Results from the 2017 Wall Shelf Build-Off

Well, the ballots have been tallied and that means it's time to award some prizes.  Although there were not as many entries as I had hoped for, the shelves built were well-constructed, innovative, and certainly well made considering the two day time limit. This made it tough for judges to decide which shelf was the … Continue reading Results from the 2017 Wall Shelf Build-Off

The Maker, the Buyer, and the User

As a creator (in my case, of designs, artwork, furniture and writing primarily), it is necessary to understand to whom one is accountable. The maker doesn't want it, the buyer doesn't use it, and the user doesn't know they're using it. What is the object? This classic riddle illustrates the difference between three types of … Continue reading The Maker, the Buyer, and the User

Sketching to Develop Wall Shelf Ideas

With two weeks before the Wall Shelf Build-Off, I spent some time this afternoon working on design ideas. I filled three pages of sketches with a variety of designs. When sketching, I like to use pen and don't spend more than half a minute on each. I use the sketches to help me figure out what I … Continue reading Sketching to Develop Wall Shelf Ideas

Designing a Wall Shelf – Mounting Options

For a wall shelf, the best place to start is at the beginning - the wall. How will the shelf be mounted to the wall? Perhaps the biggest challenge in designing a successful wall shelf is attaching it to the wall strongly enough to support it and whatever it supports. The method of attachment will … Continue reading Designing a Wall Shelf – Mounting Options

Understanding Material and Joint Strength

Guaranteed Success Can Be Bad Being scared of failing can steer us towards taking extra precautions to better the odds of success. It makes perfect sense, but it’s a shame because when things are over-designed and over-built, we often do not have the opportunity to observe the actual strengths of the components involved. Understand the Materials, … Continue reading Understanding Material and Joint Strength

Butternut & Ash Side Table

I recently completed this small side table and it has already become a much-appreciated addition to the home. With a table top about 10" x 18", it has proven itself to be compact yet stable, and suitably sized to hold a book, or a dinner plate and drinking glass.   Followers of my blog may recognize … Continue reading Butternut & Ash Side Table

Responsibility of the End User: Reflections on Skeletal Ash Chair

The Skeletal Chair at my desk is my favourite seat in the house. I designed and built this chair three years ago and it has been in regular use ever since. It is comfortable and ergonomic, allowing me to lean side to side or forward, or pivot and turn on the front leg. It is … Continue reading Responsibility of the End User: Reflections on Skeletal Ash Chair

Limitations: Are they Restrictions that Block or Focus?

If you had access to all the greatest woods in infinite supply, what would you make? Questions like this are difficult because there really are no boundaries - anything is possible, so you must consider everything. It is much easier to be productive with limitations that restrict what is possible. Instead of looking at the … Continue reading Limitations: Are they Restrictions that Block or Focus?

What is there to be Afraid of About Failure?

Well, for starters, I’m not sure what failure really is. I’m always experimenting and learning and, to me, what others may perceive as failure is really just an indication that something can be improved. I am always looking for ways to improve things, and constantly analyzing things for weaknesses. Developing a solid design on paper (or … Continue reading What is there to be Afraid of About Failure?