Geoff's Woodwork    

for Students of Woodwork    

Planning to make furniture

This is a list of considerations you need to think about and produce answers for when you are taking on a project for yourself or a customer.   It is not necessary to invent some new shape, style or look, etc.  Adopt existing designs to fit into the decor of the customers rooms and make your piece fit in.

Write down these headings and consider each topic firstly with the customer and then over and over again with yourself until you have the final comprehensive and clear plan of action.

The Design Process

1. The project (specification)

a. Identify the needs of the customer, etc. A sketch with initial dimensions would be helpful.

b. The Brief.

Write the brief in one or two sentences:

Write a detailed specification of the job, etc. and the main functions (i.e. what it should do, or not do)

Consider any limitations, etc.

List any problems that need to be researched or cleared up.

2. Investigation and Research.

a. Consider and evaluate the following:

Aesthetics, anthropometrics, environment, ergonomics, purpose, lead time, stability, materials i.e. Hard or softwood, natural or board, etc., styling, style icons specified, finish, material costs, price ranges. Methods of manufacture, hygiene considerations, scale of production, fittings, historical, domestic, contractual requirements

Research involves, discussions with peer groups, prospective customer, technicians, tutor, manufacturer's and suppliers information, etc. and all forms of search and investigation.

b. Ideas and solutions.

Ideas and possible solutions (perhaps up to three) should be considered. Freehand sketches and notes should be made. Brainstorming is a good way to get ideas even if they seem outrages at the time. When considering materials and construction techniques consider financial economies, environmental impact and the energy used in the manufacturing processes. Go over these ideas and make notes of your likes and dislikes.

c. Development.

Choose the best solution. Give the reasons for the choice. Write it down. Make more detailed neat sketches. Consider making a model or cheap prototype to get the idea of proportion, scale and possible jointing methods. Evaluate the materials and construction specifications. Produce estimate of lead time from commencing work to delivery. Produce costing for materials including allowances for re-work and any alterations needed.

d. Working drawings (and or Model, mock-up, etc.) and Planning.

Produce a working drawing in First Angle Orthographic Projection with at least three views, Plan, Side and End elevations. Use a conventional drawing board and equipment, drafting machine or use a CAD package. Supplement this working drawing with Perspective Drawings or sketches of the project perhaps in it’s proposed location. Add colour or shaded presentation for the customer.

Draw or sketch additional views in Isometric Projection showing how the project is assembled or jointed where it is not obvious. Include dimensions and a Cutting List. Show details of the finish with details of the fittings and possible part numbers, suppliers, etc. Photographs of any models or similar pieces or styles you are designing to match for the customers room.

Planning Chart:  Produce a method statement. Break the manufacturing down to stages and how you propose to work the joints and what machinery, etc. is to be used. Identify any profiles and cutters needed and those that need to be bought in with their prices. Draw a Progress or Gantt chart for the process showing machinery, labour and time proposed for each stage in the manufacturing process.

Compare against the original specification and if the functions specified work correctly. (this is repeated again below and until the project is correct)

3. The Manufacturing Process.

Prepare the material, Set out, joint, assemble and finish the project. If any difficulties arise consult the drawing and if necessary the customer. Make alterations to the drawing if necessary.

4. Evaluation.

a. Compare against the original specification and if the functions work correctly.

b. Write a Report on the whole project including any difficulties encountered. Write a conclusion with ideas for further improvements, techniques, etc.

Design Brief template ~ see here  This provides the bare minimum consideration and conclusions in your planning process.   However you should consider all the points above.

Problem solving - see here

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Last uploaded  20th August 2003