Bedside Table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Bedside Table

Slightly shy about showing this here, but even novices are proud of their achievements.

This is my second project since getting into woodwork. The first ever thing I made was a drawer to go into an existing space, so this was the next logical step - make the drawer plus something for it to go in.

I made loads of mistakes, and learned some important lessons

1. Starting with wood which is not heavily curved will make it easier next time
2. When you are cutting half blind dovetails, you need to adjust the length of your side drawer panels to reflect the fact they are not going all the way through.
3. It is better to learn lesson 2. before you have glued up the drawer.

It definitely turned out better than I expected - it's solid and doesn't wobble on a flat surface. But as you can see - the dovetails and joints on the drawer are terrible. But I am hoping when I make the pair to go with it, that I can do better dovetails and make less mistakes.
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 08:32 AM
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You should be very proud of this piece, man. I think that this type of project is pretty darn ambitious for your second woodworking project. It sounds like you learned a lot too. I continue to learn with every project I build. That's part of the fun. Having come to the same epiphanies (not too long ago actually), I have a couple of suggestions for next time. Suggestions that helped me.

You had mentioned you were planing to build another one to make a pair, correct? In the future, build the two pieces at the same time. Cut all 8 legs at once. Cut all 6 apron pieces at the same time. Make two drawers, etc. You get the idea. Your results will be more consistent. You'll reinforce concepts more deeply. And, by setting your tools up for a particular cut once instead of multiple times, you'll accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time then if you build two separately.

Warped and cupped wood is always a consideration. You can try to avoid it the best you can, starting at the lumber yard. Once you've picked your stock, it can continue to move and you'll develop techniques for flattening boards prior to working them. The flatter the material is, the easier it is to make precise joints and achieve strong and square construction. I use a lot of hand planes in my work and find quick, high-quality results from them. Other's use power planes and jointers to flatten their stock. You can achieve some flattening with sanding as well. You'll decide which approach suits you.

I really like this table. It has great proportions. Proportion is such a huge part of fine furniture, and a piece can be lost on poor design. You nailed it! Getting four legs to stand without rocking is a challenge, and that's something to be proud of as well. It shows that you built your table well and made exact measurements and your cuts are on.

What do you plan to finish it with?

Nice work drillbit!

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post #3 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for sharing that - no matter what, it still looks great.
There's nothing wrong with making mistakes, it's all part of the learning process.

Good Job !!

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post #4 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 12:05 PM
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I'd say you did a fine job. Especially for a 2nd project. I think if you aren't making any mistakes, you're not learning. (at least that's my excuse)

Those hand-cut dovetails are fun. Practice practice practice. Cut em in scraps, make little boxes, etc.. And as silly as I first thought it sounded, practice cutting straight lines. Really helps more than you think. Make sure to check out all the videos on you tube. Lots of really good ones.


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post #5 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 12:12 PM
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Awesome job for your second project. Learning from your mistakes is fun, but learn from others as well, you don't have time to make em all yourself

Great job and keep at it.
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post #6 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 12:41 PM
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Nice job. That's a good second project. It stands straight and looks good!
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 01:22 PM
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Overall it looks good and a big step to make it as your second project.Nicely done!

***For the record*** Ive made hundreds of guitar bodies,never put one together and cant play a note.
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post #8 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the positive comments. It makes me feel pumped up to keep going.

@Ben Arnott - thanks for the advice. I did have a lot of difficulty with very warped stock. I had to plane so much to get it straight that the top of the table ended up much thinner than I planned for it to be. On the other hand, I got a good education in using a plane.

Good advice on making both together. I definitely wish I had made both at the same time.
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 05:37 PM
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I, personally don't think that you have anything to be shy about posting this here. It looks fantastic. Sure there are some loose fitting joints, but that is where experience comes into play and you can't get experience without practicing. If this were me, I would be extremely proud of this project. Definitely a fantastic learning experience and you ended up with a great looking finished product. You'll find that those small flaws that you pointed out, will really only be visible to you over time. Keep posting. I'm looking forward to your next project.

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post #10 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 10:00 PM
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She's a beauty! I am excited about you getting into the craft we love so much. Please believe me that is a fantastic job for your second project. Be proud of your creation and thank you for sharing.

Be well

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post #11 of 27 Old 02-09-2011, 10:32 PM
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those are nice hand cut dovetails! better than anything i did when i first got going

of all the things i have lost, i miss my mind the most
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 12:14 AM
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I agree with all above, very nice and very ambitious. Dovetails on the second project, good stuff.
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post #13 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 01:08 AM
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Nice table drillbit! The proportions are great. I really like the grain on the board you chose for the drawer front. Gives it a unique look.
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 07:56 AM
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Excellent work. The joints are nice - you appear to have the basics down and as you do more projects, you'll tighten things up. Be proud! I'd show you my first dovetails but they went into the wood stove!
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 09:47 AM
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Hats Off To You (if I wore a hat)

Good job. Just keep at it and your projects will only get better (actually, I'd say you're off to a great start). I've been woodworking for about eight years and built a few fairly nice pieces but I'm ashamed to say that I've never actually made hand-cut dovetails for a project. So you're a step ahead of me.

Having admited that, I hope my woodworking buds don't kick me out of the club.
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post #16 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 11:30 AM
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Great looking table. Every project is a learning experience. Your DT's look a lot better than my first ones.

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post #17 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 11:38 AM
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Having a piece like this, and especially a record of it for posterity (should you decide to scrap it for some reason) is great for looking back on in a few years and comparing your skill level. It will really give you something to say "yes I am improving" at those unfortunately frustrating times when nothing seems to be going the way you want it.

By the way, this turned out really well. Kudos for digging in and trying the "hard stuff" right out of the gate. A lot of folks don't do that. Now you know you can do it, it's just finessing the technique and skill from here on out. As Ken said, only you will see the blemishes, everyone else will just say "wow, you built that?!" Trust me, I've made far uglier pieces that people raved over how good they looked. When I point out the flaws they say they didn't even see them.

Last edited by frankp; 02-10-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 11:41 AM
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I recently got into woodworking myself (sic) but your two projects ahead of me

Like just about everything else in life, the more you do something the better you get at it. Your piece might not be perfect but made you proud enough to post it. Keep on building
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post #19 of 27 Old 02-10-2011, 11:02 PM
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Nice project. I'm also currently trying to learn how to hand cut dovetails. And believe me, yours look better than mine.
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-11-2011, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great comments.

@sstruck - Actually that grain on the drawer front was accidental, but now you mention it, I realise it does look kinda interesting. So I have already picked out a similar meeting of grain (not sure what the tech term is) for the drawer on the twin I am making now. That is why I love this forum. Thanks for the great idea!

@kenp "everyone else will just say "wow, you built that?!"" - too true. My wife is delighted with it (cheap furniture to order, yay!) and that's what matters most - means she lets me buy more tools, and that's what carpentry is all about, right?

@microtus "Like just about everything else in life, the more you do something the better you get at it."

So true. Yesterday evening I cut the tenons of the side pieces for the twin of this table. I didn't have any bevel edged chisels when I was making this table but I got some off ebay at the beginning of this week, which I sharpened up. So this time I was able to property tidy up the shoulders of the tenons like in my book, and I was feeling like a proper woodworker and patting myself on the back. Problem is - I got this great idea that I could square up the ends of the table legs using the same chisel and avoid using the blockplane which I always end up getting tearout with. Two minutes later I was standing in the bathroom at the end of a trail of blood clutching kitchen towel to a nice deep chisel-shaped puncture wound on my finger! That will teach me to get ideas above my station...

Last edited by Drillbit; 02-11-2011 at 06:45 AM.
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