Fine-Tuning Furniture Designs

Minor adjustments typically beat a hatchet job. 

by George Walker
pages 18-20

I knew a guy who didn’t shave or cut his hair for 12 months at a time. On day 365 he looked like the wild man from Borneo. On day 366 (or day 1 of the next cycle), he would show up at work shaven and shiny like Mr. Clean. It always gave me a jolt, even though I’d seen the routine year after year.

Most barbers will tell you that a haircut works best when it doesn’t shout; a small adjustment usually beats a hatchet job. The idea of small adjustments spills over into design. Often the difference between something that’s just OK and a design that sparkles is found in the way all the parts seem to knit together.

The fine-tuning that goes on as we refine an idea can be some of the most challenging (as well as the most rewarding) part of design. It’s easy to second-guess and feel as if you’re stumbling about, trying to breath life into something that won’t budge. The problem is, making those tweaks can be baffling even for an experienced builder. Here are a few tips to help you approach this with more confidence and better results.

Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his By Hand & Eye blog with Jim Tolpin.
In Our Store: George Walker’s DVDs “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design.”

From the October 2017 issue, #234