The golden ratio

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Forum topic by grumpy749 posted 01-02-2014 03:51 AM 2724 views 0 times favorited 55 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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01-02-2014 03:51 AM

AS most woodworkers are aware, the golden ratio is a proportionate formula. It refers to lengths, widths and depths and there relationships to one another. If closely adhered to, the subject, namely furniture, will appear more esthetically pleasing. The ratio formula is fairly long but if rounded up it is 1.6. this ratio formula should be used when designing furniture in 2 or 3 dimensions. I have viewed many beautiful pieces of work on display here with little regard for this key design rule. why is that. It’s so simple. For further clarification on this there is a great article in woodworkers Journal about 10 years ago. Go to there archives or simply google it.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

55 replies so far

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548 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 01-02-2014 04:10 AM

Since you brought it up, why don’t you post a link?

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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3357 posts in 2032 days

#2 posted 01-02-2014 04:22 AM

Part of it is that the golden ratio has been oversold—not all the examples from the ancient world, for example, actually fit it. It is a nice way to design something, but it isn’t sacrosanct. There’s lots of examples of great design that don’t fit it.

Here’s a good quotation from Theodore Cook (1922) included in an interesting web posting on the subject: ”There is no short cut to the beautiful, no formula for the creation of the perfect.” The analysis of the ratios in an Aston Martin is illustrative. That being said, it is a good start for a lot of conventional furniture.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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555 posts in 3516 days

#3 posted 01-02-2014 04:29 AM

Historically, people were aware of the golden mean as a mathematical construct but I’m aware of no documented evidence it was used in architectural or furniture design before the 20th Century. Can you provide any documented evidence the golden mean was used in design before the 20th Century?

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#4 posted 01-02-2014 04:46 AM

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3357 posts in 2032 days

#5 posted 01-02-2014 04:59 AM

Maybe. Read this posting that raises questions about the golden ratio and the Parthenon.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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18422 posts in 3910 days

#6 posted 01-02-2014 05:23 AM

Livio raises a lot of issues, the Parthenon included.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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2523 posts in 2369 days

#7 posted 01-02-2014 11:49 AM

Did not know there are rules of design! Design does not go beyond concept. Design comes from an old Latin word, look it up.

I am more aware of design elements & principles that makes art more pleasing to the eye. Hard to use all elements & principles of design in whatever you build.

If you go looking for rules of design to today might find something like these to follow.

If really want to design and build furniture just go read a book on designing furniture or furniture design.

If want to discuss rules of proportion, bring in your formulas. If go into study of proportion will find a formula for every line you put on paper in today’s world of design. Today’s designers go beyond golden mean with there formulas.

-- Bill

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768 posts in 2733 days

#8 posted 01-02-2014 01:44 PM

another blog about it :
design matters

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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1554 posts in 2272 days

#9 posted 01-02-2014 02:09 PM

When those radio talkshow guys hyped up the price of gold to $1800 I couldn’t afford the golden ratio anymore. I had to get by with the Silver Quotient. Then the price of silver went through the roof and I was stuck using the Copper Relationship. It worked OK, although a few of my projects seem a little lopsided or maybe a bit too skinny.
Now that the price of gold is dropping again I hope to be able to afford the golden ratio in time for my next big project.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

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Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3156 days

#10 posted 01-02-2014 02:41 PM

I make my many many boxes with a 1.4 to one ratio, simply because it appeals to me more than the 1.6 to 1 ratio. Others like this ratio enough to buy hundreds of boxes each year from me. I sell few square boxes.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

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Monte Pittman

30128 posts in 2572 days

#11 posted 01-02-2014 03:01 PM

Most of the items I build are to the size that the customer ordered. I doubt if they look at the formula.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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555 posts in 3516 days

#12 posted 01-02-2014 03:18 PM

The Golden Ratio, almost always expressed out to three decimal points (thousandths), is pretty precise but seems amazingly variable when people claim to find or use it. Even its demarcation points can apparently be arbitrary. Some time actually check some of these authors’ images, you’ll find the illustrated isn’t even 1.618/1. Some claim the Greeks used the letter phi (Φ) to represent the Golden Ratio but it was American mathematician Mark Barr who first made that association around 1910.

18th or 19th Century drafting sets typically include a mathematical instrument called a sector. Sectors, known as “proportional rules” in Europe, have been around since Galileo and have several scales for different calculations and the scale called the line of lines is for calculating proportions. I’ve yet to see one or even read of one that has a mark indicating the Golden Ratio. This scale is labeled “L.” Here’s a sector by Thomas Jones, the leading scientific instrument maker of his time and it’s from around 1800. Can you find anything on it that represents the Golden Ratio?

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3084 days

#13 posted 01-02-2014 05:09 PM

Good discussion. To be slavishly stuck with the GR would be like doing all your drilling with one size bit.

That said, I find it a helpful tool when I have the freedom in a piece to create, say, door sizes.

I think of Mr. Fibonacci whenever I look at one of my wife’s sunflower heads. It is humbling.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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207 posts in 3632 days

#14 posted 01-02-2014 05:19 PM

Just because something that looks good doesn’t follow the ratio doesn’t mean the ratio isn’t extremely valuable. I think the Golden Ratio is a good starting point in design, or when one gets ‘stuck’.

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7378 posts in 3602 days

#15 posted 01-02-2014 07:31 PM

Beauty has always been and always will be in the eye of the beholder.

What is beautiful to one may not be to anyone else ….....
........ otherwise would we all not b married to identical women/men would we all not buy the same car etc.?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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