Refining my thesis project

Hey everyone!

I’ve been working on my final thesis project which is a modular furniture system aimed at increasing the lifespan of furniture and introducing patina-capable material at a lower price point. It’s kind of like LEGOs for furniture, but is made from reclaimed lumber and furniture offcuts.

Key objectives:
As flexible as possible (many use cases, allow the user to do nearly anything they want)
Lengthen lifespan compared to other affordable furniture
Feel as rigid as regular furniture

Project link

I’ve got a bit of process work up on my website, but there’s definitely a lot that I haven’t been able to get up yet as far as persona and a few other areas.

Are there any areas right away that stick out as confusing, or that don’t have obvious logic?

Thanks for taking the time to look at my work, anything helps as far as feedback!


Any places

Cool project!

How does the top work? Is it a solid slab or a similar system to the legs? How do the legs attach to the table top?

Concept looks top-notch - I am only wondering how you can balance labor cost within that budget. I imagine since you need only 7 elements, you can install a ‘social workshop’ and train uneducated workers. Some people have done that with success for example in leatherwork projects.

Hi Andy:
So the top is glued up scraps from several sources, in particular furniture creators offcuts. Basically any offcuts would be planed down to thickness and then ripped down to either 4", 2", or 1" wide. It would take a special jig to glue up but it would end up with this really eclectic aesthetic that is unique and helps tell its origin story.

In this particular example, the top slab has routed channels on the bottom that sit over two cross beams. I’m thinking of adding some sort of straps or other locking mechanism to hold it in place.

Thanks for your feedback!

You’re definitely right about labor costs being the biggest issue to overcome, but there’s quite a bit of this that can be automated with a machine called a CNC mortiser ( but it is still an issue I’m working on.

I do love the idea of open-source and I think this project lends itself to the maker community as well. Have you heard of Dave Hakkens and Precious Plastic? It’s another source for material I’ve been thinking of incorporating.

Why not solid legs over the cross shape? Seems like a lot of machine-time and waste.

The cross shape is actually integral to the functionality and consistent aesthetics. Basically it helps temporarily hold the piece in place without a peg, and it also allows the legs to look almost seamless whether they are connected at 90° or straight. Does that make sense or is it still not clear?

Also the machining process has a few steps, but the pieces are actually glued up from long offcuts (which through some interviews with furniture makers are very common and almost always thrown away). There’s not a ton of waste with how I’ve figured it out, but it is a bit tedious which isn’t great for labor costs. Still finding the best way to optimize time and material.

It sounds like that’s an area I need to better communicate; why the shape is the way it is. Definitely a good reminder that it isn’t immediately obvious.

Unfortunately, your link doesn’t work. You can duplicate it by going to the actual source. My search only led me to machines like this. I don’t have any experience with these machines, so I was looking for information about them.

This amazing video may be of some use:

That’s the machine I was referencing anyway, guess the better term is a CNC chisel mortiser.

Also if anyone is so inclined, I’ve updated this project quite a bit! Joshua Thorson's Industrial and Footwear Design Portfolio - SUMM CIRCULAR FURNITURE
Think it’s made some good progress, but I’d still appreciate any feedback.