Look Ma! No Ruler!

shadow box

What happens when you get fifteen woodworkers together for a workshop and ask them to design and execute a build without a tape measure or ruler? No, I did not go around and make everyone cough up their sidearms before entering Dodge City. But I did ask students to step away from their rulers just to let their minds focus on proportions and not on meaningless dimensions. This past weekends design class at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks was listed as “build a spice rack”. That might have been a bit off as what I really was aiming for was to help students step into the world of proportions. Obviously the class got it, based on this nice little design by Terry Mason. In his words,

“Hi George.. I just wanted to say how much my son & I enjoyed your weekend workshop @ Lie-Nielsen on the 8th & 9th.
I wanted to send you this photo! I found a good use for my “spice rack”. Thanks for the cool info!!”

So what happens when a group of woodworkers are asked to design and build without rulers? Well at first – chaos. But after a few forays into the weeds, most in the class found this to be a great way to really see in a new way. After making this mind shift, it also becomes obvious that this is an intuitive way to generate a design. What’s not to like?

I actually have to admit I had doubts about squeezing even a simple build in a weekend design workshop. After seeing how it helped students grasp the aesthetics as well as practical execution, I plan on including this in future classes. If you have already signed up for the workshop at Marc Adams in Oct or Richard  Grell’s in Nov, plan on taking the plunge and going rulerless.

This L/N workshop was full but there are still a few slots open in the MASW and Grells.


George R. Walker

About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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2 Responses to Look Ma! No Ruler!

  1. greenwooddl says:

    In the bustle of packing and leaving I neglected to give you a proper thanks and farewell on Sunday. Please know how much I enjoyed and appreciated the workshop.

    Best wishes, David (whose bench was right in front of you and who didn’t finish construction)

  2. walkerg says:

    Thanks David, glad you enjoyed the class.


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