WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 88


WS: It is said that you are one of the top eight furniture designers in the industry. What methodology do you follow when developing a furniture design?

DP: For my best work, I have not found a method that I can turn on and use as needed. If I have a project to put out with short notice – what I do is draw something up within the parameters given. I critique the drawing and through a process of elimination, I identify what’s wrong with it. This will yield acceptable work but not my best stuff. Sometimes a design comes to me fully formed - then it’s just a matter of recording it before it leaves my consciousness. Other times an idea is vague in my mind – then it’s a matter of drawing and redrawing until something clicks.

WS: An emphasis on furniture design is a large part of your furniture making. What advice do you have for woodworkers to learn this subject?

DP: The rules of design are a good starting point – but only a starting point. I view the rules as “training wheels”. They were of great help in the beginning, but eventually they just hold you back from further progress. At some point the rules need to be left behind. Eventually let inspiration be the spark and intuition (which you have developed) be your guide.

WS: You practice what you call “Precision Woodworking” involving CAD drawings and precise measurements. Can you elaborate on this process?

DP: CAD allows me to produce highly accurate drawings. Measurements for cut lists can then be produced with extreme accuracy. No longer are you relying upon full scale layouts that are limited by the thickness of a pencil line or the ability of the person at the other end of the tape to “pinch an inch” correctly. Measurements taken with calipers and indicators give you the ability to quickly cut perfect fitting joinery. In the beginning I would often cut one part then cut the next part to fit to the first part. Precision Woodworking allows me to cut most of the parts out with full confidence that it will all fit together.


17" H x 34" D Darrell Peart Seattle, WA USA

Photo by Darrell Peart