Can't decide if I like these two boards I made - really open to criticism on these two

  • Advertise with us
Project by Betsy posted 06-22-2016 01:46 AM 5395 views 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i usually don’t’ post projects that I’m not close to 100% happy with but I’ve been vacillating on these two boards.

The first board is maple and walnut. I had a small amount of some In Lace so I decided to try it in the “defect” in the maple. On it’s own with no walnut trim it looks okay. I knew I had to add some contrast to the board – but I’m not sure if I did the right thing. The maple board was 14” to start with – I thought about cutting it down to about 6”. I finally decided to add the walnut trim and see how it looks to decide if I should cut the length of it down. The final board is 6.5” x 14”. Now I’m thinking I really should have made the board shorter – but once I have a finish on a board I hesitate to change it. I thought about also adding more edge boards to make it wider but opted not to. Then there is the trim and how I decided it’s width – I admit that it was haphazard at best. Long and short I’m torn if it’s a good enough board to take to a show. I am one who won’t take a board to a show if i don’t at least like it – I know that’s foolish – certainly someone will like it enough to buy it – but still I hesitate to take it. What is your opinion?

The second board I’ve not liked from the start – it actually looked better before I added the finish. It’s size is 8.5×11. I’ve shown it to several friends and as friends do, I could not get a firm opinion on what they thought. Drives me crazy but sometimes friends are the worst ones to get an honest opinion from. The board is again, maple and walnut. The outside 5 pieces on either side of the middle strip are equally sized and I like that part of the board. The middle strip is a left over from an end grain board. I had several pieces to chose from and I thought the uneven sizes of the alternating board I picked was pleasing. Now I’m thinking the middle board blows the symmetry/balance of the side boards. I’m not a real hard core, everything has to be balanced gal – but I think I went too far past symmetry on this one. What is your opinion?

I really would appreciate some criticism on these – I’m trying to branch my “style” a little past sedate and these two may be too far past sedate.


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

31 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27807 posts in 4599 days

#1 posted 06-22-2016 01:52 AM

Nice work. You are you worst critic! You did fine finishing them like that. I think the one on the left could have been enhanced if the light and dark colors could have been continuously gotten smaller from one end- like 2 big ones then 2 a little smaller etc to give it kind of a direction. I do like the symmetry in it with the full length pieces.
Just my view on it…..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View dalepage's profile


390 posts in 2334 days

#2 posted 06-22-2016 02:56 AM

You seem like a creative person, Betsy.

My advice is to make end grain cutting boards. You will expand your design capabilities exponentially, in addition to having a board which will be better suited to the knife’s edge.

-- Dale

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4925 days

#3 posted 06-22-2016 03:02 AM

Like them both. Keep’em coming.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View degoose's profile


7287 posts in 4848 days

#4 posted 06-22-2016 03:18 AM

I do not like them….I like symmetry ....but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder…to the constructive criticism … I think that in the second one the cross pieces in the centre let it down… as to the first the asymmetrical placing of the walnut detracts from the whole effect of the board….IMHO

-- Be safe.

View lew's profile


13547 posts in 5249 days

#5 posted 06-22-2016 03:24 AM

My favorite is the first one. I’m like degoose in that My eye tends to enjoy symmetry.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4861 days

#6 posted 06-22-2016 03:24 AM

I don’t like them because I didn’t make them and I would be proud to call them mine.
I like deviation from the norm and these qualify!
Really nice work.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View sras's profile


6716 posts in 4623 days

#7 posted 06-22-2016 03:34 AM

I actually was most impressed with the second one (and that’s before I read your post). I thought it was a good job of using asymmetry – especially when surrounded by symmetric sides. Showed a lot of thought…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Mike_D_S's profile


810 posts in 3708 days

#8 posted 06-22-2016 04:10 AM

Betsy, first off, nice work and good looking boards. I’m with Steve. I find intentional asymmetry can be a very striking design choice. The second board to me is also the one that draws my eye more strongly.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5390 days

#9 posted 06-22-2016 04:35 AM

Thanks for the comments. I’ve been thinking a lot about symmetry and how it affects everything else. Looks like it really does come down to preference on symmetry or asymmetry. I am kind of leaning toward symmetry for straight line boards and asymmetry for boards like the drunken alice boards. Just looking around my house and how I have things arranged will scream symmetry to anyone who really looks at my “decor.”

I’m pretty sure these designs will not be going to my next show. They did take me out of that proverbial comfort zone for a change and there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ll probably experiment a bit more to see if I can find a design that’s symmetrical but not quite “normal” that will suit me better.

The first board with the asymmetrical walnut trim is probably my least favorite of the two. If the original scrap piece was wider to start with – probably could have gone without the walnut all together. The more I look at it the more the walnut pulls my eye from the stunning grain of the maple

Face grain boards are flying off my table this year so I’m working to come up with some new designs. Thinking outside the box is good. There’s a lot to be said to making things people will buy but that are not in my comfort area.

Thanks for your thoughts – I appreciate the constructive criticism. You’ve all given me some food for thought. I’ll try to remember to update this with my final decision on taking them or not to the next show.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2980 days

#10 posted 06-22-2016 05:14 AM

Not a fan of the turquoise with yellowed maple

The second one make me want to punch it where the widest piece of walnut is in the middle row.

This probably doesn’t help

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Vjeko's profile


135 posts in 4908 days

#11 posted 06-22-2016 08:23 AM

I’ll be off the subject for a second – I just finished a short free ;)
course in photography and learned quite a bit about composition
which made my photographs so much better. Your thread comes
with the right timing as now I feel I am a bit more aware of
shapes/colors/composition and need to dig a bit into art theory
to make me a better woodworker (artist ;)) as I’m not sure exactly
what to answer you, but I’ll give it a bash without knowing the theory ;)

I have a feeling symmetry, progression of size of pieces and balance of color has something
to do with it if you use geometrical shapes. I guess free-form would be different:
First board – I would have either :
-put both pieces of dark wood on the outside (irrespective of width) or
-sliced the thick dark wood in half and added one piece on the opposite edge
(the board would be “balanced” with the additional dark piece as contrast

Second board:
I think the improvement in my eyes could be made with
the center squares (I see big rectangles below which breaks the harmony) eg.
- all squares which are of one color to be the same size
- all squares of one color to be in some progression of size or alternation of size

-- Vjeko Balas - Croatia

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4509 days

#12 posted 06-22-2016 09:57 AM

hi betsy the tu rquoise stuff will not hold up to knife cuts..if it is a wall hanger, well then it looks pretty good. The 2nd board has construction issues. The wood going horizontally will not move in the same direction a the wood with grain going vertically. This will crack eventually. hope this helps with future designs

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3902 days

#13 posted 06-22-2016 10:33 AM

Here’s the simple truth… made them and you stepped out of your comfort zone in doing so. Take them to a show. Customers have many different tastes and I am sure that each of these boards will be just what one particular customer will be hunting for when they see it. Oftentimes we allow the woodworker in us to suppress the artist. As an artist, which you are, in my opinion, that ain’t good. Like stated above, we are our own worst critics.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4926 days

#14 posted 06-22-2016 11:09 AM

Betsy, I like them both. I like the first one better as it isn’t as “busy”. I also love turquoise in a knot. It really calls attention to the vagaries of wood in general. I use inlace all the time in knots and in the worm holes in ambrosia maple (enlarge them slightly) and everyone gravitates to those boards (and they often sell first).

I am not a fan of symmetry. I like the dissonance of asymmetrical boards. I find them more interesting and I think I look at them longer as I try to figure out the non-pattern. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View observer100's profile


477 posts in 2604 days

#15 posted 06-22-2016 01:24 PM

First let me say I enjoy reading what you have written above. I have read it a couple of times. I can tell you are really looking for comments that might help you. Let me also mention that we are ‘observing’ IMAGES of the products, NOT the products themselves resting in front of us. I am sure by now we all realize how different an image can look compared to the actual piece being held in our hands.

If I had to choose one of the two, I would choose the first (with the inlay). I think it is because it is ‘different’ in an interesting way. Every once in a while I say ‘Now THAT is different!’ and that experience can be quite powerful. I tend to MIGRATE toward symmetry and certain contrast in texture as well as in color. But with certain combinations I deviate from that tendency. The first board caught my eye immediately. I like it. The second board looks a little too ‘busy’ for my taste.

I would suggest that you take both boards to the show and ask for comments from ‘first hand viewers’ giving you ‘first hand impressions’. That would be quite interesting. The only thing that could go wrong is if both boards sell immediately yielding no further comments!

-- Seeing is believing.

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics