Why You Need Geometry

I was always good at math in school. It was the one class I knew I could get a good grade in besides shop class.  But I never saw how it could apply to my life or my job. I knew I was never going to be a scientist or an accountant, so who needs to remember this math stuff? Even if I did need to do math at my job, I could always use my phone and the calculator. Add to that, and I can ask Google to figure out almost anything. So who needs it? Well, it turns out that as I began woodworking I found woodworking is full of math problems. And I’m not talking about adding fractions together

Recalling my days in school, we had to learn algebra, and that required remembering formulas and equations to solve the problems. But when I am on a job site, or in my shop, I can’t recall the exact method for the equation. And even if I could remember the formula I certainly don’t remember the order in which to solve it. But another way to solve some of these problems is with geometry. 

I think, for me, the difference between Algebra and Geometry is that algebra is a mental thing, and being smart is not something I wasn’t born with. However, geometry is a visual thing. I can see the problem and I can figure out how to measure it. I have had many issues that have caused me to scratch my head but in the end, geometry has always solved my problem. With a protector and a compass, the answers become much more clear. And slowly my mind started looking and thinking in a different way.

I will admit, starting out, it isn’t very clear and can be confusing using geometry. But once you get a few basic rules figured out, you start looking at problems in a new way. It becomes clearer as problems are presented to you. For example, how do you figure out the specific height of an arch? How do you figure out specific drawer sizes? How about the placement and angles of the legs on a chair? Yes, it’s true, we can guess at these things or maybe a book might have the measurements if you are following plans, but if you are designing your own unique project how do you know if it will look correct? Geometry is the answer.

If you are interested in learning more about geometry and how we can use it in our woodworking click on the playlist and see how easy it can be. Click here for the full geometry playlist.

Chad Stanton – Stanton Fine Furniture- 6-29-2023

2 Responses

  1. Good article/education for those of us who should have paid more attention in school. At the time I thought it was boring, nothing to see here. But as the years went by It came up a lot in many different instances and then I started woodworking.
    Should have paid attention. I think they should start each class with an overview of when and where what you will learn will be useful.
    But they didn’t.

  2. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in math, but I find most of the math I use in woodworking comes from 7-10 grades. It is enjoyable to do some of the calculations (or geometric construtions) and I really love compass and straightedge constructions.

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