Furniture Design Hurdles: The Headbangers
My good friend Jeff Miller (furniture craftsman and teacher) has always been good at demystifying the furniture design process. Granted, there are some who can visualize ideas and execute better than others, but at some point, regardless of your skill set, you have to simply take the plunge.
So has been the case with my latest project, the 10 Degree Bench. It’s evolved somewhat from a very heavy, less than elegant original prototype, to something that is beginning to have a reasonably successful theme and aesthetic using a 10 degree angle. With all of the parts cut to their basic dimensions and dry-fit in place, I’ve begun to understand that even a small scale prototype is still very different than what comprises the full size piece.
I could simply move forward with the piece as is and be happy with it. However, I’m still looking to achieve a bit more character with this piece, and look for ways to lighten things up a bit more. By using the 10 degree angle as a starting point, I began to mask out different structural elements with areas I’d consider removing. It started with just the arm rest, but then moved onto the back portion of the seat bottom, the two back rest boards and even an additional taper to the insides of the legs. Rounding over some of the edges a bit should also make it more user friendly. Here is a link to a quick Instagram video I shot to show the bench at a few angles.
I’m going to take the plunge later this week and start to apply these changes. Jeff Miller’s perspective on design is that it’s all about working through each of these little decisions. Quickly testing the change or new idea is about experimentation. Then, you move on to the next hurdle and start banging your head against the wall over and over until you figure it out until you get something you are happy with. That’s a pretty good perspective if you ask me.