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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Pretty much a noob at woodworking. I'm dealing with some seriously heavy life stuff. I'm an artist who does game art and animation and something has possessed me to do something creative to channel all the stress I'm dealing with into something productive that doesn't involve sitting on my butt in front of a computer. I'm also decorating my apartment as I left all my nice furniture back in my home state when I moved so I figured I'd give making some of my own a shot. My first project is a mid century modern highboy dresser which isn't near as ambitious for a first timer as it sounds. I bought a solid pine IKEA dresser that's a dead ringer for one with the proper legs (Which I've sourced.) and a bit of modification. I'll be putting sides to it, chopping off the top shelf, new period appropriate hardware and some paint and stain to match my bed and a satin lacquer finish. Maybe I"ll even swap out all the external panels for some maple or maple plywood, something harder to withstand dents and dings a bit better. When I was a little kid my dad taught me how to carve boomerangs that actually worked out of wood and I built my own reflector telescope with him when I was a kid out of particle board and pvc pipe so i'ts not like i've never done anything with wood but this was almost 30 years ago. I'm confident I could be decent at this pretty fast so I"ve been exhaustively researching woodworking techniques.

I have a big background in 3d modeling so i could totally model everything i want to make incredibly fast to scale in Maya and make my own plans and schematics with all my cuts and measurements laid out logically.

My only problem which maybe one of you folks could help me with is finding out how the hell to do the very first step. There's a huge woodshop you can buy time at and they seem to have everything....except oddly, a jointer and a planer. Best i can tell from my research those are basically two essential tools, especially for a project like mine. I'll also probably be building a portable work bench that i can slide into my closet at the same time and start looking for cheap used tools on facebook and craigslist but I live in an apartment. I can't get my own jointer and planer.

I don't think i have any interest in spending months getting good enough at hand planing something this precise and jointer/planers are such big table tools it seems likely a lot of people don't have them. What options do you have for truing/squaring boards and getting them to desired thickness? There is a custom woodworking business here, do places like that ever offer this as an inexpensive service? Do lumber places ever sell boards to the exact dimensions you want squared and trued? All the lumber places here seem like they just sell home building lumber. It's a bit confusing!

Picked up the dresser yesterday so I guess I'm doing it. Got my uncle in san antionio putting feelers out at his church to see if anybody has a jointer/planer i could use to get this started right. Any advice on that first step would be much appreciated!
 

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Can you post a pic of your dresser?

Lumber dealers don't typically cut to exact sizes. A custom shop could probably help you (bring a plate of brownies or a 6-pack of some good beer, and you may be surprised at the cooperation you get).

What tools do you have for "chopping off the top shelf"?
 

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where's my table saw?
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You have the cart, but no horse .....

The missing tools planer and jointer are vital for making fine furniture with the least amount of hand work. Many fine piece have been made using only hand tools, but it's a whole lot of work and nothing will go quickly. It will require about 3 or 4 handplanes, knowledge of sharpening the blades, a sturdy workbench that won't move when you apply lateral forces to the planes and some serious clamps.

This is an ambitious project for someone starting out, even for anyone. Rough sawn lumber will save you a lot of money but that's where you need the jointer and planer. You should not use twisted boards on the table saw or you will have kickback issues. The jointer can flatten and straighten the bottom and one edge to safely use the tablesaw. The thickness planer will make both the top and bottom parallel and of uniform thickness.

If you have access to both, that's the answer. If not, you'll need new planes and maybe a workbench. Either way you'll still need the clamps. :vs_cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The missing tools planer and jointer are vital for making fine furniture with the least amount of hand work. Many fine piece have been made using only hand tools, but it's a whole lot of work and nothing will go quickly. It will require about 3 or 4 handplanes, knowledge of sharpening the blades, a sturdy workbench that won't move when you apply lateral forces to the planes and some serious clamps.

This is an ambitious project for someone starting out, even for anyone. Rough sawn lumber will save you a lot of money but that's where you need the jointer and planer. You should not use twisted boards on the table saw or you will have kickback issues. The jointer can flatten and straighten the bottom and one edge to safely use the tablesaw. The thickness planer will make both the top and bottom parallel and of uniform thickness.

If you have access to both, that's the answer. If not, you'll need new planes and maybe a workbench. Either way you'll still need the clamps. :vs_cool:
Oh I'm aware what they do and why they're necessary which is why I'm so baffled this huge wood shop doesn't have either. Hand planing is not a rabbit hole i want to go down and I don't even have a work space to do it anyways. I honestly don't think it's that ambitious considering it's just a fairly simple modification of an existing solid pine dresser that's already about 85% of the way there. I"m not building anything from scratch here just yet.



Can you post a pic of your dresser?

Lumber dealers don't typically cut to exact sizes. A custom shop could probably help you (bring a plate of brownies or a 6-pack of some good beer, and you may be surprised at the cooperation you get).

What tools do you have for "chopping off the top shelf"?
This woodshop has basically every standard wood working power tool imaginable except a planer and a jointer, it does have a 10 foot table saw. I would use that to chop down the side panels then square those boards off in a planer ideally then simply not build the top drawer. Here's a pic of the dresser I got which i haven't assembled yet.
My goal is to make it look roughly like this with a different color scheme and the highboy proportions of the existing dresser.
. I would obviously absolutely need a planer and a jointer for something like this.
 

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where's my table saw?
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For that modification ....

You don't need a jointer or planer for that project. You would simply cut the sides and back panel down to the level you want allowing for the 2nd drawer height. Use the top supplied. I donno about the fastening system supplied, but it may be the "cam over" type normally used in knock down furniture. That may require some innovative counter boring and drilling..... :surprise2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You don't need a jointer or planer for that project. You would simply cut the sides and back panel down to the level you want allowing for the 2nd drawer height. Use the top supplied. I donno about the fastening system supplied, but it may be the "cam over" type normally used in knock down furniture. That may require some innovative counter boring and drilling..... :surprise2:
You sure? I was out at the hardware store the other day looking at lumber and pretty much all of it was cupped, twisted or warped in some way, also i'm not sure any of it was exactly the thicknesses i'm looking for. If i do things i want to do them right and make it look good so i'm going to want those flat squared and trued boards. Also i might have to join boards to make panels on the parts I'm going to paint. On the plus side i FINALLY got a hold of somebody that runs this woodshop and they DO have a planer and a jointer! Seems odd they list dozens of common minor tools and a bunch of normal woodshop stuff but would neglect to mention those two on their website. I take a tour tomorrow at 6.

Also I plan to probably ditch most if not all of the ikea hardware. Gonna pick up a thing of titebond 2 and was thinking i'd pick up corner/band clamps if they don't have em at the shop and glue everything and then maybe pick up a pocket screw jig and reinforce everything with some small screws if i decide to replace most of the external panels. I know they do have a brad nailer so maybe that's an option? I'm not 100% sure what is the best options. If things are going well i might just try some notching joinery right off the bat, make it really solid. They got every kind of mechanical saw imaginable as well as random orbit sanders.


Well that's certainly interesting.What sorta stuff have you worked on?
Well i used to do just animation but now I started my own company developing for virtual reality. I'm working on a survival horror game. Working on this guy at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You don't need a jointer or planer for that project. You would simply cut the sides and back panel down to the level you want allowing for the 2nd drawer height. Use the top supplied. I donno about the fastening system supplied, but it may be the "cam over" type normally used in knock down furniture. That may require some innovative counter boring and drilling..... :surprise2:
Well i'm thinking i want to make this really Mccobb style which means it has side panels that sit flush with the drawers in which case I'd have to have a wider top panel. I'm actually researching joinery and stuff to see what's the best way to do this that isn't TOO advanced. Was thinking wood glue and maybe a pocket screw jig and some small screws to reinforce it all and make it really solid. I definitely think I want a planer/jointer for this because i want it really clean and precise, flat clean paneling.

Speaking of, i went on a tour of the wood shop and they DO have a jointer and a planer :grin: In fact they have a ton of stuff that they for some reason also left off their equipment inventory list including lathes which I really want to try. This place has EVERYTHING. Since I'm a total noob the guy said i probably have to take a beginner woodworking course where you learn proper safety and technique and operation on all of their equipment and the end result is a really nice cutting board made of different types of wood for a nice banded effect. The aformentioned heavy life stuff i'm dealing with atm is also a huge financial drain so i'm going to see what my finances are like after my bills are paid and see if i can do it. But i'm going for it I think.
Well that's certainly interesting.What sorta stuff have you worked on?
I did animation on mobile games for awhile, now i have my own company i started with a guy. We work directly with the 2 best headset makers and we develop software for virtual reality. We're working on a survival horror game right now. Here's a game model/enemy character i'm working on right now .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Strange. i wrote out my second to last post quite awhile ago, i hit post and it never posted so a day later i tried to rewrite it and it did successfully post, now i check and see that the old one posted as well and i can't seem to edit or delete it.
 
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