I try to work out all aspects of a design before I build it, but often I come to a fork in the road during construction. Should the chair’s spindles be spaced like this? Or like this?
If possible, I mock up each possibility to make my decision. But if the answer is not obvious and easy, I immediately halt work, walk away and work on something else (there’s always something else on fire here). That’s because when I force a design decision, I often regret it.
Sometimes the answer will come to me within minutes or an hour – bah, of course! Other times I have to let it stew overnight. But the answer always does come. And sometimes it’s a third or fourth path that I hadn’t considered before.
Yesterday was one of those days. I was working out the tapers on the gateleg of this little breakfast table and couldn’t decide if I wanted to taper two faces of the gateleg (like the other four legs of the table) or three (wouldn’t that look weird?). I mocked it up in pine and couldn’t make the call.
So instead I went upstairs and made chilaquiles for my family.
The next morning I walked into the shop and knew the answer. Of course, the gateleg should be tapered on three faces. You can only see two faces of the leg at any one time. So it wouldn’t look weird at all.
And I was right.
— Christopher Schwarz