I apprenticed under Kenji Matsumoto for an year, who has a small studio workshop in Auroville. I consider this period as an integral part in developing me as a designer. Wood has so many eccentricities and constraints, the first few months were spent just in planing and smoothening a plank of wood. This table here was completely executed by me.
This was my first exposure to physical product design as well as execution. Also of the japanese concept of wabi-sabi. Most important of all, in my engineering, while learning about materials there was a lot of emphasis in Isotropy. To make a material uniform in all directions. Take for instance plywood. Though it is constructed by sticking thin slices of wood. Finally it is far more isotropic than the wood it is constructed from. What it gains is, now the carpenter doesn’t have to think at all about the grain. Also it could be used industrially, in automated processes etc. On the other hand, while working with your hands, an-isotropy has other kind of benefits. You could use the direction of grain to your benefit. One fundamental principle that I realized was wood only expands perpendicular to the grain. Any change along the grain is minimal. There are many different ways just this principle can be used.