First Commission #1: Entertainment Center

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Blog entry by jmichaeldesign posted 01-22-2011 12:04 AM 1177 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So life forced a break from woodworking. I finished college a few years ago at Kendall College of Art and Design with a degree in Furniture Design and Woodworking. After that I moved across the country and a worked for a couple different non-profits for a couple years during which time I also met and married my wife. We started looking for a new apartment for a few reasons, one of which was to find one with a garage that I could work in.

I had worked in a cabinet/custom furniture/large weird sculpture shop through most of college and also worked in the woodshop at my school. So I went from having access to to two shops over 2000 square feet each, with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, to a 300ish square foot one car garage with about $1000 of used equipment which I spent hours and hours searching craigslist for.

A woman we know asked me about building a built in entertainment center for her. I made some drawings for her, and did my best to come up with a realistic quote. I figured she would be shocked at the price I gave her. This is what I want to do for a career sometime soon, and I’m not willing to sell anything for less than a realistic living wage.

Much to my surprise her response was, “Well thats a bit more than I thought, but not much, so let’s go for it.”

You can see the cad drawing I made, and a couple pictures of the lower cabinet almost complete. It’s hardwood ply and poplar as it will be painted. I’m pretty stoked that I’m not the one painting it. I hate painting.

Anyway, I had stumbled upon lumberjocks after trying to find as many sites as I could to disparage the awful 10” Jet jointer/planer combo I bought, spent hours trying to repair, and eventually returned. Since then I’ve found a new way to waste time and figured I’d help a few of you waste some time too.

So far while working on this I’ve been reminded how amazing the Kreg Jig is, I’m amazed at how clean the dado’s are from my Oshlun 6” set, and have fallen in love with my the new dewalt 12v max drill/impact kit. That kit it well worth the small premium over the competitors versions. More than that I’m amazed at how close my material and time estimates have been so far. I figured I’d end up screwing myself over on this financially for the sake of learning, but so far I’m under on a few things, and over on a few but all within about 10%.

More to come soon.

3 comments so far

View WWilson's profile


106 posts in 4399 days

#1 posted 01-22-2011 06:08 AM

Very nice. Have you used or considered using Google Sketchup for your drawings? I just got into it and used in in a quote myself (which I ended up loosing) but it was very helpful to share 3D concepts of the pieces with my customer.

I look forward to seeing you project completed. Good luck!


View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 4145 days

#2 posted 01-22-2011 06:26 AM

Looking good ! You will now really start learning in that 300 ft. shop. I know this one will paint but did you consider running your top rail thru to the end stiles ? What are you going to do where the faceframe is dropped in front? (nosing of some sort?) I t sounds like you are really enjoying yoiur work and that means a lot.Stay inspired, good things will come. Good luck

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 4119 days

#3 posted 01-22-2011 07:39 AM

I use Rhinoceros for 3D modeling as well as 2D cad drawings. I’ve tried sketch up a couple times, but Rhinoceros is really capable of a lot more, and I already know it really well.

I’ve been surprised how little I get frustrated with the lack of space. Where the face frame is dropped in front will be covered by the counter top that will go on top of the lower cabinet. The front edging of the counter will overlap the face frame so the gap will never be seen.

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