Project 5: Wood & Joinery

October 15, 2012


Wood is a material that designers engage with at a variety of scales, from small handheld objects to structural systems for buildings. Understanding the means of joining wood into structures of any size relies on a keen awareness of each wood variety’s properties.

This exercise requires each student to create an assembly that critically explores the possible connections between wood members of varying material and properties. Students are to work in pairs. Each pair is to use the given material – two pine wood members (5cm x 10cm x 2.40 meters each).

Download project brief as .pdf document.


  1. To gain a basic understanding of the properties of wood.
  2. To explore the variety of tools available in typical wood shops.
  3. To develop skills in fabrication of objects composed of wood.
  4. To understand the opportunities and liabilities of wood varieties for the purpose of construction.
  5. To gain exposure to wood joinery methods.
  6. To develop a working process and understand the difference between a design drawing and a construction drawing used for fabrication.

Part 1: Shop Introduction & Joint Development

The first part of this project challenges students to construct at least 3 different types of wood joints, using one of the members of wood for experimentation. Students will also be required to develop drawings to describe the geometry and to assist in the construction of the joints in the shop.

Part 1: Objectives

  1. To develop familiarity with wood and the wood working tools in the shop.
  2. To design and construct at least three different joints.
  3. To draw the joints and understand what information is necessary for a shop drawing. How is a design drawing different from a shop drawing? Take machines and constraints of the tools into account.

Part 1: Constraints

  1. At least one of the three joints should be made without using glue.
  2. Other joints could use secondary connectors, but the primary material should be the wood itself.
  3. Drawings are to be made by hand using a compass, straight edge, mechanical pencil on 1/2 imperial scale paper.

Part 1: Deliverables

  1. 3 Joints per group of student (minimum), constructed from pine wood.
  2. Axonometric & construction drawing of the joints and construction drawings of the joints. One drawing per joint. (The drawings are to be completed while the students are in class, but not in the shop).

Part 2: Shop Drawings & Final Construction

The second wood member is to be used for the construction of the final construct for the Design Studio, project 3. In order to use time in the shop productively, students are required to produce a shop drawing of your final design

Part 2: Objectives

To develop construction drawings for the final construct for the Design project.

Part 2: Constraints

  1. Drawings are to be made by hand using a compass, straight edge, mechanical pencil.
  2. The drawings should be at 1:5 scale. (Scale to be confirmed at beginning of assignment).

Part 2: Deliverables

One shop drawing of the final construction with dimensions specified on the drawing.