The Importance of the Mock-Up

One of the most important elements of designing an object, a building, a landscape (or anything for that matter) is the mock-up. A mock-up is a scaled (often times full scale) model of a design, fabricated out of inexpensive materials and used to evaluate design elements in question. It has so many purposes, but the mock-up is mainly used to work out details such as color, size, proportions, mechanism testing, etc; elements that need to be visualized in three dimensions. In the case of furniture, the mock-up allows you to see how the piece will relate to the designated space and to the humans that will use it. You’re also testing joinery, finishes, colors and most importantly STABILITY.

Michele is making a mock-up of a rocking chair she designed with a client.

The curve of the back slats were tested, as well as how many were needed for support.

Six proved to be too many slats!

The radius of the rocking rails were determined to ensure the perfect rocking speed, and different armrests were shaped to see what fit comfortably. This rocking chair  mock-up is now our favorite chair in the shop.

Josh built a full scale mock-up of a solid wood drafting table he designed for a client. It needs to break down and pack flat so he needed to figure out stability and assembly. He’s also testing the geometry of the piece and how it relates to someone who will be making architectural drawings.

Josh tried numerous configurations for the stretchers to stabilize the drafting table.

He found that adding triangles to the back was the best solution!

Josh also wanted to mock up the perfect angles and layout for the legs on a three legged stool. So he made a plywood top to test everything.

Looks great Josh!

Lee used SketchUp to draw a Dutch pull-out table for a client. This is usually the first step in the design process and a great way to show the client what to look forward to. Now if she could just learn to spell…

Before building the table, Lee mocks up a small scale model of the table so she can work out some design details like the shape of the legs, the curves on the table top and the mechanism for the leaf extensions. This here looks like a table for 6…

But its actually a table for 12!

Hot glue is used to assemble the model. It’s the best way to put together a mock-up of this scale, unless you wanna make tiiiiiny joinery!

Lee is looking under the table trying to see the joinery from a different perspective. Sorry Lee, even though you’re also tiny, you’ll never fit under that table…

We here at Offerman Woodshop make it our business to mock-up everything we design to guarantee each piece of furniture is completed to the highest standards. Thanks for reading!