A place for me to occasionally record the comings and goings of all things wood in my life.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Humble Beginnings

In terms of woodworking, there's far more I haven't done then I have done.  That said, I thought I'd share my first few projects with you.    Here they are...

1st Project: White Pine End Table

Before building this, my only experience in woodworking was occasionally helping out my canoe building buddies in their shop. One of the most important things I learned from this project was how to edge glue boards to create a table top.  I remember being utterly amazed that this was not only possible, but surprisingly simple.  I guess I had never stopped to look at a table top or cutting board before then.

This was also my first experience with staining and finishing and was probably the part of project with the steepest learning curve.  However, after about 7 coats of polyurethane and a lot of advice from Grandpa Bob (a far more accomplished woodworker than myself), I decided that I'd created an acceptable finish.

This table has poorly screwed together butt joints, the edges are not straight, and the stain is blotchy and uneven from where I over-sanded between coats of varnish.  Despite these obvious flaw, I maintain that it looks fantastic in my living room.

2nd Project: Red Oak and Poplar Coffee Table

This project involved a multitude of firsts.  It was my introduction to hardwood, my first experience with the usefulness and versatility of a router, and my first attempt at drawer building as well as mortise and tenon joinery.

As you can see from the photo to the left, I had not yet learned to create a true mortise and tenons, nor was I aware that joints should be tight enough to hold together reasonably well before you glue them.  Ultimately, the joints did hold together once I glued them up and I'm hopeful that they'll stay together for a long time.

Perhaps the biggest frustration of this project was the fact that I realized that the drawer was not square AFTER I glued its components and the its frame in place.  This lack of squareness led to it sticking in its tracks when it was open or closed.  Fortunately, I was able to solve this problem by putting a shim behind one end of one of the drawer slides, which brought it into parallel with the other slide.

Like my first project this table has a multitude of flaws that are at time painfully apparent to me. And like my first project, I'm proud to have it in of my living room.

3rd Project: Audrey's Nightstand
When my girlfriend and I  moved in together this past July we decided that it would be nice if our nightstands somewhat matched.  Because my Ikea nightstand was a bit nicer looking then the one she had at the time, she asked me to try to build one modeled after it.  Modeling something after Ikea furniture was actually quite fun, and I must confess that when I'm looking for idea's for things to build in the future I periodically peruse Ikea's website (don't judge me please). 

I wont go into much detail on this build other then to say that the nightstand is made out of some cheap softwood lumber I got from Lowes (see right) that was labeled as "Whitewood", and to tell you that this project provided me with some good lessons on drawer building and joinery.

This post is far to long as it is, but in the future I plan to go into more details on the specific aspects of the design and construction of my projects.  Check back again soon.

And oh yeah, Ikea's is on the left and mine is on the right...

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