Egraff

Longevity/durability vs Design, in woodworking

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Hi All,

Being relatively new to woodworking, I'm very interested to know your thoughts on whether design or longevity/durability comes first in your average woodworking project. Obviously I know that this question depends greatly on what the final piece is going to be used for... for the purposes of this thread, let's say it is a piece of furniture for your own home use that you are putting a lot of time and effort into and that you hope your family will like, etc. etc.

A good example of this question in practice could be the choice of building a piece with veneers (cooler designs possible, but if it gets scratched down the road you are very possibly screwed), as opposed to solid wood construction that is a bit simpler / more traditional but always can be stripped / re-finished, etc. Of course, there are many more examples... this is just one possibility.

Just interested to hear what you typically do in your work!

Cheers!

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In your example If veneer was the option to get the design I'd use veneer and add longevity and ability to refinish by cutting my own 3/32 veneers that can be refinished.

Don

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This is a little bit of that age-old question of form versus function, no? I think the real answer lies in what your end-goal is. If you are building something for your own use, you can make that decision based on the use case. For instance, if you're building a child's toy box, you probably want to focus on a more utilitarian but bullet-proof design. But if the goal is to create something distinguished, and not purely utilitarian, my own philosophy is that design should always come first. It's easy to start constraining your design due to your design tools, your shop, techniques you're comfortable with, or familiarity with a style or form. I really enjoy the process of sketching up an original design, and then trying to figure out how to build it using sound joinery, materials, and methods. It does often force me to invest in a new tool or learn a new technique, but that's what keeps woodworking fun for me. And the end-result is a design without any compromises.

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i have been working with turning alot lately and i dont see why you cant have both my stuff is usaly solid or heaver cuts but i throw in a little shape and desighn to it to keep it from becoming the same thing you can buy at wallmart for a doller i like to make stuff simple but still stand out somehow.

http://woodtalkonline.com/topic/6698-made-a-sugar-bowl-for-mommie/page__fromsearch__1 here is a jar i made not fancy but i think it still looks both solid and inturesting shaped.

http://woodtalkonline.com/topic/6714-here-are-a-few-projects-that-i-have-made-recently/page__fromsearch__1 here are a few boxes i posted that are prefinished again most are simple boxes with just a little extra to make them stand out.

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