Minimal Materials Challenge Furniture Designers

Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

Furniture Design has finished up a “Two-by-Four Challenge,” the 1st new project introduced to the program by the new instructor, Barry Weiss.

Finished projects were displayed in the library.

“It was the first time I had ever done it, so I wasn’t sure what we were going to end up with,” said Weiss. “I was pleasantly surprised, some people really pushed it to the limit.” The results of the project ranged from tables and chairs to coat racks.

“We had gotten a board which was 2 inches by 4 inches by 96 inches, and our challenge was to use only that to make a piece of furniture,” explained sophomore Sara White. “Mine had a cross piece, and then a box on top.”

Students in the class challenged themselves to utilize their limited materials, but first started out with a simple design process.

“We drafted it and sketched out ideas of what we wanted to do, and then we talked with our teacher,” said sophomore Justine Bessette-Denwood. “Then we drafted it on paper for a final, and then we started making it.”

Weiss’ main intent with the project was to challenge students, helping them visualize how get the most out of their material. They had to use math to calculate the measurements for their design, improving their problem-solving skills. “Some people were very challenged. It was hard to visualize that you could get that much out of a two-by-four,” Weiss said. “They had to design and draft it and calculate how much, and they had to use as much of the two-by-four as possible, so it’s teaching them how to calculate, how to design, and maximize your product.”

In their designs, students were able to make use of a variety of woodshop tools. “The main ones [tools] that I used were the bandsaw, the planer, the jointer, mainly the bigger machines,” said White. When students finished up their designs, many of the final products were out on display in the library, showcasing the class’ unique furniture concepts.

Weiss said that overall, the new project was a success. “I was pretty impressed with most of them, the way they came out I think the students were, a lot of them were happy with it as well.”