If you are following along in our design series, you know that we’ve covered some fundamentals of design, as well as some specific details on the wood furniture design process. Now we take our designs into the shop and talk about some fundamentals of making furniture as Willie Willette of Willie Willette Works shares some of the expertise that he has developed over his many years in the design and furniture construction field. Being a designer/builder gives Willie a broad end-to-end perspective on the process of making furniture, with valuable insight that can be applied while drafting as well as making furniture. Some of the key skills that that Willie shares with us include:
Order of operations:
Small steps (“The dance”): When you are making furniture, it is helpful to break the project down into small, manageable, self-contained steps. For example, look at a table the integration of three components; legs, apron and top. By focusing on each of these discrete operations, you can bring more order and efficiency to the process of making furniture.
The power of observation:
Learn how things are put together in a variety of objects. How is a car door secured to the frame? How can a table top be fastened in such a way that it can expand to accept a leaf? How are the slats held in place in a window blind system? By developing an inquisitive attitude and strong observation skills, you can develop an arsenal of ideas that can be deployed in any situation that you face while making furniture.
Consult with valuable resources.
Look to the many resources available to you as a designer, such as a Sketchup Guide for Woodworkers, as well as all of the many woodworking videos that can help your efforts toward designing and making furniture.