Fine-Tune Designs Before You Build
Follow drawings with mock-ups to give your furniture ideas shape and substance
Synopsis: Drawings and plans only get you so far when designing an original piece. To truly understand the form and proportions of a design, and to help you turn an idea into a functional piece of furniture, Gary Rogowski advises that you take the time to make a three-dimensional model from inexpensive materials. Whether you build a miniature mock-up out of scrap or a full-size model of cardboard or foamboard, this design tool will show you form, help you fix proportions, balance, and symmetry, and even help you decide the best way to build a piece. In the end, you’ll save time and money building the right design instead of one that may never feel quite right.
From Fine Woodworking #189
Woodworkers, as we all know, love to roar into a weekend project. They can then spend weeks or months on it, as we also know, only to find out one sad day that the finished piece doesn’t look quite right. It may in fact be a bit homely or ungainly. But didn’t those plans look promising? Didn’t that drawing seem right? You can avoid this dilemma with a simple and rewarding exercise: Build a scale model first. This is the advice I give my students; those who latch on to this technique never again build without it.
Don’t get me wrong: Drawings and plans, whether full- or partial-scale, are very useful. But adding a three-dimensional model made with ordinary shop tools and available materials will help you learn more. The model will show you form, help you fix proportions, balance, and symmetry, even help you think about the best way to build a piece. In the end, you can save a load of time and money building the right design instead of one that may never…