DBIW Cabinetry & Woodworks

Weekend Woodwork for Beginners

Sanded and Painted shelves

Your next project starts with an idea. The question is, how do you take a general idea and build it into something specific, something you built fantastically? For example, you’re considering building an entertainment center but you’re not sure if you want it to be freestanding or built into an existing wall. Should it consist of multiple pieces or one large piece? Should the TV be in the center or placed to the side? How formal should the style be? the questions are endless…

Renowned cabinetmaker, James Krenov, once offered this piece of advice when asked how he goes about designing furniture: “You start with a concept of the object you want to make and apply some common sense”. He went on to explain. “The intended use of the object will influence its design. If the object is purely decorative – its primary function is to be beautiful – then the design will obviously emphasize aesthetics. If the object is to be “functional”, then the design needs to take into account human comfort and structural considerations.”


To help organize your thoughts, consider drafting a need or problem statement that describes the intended use of the project and any known design specifications. Hopefully, the need statement (I prefer the term “need” to “problem”) will address some of the most general questions related to your project’s design, allowing you to conceptualize its general outlines. If nothing else, the need statement will get your creative juices flowing by forcing you to think about the project.

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