Saturn Design, Inc.

9320 15th Ave S. #CB

Seattle  WA  98108 USA

Phone   206-283-6154

What We Do

Saturn Design is a Luxury Furniture design and fabrication atelier. Saturn Design clients know and want the best work without compromise. All forms of furniture and if the project is right, built-in cabinetry, are designed and built here. Domestic and exotic woods and veneers, metals, esoteric surface coverings, all types of finishes, and incorporation of stone, glass and upholstery are familiar components of our work.

Saturn Design is owned and run by me, Bob Huskey. I have the knowledge, ingenuity, skill, equipment and personality to produce work that cannot be surpassed by the best shops around the world.


My design work celebrates materials, form, and rhythm. I continually explore new techniques, processes and materials as part of my design work. I do not proffer a single style or limited set of motifs but favor the Art Deco period's embrace of variety and innovation while restrained and refined by a strong editing impulse. My commissioned work for interior designers and architects is installed all over the country and in many cities and a few yachts around the world . I am most fluent in styles from the beginning of the last century to current innovations. I prefer not to do reproductions and instead favor moving design ahead even while honoring the influence of the past.


My clients have been nationally prominent local designers from the start. 1997-98 was a big year for magazine covers. My work was on the cover of, and in Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, and Custom Woodworking Business. Naturally there were no fabricator credits in the first two since the magazines are about the designers. The third is a trade magazine which honored me with both the best of furniture and best of all categories design award for a dresser I designed with Art Deco themes in mind. My work has been in AD subsequently a number of times as well as in the retrospective books of a nationally prominent local architecture firm.


All woodworking, metal fabrication and finishing is done in house. Some heavier metal processes are subbed out to shops specializing in those processes and then fabricated and finished at Saturn Design. Matching control sample wood colors in stains, dyes, shades and glazes is standard for interior designers. Similarly, matching metal patinas is standard. Palette is critical to interior design. Part of what keeps me excited at the shop is the development of new techniques for new textures and patinas in metals and textures and finishes in woods. My designer clients will sometimes use these innovations for their work; other innovations are waiting for my own design work in which to appear.


I’m comfortable working at any level of collaboration: from my own designs for another project, to developing client napkin sketches and hand gestures to simply executing detailed finished drawings. Engineering, internal structure, and fabrication design is always done in house, mostly by me.


A preliminary consultation is usually the first step. At the consultation the general aesthetic parameters and function of a piece will be discussed. Price range can be discussed as well if that is a concern. If you have design influences you are attracted to, pictures of such will be extremely valuable in getting to what you really want. Also the existing and planned decor of the room influence my design decisions significantly. I can view these drawings or photos in any format. Electronic formats are very helpful.


Once a design direction is agreed upon, I will begin conceptual drawings. These will usually consist of single page CAD drawings that will be submitted for your approval between one and four weeks after the initial consultation. When the conceptual design is approved, I will present a price and a contract document. At the time a contract is signed, we will establish an estimated delivery date. The total amount of time for all production phases is usually between 3 and 6 months. Sometimes it can be shorter or longer depending on our backlog and the size and complexity of the job.


My payment terms are sixty percent at the time the contract is signed, thirty percent prior to the application of finish, and ten percent upon completion.


The first stage of production begins with shop drawings and sample preparation. Shop drawings and samples generally require four to six weeks to produce. Samples sometimes longer if the material selection depends on the final drawing. When the shop drawings and samples receive your signed approval, we can enter the project into the production sequence.


The first part of production is materials selection and layout. Next is building the piece. It typically will be completely pre-assembled before it is finished. It is checked for function and fit of various components before it is finished. I will let you know when this stage is coming so you can plan to inspect it before finishing processes are started. Or I can e-mail photos. You will then approve the project for finishing and make the 30% finishing payment at that time. For some designs, pre-finishing some parts is necessary even before the pre-assembly process.


The finishing process is painstaking, sometimes involving as much work as the entire building process. When the piece is completed, you are asked to visit the shop to view it prior to delivery. Final payment is due at this time.





The Milling Area equipment includes a 10' Panel Saw, Cabinet Saw, 24" Oliver jointer, 24" Kolle Planer, 5'X10'; MultiCam CNC Router, 5'X10' ItalPresse Veneer Hot Press, 52" Viet 3-head Wide Belt, Segmented Platen, Veneer Sander, and other machinery.


The Metal Area has a Cold Saw, Band Saw, MIG, TIG, Stud, and Gas Welders, hand shaping, grinding and sanding tools. Also metal texturing equipment and tanks I've developed and built.


The Finish Area has a 16'X10' opening X 12'deep Spray Booth. I have three Kremlin Air-Assisted Airless pumps with Kremlin Spray Guns. For shading and other lacquer techniques I have several Iwata Cup Guns.




Old Shop: Below is the information about my old shop space.


I will be adding photos of moving and video of the landlord's crew, (Jim Ferguson, Landlord) destroying my mezzanine.


The shop area is (WAS) about 8000 square feet. It is a small section of a large warehouse that was originally built for large scale steel fabrication. The warehouse roof is 50' tall in the middle and 35' at the perimeter walls. I built all of the infrastructure within the warehouse shell. The shop is well equipped with a combination of old classic machines, new high tech equipment and machines I designed and built. It is organized into 6 areas: Milling, Assembly, Metal Work, Finishing, Office, and Storage.


I added a lid and a mezzanine over the shop floor a few years ago. The purpose of the lid was to reduce the cold air flow in the winter. The mezzanine is about 1900 square feet and contains the office and storage areas. The storage is mostly for finished work waiting for delivery. Sometimes it is used for pieces that are built but will be waiting for a while for finish decisions.


Have a look at Photos of the Old Shop to get a sense of it. Click one of the links to the left or above to navigate away from the photos.

Bob's headBob Channeling
This is me, Bob Huskey, watching me channel the late Steve Jobs.
(above) I'm about to get adamently specific about the best way to address a subtle furniture detail.



Some things about me:

I own Saturn Design. I actively design, build, and finish.

I am passionate about what I do.

My family grounds me and keeps me balanced and happy.

Tennis and Basketball are essential to my well-being. (playing, not watching)

I have a BA in Statistics from UC Berkeley. Grad school for a year in Statistics.

Playing guitar is a meditation. Music adds essential richness to a good life for me.

Perfectionism is a gift and a burden that relentlessly drives me to excellence in activities I enjoy.

Furnituremaking has been my formal career since 1980 when I took my first job in a woodworking shop.

I have learned my trade through a little classwork, employment in furniture and cabinet shops, and a lot of reading and subsequent practice and experiment. Reading, Practicing and particularly Experimenting are on-going.

I am a designer, a craftsman, an artist, and an engineer.

Outside of work I am an intelectual and athlete. I deeply enjoy all that my senses bring me.


The name of the shop, Saturn Design, comes from my love of music. In my youth (and still) I had a strong affinity for the music of Sun Ra. He was an avant jazz band leader, keyboard player, flamboyant genius. Among his many quirks, he claimed he was from Saturn. As I was listening to a record of his, a friend poked her head into the room and enquired, "Music from the Home Planet?" At that point I realized that I, too, was from Saturn and that was why Sun Ra's music resonated so much with me. Later, I was forced to recant my planet of origin, but the resonance with Sun Ra's creativity inspired the name of my life's work thus far.







Below is what I require my employees understand about working at Saturn Design. I refer to it as the "shop manifesto". It starts with Shop Standards and Expectations. These were written fairly shortly after I started Saturn Design as I began hiring builders. Even those with nominally excellent qualifications did not have a well defined sense of what quality furniture fabrication entailed nor a systematic way of achieving it.

It is an attempt to describe what furniture and cabinter makers need to do to build the best furniture possible. The first part is to understand what qualities make furniture excellent or not. Then to detail the procedures required to produce it. But there is an essential capability required of a craftsman that I haven't talked about before and is not mentioned below. That is the ability to observe and discern. In every single operation, measuring, making a cut on the table saw, applying glue, clamping parts, there are nuances to observe and account for by subtly adjusting the technique. Even running a CNC router in an excellent way requires keen observation for subtle hints about how cleanly the parts are being milled. These are subtle aspects of technique that really can't be taught. The best machines, exceptional knowledge and training, the most luxurious materials, will not result in the finest furniture if a craftsman cannot constantly acutely observe the processes he is engaged in and the results of each process to be able to make the necessary adjustments in timing or pressure. The furniture might look good on first glance but close inspection and time will reveal unsatisfactory flaws.


The other essential quality an excellent craftsman must possess is the constant passion for perfection. Even with the true capability to observe, the craftsman must have the will and the passion to make the corrections his observation dictates. OK and good enough are not OK and good enough. Perfect is good enough and less than that is not OK. Interestingly, most people I've met who possess this drive are fairly quiet, calm, and self-effacing on the outside.


It is an unusual person that can dedicate themselves to constant excellence. Particularly when the actual operation is monotonous and physically demanding. For some periods of time the drive of a supervisor can get excellent work from a craftsman who lacks his own drive. Ultimately that is too demanding and wearing on the supervisor. What works best is the craftsman himself must be driven and have these qualities. With these, a craftsman will begin to produce excellent work early on in his career as he is able to gain true mastery from experience.


Shop standards and expectations

Furniture Standards

The foundation of this shop is the ideal of craftsmanship. Every piece that comes from here will be Perfect or very close, and certainly visually Perfect. At the very least Perfection means:

1. All materials are selected with awareness and sensitivity to the design intent of the piece being made.

2. Each piece is a model of clean, top quality construction. Built to impress museum researchers 200 years from now. And archeologists 2000 years from now.

3. All dimensions are maintained according to the drawings to within 1/32” in overall dimensions.

4. All structural joints are cleanly and accurately cut with tight mating surfaces for maximum glue strength and integrity. Correct fasteners are always used.

5. All joints, veneer and structural, are visually tight and clean, with no cracks, chips or visible glue line. Sand-throughs are not acceptable. Veneer patches are invisible through proper choice of veneer and execution of the patch.

6. All internal and structural parts are sound and clean in milling and assembly.

7. Drawer Boxes, Drawer Fronts, Doors, and Shelves fit the openings accurately with consistent reveals, accounting for the hardware.

8. All moving mechanisms work smoothly, easily, and solidly without excess play.

9. All visible surfaces are consistently and thoroughly sanded to the required final grit without sand-through and with all glue removed. Fine finishing cannot happen on incompletely sanded furniture.

10. All visible inside corners are free of glue or other residue and are completely sanded into the corner. This usually means pre-sanding before assembly.

11. All outside edges and corners are thoroughly, evenly, and consistently eased or radiused.

12. Finishes make or destroy a piece. All stains and dyes are evenly applied wherever visible. All topcoats are free of runs, sags, and debris, and are flat and smooth.

13. There is no element of inferior workmanship in any aspect of any piece.




How is this to be done in a small shop with limited equipment? Each piece must be built by a craftsman. A craftsman can devise several reasonable ways to build a given piece. The method he chooses makes the safest and most efficient use of the equipment and resources available. He knows the strengths and idiosyncrasies of the shop equipment and knows how and when to adjust and maintain it.


A craftsman does not need to have his work monitored because he has pride in its perfection. He knows that, at a minimum, if it doesn’t meet the Product Standards listed above, it is unacceptable. He is personally driven, not to hide mistakes, but to correct or remake what was wrong. A craftsman can show his work inside and out with the pride and knowledge that it cannot be done better.


But there is a more significant aspect to being a craftsman. A craftsman doesn’t rush. Instead, he works efficiently in time, space, and motion. The accuracy and perfection of the piece are a given; a craftsman strives to engineer not just the piece, but his construction process, within the constraints of the tools available, to make pieces under the expected time. He does it by thinking and planning a better way. That is the real measure of his skill, because almost anyone, given enough time and equipment, can make almost any piece. For a craftsman, time is the final and never-ending challenge.


Shop Procedures and Guidelines


1. STOP. If a problem arises that seems to be unsolvable in meeting the Product Standards of Saturn Design, ask Bob. Do not compound a problem by continuing to build with known defective parts. If the Bob is not available, do something else that will further the profitability of the shop. For example: clean up, take a break or go home, keep a list of shop improvements to work on, work on another project, work on your own project.


2. FABRICATION PLAN. Every builder must completely build each piece in his head and document that process on paper before physically building the piece. The Fabrication Plan is the most important part of the building process. Not doing this accounts for almost all of the building errors, compromised quality, and lost profit in the shop. The Fabrication Plan includes: a complete list of all parts, a sketch with dimensions of each part, a written list detailing the order of assembly for each part, and a written list detailing the assembly of the piece as a whole. It should be detailed enough for someone else to build the piece exactly as you intended. The Plan is to be reviewed by Bob before building starts. The Fabrication Plan should be so totally documented that someone else could pick up your plans and build it the way you intended. A craftsman should never be stuck with a difficult or awkward process due to lack of planning.


3. STANDARD TECHNIQUE. There are specific techniques, too numerous to list here, which are the technically correct way to use machinery, tools, and work wood, veneers and metal. Be conscious of the intent of any technique or operation you use. Ask about technique when you are doing something you haven’t previously discussed with me. When I describe a technique, it is the shop standard and is always the way it is to be done here. I welcome new ideas and will adopt them as the shop standard if they are more effective. Talk to me before using another tool or approach for standard techniques. Do not experiment on shop time and shop projects without first consulting me. Experimentation is very expensive and I must be responsible for the direction of those expenses.


4. INVENT. I encourage discussion of ideas about building approach and structure. Strive for approaches that are craftsman-like: not overbuilt, nor weak, and with the goal of improving efficiency and quality.


5. SHOP LAYOUT. I want the layout of the shop to be as efficient and comfortable as possible. I encourage your well-considered suggestions. The cost of new equipment and rearranging the shop layout should be justified in terms of improved efficiency to offset that cost.


6. SOCIALIZING. Make sure you are doing something constructive and profitable while you are chatting with others on shop time. Do not distract others from doing their work. If you see yourself or someone else standing around talking and not working that should be considered break time.


7. STEREO. The stereo is for your musical enjoyment when there is low noise in the shop. It is oppressive and distracting to have it so loud that it can be heard over loud machines, in addition to being bad for your hearing. Keep the volume low to moderate. Verbal programs are inherently distracting and are not allowed. Public radio stations are OK, commercial radio stations have too much talking and are too distracting. Personal music players (ipods) are strongly encouraged and preferred over boom boxes.


8. BREAKS. Take breaks as necessary to keep focused, comfortable, and efficient. If you have personal calls to make or receive, do those on your break time. If you need to attend to personal issues beyond a 15 minute break, honestly record it on your timesheet. It will ultimately reflect on your productivity.


9. ATTITUDE. Keep a positive attitude about yourself, your work here, and the shop. Politeness and consideration of others are essential in the close environment of a small shop. Friendliness comes back to you. Extend politeness to anyone you encounter during the course of Saturn Design business; this includes the most valued customer to the lowest help of a potential supplier. Use creativity to overcome equipment limitations. This is one of the joys and challenges of a small shop. Learn new processes of construction. If you aren’t happy in this situation and its challenges, I can understand and respect that. Talk to me to see if there are changes we can make so work here will be more rewarding. Thank you.


10. CLEAN. Every builder is responsible for the cleanliness of the whole shop, including the mess of others, unless the foreman designates a cleaner. Rather than trying to fob off the cleaning of the shop to someone else, take the initiative to keep environment you work in (the whole shop) a model of cleanliness and a source of pride. A visitor should be impressed with the neatness of the shop at any time. This includes the bathroom and lunch area. Do not leave the little cleaning issues like putting on a new toilet paper roll to someone else. There is no room in the shop for people who can’t or won’t clean up after themselves. I allow for, and keep track of, shop maintenance.


11. RECORD KEEPING. Keep time sheets accurate; all time accounted for, and all pieces identified clearly. Know the job number of the piece you are working on. If you aren’t informed of the number when you are assigned the job, ask the foreman or the office manager and be persistent until you get the job number. Write on your timesheet the purpose of deliveries and shop maintenance beyond sweeping. Put all receipts immediately in the office box. Give all drawings, cut lists, fabrication plans and any other information about a job to the Office Manager when the job is complete. Those records are part of the permanent record fro the job.


12. TIME PERFORMANCE. Know the expected time to complete each piece. Ask the foreman or the office manager if the job is assigned without it. Be persistent until you get it. Track your own time on a piece with the Fabrication Summary. As soon as it is clear that the project will be off the allotted time, let Bob know. You can review the construction approach and either improve it, acknowledge mistakes in building, or mistakes in the bid. The goal is to recoup as much time as possible.


13. REVIEW BUILDING APPROACH. Discuss each piece with Bob after its completion. We will identify difficult processes to improve, and successful processes to use again. This will help us to improve bid accuracy, improve our processes, and you to improve building efficiency. Return all blueprints, shop drawings, and lists immediately to Bob after review.


14. RESPONSIBILITY and PROFIT. Every activity that is on the clock must be directed at the short and long term profitability of the shop. Everyone’s paycheck depends on their own and everyone else’s dedication to the fullest scope of craftsmanship and plain honesty. If one person claims time that is not directly productive on Saturn Design projects, everyone else, and ultimately that person, loses the opportunity for greater reward. If anyone lets a project (theirs or someone else’s) go out the door that doesn’t meet the product standards, the whole shop loses by loss of reputation and/or redoing the work. Everyone will gain when the whole shop is profitable.


15. HONOR. The management approach of the shop requires and depends on a high degree of honor and personal integrity in each craftsman. There is a high degree of respect and freedom in the policies of the shop which are vulnerable to abuse by those with no honor. It should be understood by everyone that even petty theft of supplies and tools hurts the shop; it hurts profitability and therefore the potential for wage increases, and it hurts trust all around. Even if you do not do it, you should, also, not tolerate it in others, because it hurts you. More importantly, it hurts that person’s own self esteem. With regard to building, honor extends to acknowledging mistakes and poor time performance. Facing the negatives head on is the best way to maintain true self esteem and the fastest way to improve. With a fabrication plan and outline, and accurate record keeping, we should be able to identify what aspects of a project weren’t the most effective approach so that it can be done better the next time.



Quality Verification


Build with your name on it. Build with an attitude of demonstrating perfection.


The very heart of what makes Saturn Design, Inc. distinguished from other shops is our understanding of the meaning of quality and the consistent achievement of absolute quality for every piece that goes out our doors to represent us to the world.


We achieve this with a bench system of construction rather than a factory system. The factory is not a good system for custom work. It does have the single advantage of producing a known consistent quality at a known price. The only one responsible for the final product is the person who set up the factory system. If there is a failure of part of that system it is easy to identify who is responsible for that part and replace them. A factory system limits the scope of work of an individual and the business itself to a very small realm. It requires less skill, less experience, less motivation, less appreciation, and a very high tolerance for repetition in its employees.


The bench system for a shop such as Saturn Design requires versatile and skilled craftsmen to be able to make diverse styles of custom furniture and cabinets. But that is not nearly enough. Those craftsmen have to be working with a consistent, well defined body of building knowledge and shop practice to achieve well defined standards of excellence. The builders are themselves, and for each piece, their own entire factory. That is, in the sense that they do all the operations and they create the whole piece and they are responsible for the final result. The joy of the craftsman is in applying his knowledge and skill for the creation of a thing of beauty and utility. In return for that opportunity, the craftsman must own the responsibility of assuring that everything he creates is worthy of its price. That is, a craftsman bears responsibility for his own Quality Verification. A well organized shop has objective standards by which to gauge quality and documented verification that those standards were met for each piece that leaves the shop.


If anyone, Craftsman, Foreman, or Finisher verifies the quality of a piece that in reality does not meet the standards, it is a serious breach of contract with the CEO of the shop, Bob, who puts forward to the world that each piece is virtually perfect. That breach could seriously damage Saturn Design’s reputation and future business as well as lead to expensive replacement(s) of defective pieces. It is more honorable to craftsmanship to acknowledge a flaw than to deny a flaw’s existence. Ultimately, it is more expedient and practical as well.


Each job will have a single designated lead builder if it requires more than one. The lead may not do the majority of the construction but is responsible for Quality Verification for that job and will sign it off. Larger jobs such as kitchens or larger casework projects will become the responsibility of the lead builder for Quality Verification purposes, even though other builders may work on the project.


Apprentices are responsible for making the final result excellent. That may mean requesting of the foreman that a more experienced craftsman do part of your job and help you verify it. That is a positive sign of understanding and respect for quality. Part of the Foreman’s job is to assign a more experienced craftsman to help you, based on his assessment of the situation, even if you do not ask for help. If you need to ask for help with an operation you must also take aggressive steps to learn and master that operation for future pieces. That is why you are here as an apprentice. While there are many opportunities for on the job training, there is no room for on the job mistakes. If you can’t practice and master an operation in the context of a job, the shop is open for you to practice and master those operations on your own projects. Outside reading and practice is strongly recommended for improving skills and staying employed.


The exceptions and notes space is to note deviations from the Product Standards or exceptional adherence to the Product Standards. Note if the deviation was approved, or was a mistake that is not visible, or was a mistake with which we and the customer will have to live. Also note if a piece was made particularly well either in time, solidity of structure, or aesthetic composition.


The Quality Verification sheet(s) will stay with the Fabrication Plan and Drawings on a clipboard or for large jobs in a binder designated for a job. When the job is done all the papers are clipped neatly together and put in the Administrator’s inbox. The job is done when final assembly is completed on furniture and it is ready to deliver, or when the installation punch list is done for built in casework.



The Elements of Quality in Furniture were outline notes for shop meetings to help clarify my concepts of quality to the builders. I'm filling them out as I have time.




Consider the piece as pure mathematical geometry. One element of quality has to do with how close to the mathematical ideal the piece comes. If it were made exactly to the mathematical concept of planes, lines, conic sections, radii. IE all the surface molecules lined up exactly by a mathematical description of a piece, what would we see?


1. Surface planes (both flat and curved). One thing that defines a bound surface is its borders. Quality issues in any particular surface would include the dimensional accuracy of it’s size, how fair and mathematically correct the surface is, its texture, and color. Inlays are exactly coplanar with the main surface with no glue lines. Joints within a surface look like a mathematically accurate transition between materials and show no glue line.


2. Consistency of edges and corners. Included in the mathematical description of the furniture's shape are the shape details at the surface borders. The easing of an edge or corner is critical to the look and feel of furniture. It should be a well defined radius or chamfer, however small. It should be applied consistently and appropriately to the surface boundary conditions.

Edge easing considerations include: apparent radius, adjacent radii equal, appropriate radius –visual and functional.

A soft eased edge can be achieved with veneer with an apparent radius that is bigger than the thickness of the veneer can accommodate as a true radius. The actual shape is closer to a hyperbola than a radius. The key for this to work well is the transition between flat and edge curve be consistent.

Whenever there is a transition between dissimilar materials or there has to be a quirk, the radii of the edges of those materials should be equal whether it is large or small. Unequal edge radii at surface joints almost always look bad and feel bad. This is especially problematic with upholstery, but often there is leeway based on the nature of the upholstery if it is soft. In some scenarios, if the edge of the upholstery cannot be made as small as an adjacent solid edge, the upholstery surface should be raised just enough so joint between the two looks like the smaller radius of the solid. There are two main reasons, one mechanical and the other aesthetic, to have a quirk or eased edges at joints. One is when the possibility of absolute alignment can't be guaranteed, and the other is for visual emphasis of a boundary. In the first case, the purpose of easing the edges is so the piece still feels good if the materials aren't precisely coplanar. At a metal-wood transition, it usually can't be expected that the wood and metal will move the same over time. One surface will move relative to the other over time and with variations in weather. If an edge of either of those is sharp, (as a wood-wood joint should be), after the movement occurs, the joint will feel and probably look very unpleasant. The hand is very sensitive and can feel some transitions as small as 1/1000 of an inch. A small radius on both the wood and metal would allow the furniture to move and still feel and look beautiful. How much to ease the edges in this case is a balance between the visual aesthetics and the potential mechanical variation.

Generally radii on the bottom edges of furniture at the floor should be somewhat larger than is typical for the rest of the furniture. This is to protect both the furniture and the floor when it is imperfectly moved. The larger radius also makes a better, more consistent shadow line at the floor, because floors generally aren't perfectly flat.

One critical element of easing edges, often overlooked, is what happens where edges meet. In fine furniture, edge radii extend without variation into corners and appear as if they were mitered quarter rounds where they join other edges on inside corners. The most common thing you will see on less than perfect furniture is the radius of the eased edge shrinks to nothing (a sharp edge) approaching an inside corner. The actual corner is left sharp. It is a small thing, often overlooked, but when you can see this next to a proper corner, the difference becomes glaring. On outside corners the same applies except the outer corner is rounded within the bounds of the radius of the edges and not bigger unless there is a functional or specific design reason to do so. Properly eased outside edge corners are actually quite sharp points until they are rounded. Then they look crisp but feel comfortable.


3. Accuracy of relations between elements in a plane. IE reveals and joints between planes. Surface Plane of parts is accurate across reveals. Reveals are consistent width visually and appropriate to the function and designer’s intent. This means the actual space between parts as well as the visual space between parts which is affected by 1 and 2.


4. Control of technique on surface. (manifestation of intent) There should be no unintended artifacts of technique or process. sanding marks, chipouts, drips, gouges, dips, grind marks, or foreign matter on the piece.


5. Hidden and background elements. These things make an impression. Even if a client doesn’t see the underside of a bed platform when it is delivered, the delivery guy will and it will affect how he handles the piece, and the comments he might make to the owner. Inside of drawer cases. Underside of tables and desks. Backs and bottoms. Everything that could potentially be seen without destroying the piece should be attended to. Everything means every thing except fully sealed, enclosed interiors. Attended to means cleanly milled or sanded and smooth with clean finish on it.



What is Quality with regard to function?


6. Moving parts. Smooth, easy, tight, solid are the descriptors that should accompany moving parts. Moving parts include doors, drawers, table mechanisms to accept leaves, lids, rollers or casters. One mark of quality is how accurately and consistently moving parts align in their resting positions. Another is how foolproof a mechanism is. Another consideration is real world potential use and damage. In particular, that could include accommodating spillage of liquids, dragging on different floor surfaces, suitability of finish for wear.


7. Structural Soundness. in general and for intended and potential unintended purposes. The issues include: Joinery choices and choice of materials, weight, strength, stiffness, vibration control. I don’t yet have a formulaic way of expressing this. Over built is inelegant and indicates lack of understanding of structure and materials. Under built shows the same thing as overbuilt as well as a disregard for the robustness of the piece. Like art, this is a know it when I see it, experience with materials sort of thing.



8. Furniture and cabinets are in the home. Objects in the home should feel good. Furniture should feel good to the hand and any part of the body that it is designed to contact. High quality furniture consistently feels good everywhere the hand can reach. What we feel are surfaces and edges. The surfaces should feel smooth to several kinds of touch and not present any risk to fabric dragged across it. Edges and corners should not be a risk to fabric either. Even very crisp edges should feel comfortable to touch. Unseen areas should feel good. If you can reach it with your hand or foot, it should feel good.



9. Design Intent. Usually, designers seek uniformity, consistence, and coherence in the material to emphasize its predominant pattern. E.G. VG fir is selected for consistent growth ring spacing, color. Pattern should not come from sharp differences between veneer leaf edges. Pattern ideally should come from the repetition of the veneer’s visual texture and have a flow which makes the location of the joints either difficult to identify or specifically pleasing. Therefore, selecting veneer and portions of the veneer to use should involve finding similar texture, color, and grain direction at both edges of the veneer. The left edge flows into the right edge when they are slip matched. Contrasting color or change of grain direction makes the surface overall look inelegantly striped. Burls, Crotches and other highly figured woods require a different set of composition considerations. They are more typically laid out in mirrored or bookmatched patterns. So the consideration of what pattern a reflected wood figure will make determines where it should be cut.


The consideration of texture applies to metals as well. Raw metals have a finish that is distinct from mill to mill and type of forming process. If the mill texture is what the design calls for, careful selection for consistency is required. If a finer texture or something other than a mill texture is required, usually the best way to completely grind out the mill texture and then the scratch pattern or other applied texture can be consistent.





I understand music and design in similar ways. Motif, Theme, Rhythm, Harmony, and Variation are essential elements of music. Those are essential aesthetic elements of design as well. Good design is when those elements are expressed well. Those elements need not be classical in style for excellent design but they should express something and be coherent among themselves. more to come.

I have no openings now. I update this site as needed so this is the current state of affairs.