Furniture Design Rant

I knew a professor as a post-doc, that was only interested in your new drug designs if your synthesis utilized his synthetic methodologies (*process for making the drug). For him, drug discovery was more about the chemistry you used to make the drug than the drug itself. I always found this odd and saw it as a problem.

I see a parallel when it comes to making furniture. There appears to be a lot of woodworkers that are more interested in showcasing a particular joint than they are in the overall design of the piece. Have you ever come across a piece of furniture with beautiful hand-cut dovetails that looks boring or lacks imagination as a whole? Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I see it routinely. Like the professor at the beginning of my rant, some are more interested in showcasing their hand cut dovetails or intricate joinery than the overall look of the final product.

This is where I hope to improve as I grow – by improving my skills as a good furniture designer; I’m NOT where I want to be yet. I’ve made a few design duds along the way that look good in CAD, but lose their appeal in real life.

This is a topic that I wish was more extensively covered in print media; not articles regurgitating Fibonacci numbers or making designs first from cardboard (trial and error), but practical design methodologies. Are you listening “print media”?

3 Responses to “Furniture Design Rant”

  1. Steve Collins says:

    I agree, Brian. When I began building furniture back in the early 90’s, I used dowels as well as bridal and lap joints for all of my connections. Recently I began using some loose tenon joinery mainly due to how easy you made them look. To this day I’ve yet to try to hand cut a dovetail, I just don’t see the need to. It’s possible I suppose that in 50 years all of the drawers I’ve made using half laps and dowels will start falling apart, but I don’t think that’s likely.

    • GarageWoodworks says:

      I have yet to have a dowel-reinforced rabbet joint fail in a drawer; I think they’re pretty robust. And I agree, I don’t think it’s likely they’ll fall apart.

  2. Andy says:

    Your rant definitely holds some weight and is something I have been thinking about recently. I drew up a few designs for a coffee table for my brother and I thought it would be beautiful as well as have great usability, but in the end the design just didn’t work in real life. But everyday we strive to improve!

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