Proportions do all the real work, numbers on a tape measure are secondary. Inches or centimeters tell us nothing about why a design works. No more than if I tried to unpack a melody with a stopwatch. A clock might be able to document a rhythm here or there but it cannot distill the essence of a piece of music. Our new design video “By Hand and Eye by Design – Designing a Worktable, is all about proportions and how to get comfortable speaking them as your native tongue.

I’ll admit I did have two dimensions that played into this design. The work table itself was also used as a desk, so I knew it would be around 30″ high. This height is expressed as numbers on a tape measure but the reality is that it’s just a comfortable height for a table. It’s more of a human measurement than anything else. The other measurement was that I had a stack of 5/4 curly maple for the top. That meant the thickness of the top was going to end up somewhere in the one inch range. That’s it. Everything that really counted was based on the proportions that delivered a pleasing aesthetic. See how this proportional approach works in practice. You might find it liberating.


George R. Walker