This is a project that I took on because whenever I go to the lumber yard, I am amazed that there is not a good looking connector or bracket that you can buy off the shelf for small construction projects.
Yes, there are a multitude of different brackets made by one manufacturer named Simpson Strong-Tie.
Architects, builders and structural engineers use these all the time.They are easy to find when you need them and somewhat affordable but do add up if you need to buy many.
Problems with the Simpson Strong-Ties.
- They don’t look good
- One color only- galvanized with holes
- They are sharp and oily
- There are so many different ones it is difficult to know what to choose or where to start
- The specifications are impossible to decipher
- They look cheap or tacky
- No examples of what you can build with them
- No do-it-yourself online videos or support
As an architect and product designer I began to research an alternative to Simpson Connectors. I found two really simple and beautiful examples.
One is called “Patches” and they would work great for small furniture projects.
The other is something that was developed for Ikea furniture called Hacka.
Both are excellent solutions for small furniture projects but what about larger construction projects? What if you want to build a sturdy sawhorse, swing set or pergola? I think this product should span generations starting with building a crib, to a child’s chair, doghouse, forts, dorm room furniture etc. My father is an architect and so am I. I remember watching him with amazement build all the time. As a parent, I wish there was a good looking and memorable product that I could use to build stuff with my kids. Nails and saws just aren’t the ticket. But I do remember endless hours of playing Legos and building awesome structures with my son. This was fun, creative and intuitive building. If there was a connector that made building forts, doghouses, chairs etc as fun and safe as building with Legos, then you would really have something that was memorable and cross generational. I have surveyed the parents that I know and all of them have tools and are willing to watch instructional videos but lack the inspiration to build themselves. They want to do it but struggle with putting something from IKEA together.
I had to designed my own. I started by simply bending cardboard.
All of the connectors would be bent metal similar to the simple bent rectangular cardboard concepts I sketched and modeled at the beginning. They would come in different colors like alpine white, smurf blue, forest green, mustard yellow and natural metal.
They reminded me of Doglegs so that is what I call them.
a thing that bends sharply, in particular a sharp bend in a road or route.
a hole at which the player cannot aim directly at the green from the tee.
adjective: dogleg; adjective: dog-legged
bent like a dog’s hind leg.
“the surf splashes over the dogleg concrete jetty”
verb: dogleg; 3rd person present: doglegs; gerund or present participle: doglegging; past tense: doglegged; past participle: doglegged
follow a sharply bending route.
“Highway 60 now doglegs northwest toward Frankfort”
These are the shapes I thought would work best.
The metal mock ups
Now for some variations