I don't know about everyone else, but once I get started on a project my mind instantly starts planning for the next project. More times then not, I am planning one project ahead.
This past week I started, slowly, on a Shaker wall clock that I am documenting for upcoming videos and blog articles. But, as soon as my plane hit the wood I started thinking about a bookcase I wanted to build for my living room.
We have had these two small termite poop bookcases in our living room for far to long and it is time for me to replace them with something made from wood. Not to mention large enough to hold my growing collection of books, well some of them anyways. Yes, many are woodworking books, but many many of them are not. I admit, I have a book problem. I will probably die under a pile of books one day. But lets not get sidetracked.
Back in June 2011 Popular Woodworking had an article by "The Schwarz" about a Jefferson bookcase. It was nothing more than several cases stacked on top of each other. There were three different sizes of cases to accommodate different size books. I also believe the change in size gives the bookcase an elegant look. The shelf in the middle gives it an almost traditional two piece design look. As in, one lower case which is larger with a smaller taller case stacked on top. You can find more info on the original bookcase and the PopWood article HERE.
Unfortunately, the bookcase featured in the article will just not work for me. Why? Because the smaller cases are just to small. They were made for older books that are much smaller than most modern books written in the past 50 years. So , I had to start designing something that would meet my needs, and fit between a large window and the wall.
For me designing means getting out some paper and a pencil. I can still draw something to scale quicker with a pencil and paper than with any design software. Plus, I use two design programs at work and I just don't care to learn another set of shortcuts for another program.
After a few hours of sketching and measuring I think I am almost there, I went through several design changes. My current plan is to make two separate cases that will be similar to the ones in the article, but should be easier to build because I will not need to make several cases , I just need to make two. I'm not sure that I have completely finished planning this one out yet, but the extra time building the clock will give my brain time to stew. And that really is the most important part.
I think it is crucial to give any design time to sit. Even if it is only for a couple days. When you come back to it with fresh eyes you might surprise yourself on how quickly you notice things you want to change or problem areas you didn't realize the first time around.
Speaking of books and giving something time to stew, I need to get back to "By Hand & Eye". If you haven't read this book or don't own it yet, I highly recommend it. You will never look at the design process the same way again, and that's a good thing. If you are not one to design your own projects and you mostly work from plans, you should get this book. It will open your eyes to a new way of thinking and hopefully get you into designing some of your own projects.
If you want a copy of this book you can find it HERE.
Till next time, Get in the shop and have some fun. Or go read a book, or design something, or whatever it is that you do.