Make Your Own Furniture | Oivind Lie-Jacobsen | Skillshare

Make Your Own Furniture

Oivind Lie-Jacobsen

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9 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class project

    • 3. Design your furniture

    • 4. Make a model

    • 5. Tools you need

    • 6. Pick the right wood

    • 7. Cutting out the pieces

    • 8. Putting the pieces together

    • 9. Final words

65 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to design, make models, and do simple woodworking. The project is geared towards the beginner. If you want to spend more time making stuff with your hands, this class may be the push you need to get started. In the end, you will have the skills and confidence to make your own piece of furniture.

You will learn how to:

- Design your furniture

- Make a model

- Find the right tools

- Pick the right wood for your project.

- Cut out all the pieces and put them together.

To do the class you will need drawing equipment, cardboard, basic woodworking tools and wood boards


1. Introduction: This class is all about furniture making, how to design, make models, and do simple woodworking. The projects we are going to do is geared towards the beginner. If you want to spend more time making stuff with your hands, this class may be the push you need to get started. To me, woodworking is both useful and peaceful. It forces me to slow down and be patient. At the same time, I'm driven forward by small victories all the time. My name is [inaudible] and I live on a small farm in Norway. I will be the one to guide you through your next woodworking project, and I promise you there will be more to come. I'm educated as a graphic designer, but I changed my career 10 years ago and started working as a journalist. More specifically, I do woodworking and write about it. Writing a book has been one of my favorite projects so far. I will show you lots of tips and tricks and hopefully you will show me your work along the way, and I will give you feedback. You will end up with your home piece of furniture, with the skills and confidence to start up your next project and probably you will get addicted to the smell of sawdust. 2. Class project: This is what we are going to make together, a stool. It's doable for the absolute beginner and you can make it with basic tools like a hand saw, drill, clamps and some other stuff. We'll keep the basic construction. But since you are going to be the designer, your stool will most likely end up different than this one. Maybe you want to change the proportions or style, make something more rugged or something more on the rough side. That will be all up to you. 3. Design your furniture: To me designing is finding out what's wrong and right at an early stage, both the looks and the function. It took me way too long to find that out. Actually, now I use far more time on the design process that they're making itself. The result is better looking furniture, fewer things to go wrong and less time spent on the whole project. When I'm done with the design, I know what the furniture look like, all dimensions and which materials to use. Of course, I know that it won't fall apart when it's being used. I usually divide my design process into sketching and a final plan with all measurements. Make lots of time-based sketches. Use an iPad or paper or whatever you find easiest. It's about a quantity, not quality at this stage. Stealing ideas is okay, it will end up as something you need and yours anyway. I find inspiration online in magazines but also in nature. Take a look at different dog breeds for instance, low, heavy, a steady, high, and a bit more flexing. When I'm satisfied, I need to end up with a single global design. This is when I need to take skills, tools and materials into consideration. At this stage, I do a refine sketch. Before jumping to the next stage. These are the design basics I usually stick to. If we take a look at the stool from the side, this would be a simple as it is. Made from three boards, just seat and two legs, but probably a bit too simple. This construction will be too tough for the joints. The legs will create leveraged that overpowers the joints. A board in the middle will fix the problem by lowering the fulcrum. Then we have a stool with a strong structure. At the same time, you have to look at the proportions. The board in the middle divides the area between the legs into two halves. Pushing the bottom line up, we'll get the stool more exciting proportions. So far, we have a simple minimalistic design. That's okay. But if you hold something more want, there are ways to fix that. Making an overhang on the seat will push the design direction and even more to make design a bit more dynamic, we can give the legs a small handle. Now I'm ready to drop the final clap. I like to do it in a full-scale. I use standard white wrapping paper on a roll. It hasn't all key surface on the backside and it's transparent. Accompany one that is smart. Everything is easier if you have a big t-ruler or also. Drawing needs to show at least two sides at the top, if necessary. Remember to use the right dimensions on the number in your drawing. Startup pretty rough and then do corrections and refinements along the way. Hang the drawing on the wall and look at it from distance. When you're satisfied, you may do a final clean drawing with crisp, precise lines. This is when the transparent paper comes in. Then I can put a fresh sheet on the top and trace up the palindrome. 4. Make a model: With a plan on the table, everything is ready for some serious model-making. If possible, I like to make the model in full size. I use cardboard, hot glue, tape, strips, or whatever can make the pieces hang together. I find some big sheets of cardboard and glue them together to get approximately, the right thickness. To transfer the drawing, l trace a new drawing from my original. L glue it directly on the cardboard. Then, I cut out all the pieces, I glue them together. At this stage, I can look at my design in real life. I do corrections if necessary. Remember, the model doesn't need to look perfect at the end. The model lets me get a feeling of the strength and rigidity. To check further, I make a mock-up from scrap-wood, usually, just parts of the construction, joints, seats, and such. If I've done changes, l always update the original drawing. 5. Tools you need: To me, tools are about possibilities. A new tool means a new thing that can be done. I started out pretty simple with some hand tools, but when power tools got cheap, I bought way too many of them. Now I'm back with a good mix of power tools and hand tools. In my opinion, some of the hand tools are just as effective as power tools. They give me better control, I need no charging, and I do not make a lot of dust and noise. Dust and noise is essential if you work indoors and have neighbors next door. With tools in general, there is a link between price and quality. In my experience, it's much about accuracy and lifespan. Cheap tools are not cheap if they break. Hammer, square, pencil, measuring tape, and a knife, that is my base layer of tools, plus protection for my ears and eyes. Then new possibilities come with new tools. A grill with different bits, can make holes and drive screws. With a Hansel, I can do all straight cuts, and the legs on my stool will look something like this. If I add a chisel, I can make crosscuts in tight places. A planner can give me straight, smooth surfaces. With a hacksaw, I can do curves and cuts in tight places. With a forest near bit, I can make a hole like this. A surplus saw can do both cross cuts and rip cuts. They are effective and pretty accurate. Micro saw gives you precise cuts at any angle. That makes it easy to give the legs the exact angle I want. I also need to talk about clamps. There is no such thing as enough clamps. They are my most important workshop assistants. Go for the quick ones, those you operate with one hand. Most of the power tools are cornice. You have three main parts; the body, the battery and the charger. When buying a new tool, you use the same batteries and charger. Therefore, you need to think ahead when you start up with cornice tools. You will be married to the same brand pretty much for all future. For me, safety is much about working conditions. A floor is not a workbench. I always try to get all my tools up in working height. Keeping the work area clean is also essential. I always secure my workplace. Power tools can give you serious injuries. I must admit that I rarely read user manuals, except the ones on my power tools, especially the part of security. 6. Pick the right wood: Picking the right wood for your project will affect the looks, the strength and how easy it will be to do the carpeting. If you want something rustic, you may pick some rough boards or some reclaimed wood. If you want a simple design, the board should be smooth and pretty perfect. Strength is much about using the materials right. Too thick, might be strong, but doesn't always look good and too thin, neither look good or had the strength we need. My take is to do tests. There are also ways to give a construction strength just by using the materials right. For instance, a thin board does flex when put on the flat, but has a lot of strength when put on high. With two boards, one on the flat and one on the high, they get great strength combined. In my experience, it's better to choose boards that are a bit on the thicker side. In addition to better strength, it gives better hold for the screws and the wood is less likely to crack. The same goes for density brown wood, the shorter distance between the growth rings, the better. The board also needs to be straight and not will give you problems. Moist wood will shrink, then crack and twist. The measured moisture in percent, 20 percent is way too much. Under 10 percent is okay. Down to six percent is perfect. If you're a beginner, it's quantity over quality. You need to make a lot of stuff. Therefore, I will get lumber that is good enough and save the expensive wood for later when you're more skilled. In our project, I've chosen edge-glued pine board. They're dry, not too expensive and stable. They'll give a smooth, straight finish on the stool and boards like this are my go-to in a lot of projects. 7. Cutting out the pieces: Now, we have a plan with all the measurements and [inaudible]. Everything is ready for cutting out all the pieces. The seat, the rail, and the legs. When cutting, both measuring and cutting needs to be right. The first trick is to always measure it twice before I cut. A sharp pencil is essential. I leave a short thin line on the board. Then I use a square to draw a full line. I start by cutting all the different pieces to length. I usually would use my microsaw for this, but this time, I'm going to give my handsaw a try. A Japanese handsaw like this is my favorite. It cuts on both sides. The side with fine teeth is for cutting across the grain, also called cross-cut. The other side with bigger teeth is used to cut parallel to the grain, also called a rip gut or ribbing. When cutting, I aim to get the cut both straight and plump. That is doable with some practice. But since I'm a bit rusty on hand sawing, I'm going to use some help. A piece of thick lumber with sharp edges is going to be my guide. First of all, I clamp my workpiece to the workbench. I put a guide on the top with the edge right along my cutting line. I start with a few passes along the line to get a track. Then I start sawing. These saws cut on the pool. I used to find side and I don't put much pressure on the saw. I gently push the blade to the guide. But I need to watch out so that I don't cut myself. You may use a glove to avoid that. When I'm getting close to the edge, I need to hold onto my piece so it doesn't fall off. I want to give the legs a small angle. That means I have to cut the ends at an angle of about five degrees. That is doable with handsaw, but a bit difficult. Then I need also to give the guide an angle by putting a thin shim underneath. This requires some eyeballing. I recommend some scrap with training before you start on the actual workpiece. If the legs have an angle, the rail needs to be kept at the same angle. That is simple on the microsaw, then you will know the exact angle. But here, we need to use another method. I place the legs and the seat on the side in the right position. Then I put a rail on the top, and trace it up from underneath. Next up is to rip the seat to the right with a rip cut. I go for the same method using a guide. I used to rip side of the saw for the actual cut, but start out with the fine side. I keep the saw at a low angle and if it wobbles, I put some pressure on, with my other hand. A rip cut is more difficult than a crosscut. The good news is that the cut is easier to fix afterward. I cut the legs the same way with rip cuts. I'm going to use a chisel to make a crosscut on the legs. Then I need to make a line on both sides. They need to be precisely at the same height. Before I start with a chisel, I do a cut along the line with my knife. I put the edge on the chisel in the cut. The flat side needs to face the part that I will keep. I keep the chisel as plump as possible and knocking on top with a mallet or a hammer. When I'm halfway, I turn my workpiece and start from the other side. Now, I have got all of my pieces cut out. Before putting them together, the edges needs some trimming. I use sanding paper or a planer or both. When using a planer, I need to go with the grain. If I go against the grain, I will notice pretty quickly. The planer will not go smoothly and will leave small notches. Make a few passes with the sanding paper to break the edges that aren't going to be exposed. If you're using power tools, in general, the more teeth on the blade, the cleaner cut you get. If your jigsaw, has an orbital action, turn it off. When ripping with a circular saw, use the ripping guide. 8. Putting the pieces together: I use both glue and screws for the joints. Standard wood glue is more than strong enough and easy to wash off if I spill. This finished screws are my favorite. They are doubled threaded. The upper thread give a good hold in the wood, which makes the head can be quite small. Another advantage is that I don't need to pre-drill. If these are hard to find, I go for standard torques, wood screws with an unthreaded part at the top. If they're too thick, the wood make crack. The length should be three times the thickness of the board. I start with the seat and the rail. I begin with some pencil marks on the seat so I know where to put the rail. Then I put on a layer or glue. I use two clamps to keep the rail in the correct position. Then I screw from the top. Now, we are ready for the legs. Put on some pencil marks, glue, and then screws. To avoid the visible screw heads, you may use some wood putty. Another way is to insert some glue and then a small wooden plug. 9. Final words: Thank you so much for joining my class. I hope you have enjoyed yourself with some small victories along the way and one big at the end. A piece of furniture made by you and some new skills, of course. I can't wait to see what you are up to. Post your project and ask questions. Remember, this is just a start. Press "Follow" and new classes with new projects will come to you pretty soon.