Recommended Posts

Like i said earlier that most of my "designs" are on the shop wall. Just rough sketches. So i would like to also say thanks guys. I have learned a load just reading this over. 

Now i just need the skill to actually use this stuff. 

I can not find it now but someone mentioned negative space. When i was in school taking art classes and learning pen and ink one of my teachers committed on my ability to use the negative space. I never realized that is what i was doing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear you Billy. The last art class I took I got a lower grade because I didn't glue all the split peas flat on the page when making rocks. That teacher also gigged me for leaving too much blank paper above the water line. This was a jr. high art class, not elementary school. I don't know what the teacher's real subject was but as an art teacher SHE was the negative space.

Artistic drawings aren't how I learned to draw but the above scroll layout video is right up my alley! I render a hearty THANK YOU for the link John!

As a associated tip for folk who want to use scribes rather than pencils and or chalk for laying things out. A LIGHT coating of flat black spray paint on the bench makes scribed lines REALLY stand out. Aluminum sheet works WAY better than steel, it only takes a light touch with a scribe to mark and being so white it stands out dramatically through virtually any color paint. 

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many years ago I wandered through the Architecture "lab" at the U of AR  where all the students were using foam core board to make building models; someone had made a poster and hung it on a wall saying "Free Antonio Gaudi".  Frosty; it sounds like you needed a "Free Pablo Picasso" poster for that classroom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 2:13 PM, JHCC said:

the eye follows changes in dimension, and that good design is about making choices on how to lead the eye.

Interesting. I had forgotten this. Thanks for bringing it up.

Its true, the eye follows changes such as tapers. And how we do this is important. 

Some say the journey is all.

Heres an addition to that.

Where does a taper lead from?

What does a taper lead to?

It leads from a transition to another transition. And often at the end of the journey we have a finial. A leaf, a flower, a fishtail flair.

So when your eye finishes the journey,,, 

Dont forget to smell the flowers.  :)

The message here, to me, is good design is how we do all three parts. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 11:05 AM, pnut said:

I don't fire the clay when I'm finished.

Sorry Pnut that was a failed joke on my behalf. Sounds like a great idea though and I've got half a bag of clay left over from a pottery course so I'll give it a go. I haven't got the mathematical capacity to fully appreciate the Mandelbrott set but nonetheless brings up some good images, thanks. 

Chris - Yes they are full length tapered sliding dovetails, as are the cross members into the stretchers. My thinking was that as I work on the bench it will compress the joints and hold everything tight. It assembles and breaks down with nothing but a wooden mallet. I'm not sure the top really will stay flat, it's only held by dowels and its own weight so I'll see how it plays out.

JHCC - Interesting you bring that up, it's a book that's been on my wish list for a while but it's just a bit too expensive for me.. Maybe you've given me a nudge in the right direction. I have seen a few interesting videos by Tim Joplin where he talks about proportion in units relating to the human body, again relating to woodworking/furniture. i think they're on youtube. Good job on your urn, it's really interesting to see the thought put into the proportions. I had to look up a four centred ellipse, again, great stuff. A point I read/heard, possibly from Tim Joplin, was that in art and sculpture through time the gods were depicted using a compass. 

Anvil - Thanks for taking the time to explain your process, throughly interesting and helpful. If you have a page or two of you notebook that you would be willing to share I would be really interested to see it.

On 9/30/2019 at 10:07 AM, SamBurgess said:

To make a functional metal grille is a pretty straightforward job and doesn't even require the skills of a smith. However to make an ornate grille that fulfils its function and is visually appealing is where, in my opinion, a lot of skill (practical and design) comes into play. 

You're right about simple being a very difficult thing to achieve, and something it seems you thoroughly understand. Re-reading my above comment I was a bit unclear - I think there is sometimes a distinction between simple and purely functional, i.e. a functional metal grille could be a welded square frame with mesh infill, something I can achieve with my farmyard welding skills. No offence intended to any skilled smiths! I appreciate your comment about being able to hide mistakes in complicated designs. They say that a master craftsman isn't someone who doesn't make any mistakes, it's someone who hides them well. 

I came across a similar positive, neutral and negative concept recently in Alexander Weygers' book "sculpture, form and philosophy" (he's the author of "the complete modern blacksmith" and a very interesting guy). I haven't read the whole book yet, in fact I struggled with getting my head around those concepts. Its cool to see you put to use very similar ideas when designing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, SamBurgess said:

Sorry Pnut that was a failed joke on my behalf.

I wasn't sure if you were pulling my leg. I've read and I'm sure posted some questions that people have had to wonder about. No worries though. It did get a smile though.

Pnut

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SamBurgess said:

it's a book that's been on my wish list for a while but it's just a bit too expensive for me..

Inter-library loan is a wonderful thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is fairly timely for me and has a lot of great info. I have always seen things in straight lines. In art class in high school my teacher made us do a sketch every week, mine were always barns, houses, and buildings & done with a pencil and straight edge. I was told weekly to step outside the box and try something else, but I just couldn't make anything else flow. Last night when I was struggling to make a small scroll for an accent on a table I'm making that thought came back into my head. Thanks for the reference material, it was perfectly timed.

On the topic of design time, and charging for it. I work with CAD all day, and then do house plans from time to time after work, along with building cabinets and custom furniture. I never charge for design work for a cabinet or millwork project, it is just added into the estimate/bill. If I can't add the 5-20 hours of design into the price I think real hard if I should be pursuing the prospect. For house design I am being paid just for the design work, and nothing else. I have went to a minimum charge plus $xx/hr. In the commercial construction world design is charged mainly in two different ways. A design/build contractor will almost always have the design cost rolled into their price, so the owner doesn't see a separate design fee. Even on $5-10+ million dollar projects their is USUALLY not a design fee. Going the plan and spec route were an architectural or engineering firm is hired to do complete design, they would charge a percentage of construction cost. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Fowllife said:

Going the plan and spec route were an architectural or engineering firm is hired to do complete design, they would charge a percentage of construction cost

Actually not always the case, coming from the A/E world where we often do plan and spec designs for flat, negotiated fees.  In truth I get irritated every time we need to price our design work as a function of the overall construction cost.  Not only does it often not reflect the actual effort involved (a 15 million dollar new apartment building with multiple sets of identical apartments is vastly easier to design than a 15 million dollar hospital renovation), but it gives no encouragement to design for cost efficient construction.  And don't get me started on "Value Engineering "  design phases...

If you can lay your hands on some of the recent issues of "Hammer's Blow", the ABANA publication, I remember there being a series of articles on blacksmith design, design sketching and the like.  Great stuff in there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SamBurgess said:

If you have a page or two of you notebook that you would be willing to share I would be really interested to see it.

Lol, my note books usually end up being something only the originator could deal with! well worn, cluttered, dogeared etc. If it will help, Ill take a pic of a page and post it. 

I have not read that Weigers book. Its new to me. I will find it. Thanks. I make no claim to pos/neutral/negative being original to me. I learned of this from a Czech blacksmith Vaclav Jarosh. He explained it and it made sense. Its been a guideline for me ever since.

As far as simple/functional I was thinking like a blacksmith, not fab work. Altho both types of work are avalable in our craft as well. Thinking of Pakistani imports here. It boggles my mind that so many smiths dont see the difference and consider these functional imports to be competition.

7 hours ago, SamBurgess said:

 They say that a master craftsman isn't someone who doesn't make any mistakes, it's someone who hides them well.

Lol, a critical add on to this is that wise old saying that separates a mastersmith from all others is " If you make a mistake, for god"s sake be consistent!"

 

7 hours ago, SamBurgess said:

fulfils its function and is visually appealing is where, in my opinion, a lot of skill (practical and design) comes into play. 

This statement, btw, is the basis of my definition of applied artist/craftsman. I substitute "to create an emotion" for "visually appealing". An artist is primarily concerned with creating an emotion, not function. 

5 hours ago, Fowllife said:

Going the plan and spec route

When I first meet with my client I let them know what the design process entails, including a full sized representative sample. I let them know that it will be 10% of the final bid. This is paid only if they refuse the job. Otherwise its included. I also make sure that they know that all drawings and samples are mine, not theirs. I feel that the learning I get and the advertising the samples will bring me in the future works out pretty well for me. As a general personal rule, making the sample will take 3-4 times longer than when I get into my " limited production" mode. All things considered, this seems to work out well for me.

I also bid my jobs time and material not to exceed "X" dollars. That way, if I happen to make a mistake(see above  ;)  ) and the mistake beats the detail Im working on, it means I can make this change, no matter if it happens on the first or the last piece of the run. Good business is not always the bottom of the dollar line. A better aesthetic and customer relations often pays dividends in the future.  I believe that when doing custom/commission work its critical to have this option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, anvil said:

I also bid my jobs time and material not to exceed "X" dollars.

Smart.  I never did that when I was making furniture and even as expensive as my pieces were, there were times I really didn't make any, what I'd call, profit.  Tough to swallow when it takes 10 months to build a piece of furniture and one breaks even.  I should have used your method.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your doing a one of piece that takes you 10 months to finish, working full time, the only way to handle that would be time and material.....or a very large bid amount. Lucky for me I'm not that good at anything I do to have to worry about a project like that.....well, I have had projects take that long, but it was just stuff for my wife.....and I get distracted easily...

Latticino - You Sir are correct, there are some firms that do a lump sum contract instead of a percentage, Working for a D/B contractor we do very little plan and spec work, so I'm just more familiar with how some of the locals we work with usually contract. You are also right, I would much rather work on a large hotel then a large renovation. Luckily we don't do much design work for hospital renovations since more of them are plan and spec/ competitive bid.....I take it you're not a fan of VE.....I wont say any more......Thanks for mentioning "Hammer's Blow" I will make sure I check it out.

Anvil - I compare construction to blacksmithing because I am more familiar with it. In some ways they are very similar as they are a business that needs to be ran in a way that will make a profit. In other ways they are vastly different. We will do projects on a time and material not to exceed basis, we will also charge a design fee on certain projects, we will roll design cost into our bid, or even eat the design cost of we need the labor. The key is everyone needs to find what works best for their area, how they work, the projects they do, and the clients they work for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 2:22 AM, SamBurgess said:

If you have a page or two of you notebook

Heres an example. This is not from my notebook, but these are the full scale drawings that go on my table as well as in my notebook. This shows the full scale chalk drawing, all transitions and what happens inbetween them, and a  "layout stick" that shows the starting length of parent stock and all transitions centerpunched. This layout stick enables me to forge matching pieces and, with my notes and drawings to be able to reproduce it when needed into the future. 

Thats why transitions are so important. They tell you where something starts and here something ends. Then you need to know how much material you need to create whatever is inbetween. Then you can forge this to whatever you draw. 

The beauty of this process is that anything I see in my mind, I can draw in chalk, then break it down by transition, figure needed material, then go to the forge and make it. And, of course, do it again anytime in the future and match it.

Heres an explanation for one detail. Look at the top drawing. It says 10-3/4. At the bottom you see "SW" and some numbers. SW is my shorthand for "start with".  The 1/3 is how I define a taper. I do it as a ratio. Here it means start with 1 unit of parent stock and draw it out to 3 times its length. Back to the top and the right side of the arrow. The line on the diagonal. You see "1/2". This tells me to take 1-1/2" wide parent stock, draw 3-1/2" of it to 10-3/4" and down to 1/2"wide. And the drawing just below the hinge leaf is the layout stick or parent stock needed and layed out to do the forging. Hope this helps.

 

1437946157_hingelayout.thumb.jpg.27ccaa71e08afb34f629534202af52df.jpg

On 10/2/2019 at 11:06 AM, Chris The Curious said:

Smart

For what its worth I worked with two furniture makers and a cabinet maker for ~ 10 years. The furniture guys worked out of a gallery, one in Sante Fe, the other in Taos. The cabinet guy worked in our local area in Colorado. It was a good gig for all of us. They did all the legwork, and I just played in my shop!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.