The next project

The start of a project - making the plan.

The start of a project – making the plan.

Although the workshop reorganization isn’t totally complete – the workshop is looking pretty good. And since, I don’t want to only spend time cleaning and organizing the shop, I started the next woodworking project today. And yes, part of it is because it is more fun to start projects than finish them. But I plan on trying to keep putting away and sorting out the workshop as I build this project.

I am starting to build two nightstands for the boys (one each to start with). I started with a classic shaker side table plan from Fine Woodworking, and modified the design. The tables will be a little narrower than was in the magazine.

The fist step was to take the plan and make a story stick with the appropriate measurements. That way I don’t have to use a tape measure and risk cutting things to the wrong size. I just have to take the story stick and mark out each part. The story stick was a scrap piece of oak I had in the workshop.

Marking out the boards - making sure to remove an inch or two at the ends of each rough board. This is some 2" square boards for the legs

Marking out the boards – making sure to remove an inch or two at the ends of each rough board. This is some 2″ square boards for the legs

The two tables will be made from red oak. If they turn out nice, I will make another pair out of cherry for our bedroom.  After marking out the dimensions, I made an estimate of how much wood I would need and headed out to the barn to pick out wood. I am using a tree that I had cut into boards a couple of years ago. The lumber is beautiful. It is clear and the boards are thick (probably 1 1/4″ thick each for the thin boards) – so it should be no problem getting nice wood for the project. There is enough lumber from that tree to make several more matching pieces of furniture for the boys.

Of course the lumber was on the bottom of the stack in the garage. I had to unstack the pile, pull the lumber I needed out, and then re-stack the pile. I think Tucker was the only one that enjoyed that part of the project – I uncovered a mouse nest which is endless fun for a beagle to dig through.

After getting the lumber out I started marking out the boards. The next step is to cut the boards to rough size. This will allow me to easily mill the boards (it sucks to try to mill a 10-foot long board), and I can plan out the nicest looking pieces for the most visible parts.

A couple of things that will be a challenge for this project:

  • Each table will have a drawer. I haven’t built drawers before, and will plan on hand dovetailing the drawers.
  • I will attempt to resaw the sides of the drawers (they only need to be 1/2-inch thick). If I can’t do the cut on the bandsaw, I will try to resaw by hand. It is a waste to use the planer to take a 5/4 board down to 1/2-inch thick.
  • The legs will be tapered. I haven’t figured out how I will taper them yet. The magazine shows a jig for the tablesaw. I’m thinking I will either taper them on the jointer or use the bandsaw (followed by a hand plane).
A couple passes of a hand plane expose the nice straight grain in these boards.

A couple passes of a hand plane expose the nice straight grain in these boards.

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