More Wall Shelf Sketches

I’ve continued to sketch, trying to figure out what design to use for the Wall Shelf Build-Off this weekend. I could well find myself in the shop Saturday without a design and just making it up on the fly – that idea is not foreign to me.

Have a look at my sketches – perhaps they’ll be the spark you need for your design.

If you need some more inspiration, check out my ever-growing Pinterest board of #WSBO inspiration.

There’s still time to register! #WSBO is January 28-29.


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 like and what I don’t like. Sometimes I will sketch different variations of details, like square and rounded corners, right over each other.

If a detail is difficult to draw, or is an important part of the design, I may add an arrow and label. I may draw in the grain if it is part of the design, but I usually focus on basic concepts and form.

Feel free to use these ideas for your Wall Shelf Build-Off design.

I’m always interested in your feedback, but particularly interested in your thoughts on these sketches. Do any of the ideas stand out to you?

If you need some more inspiration, check out my ever-growing Pinterest board of #WSBO inspiration.

And there’s still time to register! #WSBO is January 28-29.


Week Six of #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration!

Start with a sketch, but make it quick. There’s real work to be done.
– Stefan Hartwing

(This quote has been added to my page Quotables, where you’ll find many more interesting quotes.)

For the past five weeks at #Woodchat on Air, we have been playing our new design game called #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration. We looked at designs based on a photograph and discussed the creative process and explored potential variations. The discussions were recorded and posted on YouTube.

The first week, we started with a picture of shavings and came up with some really creative designs.

The second week, we examined a colourful scene from KaBoom! The Port Moody Art Explosion for inspiration.

In week three, we studied a photo of a metal bench that inspired a quilt rack built by Dyami Plotke.

The fourth week, our source of inspiration was a photo of an adjustable candle holder, that proved to be tougher to work with than we thought.

In week five, we looked at a photo of an art installation for inspiration.

That brings us to week six. For this week’s Picture Inspiration, our challenge is to design something inspired by this photo.

Jessica Anderson - Pattern Study 1

Inspiration photo: Jessica Anderson’s Pattern Study 1

Designs are due Wednesday May 28, 7pm (e-mail them to me, or share them with us on Twitter using hashtag #Woodchat), when they will be shared on #Woodchat.

#Woodchat on Air runs every Wednesday from 7-8pm, Pacific time.

#Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration! Design Game

#Woodchat on Air is a weekly online woodworking program hosted by Matt Gradwohl of Uppercut Woodworks, Scott Meek of Scott Meek Woodworks, and me. Watch it Wednesday nights at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern (duration: approximately 1 hour).

Last year, we at #Woodchat on Air ran the #Woodchat Telephone Game Design Experiment.  We started with one design that was handed from one participant to another to be slightly redesigned as they imagined it. It was a lot of fun to see the different designs and insightful to see how other people perceive a design, and how they would modify it.

#Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration!

Last week at #Woodchat on Air, we debuted our new design game.

This is how #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration! works.

  1. During #Woodchat on Air, we share one or more images for inspiration. These images are taken by us, the hosts, or are shared with us by any #Woodchat on Air participant.
  2. If you choose to play, you have the next week to develop a design (or multiple designs) inspired by the image. The design can be sketched, modelled in clay, built using toothpicks, rendered in CAD, or whatever you choose.
  3. At the following #Woodchat on Air, we share the designs and invite the designers to explain their design and how they developed it.

Here is the first image that we are using, provided by Scott Meek.


I have a few ideas for a design. Tune in to #Woodchat on Air Wednesday April 23 at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern to see what I come up with for #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration!

I will be sharing all the designs on my new page: #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration!


Insanity 2: Doors

As you saw in my last post, I had created two doors with curved frames for Insanity 2.  The curved edges eliminated most of the conventional options of attaching doors to a cabinet, so I sat down with my sketch book to come up with other ways.


Here are the sketches that I drew.  Their only purpose was to illustrate different ways of attaching the doors to the cabinets and were not representative of the shape or size of the cabinet or other components.

Insanity 2 Door Attachment Sketch, Page 1Insanity 2 Door Attachment Sketch, Page 2

Thanks to Jeremy Morgan, Peter Franks, Chris Martin and Neil Zenuk for the suggestions.


Round Three of #Woodchat’s Telephone Game Design Experiment

Round 1

Three weeks ago, I shared a drawing of this table which I’d designed.  It was part of what we’ve called the #Woodchat Telephone Game Design Experiment.

My Table Design

My Table Design

I presented the design at #Woodchat in this video and handed the design over to my co-host Matt Gradwohl who was eager to redraw the table his way.  (Discussion of the table starts at 34:07.  Click here for a direct link to that time.)

Round 2

Matt presented his version of the table, featuring new aprons, the following week.

Matt Gradwohl's Table Design

Matt Gradwohl’s Table Design

In the first half of this video of #Woodchat from June 12, Matt explained what he changed, as well as other ideas he had for the table.  (Discussion of the table starts at 0:57.  Click here for a direct link to that time.)

Round 3

Next to redraw the table was Vic Hubbard, who transformed it into this.

Vic Hubbard's Redesign

Vic Hubbard’s Redesign

Join us for #Woodchat on Wednesdays at 7pm Pacific.  Today, we’ll be discussing Vic’s version of the table as well as… well, you’ll have to tune in to find out for yourself, because we’re never sure where our discussions will go!

You can follow the video here and follow the discussion live on Twitter at #Woodchat.

If you would like to participate in #Woodchat’s Telephone Game Design Challenge, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add you to the list.

#Woodchat’s Telephone Game Design Experiment

Below is my initial drawing for #Woodchat’s inaugural Telephone Game Design Experiment.

The idea is to start with a design drawn by one person (me).  Then, another person takes my design and redraws it their way, incorporating any changes they wish to make.  Next, a third person takes the second drawing and redraws it their way.  This continues until everyone who wants to participate has had a chance and in the end we will have numerous drawings, each somewhat different from the others.  It will be able to see how the design progressed.

(Our experiment differs from the Telephone Game in that everyone is able to witness each stage, whereas in the Telephone Game, participants are only aware of the previous stage.)

The First Design

The table features a split-level top and matching stretcher.  The angle between the two layers of the top is 45 degrees and the angle between the stretcher parts is 20 degrees.


Perspective Perspective LowTop Right DimTop Dim

If you would like to participate in this experiment, please let me know in the comments section below.  Tune into #Woodchat Wednesdays at 7pm Pacific.  This week, we’ll be talking about the Handworks woodworking show in Amana, Iowa as well as the Telephone Game Design Experiment.

Maya Selway – Kishu Vase

Artist Name:  Maya Selway
Title:  Kishu Vase
Details:  circa 2012 – Oxidized copper

Why It’s Notable:  We get so accustomed to thinking of things as the way we know them (vases hold liquid).  When we challenge the way we think about things, it opens up new possibilities.  Maya Selway has not only challenged the definition of a vase, but also what a finished piece should look like.  In this case, the end product looks like nothing more than an incomplete conceptual sketch.

This is the third slide from my PechaKucha presentation.

Cribbage Board

Cribbage Board

Hardware Inspires Me

Experienced woodworkers know that one of the keys to a successful project is to have the hardware that will be used on-hand before the planning stage is complete and building begins. While having a thorough (and accurate) understanding of the hardware is one reason to explore what is available, I also study hardware for inspiration.  The wide variety of hardware available today exhibits so many textures, lines and shapes.  Here are some of the pieces of hardware from the Lee Valley Tools Ltd. catalog that inspire me.

Sometimes I think about what the piece of furniture I might build would look like to go with a particular piece of hardware.

Cast Steel Hands from Lee Valley Tools Ltd.

Other times, I visualize a certain element of the hardware incorporated into a design.

Hollywood open handle from Lee Valley Tools Ltd.

Or I may imagine the pull or knob scaled up as a piece of furniture.

Playful Nature handle

The Eastside Culture Crawl is an annual event where artists of various mediums open their studios to the public.  This pair of antique nickel pulls with a decidedly organic design are from exhibitor Big Bang Boom.  Both are the same size and shape, but not quite identical.

These pulls are the type of hardware around which I could design something.  This page of my sketchbook shows some of the possible orientations for the pulls.

A page from my sketchbook

While sketching I focus on drawing as many possibilities as I can, regardless of whether I think they are good ideas or not.  I feel that the two pulls should be located close together to visually tie them together.  That suggests they would be used as door pulls rather than drawer pulls which are typically mounted in the middle of the drawer to prevent binding when opening.

Or is there a way to have them as drawer pulls close together and not have the drawer bind?