Lately I have been working on a prototype for part of a large desk I'm building. The past couple of projects have involved prototyping to some extent, and I'm really starting to realize the benefits.
The only downsides to prototyping are that the process adds a little time to the overall build and there is a little cost in materials for the mock-up. But the benefits far outweigh all of that. I have been able to play around with design elements and solidify structural details...things that would have been pretty stressful if I had been using nicer wood. It frees me up to try new techniques and polish up on old ones. And it let's me make mistakes. I'll make mistakes on the "real thing" for sure. It's inevitable. But the prototyping process at least shows me when and where I need to be extra careful.
The picture to the left shows a view of the current prototype. It is a stack of two file cabinet drawers that will be integrated into the desk base. Getting the drawers sized correctly and running smoothly (for what will be a heavy drawer in day-to-day use) is critical to the overall quality of this desk. I think I've got it and I'm ready to move on to the real thing.