Pro Woodworking Tips.com
Mock ups, and why bother...
Having had the pleasure of knowing, and working with Mr. Jefferson Clark, a well known
Philadelphia, Pa., designer, and teacher of design, at Drexel University, I learned a number of valuable lessons.
While Jeff is now retired, his teachings are part of my business in a very integral way. There was a time when I
would have rather chewed off my arm, than to admit to that. One of the most difficult lessons for me, as a General
Contractor, who was trying to complete a project on time, and on budget, was the importance of doing a mock up.
Hearing Jeff mutter those despicable words, "Let's Do A Mock Up", would send me very close to the
Verifying The Design Of Your Furniture
When Jeff would say that, what I would actually hear was, "let's throw away some money, by
having a highly paid carpenter, or cabinet maker build something out of nothing, that looks like something". By
this, I mean we were being asked to build something from junk materials, or cardboard, or who knows what, and paint
or stain it, so that it would look like what we were going to build. And do it for free!
It just made no sense to me! Why don't we just build it, and be done with it. (we had several
heated conversations about this), and he always won. (he would win due to the extreme respect and admiration I had
for him, but at least I got to put up a fight). I think he knew that! For me, to build something temporary, out of
materials picked from the trash, like cardboard boxes, was extremely difficult, as my training was to build it
right the first time, and move on. I really didn't even know how to do it. Now, twenty years later, I'm a VERY BIG
FAN, of mock ups.
What I should have been hearing Jeff say was, let's build something quick and easy, and
cheap, just in case it doesn't look right, or the client doesn't like it, and refuses to pay for it. (It's
happened). Then we get to eat it. Now, I willingly build them. I even suggest to client's that we do it. (that way
I can charge for it). To the client, it's as easy as saying, "If we build it and you don't like it, or would like
to alter it in any way, it's a whole lot cheaper on a mock up, than starting over on the real McCoy".
When put to them like that, I've never had a client refuse to go for it, and they are happy to foot
the cost. Another very big advantage to mock ups are you can build full sized pieces and place them in the room
they'll end up living in. It becomes apparent very quickly as to whether or not it "works" with the room or it's
contents. This is especially true of "one off" pieces, where they are so custom, the chances of finding someone
else to buy them is nil.
The project above, which benefited by creating a mock up entailed a dressing table, which was
fashioned in the style of Eighteenth century furniture. It was a good idea to verify that the lady would be able to
comfortably sit at the table, and apply her make up, without smashing her knees, or banging her elbows while trying
to use it! We placed a chair of the proper height, in front of the mock up, to test all aspects of use.
Once this was done, we were able to take our measurements from the model. This is an added benefit
to spending the time to make a full scale version. You can see the drawing done on it, which is where our parts
measurements were taken from.
continued on page two