See Like a Designer

Look for the ‘bones’ to observe how form defines design. It happens during almost every furniture design workshop. At the start of day two, a carload of students shows up 20 minutes late. One [...]

Designing With Curves

Getting off the straight path can be liberating. I can see it with my eyes shut: a curving stretch of highway snaking past Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. Each twist in the road opens up a [...]

Sketching Strategies

As with woodworking skills, design and drawing skills take practice. For many woodworkers, design seems like a leap into the unknown. It’s one thing to teach our hands to saw to a curved line; [...]

Drawing Strategies for Design

It will take more than one drawing to get it right – and that’s OK. My best days in the woodshop are with my 4-year-old grandson, Seth. He’s just tall enough to see over the benchtop and quick to [...]

Mastery Through Repetition

Practice is the best of all instructors. Maynard lived next door. When he wasn’t spinning wrenches at the local Ford garage, he was out in his driveway, hunched over a neighbor’s car. As a kid I [...]

Ideas that Jump Off the Page

Isometric views help keep your designs grounded. The kite leapt into the wind and I frantically uncoiled string that burned and chafed my hands and fingers. The thin wooden crossbeams bent almost [...]

Artisan Geometry

The universal and timeless structure of our imaginations. Woodworking spans the globe and is a common thread linking humans across the ages. This craft shares a basic tool kit across time and [...]

Making Sense of Forms

Early 20th-century filmmakers used time-lapse photography to dazzle audiences with never-before-seen images of flowers emerging and bursting into bloom. Critics with Victorian sensibilities [...]

Secrets of the Cyma Curve

Invisible lines and circles explain the beauty of a series of fair curves. I can still remember Holloway’s farmhouse. Even in summer when the fireplace was cold, the smell of wood smoke lingered [...]

Great Legs

The black stallion’s name was Step. Marvin, the only man I ever saw ride him, called him simply “the horse,” his raspy Southern voice pausing for emphasis. I was 5 years old the first time I laid [...]

Adding Curves to Your Toolkit

A lot of woodworkers shy away from curves. There’s plenty of reasons for this. For starters, some of the common power tools are built for rectangular construction, a table saw is a good example. [...]

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