Knots, Drawings and Journaling

The weather has dropped below freezing and decided to stay there all week.  So no shop time after work this week.  It just takes too long to heat the shop to a reasonable temperature in order to get any work done.  So I focused my attention on playing a little catchup with drawings and tying the last of the knobs I need for the HB Tansu #2.  I’m still not done with the knobs, 6 down and 4 to go.  I may actually get them all done before I hit the rack tonight.  These knobs are all four strand star knots tied with #72 tarred nylon.



I also completed the drawing that illustrates the divider details.


I hope that all of you keep some sort of journal for your work and ideas.  The drawings that  I post on here are a little over the top.  It’s just my thing.  I find creating the hand drawings quite relaxing and derive a lot of enjoyment from them.  What I actually use on a daily basis though, is a dedicated sketchbook that I keep on the end table with a pencil tucked in so that it’s always at the ready.  Every idea goes in that little book.  Mostly scribbles and notes, but I try to get everything down on paper.  Once in a while I’ll flip back through the pages and see if anything catches my eye that I may have forgotten about.

The important thing is to find something that works for you and use it.  I know that Sketchup is popular currently.  I messed around with it a little but find it to be limiting to quickly getting an idea recorded.  I think it would be good for creating final polished design drawings, just not for the journalling of ideas.  I use AutoCAD daily in day job and we still turn to pencil and paper for quickly getting an idea on paper.

The most popular excuse for not journalling is, “I can’t draw.”

To that I say, “Learn.”

Drawing is simply a hand-eye coordination skill.  It can be learned and improved with practice just like any other skill of this type.  Does that mean we can all become artist? Nope.  We can develop enough drawing skills to get our ideas on paper and maybe even communicate those ideas to others.  Drawing is also a transferable skill that will help you in your woodworking.  Layout, especially laying down and blending curved areas, will be greatly improved as your drawing skills improve.  Drawing will also improve your ability to visualize how things are to be assembled or even what they will look like long before you cut the first piece of wood.  So, if you are already journalling, good for you and keep up the good work.  If not, get a piece of paper and a pencil and get started.

Greg Merritt

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7 Responses to Knots, Drawings and Journaling

  1. ant11sam says:

    My thoughts were “I suck at drawing”
    I had some classes in “Geometric drawing – perspectives” more than 20 years ago…
    After a few “experiences” this year…. (mostly watching your drawings and get frustrated with mines…lol)
    My thoughts are : “It really help – a LOT”
    1 – to sketch some ideas for later
    2 – to scale/get the right proportions in the trickier parts
    3 – to train accuracy

    • gman3555 says:

      Glad you see the value in learning and practicing drawing skills. The simple acts of drawing a line along a straight edge or transferring dovetails can benefit from polishing up your drawing skills. I consider my sketchbook one of my most valuable processions. It contains the essence of who I am as “craftsman”.


  2. kmhatch says:

    I couldn’t agree more but then I’ve always doodled, drawn, and journaled. My blog is in reality is a journal, more to show where I’ve been and maybe where I’m headed than anything else.


    • gman3555 says:

      Yep, I think blogging is the modern extension of old-school journaling. A digital record that we can share with the masses. Instead of hoarding just for ourselves. Plus, I hate to admit it, its nice to have a little validation from like minded individuals once in a while. It’s also gratifying to think that some crumb from my blog may help or inspire someone else on their journey.


  3. Theo Padouvas says:

    Hi Greg,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and checking out your instagram feed. Your blog has definitely helped me out with developing my skills as a woodworker. One thing I would appreciate is some advice on drawing for designing furniture. I’ve never doodled or drawn in my life and perspective is not something I have a firm grasp on. Do you have any thoughts on books or even classes I could take at the local community school that would help me? Or is it just one of those things that you just have to do it to get better at it.


    • Greg Merritt says:

      Thanks Theo. It’s always good to here that I helped in some way.
      There are multiple forms of perspective drawing. True perspective uses multiple vanishing points and can be an art form in any of itself. Artists and architects tend to use this perspective form to give a true visual representation of an object. There is also isometric perspective (what I typically use) and it is the form most commonly used for drafting. The object is drawn in a 30 degree rotation and tilt. The advantage to isometric is that all of the lines are drawn true length measurements. I can’t recomend any specific books, but books on mechanical drawing or drafting would cover the subject. Your best bet is to get a pad of isometric grid paper and start drawing. The isometric grid paper has the grid layer out at the required 30 degree angles. Start with a simple box (everything is a box). Youtube has a bunch of tutorials as well. Hope that helps. If you have other questions, just let me know.

      • Theo Padouvas says:

        Thanks for the quick reply! That’s all really good info. I’ve never heard of isometric perspective, or that you can even buy paper with an isometric grid, but that sounds like exactly what I need. I’m going to head over to the library today and pick up some books on mechanical drawing and drafting. I’m very excited to get started on this! I feel like it will definitely improve my woodworking. Thank you for your help!

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