Welcome to my Blog! 

Today we face an issue that I love: the Design phase . 

As you may have read in the page where I present myself , I am a Designer . 

For this I decided to take this path. 

Beyond the passion I have for the Wood, I needed to know more about projecting

I believe is crucial, for a woodworker or a hobbyist , doing at least a sketch before starting to work with hammers, saws and planers. 

As I explained in previous articles (especially in that related to the wood cut) that of Woodworker is a job that requires the utmost attention to measures

I’m talking about millimeters precision. 

Sometimes even tenths of a millimeter

For this reason I believe that it’s necessary to make at least a rough skecth with measures and forms of our object. 

I’m not saying that anyone who works with wood have to be a designer, but often those who approach this type of work has got a lot of creativity and constructive skills . 

Certainly the dexterity and the ability to build object in mind, even before you realize it, is frequent in Woodworkers , but, except in rare cases, are acquired through years of experience.


Team and pencil
The phases of creation are basically three:
– Initial Idea 
– Design 
– Realization

In fact these three steps are never completely detached and isolated from each other, but intersect continuously. 

Let me explain how. 

When I talk about the initial idea I mean that whole phase of the first input to create (your idea, the request of a client or friend, the sight of an object that gave you inspiration etc …). 

Some people may think that when the basic idea is outlined, next steps is to make a work drawing and then to realize the object. 

Thus, in a schematic and linear way. 

Not really like this… 

When designing a new building there are a thousand variables and details that we can’t predict

This is also one of the most beautiful aspect of manual work

The unpredictability!


What is certain is that if we want to get clean, accurate result, we must try to avoid gross mistakes and therefore it is important to evaluate the possible risks . 

In this the design phase helps us a lot.

designing woodworking

In the design phase we can use the freehand sketches to throw the idea on paper. 

So we are already able to understand approximately the finished object. 

But it is only thanks to the technical drawing that we understand the proportions and defects. 

I don’t want to scare you when I talk about technical drawing . 

It’s much easier and more fun than it sounds (as well as being useful). 

Also having notions of geometry is vital to a woodworker! 

The first thing to do is to draw in projection , I’m exploiting the famous orthogonal projections that probably you studied at school.

I’m talking about “flat” views of the object in which the draw is projected orthogonally onto a plane (hence the name ” Orthogonal “). 

We will need at least 3 or 4 views, but it depends on the project. 

In this case I drew a very simple table and then the first three would be enough. 

The three-dimensional view (axonometric or perspective) may be useful for us, but also for the eventual customer. 

What we need is:

  1. Plan view
  2. Front view
  3. Side view (at least one)
  4. Axonometric or perspective view (if you think you need it)
design carpenter

Most drawing softwares (the design you see above is made with Rhinoceros) has a screen which is based on this principle of Orthogonal Projections. 

Drawing in this way will force you to tackle issues that probably you will not notice without drawing, especially if you aren’t an expert.

Important things as: the type of junction of the various parts , the material thickness, the proportions between all elements etc …

It must be said that when you do a very simple object you’re not going to do a job like that, but if the work is complicate a little more I suggest you get yourself a little drawing with measures and everything else to avoid unpleasant surprises in the construction phase. 

But don’t believe that by now on you’ll not edit your project anymore! 

In fact, during the process, you realize that maybe some things don’t work as you thought or it’s better to make them in a different way.

And here that the  Project phase and Construction phase intersect and overlap as I said before. 

But first things first.

designing woodworking
This is certainly the stage where there isn’t a lot to teach or explain .
It’s the instinctive part.
It starts with an inspiration often purely emotional or an immediate need satisfaction.
Maybe you need a shelf or simply you have an idea for a new living room coffee table .
If you are a person who likes to work with wood you’re probably very creative then you know what I’m talking about.
We see something that gives us inspiration and our imagination begins to travel and create.
It can be a photo, a video, any object or even an essence or a piece of wood with a particular shape.
The next step, often very instinctive, it’s to immediately put the idea on paper .
Scribbling, even in a few minutes on a piece of paper, good to see what it looks like and make it more “real.”
The creativity  is such a natural process, and it’s a stream that is hard to explain with words.
designing woodworking
At this point, you’ll automatically pass to the stage of final design.
Although this is a pretty natural transition.
Once you thought the object you want to achieve and what form and function it must have, now to think how to accomplish it, which dimensions it will have, as will be painted etc …

Usually at this stage we are realized more weighted and precise drawings, also details such as handles, joints and hinges. 

You should make also a kind of exploded drawing to know what are the actual components that build the object.

By doing so you will have a schedule of all the elements, very useful in the process of cutting and assembly.

In practice, you have to tend to rationalize the initial inspiration to get closer to the actual construction.
Many woodworkers jump this stage, especially in the case of simple objects, but if you’re new, or at least you’re not a super-expert, you should evaluate everything well before beginning to cut and glue.
I think the best thing is to imagine at this stage all the operations that you must complete step by step in the construction phase:
  • Choice of material ( wood species, thickness of the pieces, size of the available pieces etc) 
  • Selection of work tools (make sure you have at least the basic tools )
  • Cut (if you have not done so, see the guide to Cut the wood )
  • Planing (I also have a courtesy for Planing Guide )
  • Sanding
  • Possible edging, veneer or other finishes
  • Choice of accessories (handles, hinges, drawer slides, etc …)
  • Assembly of the various parts (nails, screws, gluejoints etc …)
  • Painting


You will also be able to organize your workspace before starting to work comfortably and tidy.
You can also preventively buy all the components and the various accessories that you will need to proceed in a fluid way towards completion of the article.

However, when you make a final design , always remember to insert dimensions, the most important measures of the object and of the various components. 

In the case of pieces of furniture or ornaments, measurements are indicated in millimeters .

carpenter project
Finally we got to the fun part!
Seriously, now you can start to get your hands dirty and manipulate the material.
Remember to keep working drawing (and the initial sketch) near to always have an eye on all the necessary information.
If, during a work in progress, you realized that it is better to do one thing differently than how you planned (it happens, since the practice is different from theory!!!) I suggest you to write down any changes on the drawing .
In this way if you’ll ave to realize again the same project or something like that, you’ll definitely remember it.
It would be very nice if you tell how do you face the various stages of design, where do you find inspiration, such as drawing tools, media (paper and pencil or computer modeling) etc …
You can do this simply by commenting below.
I remind you that to stay up to date on my articles and don’t miss the news you can Subscribe to the newsletter (top right) and follow my  Facebook page , my Instagram profile and my Pinterest .
Until next time!
The Wood Blogger

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