Updated: Jan 17
Further research - read through: 'The complete guide to joint-making' by John Bullar. Wanted to explore ways of joining wood to create my stool. Lots of complex methods and techniques explained in this book but I want to keep it relatively simple as its the first time I've made furniture or worked properly with wood.
Went into the wood workshop to discuss my idea with Neil.
Because the design I chose is comprised of 6 pieces of flat wood, he said it would be much easier to do using the CNC machine in digital fabrication. If I made it from real wood, I would have to join multiple pieces together just to create one part, which he said would take lots of practise and time to get right.
Therefore, went to speak to George. he talked me through the process and the difficulties I would have with my design in the CNC machine. The machine can cut sharp external angles, but not sharp internal angles. Therefore, when routing it out on the machine ill have to add rounded corners at some parts to allow for this (see first image below). Also, CNC machine works in 3D - can create shoulders for connecting joins so tenon can sit in the mortise (see second image below), creating a more secure joint. Will do this for my 3 bars that connect the two legs.
Talking to Neil - asking what types of wood can be used for this process. 'Real' wood can't be used as the CNC machine needs a completely flat sheet of material - limits me to MDF and plywood. MDF wouldn't last and would mean the stool would be essentially unusable as its a very weak material and couldn't take the weight of a person.
There are different qualities of plywood - can get a sheet ranging from £30-£400. The cheapest is usually used to pour concrete in building work so is not made to last and would be unsuitable. The poorer quality, the more 'holes' it has inside between the layers, and usually the more layers it has closer together with no gaps/holes the better quality. There is a good quality piece in the workshop I am able to use.
After talking to Neil and George, I considered changing my design to make it simpler to make, and possible to make in the wood workshop. However, I really liked my design and although my simplifications would also work, I thought it took away the individuality of the stool I designed and instead looked like every other stool out there. Instead, I took on board their suggestions and making advice and adjusted my original design slightly to fit. For example - Neil said that the legs rarely come out wider than the seat because its a big tripping hazard, so this was something I adjusted.
My original small model was sufficient to figure out measurements but im not as confident in my maths abilities. Therefore, went back to my model making to create a model that has all the correct measurements and can simply be scaled up to the size I want it. I initially made the legs shorter but decided to elongate them so that the stool would be more comfortable to sit at. I did this because I was thinking about the weavers I've been researching for my other object, who often stand or sit for hours while weaving textiles. By making my stool higher it presents a rest for those makers, without having to sit so much further down - which would make it much more challenging to continue working.
Made model at half the scale I intend to make the real one at:
Using the full size measurements, I then created the individual pieces on illustrator ready for my session later this week with the CNC machine: