Thursday, January 26, 2012

Furniture Design Tip # 9 - scanning for fun

Before I get started with today's blog, I just wanted to share an old picture of happier times. We lost my dad nine years ago today, and life has never been the same without him. He was creative, smart, and resourceful, and I know that's where much of my design sense originated. I still have small sketches and pieces of his artwork around my home and shop. They're both a comfort and an inspiration for me.

Miss you, Pop!

OK, on to the blog....


codependency |ˌkōdəˈpendənsē|nounexcessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, (my computer, in this case) typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or (design) addiction.

Yes, I will admit it - I am codependent on (with?) my laptop. As much as it frustrates the hell out of me, it is a tool on which I rely for much of my design work.

OK, most of my design work.

About a year ago, I was sketching ideas for a headboard that I wanted to build. I was in a "beefy" phase, and everything I was drawing was oversized and heavy. But it was attractive, and a nice counterpoint to some of the other pieces I was making. So I made this simple sketch in my sketchbook.

You know, the sketchbook that is attached to my hip.

You have to be very careful when you make a small sketch, and then try to turn it in into a full sized drawing. It's so easy to look at something and think - oh, this stretcher needs to be 3" wide, and when you cut the actual piece, the scale is all wrong. That is why full sized drawings are so important.

Which leads me back to my codependency.

With my Mac, I can scan my small sketches - yes, the ones on napkins from Capriotti's or the poke carry-out up the street, with splotches of greasy goodness on them. If the sketch has the right proportions, the scan it will enlarge it perfectly, to the full sized dimension you want. In this case, I wanted that vertical piece of wood to be about 8" wide.

After scanning and enlarging it, this is the result. Considering this paper is 8.5" x 11", this drawing is more or less full scale.

That also brings up another valid point - scanners and digital cameras are just as important woodworking tools as my planer or tablesaw. If you have a small sketch and don't have a suitable printer at home, head to Kinko's and let them print full scale drawings. Sweet.

That's all for today, I'm heading to the shop. If I'm lucky, I'll have some time to find some suitable wood and hopefully put together this headboard. Since all of the proportions have been worked out ahead of time, it should go together pretty easily.

Of course, I've said that before...

1 comment:

John said...

mmmm? you've gotten my interest but do you scan with the printer and then manipulate it in I-Photo? I tend to use 1/4" graph paper for rough scaling and then cardboard for actual size mock-up. I guess it shows my age and training but I still rely on my Vemco drafting arm.
By the way, missing a loved one is difficult. Ironically, my Dad was born on Jan.26 (1908 I think)