Research & Brainstorming – Dana N.

As you’ve probably read in Claire and Annika’s latest blog posts, we’re past Milestone 1 in our design process! Claire and I’s design (sadly) did not make it to the top four, but those that did I believe were some of the best presented to us this last Wednesday. The next part of our design process is to do research on materials and their costs, which is one of the biggest steps in getting this project rolling and actually starting the building process.


This research is not only on what types of wood and metals to use, but it even goes down to what types of nails and screws we’re going to use. As we, and other designers, have learned from in the past experience and from previous projects, using the wrong type of screw could lead to the whole project tumbling down – metaphorically or literally! Using websites that our teacher Ms.Jo has directed us to, we’ve been researching up what types of materials are suitable for different environments, using Fastener Identification Charts, Lumber Dimension Charts, and Lumber Buying Tips & Tricks. It’s also been important for us to read up on different injuries we could (but hopefully won’t) encounter while working with wood, so that we can identify what’s wrong and find a solution for making pain go away.

One of Ms.Jo’s favorite favorite bloggers is Ana White – an Alaskan builder and designer. In her “Get Started” blog post, she recommends various tools and gadgets one might need on their first project. This includes a list of different kinds of saws, drills, and hand tools (tape measures, rulers) all at different prices. It’s good to read about these kinds of expensive and potentially dangerous tools from an expert, since it gives some more guidance, and you get more of an idea as to “what the professionals use.” While we may be limited to the tools that we have at our school or our homes, it’s always nice to have a comparison and to keep in mind what we may want to use on future school projects (or home ones, if we get some inspiration)!

Looking around more at Ana White’s blog, I caught some cool ideas (with instructions!) for outdoor furniture, like this table!

On her site, you can also see how different people have made the table to suit their space or necessities. I’d never looked around at her blog before, and it’s really fun to look at all the different ways people can be inspired by what they see in fancy department stores or on Pinterest, and to see how they recreate those designs to fit themselves!

Until next time… I’ll probably be checking out some more of Ana White’s design plans 🙂


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