A few months ago, I went into detail about the design process I go through with a good majority of my clients. You got an opportunity to see the design process from beginning to end. Turns out, that post was very popular and I got some great feedback in the comments, as well in person.
I've decided to take it to the next level. Drawings are an amazing tool to help visualize. Especially when the drawings are 3 dimensional renderings that allow you to walk around the room and see the completed project from all angles.
Sometimes a picture just isn't enough. This is when a full size mock-up of the finished project gets made.
Keep reading from a bit more about making a model of a finished project.
For the task at hand, let's look at this weeks project. 2 bar stools to accompany a freestanding kitchen island.
After a few sketches and brainstorming meetings, I went to the computer. I sent over a few versions to get a feel for the style to go with. We agreed early on that they did not need or want to "match" the island. The room has some other distinct cabinetry and furniture. If we tried to make everything 'the same', we would quickly find ourselves chasing our tails looking for what to copy.
We wanted stools that could stand on their own (literally) next to the island or in another room all together.
We narrowed down the style from the base options shown below.
We ended up playing with an Asian inspired style. Below is a rough idea to start tweaking.
I felt confident about the scale and proportions of the base. The leg design we a gem (at least I thought so) However, I found myself scratching my head with the seat rest. Let's face it. We all have different shaped bums. To find a shape that is both pleasing to look at AND easy on the buns is not an easy thing to do. Add to that, we all sit on stools differently. Some sit striat on with one or both feet on the ground. Others, sit at a 45 degree angle to the base. Ideally, we would accommodate all.
The only way I could see a way through this, is to make a full sized mock up and let my clients try it out.
When building a model like this, I have a chance to tweak proportions, arches, lines, joinery and refine the fabricating details. It's kind of a pain because I need to spend several hours building the darn thing, but in the end, it's worth the effort. After all, we can do a lot in the computer, but having the ability to actually sit on a piece, and feel the solid nature of an actual stool is invaluable.
|"x-ray" view of the joinery details AND problems|
|You can see from above, the adjoining tenons run into another. We need to fix that!|
After a few alterations on the computer to fix some little things, we head out to the shop. Time to start making a life size Super Model.
I yanked a pile of wood down from the racks to play with. I made up some router templates as well so I could repeat the results.
|Stretchers with arch cut and tenons|
|The beginning shape of the seat|
|Getting closer after a bit of hand planing|
After quite a bit of belt sanding, the addition of 2 small blocks of wood, several "cheek tests," and a few beers, I ended up with comfy little stool.
If I need to modify it a bit I still can. I am very interested in the clients opinion!
So much can be learned and refined with a dry run, and in the end, I will have another shop stool to use and abuse.
As always, thanks for reading!