1. Investigation



Design Problem & Brief

You need to design and make a piece of furniture for home that is modelled around the Shaker style and attitude, "Keep it simple in design and materials, make it functional and incorporate aesthetics - where form follows function."

Think about where you have a need for a functional piece of furniture for home - maybe you need storage in your room because you find it difficult to keep tidy? Maybe you need a product that organizes all of your PS4 games, console and controllers? Maybe your parents have been looking for a piece of furniture that will fit perfectly where it is needed while also complimenting the style of the house? (Shaker furniture is 'timeless' and fits in with most house interior styles.

Your Brief for this Unit is to follow the design cycle to design and make a shaker inspired piece of furniture for a need that you (or your parents) have at home.


1. Existing Shaker furniture

Research Shaker furniture -

  • Create an account on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com)
  • Create a Pin Board for this Unit - Furniture Design
  • Collect a minimum of 15 different examples of furniture that exemplify the shaker type of furniture,
  • For each example write a short description of your observations, specifically focusing on:
    • The function of the furniture - what has it been designed to do?
    • Any aesthetic details to the design?
    • Estimations of the size (Length, Width & Height),
    • Materials used

 2. Wood Joints

Gather research about the following wood joints/methods of construction (Include the following information for each: image(s) of the item, name of the item, a short description detailing how it is made, its purpose and where it is most appropriate in a piece of furniture):

6. Existing Products

Now that you have an idea for some furniture that you would like to make, add to your Pinterest board with images of existing products that do a similar function to the furniture that you require. Try to find images that show the types of joinery used - Are there Dado joints visible? Try and think about how each piece of furniture is made - what would be suitable joints to make each of the existing products that you found? Try to estimate sizes for each piece of furniture...how much wood do you think has been used?

3. Fibonacci Gauge

Download and print this document (Designed & Produced by Rick Hutcheson),

Glue the document to a piece of card and cut out,

Use split pins for the pivot points,

Watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xgw84Kwrh8,

Find 10 examples of furniture/buildings/things/items that conform to the 'Golden Ratio/Fibonacci gauge'

4. Routers, Planer/Thicknessers & Morticers

Gather research about the table router, the planer/thicknesser and the morticer. Collect one image of each machine and find out what each of these machines do, how they work and what they can used for when making a piece of furniture.

5. Measurements of Items that will influence the Design of the Product

In order to design and make a product that is fit for purpose, you need to gather measurements of items that have a direct influence on the use of your product. For example, if you want to make a PS3 console holder that can also hold 2 controllers and 20 games then you need to start by measuring the space needed for a PS3 console, the size of a PS3 controllers and the size of a PS3 game case. You will also need to collect measurements of the space that the product needs to fit into.

*Please use metric units when gathering measurements - centimeters or mm. NOT feet and inches.*

6. Specification List

Before a designer move on to start designing a product they first create a list of the things that the end product MUST do. For example, if the product was intended to house a PS3 console, controllers and 20 games then one point on the specification list could be: "The end product needs to hold a PS3 console, two controllers and a minimum of 20 games (in their cases)."

Normally a designer creates a specification list that considers size, shape, form, aesthetics, safety, price, materials, weight, manufacture time, function, etc.

Your specification should list about 8 to 12 points that your end product must fulfill. You will refer to this specification list during Stage 6 of the Design Cycle when you evaluate your end product.