Wood Design is an introduction to woodworking techniques and a furniture design studio. It is a hands-on, material-driven design class. For the final project, each student builds a piece of wood furniture. The first six weeks, we practice solid wood joinery using hand tools and power tools. Students sharpen chisels and mill lumber from rough to flat. Our discussions are grounded in wood’s cellular structure. Strength derives from long grain, weakness from the lack of long grain. We analyze joints for strength. We study several species of wood and their characteristics. We look at examples of furniture design history, mostly 20th century. We define craft, according to David Pye’s maxim, as the use of judgment, dexterity, and care in the practice of making.
The final project is one piece of furniture of the student’s choice of program. It must be mostly solid wood, no digital fabrication, and no larger than 18 cubic feet. Final project design assignments include sketches, scaled drawings, models at 3”=1’-0”, and full-scale mock-ups. The class holds two design reviews before construction begins, allowing seven weeks for completion. The class participates in school-wide final reviews with other design studios.