meek- Japanese Inspired Jewelry Box 1/23
          Ken Weinert- Hanging Entertainment Center 1/24
          Steve Tayler- 45 degrees 1/25
          Steve Tayler- Round Drawer Fronts/Square Case 1/26
          Scott Meek- Toy Box 1/27
          Terrie Hall- Circular Vanity 1/28

     That is that. Now to the Toppled Dresser. This being the last post of Bedroom Cases Week, I wanted to end  it on a different note, with some fun. A little lesson this one taught me was if an idea is worth my time, take the time it is worth. Because I am constantly drawing to feed this blog, I will often hurry through certain designs or parts there of. I am OK with that. This blog and exercise are about creativity and new ideas not perfect drawings. However when something really clicks I need to slow down and follow it through. After I finished the perspective on this drawing, I stepped back and realized that I had badly misrepresented the piece. Instead of scanning and posting with an "oops" note (which I have done...recently) I erased and started again, and I'm very glad that I did.
     I'm not sure of wood selection for this dresser, but I think the design and playfulness would work better in a lighter variety (just my opinion). I think the piece speaks for itself so I won't say another word about it.

The Good: I like the order in the chaos. One molding profile repeated in the top, base, feet and pulls. The drawers, if put together, would fit to make a full case. Just like the vibe of it too.
The Bad: Not sure I can criticize a piece designed for fun (but please don't let that stop you from doing so).

Don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No. 20 Chest on Stand -Bedroom Cases

     Today's piece is very minimalist and the write up will be as well.
     This piece basically consists of two half blind dovetailed boxes, a couple of drawers and four legs. This configuration could easily be modified to suit specific needs by simply swapping the legs with longer/shorter versions or getting rid of them entirely. The only attempt at cleverness in this piece is as follows. The sides of the lower box are the same thickness as the legs. The inside width of the top box is the same as the dimension between the legs, creating a common vertical line from the base through the top. The upper box sides are 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the legs. All of the horizontal members share the same thickness.
     The only curvature in this piece comes from the drawer pulls. Concave ovals are carved into the drawer fronts and a slightly tapered horizontal rectangle is inset (see detail). The wood should be quartered ash on all but the horizontal pulls which should be English oak.

The Good: I really like this piece...
The Bad : my head because what I put down on paper is rubbish! The problem, as I examine the train wreck, is that my proportions fell apart. They are just about right in the front and side views but the perspective seems not to have been paying attention. ...(looking deeper)...OK found it: somebody (I will not name names here) squeezed the width out of it. Oh well, better luck next 345 times.

REMINDER: I'll be selecting the winning reader idea submissions tonight (Jan. 20) at 8:15 pm est live on Twitter if anybody cares to follow along. I will post all the winners tomorrow and the first sketch will roll out Friday.

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No. 19 Armoire -Bedroom Cases Week

     This design came from a moment of inspiration at 1:45am. It was at that time that I decided to see what I could design in a 15 minute stretch of time. This is the result of the exercise:

     The exercise was very helpful and brought out a few themes that I developed a little further and transferred into today's design. The contrasting case to frame and legs creates an interesting visual. The negative space created by slightly longer legs and "horns" at the top adds to the vertical thrust of the piece. The pulls, though a little busy with the added "rat tail", add to the simple elegance of the piece overall.
     When I transferred these elements to today's work they divided and two related, but distinct pieces were born. The case in both examples is identical (by unmeasured, hand drawn standards). The upper armoire grew a base which is more natural in form then the suspended architectural feel that I had intended. The bottom armoire is a simple modification of the top case from the exercise. I envision both cases made with flame birch veneer for the case, doors and drawer and dark, straight grained wood (quartered walnut, ebony or wenge) for the frame and legs. The pulls are hand made hammered bronze. The sides/legs of the case do have a slight taper.

The Good: You know I love contrast so this piece is working for me on that level. The simple lines and vertical lift are very pleasing to my eye as well. Kinda loving the pulls too, but...
The Bad: ...they don't work as I have them drawn on the doors. The only other thing is that, given more time, I would bring the base of the upper armoire closer the what I had in my head: more rigid/angular than the organic feel it presently has.

Today is the last day to get your ideas in for reader submission week. Submit your ideas here. I'll be selecting the winning submissions tomorrow at 8:15 pm est live on Twitter if anybody cares to follow along. I will post all the winners the following day and the first sketch will roll out Friday.
(Insider info: those ideas that are not selected will go back into the drawing for future reader submission weeks)

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs and join the community over at

Monday, January 18, 2010

No. 18 Contemporary Chest of Drawers -Bedroom Cases Week

     I have spoiled you reader. I want to apologize for that. The last few days have featured so much writing that I fear you have become dependent on "words" rather than "sketches", the very essence of this blog. Secondarily, the aforementioned writing causes me untold anxiety and consumptive thoughts of inadequacy, knowing that I cannot maintain the "quality" nor sheer volume I have established as the archetype. This ends now. From this point on, short and sweet is the name of this game. No more fancy word play. No more clever prose to describe what perfectly adequate pictures illustrate in a fraction of the time and space. Oh, don't even get me started on time and space...Sorry. Back to topic. From here on out, as a great Philosopher once wisely stated: just the facts.
     Looking at this piece I just had the realization that the diamond shape of the legs was the first form I learned to draw in perspective. OK that was technically a fact, but not the kind I was talking about. Aside from the leg shape this case is pretty self explanatory. The only thing out of the ordinary are the continuous pulls, not because they are new to my designs (I have used similar pulls in recent designs), but because they are offset from center on the outer drawer banks. Combined with the center drawer pulls and horizontal drawer dividers they create a subtle grid work pattern.

The Good: This is a solid design. It is functional. Unique without being flashy. Stable but not overweight.
The Bad: The details. It always comes down to the details. Breadboard ends? Thickness of top/legs/bottom rail, etc. etc.. Not "Bad" per se just unfinished, unresolved.

There is only one more day to get your ideas in for reader submission week. Submit your ideas here.

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs over at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No. 17 Ladder Drawers -Bedroom Cases Week

     Working in a single category for a week. I wasn't convinced at first, and to be fair I'm only three days in, but I think I like it. I don't think I would do it every week, however two weeks a month seems reasonable. We'll see.
      Teaching Moment: This design started in one direction, turned ninety degrees and flew off. This is not uncommon for me (can't speak for anyone else), but rather than crop the other starts out as I usually do, I left them. I thought that showing my process, unedited, might be helpful to someone out there. If you just start drawing, eventually something will stick and you can run with it.
      This piece is definitely not from your traditional bedroom suite, which is a plus in my book. Some might argue that it's function is compromised by it's design, at least for use in a bedroom. I agree completely. This is probably not where you would keep your sweaters. However, for the right items, this chest would provide a unique storage solution. The frame has a ladder effect on the sides, a feature I have been waiting for the right piece to use. The case is fastened to the frame with leather straps. The bottom shelf can be used for display. The leather element continues through its use as drawer pulls. Like yesterday's piece I don't really have a feel for wood selection. The only thought is that the dark brown leather should be accentuated by contrasting with a lighter wood species.

The Good: I love the mix of wood and leather. Don't ask me why, just one of those things. I like the honest, elemental feel of this piece. It brings bamboo fastened with reeds in some tropical local to mind (my mind at least).
The Bad: While I liked the shape of the bottom shelf in the front view I'm not crazy about it in the perspective. It may be a bad rendering, but it may need to be reworked, or perhaps made flat. This is where full scale drawings and models helps the design process.

There are only two more days to get your ideas in for reader submission week. Submit your ideas here.

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs over at

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No. 16 Ladies Dresser -Bedroom Cases Week

     The title of this post and piece has to do with the size and overall style, not an assumption that only women would/should use this dresser. Disclaimer out of the way, lets move along, shall we.
     This piece is a classic 90/10. I had 90% of the piece done in 10% of the time but that last 10% took, well, 90% of the time. The 10% in this case was the base and feet. I think I must have drawn ten versions with at least two variations each. The design has the feel of an 18th or 19th century piece. After all the concave front of this piece is the exact opposite of a serpentine, reverse serpentine or Bombay chest of drawers so a direct comparison is inevitable. My point is that they are all geometric alterations to a basic, square form.
     The two top levels have three drawers each. Petite outer drawers flank the long center and serve as storage for more delicate items. The three bottom drawers run the length of the case for full storage. I could see this piece being made in almost any wood species, but I don't really have a feel for any particular one right now. The rest should be pretty obvious.

The Good: The overall shape of the piece is very appealing to me. Not traditional, but derived from tradition. Not contemporary but having an unmistakably modern feel. I like it.
The Bad: Though they took the longest to work through, I am still not entirely satisfied with the base and feet. The curvature is very specific and even a little deviation makes the whole piece seem a little off. I would spend more time concentrating on them if this piece were to go to production.

There are only three more days to get your ideas in for reader submission week. Submit your ideas here.

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs over at

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15 Bedroom Closet or Drawers or Case or Something. -Bedroom Cases Week

      Hello readers, guess what today is? Nope... No... Close... Almost...YES! It is the beginning of week three! (BTW I'm not really clairvoyant, I was just guessing that it took you five guesses to get it, but I was right...right?)
     Week three snuck (sneaked) up on you didn't it. Trust me you're not alone. In fact, in my unrealization(TM), I goofed terribly. I had said last week that I planned on drawing pieces from the same category all this week. However, when I chose today's category I thought I was choosing for today alone, as part of last week. What to do, what to do? After much soul searching and review of the rule book I have decided that today's category will be adopted as this week's category.
     This week's category will be: Bedroom Cases. To begin the week I submit an oddity. A hybrid. A circus freak if you like. Not wanting to draw your standard, run of the mill case of drawers, I threw in a few doors, two panels and a couple more doors, with mirrors. The idea is a slightly altered chest of drawers that integrates closet doors. The effect is a clean wardrobe-looking-thing when closed and a fairly standard looking case when open. The doors have mirrored panels on the inside that can be positioned for optimal looking-at-ones-self. If you happen to be Medusa or a Vampire, the hinges allow the doors to fold away nearly flat against the sides of the case. I have included two sketches which are identical aside from a variation to the base.


The Good: Innovation is good. I'm not entirely convinced that this is innovation though. I like where this is headed, but it still has a long way to go.
The Bad: Two sketches. Two bases. Not fond of either.

Next week is reader submission week and I have yet to receive enough ideas to make it to day three, let alone choose seven at random. Snap to it people! Just kidding. Kinda. Submit here.

Also, don't forget to submit your own designs over at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No. 14 Simple Dining Room Table

     I learn something new everyday doing these drawings/posts, and I'm pretty excited to see the knowledge I will have picked up by the end of this little endeavor. Today's lesson: you can't always draw what you want, or, you can't force it.
     I had originally set out to draw a dining room table (the category randomly selected by my eldest daughter) with sculptural legs, something resembling swaying tall grass. Guess what? That's not what is pictured below. What happened? Furthermore,what do I extrapolate from this? Am I incapable of drawing a piece like that? Here is what it demonstrated to me. Creativity is a force. It is vast ocean that we carry around with us everywhere we go and in every situation that we find ourselves. The problem is, with me at least, that we can't make it produce what we want when we demand it to. Can I draw the piece I had originally set out to? I have no doubt that I can, and still may, I just couldn't do it in the breif time allotted by this exercise. One day I may have time to sit down and really think the thing through. More than likely though, (again in my experience) I will be thinking of, or drawing something completely different and that table will just show up, ready to put down on paper. My point? I find that with enough time to work through ideas our creativity will deliver. However, there are times when an idea just needs more time to percolate. We, as creative people (and you are a creative person by nature of being "a person"), need to learn the difference and allow it to happen. We will be abundantly happier with the results, than if we try to force it.
     Well, lesson over. So what did I end up drawing? A much simpler, cleaner sculptural table. After I drew the table I began thinking of the materials I would use to make it and how it would be finished. A quick point here. Sometimes I start with a very specific material in mind for a project and others it is simple about the design and the appropriate material presents itself. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I originally thought, and still do, that this table would look great in black walnut. Then I came across this table by Mathias Hahn, and the idea shifted a little. Instead of, or maybe in addition to, a one-off walnut table, have a very small production run of six tables. The first set of three tables would be made of walnut, left natural on top with a white lacquer finish on the legs, sides and underside. The second set of three made in exactly the same manor, using maple and black lacquer instead. Just an idea.

The Good: Like the clean lines and flowing feel.
The Bad: Overall proportions could stand to be tweaked a little.

Enjoy this blog? Start drawing your own designs and summit them to, the new web community devoted exclusively to furniture design.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No. 13 Contemporary Hutch

     Today's post was a little hurried because I spent a good portion of yesterday putting the last little pieces together for a new and different kind of woodworking resource: .Many of you who follow me on Twitter got the first notice of this new web site last night. For the rest of you I'll take a moment to explain. This 365 Project has, among many other things, shown to me that there are people out there who want to create their own designs but, for a few basic reasons, do not. There is no place for these people to go to get the confidence and learn the few simple steps to succeed at designing furniture. I felt a need to do what I could to help. This site is more than that though, because furniture design is more than just instruction, it's about inspiration. To that end the site is also a gallery for all work including professional designer/makers. It is my hope that this site will empower the unsure, bring the best out of the "pros" and elevated furniture design as a whole (lofty, yeah, but shoot for the stars right?). Read the " About"section of the site for more details.
     So, back to the design for today. My youngest daughter picked the category from the hat, and pulled Dining Room Cases. Having done a traditional sideboard on day 9 I decided to do a contemporary hutch today. This hutch follows the overall layout and proportions of a classic example with one exception: the upper case is connected to the lower via shared legs rather than as a separate case sitting on top of the lower. The upper doors feature glass panels for display while the bottoms are solid wood. I see this piece constructed in a single wood species. The wood should either be very straight grained but more likely quartersawn. As to light or dark wood, I could see it working in either.

The Good: I really do like the proportions and feel of this cabinet. The thing would be quite large, because hutches by nature are, but the leg system lightens the whole piece. Visually of course. This thing is still a beast.

The Bad: What is up with that perspective! That front leg looks all sorts of funky. It's a good thing for me this is a sketch and idea blog and not a gallery of fine works. Aside from that I'm not sure about the pulls. I like them, but would like to tweak them a little.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No. 12 Media Cabinet With Legs

     I have had my wife choose the categories from the hat for the last few posts. She's way hotter than Vanna and my hope was that chance would think so too and bring more variety to this exercise. It has worked out pretty well, but chance couldn't resist presenting me my old nemesis : Media Cabinet. But I'm a bigger man that I was last week and I have finally reconciled the fact that with chance you've gotta take the bad with the good, so lets draw a media cabinet. What I hadn't thought of until this very moment is that the same category does not the same style dictate. So not only is this a media cabinet, it is a contemporary media cabinet. Sorry about that.
     Well, after such an exuberant and exciting introduction to this obviously amazing piece of furniture, why don't we take a look. I started with the legs and worked my way up and in (wow, that sounded like a romance novel. Not that I would know what that...never mind). The case features component storage space on top whose door pivots up and slides into the cabinet. The center drawer is for CD/DVD storage, and the bottom space is like the top but swings down. This cabinet would look best with a lighter wood for the cabinet and dark wood for the legs, rails and door/drawer pull.

The Good: This is a simple but, I think, stately piece. Very functional in it's utility, and beautiful in an understated way.
The Bad: The only thing that comes to mind is a little more graceful treatment for the tops of the legs. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

No. 11 Contemporary Tabench

     No, I did not misspell the title. As you probably guessed its a table and bench combined (think picnic table, but slightly classier...not that a picnic table isn't classy, whatever, I digress). This is one of those "that is a crazy thought, I wonder if that would work" kind of things. Dining table was the category for today and I was trying to think of something out of the ordinary and wouldn't you know this is what came out. Design for for designs sake so to speak. OK, how many of you are asking "is he stalling?" Yes. I am. This thing has been an enigma to me. From its first popping into my head, to the SketchUp work, to this very writing, so I'm still trying to get my barrings.
     Here is the rundown: Its a basic table whose two ply wide side aprons fold down to turn into a bench, hinged at the leg and supported by hinged, flip down pieces from the outer layer of the apron. Though I'm almost sure that wasn't a thousand words, I think a picture would be helpful right about now.

The Good: It's a table that has benches built in, need I say more? In all seriousness I think this idea has legs (horrible pun, I apologize). It needs much more thought and tweaking to get the hinging and other considerations resolved, but this would definitely be a fun one to work through.
The Bad: I think that this design is too rudimentary to really point out flaws, however I certainly do not feel that it is without them.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

No 10 Arts & Craftsish Nightstand

     OMG (best way ever to start a post, right) crazy day, but it is still today so I'm still in good shape as far as this project is concerned.
     Today for you scrutiny I offer up an arts and crafts inspired nightstand with a twist. The overall feel and details are unmistakably A&C but I envision it built in a tight grained wood with roughed exterior surfaces looking similar to bandsaw marks. The finish is kind of hard to explain but is basically a white paintedish/whitewashedish/distressedish surface. The closest I can think of is Michael Hurwitz's Kiyo-mizu plant stand.

The Good: I had a rough time sketching this bad boy in anything resembling 3D (that's a good thing? Bear with me). In all but the 3D I like the detail of the top which appears to float, inset in the interlocked truss work. Through tenons have always appealed to me, and their presence here adds to the A&C aesthetic and breaks up an otherwise bland side. I think the finish treatment (sort of) described above would, in my mind, give the sturdy stand a slightly lighter feel, an interesting contrast.
The Bad: I wish I had had more time to devote to drawing this piece. I think that the top and it's details deserve a better treatment.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

No. 9 Traditional Sideboard

     My fingers still ache from yesterdays post, so today's will be short (have I mentioned I am not the worlds greatest writer?) The bulk of my designs of late have been on the contemporary side so I decided to go traditional with this post and when "Dining Room Cases" came up as today's category it seemed a good fit. A little on the French side, the design has lots of veneer work and stringing.

The Good: I like sideboards a lot. I remember an article in Fine Woodworking a number of years ago, the author escapes me at the moment, that talked about how a sideboards basic layout made a great canvas to be painted beautifully in nearly any style. I have to agree. Rather than Mahogany or Walnut crotch veneer for the door panels and drawer fronts, I think a straight grained light wood in a herringbone pattern adds a little update without completely disrespecting the heritage. In fact I see this sideboard as a negative of the traditional color scheme with light primary woods and dark stringing and accents. Simple pulls as well. Nothing ornate or extravagant.
The Bad: I must confess I sort of ran out of time with this one and had to hurry though it. As a result there are some unresolved issues. The first is the front. Is the center drawer bank stepped out an inch or two or on plane with the sides. Next, do the two middle drawers remain deeper than the top and bottom or should they be equal (I kind of like them the way they are).

Friday, January 8, 2010

No. 8 Modern Lounge Chair

     This post is the first of week two...of fifty-two. This should be a piece of cake. As I mentioned yesterday I'm going to take a little space here to talk about this project and what I have learned after one full week of the process. If you couldn't care less, just scroll down to the design, I won't be offended. In fact I won't even know (Google Analytics is good but not that good).
     First I want to give a little background on this "1 day, 1 design" project, as I just sort of threw it out there without any notice or explanation. The reason for that is really quite simple: I hadn't thought of the idea until December 30 nor committed to doing it until the next day. In a way, I was just as unaware as everyone else. So why make such a commitment with almost no forethought and no publicity (I have yet to inform my Facebook fans about this exercise)? Because I had to. You know when you just know you need to do something? 2009 was probably the worst year of my life on many levels, but I came though it with greater clarity of my life and everything in it and a resolve to change those things that needed to be changed. This exercise was a way to change a few of those things, so I grabbed a hold and jumped.
     So, how has this past week changed my designing? Overall, it has made sitting down and drawing a piece much easier and more natural. The exercise has completely taken the pressure off, contrary to what I would have imagined. There is, of course, a little pressure in having to draw and post something new each day, but the actual thought and drawing process feels free and is fairly easy. Knowing there will be a new drawing tomorrow has opened up the creative doors and built confidence. In one short week I have also stumbled on a format and process that works very well for me most of the time. While this will develop or maybe change completely over time, having a set process allows me to focus on the design rather than all the things involved in staging and laying it out on the page, etc.
     My plan for the next few weeks is still developing, but at this point I will stick with the current format for this week. Next week will be seven designs from a single category. Week four will be reader request week. You can make suggestions starting today, and they can be as general to insanely specific as you wish. I will gather all the ideas and, assuming I get more than seven, have a random selection on  Wednesday, January 20th. The selection will be accompanied by much pomp and circumstance and may even be broadcast live! Have your requests in by the 19th and tell me if you want your name mentioned or would prefer to remain anonymous. Just follow this link to the request form.
     One more note then on to the design. Some of my fellow woodworkers have expressed interest in beginning regular design/post endeavors of their own, but don't want step on my toes. I think it is a great idea. Go crazy. After seeing what is has done for me I encourage you to do something in this area. As little or as much as you can, but jump in and do it!
     I think this is such a good idea, that I am in the process of creating a community site exclusively for anyone who wants to contribute their designs, either as a primary posting source or as a secondary source to a regular blog, as I would do. More to come on this, but if you are at all interested let me know.

     (A moment to catch my breath)

     Now to today's post. The category is Lounge Seating and I decided to go with a lounge chair. I have read that chairs are the most daunting projects for most woodworkers and while I don't know if that is true, I do know I have a lot of trouble drawing them. The side view of a chair is usually it's good side. The straight on front view often looks flat at best and downright ugly at worst. And the 3D perspective can easily turn into something out of a Picasso painting.
     With all that said I am getting better. Not good yet, but better. This chair has the feel and shares some characteristics with those produced during the mid 1900's. I imagine this one in walnut with natural, off white canvas secured to the frame with wire or some high strength string.

The Good: To me the chair looks pretty comfortable, which is kind of important in a lounge chair. I think the color scheme would be striking, but not too bold. I have always liked cantilevered designs, though making them work and sturdy can be challenging.
The Bad: After looking at the finished rendering, I think that all the pieces of the frame could stand to be narrower and slightly thicker.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No. 7 Mixed Wood Desk

     Desks/Home Office. That's what was printed on the half folded paper. He thought a moment, the laboring of long dormant regions of his mind present in his pained expression. Desks/Home Office. That's what the paper said.
     Sorry, you caught me working on my novella, which coincidentally is loosely based on today's randomly drawn assignment. It's technically more of a short story I guess, really short, that excerpt is the story.
     Anyway, moving along. Obviously the post today is desks or other office furniture, so given the choice, I jumped on the desk. Well, not literally. I had an idea going, something sleek, modern, a high gloss, jet black kinda thing. The idea really blossomed when I was working on the firewood pile. I came accross a beautiful debarked tree branch and it all came together: contrast. Jet black gloss lacquer, Walnut drawer faces and a debarked tree limb. Mix them all together and what do you get? Maybe this:

The Good: I have always been a fan of fusing the industrial and the natural. The desk is great for work because the sleek, minimalist nature demands organization while the tree limb brings the relaxing, therapeutic qualities of the outdoors.
The Bad: The desk would most like need to be tethered to a wall. The connection between the desk top and tree limb would likely be too weak to support a freestanding desk.

This is the last post for week one of my little project. Tomorrow I'll write a little about what has happened in one short week and briefly discuss my plans in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No. 6 Hall Table & Bonus

     I want to start this post today with a heartfelt thank you to Adam King for the honor of mentioning me and my little project on his amazing blog The Woodworker's Journey . I know many of you are already familiar with Adam as he referred the greatest number of visitors to this site yesterday. For those who don't know Adam let me say a few words about him. Adam is a gifted Designer/Maker of high end Japanese influenced furniture. More than that though, he is a teacher, committed to helping those in the woodworking community, novice to pro, meet and increase their expectations of themselves, their abilities and ,as a result, the work they produce. From the day I met Adam, less than a year ago on Twitter, he has been an invaluable source of inspiration, knowledge and encouragement. Thank you for everything Adam.
     I would also like to thank all those who commented on yesterdays post, or any post for that matter. Your comments, suggestions, and ideas are very helpful. And a special shout out to Steven Taylor or Torch02 as he is know around the internet, who has been a faithful reader almost from day one and even added me to his blogroll on his home on the web  (Spoiler alert: the end of this post is special just for you Steve).
     Now on to the topic at hand. Yesterday morning after finishing the last post I reached into the hat and pulled out "Occasional Table". If you have been reading the blog for while you know that I have this thing for hall tables, so of course, that is were my mind drifted first. I had the basis for today's design almost immediately, but wanted to give myself the day to think about something other than a hall table. Yesterday happened to be the last day of a project however, and I didn't get home until 9pm. Therefor I present you a hurried version of the design that initially entered my cranium.

The Good: I really like the intersection of the curved of the bottom stretcher. I would like to develop this idea further. I'm not sure that will happen, but this will certainly influence some future designs.
The Bad: Not necessarily a "bad" but there are a lot of unresolved issues here that would need to be worked out before producing it.


Torch02 posted a very nice comment yesterday. At least it started out that way:

      "Instead of what piece to design, perhaps you can alternate the style of a piece or series of pieces?"

An excellent idea. I have been pondering this and may very well do a few weeks this way.

But then he got a little snarky:

        "Maybe something without curves? Without (visible) right angles? Without your favorite pagoda-style hat ;-)

Well Sir I tired my best, what do you think? (Bonus: as a coffee table it also fits the category requirement for today)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No. 5 Contemporary Media Cabinet....AGAIN

     So here's the story. Yesterday morning, as a postscript to the new design post, I asked for some input and ideas for keeping the "1 day, 1 design" project fresh and interesting. The response? A resounding, nay deafening, sound of cricket chirps (you know, like in the movies when nobody says anything -AT ALL- and all you hear are crickets? Yeah just like that). Anyway, having been utterly abandoned, I found myself in the regrettable position of trying to come up with some great idea on my own. The result soon became clear, or maybe it was the first thing I thought of, I can't remember, but either way it was this: write a bunch of furniture categories down on pieces of paper, place said paper into a hat and blindly remove one. Seems like a reasonable solution right? Trust chance to lead my way. Easy, right? Wrong. Chance sucks! The piece of paper read: Media Cabinets-AGIAN! After having just the day before, apologized for doing back to back posts on media cabinets, another media cabinet! What are the odds? (My wife just surmised that perhaps Chance was protesting our modern world's obsession with media - yeah she's crazy)
     Well chance, EAT IT! I have taken your challenge and emerged victorious! Behold, a media cabinet...again...for the third time...

The Good: The Sweet Smell Of Victory! and alternated doors/drawers. The configuration of the doors and drawers actually came from another design on the same piece of paper, but you will never see it. The longer I look at this thing the more I want to build it. Somebody please pay me $9,000 to build this! I'll even let you keep it.
The Bad: I'm sure they is something wrong somewhere, but I'm not seeing it at the moment, so I'll have to get back to you. (Wait...OK, the bad is that the earlier "crazy wife" comment has landed me on the couch for the night).

Monday, January 4, 2010

No. 4 - Contemporary Cabinet

     Today we have another cabinet (give me a break, tomorrow may be a chair I don't know, I'm still getting used to this you know). The wife asked to start thinking about a new storage solution for our media and players and this is what I started drawing.
     The overall feel of the cabinet is airy and light, yet steady and solid. The main cabinet began as most do, with a rectangle in a ratio that looks "right" to me. I chose to make a double door though a single may be better on such a narrow cabinet. The base is reminiscent of one attached to a portable throne or daybed carried by slaves during Ancient Egyptian, Roman or whatever times. The multiple levels, building up the base, add to the sturdy feel, while the negative space between each level preserves the light quality. The door panels would be made of textile (I love burlap for something like this) or paper, rather than wood, to add a little variety to the design. The details below are for the door pull which would be different if a single door were used.

The Good: I love this base and will definitely use this on some piece. Like the overall look of the cabinet but would definitely tweak some of the details.
The Bad: The doors should probably be made a single, and the pull needs to be reworked, though changing the door would eliminate this pull anyway. I love deep overhangs but this one may have too many. I'm still on the fence on that one.

     PS: In reference to the "two cabinets in a row" thing, I was thinking of scheduling a set type of furniture for each day (Table Tuesdays, etc.) to ease my mind and keep things different. What do you think? Also, what pieces would you like to see designed? I have a feeling that I'm going to hit a few walls along the way and your input would certainly help.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

No. 3 - Low or Media Cabinet

     Day three of "1 day, 1 design" and I'm lovin' it (do I owe someone money for saying that?). As I have mentioned before I am (usually) a realist, so I understand that these warm fuzzy feelings may someday be replaced with "WHAT THE F*%#, I JUST DID ONE OF THOSE STUPID SKETCHES YESTERDAY!!!", but until that day, I will bask in my little bit of sunshine. This design just "came" to me, which usually means that I will be looking though some book or magazine later this week and realize that I've totally ripped this off from someone else, but until then it's mine (sunshine).
     Not much of a story here I just started with a rectangle, drew the legs of the base and filled the rest out. The first version (top left) found me trying to carry the cut out in the base through the cabinet and failing miserably. The second (top right) version was resolved enough, in my mind, to warrant a better rendering.
     Wood selection would probably be European Beech or quarter sawn Maple for the cabinet and Walnut, Wenge or Ebony for the base and pulls.

The Good: Always a big fan of sliding doors, so there's that. The base is reminiscent of a few I have used before and has a sturdy but not overly heavy feel to it. The circle between the drawers adds interest but I'm not sure what it would look like in detail.
The Bad: Like I said, the final version looks pretty good to my eye, but that first version, not so much. That is part of the appeal here though, throwing stuff out there, nixing the bad and developing the good.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No. 2 Girls Computer Desk

     Today's post is one of those designs that will be produced, though probably not exactly as it appears here and now. As part of the plans for this year I need to make a desk that my daughters can use for school work. The idea is to have a rectangular desk with drawers on each narrow end, and a third drawer on the long front. The sides will be used for general book work, and pencils, etc. will be stored in the drawers. The front will have a computer monitor on top of the desk and a keyboard housed in the pull-out drawer front. The girls will sit next to each other and work/play games on the computer, because I don't think they have enough opportunities to argue as it is.
     The overall measurements and feel are as I want them but the curvature of the legs and the details of the pulls will come as I'm building. I will try to post as I proceed through the build on this one so check out the shop blog in the next few weeks to get updates.

The Good: I like the feel and proportions and that really doesn't matter because they are dictated by the space anyway.
The Bad: The legs need to be slightly thinner at the base, to my eye.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The First of 365

     OK, first things first: Happy New Year!
     A new year, a new outlook, new goals, new everything. What does this mean for my little blog? I'm glad you asked. Wendell Castle, a designer/artist I greatly admire, once said that one of the disciplines in his career has been to spend a set amount of time drawing each day. This simple idea has always been one of those things that "I should do" but never stuck with. Until today. From now on, every day a new post, a new design. "And if you miss a day?" Well thank you for asking. I am a realist (usually), therefor I have a plan for those days when life prevents me from posting. If I miss a day the next will have two designs, and if I know I will not be able to post for some reason I will try to post ahead of time.
     Enough set up, here is the first design of this experimental exercise thingy. Enjoy and for gosh sakes keep me honest, if I miss a post let me hear about it!

The Good: The overall design of this jewelry cabinet on stand is very appealing to me, and at over 200 hand cut dovetails for the drawers this thing would be a workout and a joy to build.
The Bad: I think the base and a few small details need to be worked out before this piece could be built.