In-Depth Post #6 Hanson – Woodworking

Progress report

During the past two weeks, I worked with my mentor to wrap up the birdhouse we’ve been working on for the past few months. We have completely finished all the wood portions of the birdhouse, which includes the support beams that provide the main structure for the birdhouse. Our next step is to finalize the project by adding some detail, refining the wood parts, as well as creating a resin roof made of leaves and natural materials. We have also in the process of creating a concrete cavity for the bird to nest in, which would include natural straw in it to connect it to nature better. This concrete piece will connect to my science project as well where I researched concrete. After these components are completed, I am fully done with the birdhouse.

What was a highlight and why?

Now nearing the end of the project, I can confidently say the biggest highlight of this experience is having the opportunity to learn by experimenting hands-on. Working hands-on with a project and developing prototypes was far more intuitive than the previous design practices I’d relied on such as pen and paper. For example, I worked with my mentor to make prototypes that would bring many benefits to the table such as revealing design flaws, uncovering new solutions, and creating a platform for us to experiment with those solutions and adaptations. Being introduced to this skill of “designing as you make” workflow has greatly improved the quality of my individual projects. Furthermore, this hands-on experimental style of working can apply to subjects outside of design, and I expect the experiences in woodworking to influence many other parts of my life.

What was particularly challenging and why?

            Again, going back to the idea of “designing you make”, I found it very challenging to accurately plan a design on pen and paper that would work well when physically made. Many of my previous CAD designs have been greatly adjusted because they simply didn’t work in the real world. Previously at the start of the project, I noted how I wanted to save material by having a comprehensive paper plan so I could make the product without making a bunch of mistakes and adjustments. This idea proved to be less effective than one I later learned, which is to prototype at a smaller and lower quality scale. This is simply because pen and paper cannot capture all the complexities of physical manufacturing, and you will most likely realize you’ve messed up and ended up wasting valuable materials nevertheless. The better solution to this challenge is to create a prototype, where you can visualize the problems, and play with solutions, at a smaller scale, so when you make it at a larger scale, you can assure it works. This saves you valuable materials that would otherwise be wasted, and the prototype can also serve as a souvenir of your design process.

Where might this skill take me next?

Regarding woodworking, I believe this skill will benefit me by expanding my creative spectrum. Learning a new skill opens many doors to create, play, and design in the future. To further develop my woodworking skills, I can try to apply this skill to situations and problems in everyday life and take them into my own hands. For example, if we need a shoe rack, I could take that opportunity and make the shoe rack, while developing my skillset.

I also value many of the concepts and disciplines I gained throughout the experience. For example, the concept of experimenting with different mediums may translate into other professions in my such as art. Habits such as challenging new solutions and seeking alternative ways to solve problems can be applied to many other actions in daily life. The collection of non-skill-based values I gained from this experience will carry out beyond just woodworking.

About my In-Depth Night

During the in-depth night, I will be presenting my birdhouse in person as I believe it is the best representation of my journey through design/woodworking. This piece encapsulates many challenges, solutions, design decisions, concepts, and craftsmanship that I gained throughout this experience. Visitors could interact with the piece and handle the piece as well as look at the CAD models I had originally designed. The comparison of the final product and the CAD model will reveal many adaptations we created throughout prototyping. Visitors can also handle the piece and ask questions about the piece.

In addition to the birdhouse, I will also bring some of the tools that I used throughout the whole project. These tools include chisels, hand-drills, sanders, etc. all smaller handheld tools since transporting a big piece of machinery would be difficult. In addition to handheld tools, I would also have media that display the larger machinery I used and I could explain how they functioned. A particular unique piece is the vacuum used for bentwood lamination because it’s not commonly used in woodworking. Visitors have the opportunity to ask questions about all the equipment used.

Lastly, I will be displaying media of a chair I’ve made individually. This piece is created completely individually using the concepts, techniques, and knowledge of my mentor. This shows the application of my mentor’s lesson and my competency to develop my woodworking/design skills individually. I believe this piece bridges my work with my mentor and where I will take the values from this experience after the completion of the project. This chair will be presented using images because the size of the chair makes it very hard to transport. People can ask questions about the creation of this project, and I could answer them. I’ve also considered presenting the chair in the form of Augmented Reality, where I would use photogrammetry to scan the project and people could view the object in 3d.


All the best! and have an excellent day.