First piece of furniture

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Project by isaac42 posted 07-02-2014 07:53 PM 2056 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just started getting interested in woodworking about a year ago. Since then I have been slowly accumulating tools and learning as much as I can in my “free” time. Here is my first piece of furniture—a walnut end table.

I learned a lot in doing this build and had a lot of firsts:

  • First time using a jointer
  • First time using a planer
  • First time using a router
  • First piece of furniture
  • First glue-up for table top and shelf
  • First dowel joints
  • First real biscuit joints
  • First time doing tapered legs
  • First time finishing with something other than paint

Also a lot of lessons learned:

  • Measure, measure, then measure again
  • Dry fit everything
  • Be careful of glue spots
  • You can never have too many clamps
  • Make sure the reference base for dowels and biscuits is accurate and always the same
  • Take time to do it right the first time
  • Practice on scrap wood

Between buying a jointer, planer, and other miscellaneous tools to be able to do this I think this is the world’s most expensive end table. :)

I found a small local sawmill to buy my rough lumber from. This table is made with local walnut and finished with three coats of wipe-on poly. I joined the aprons to the legs using biscuits. I would have liked to do mortise and tenon joinery, but hey, this is my first piece of furniture and I already had enough to learn to complete this.

Looking forward to many more years of woodworking. Thanks for looking.

18 comments so far

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

120 posts in 2630 days

#1 posted 07-02-2014 08:01 PM

I really like the design with the tapered legs and the shelf. I also like the overall proportions, height/width etc.
And… I like the idea of using local wood. I think I will look around to see if I can find a sawmill in my area.
Looks great! Thanks for sharing!

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View PeteMoss's profile


214 posts in 4250 days

#2 posted 07-02-2014 08:05 PM

Looks great and what a great learning experience.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View barringerfurniture's profile


224 posts in 2492 days

#3 posted 07-02-2014 08:23 PM

That table looks great! Nice looking Walnut, nice design. Sounds like you learned a ton.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2324 days

#4 posted 07-02-2014 08:54 PM

Fabulous firsts in all categories! Very nicely done!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2649 days

#5 posted 07-02-2014 10:25 PM

Very nice piece. Your feeling good, and it’s well deserved.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View je_superfly's profile


74 posts in 2890 days

#6 posted 07-02-2014 11:18 PM

Sweet little table! Sure wish I had a source of local rough lumber. Be sure to post when you make the others that people will no doubt ask for!

-- -James, Sumerville SC

View fivecodys's profile


1637 posts in 2416 days

#7 posted 07-02-2014 11:30 PM

You did an GREAT job! You should be proud!


-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7043 posts in 3927 days

#8 posted 07-02-2014 11:59 PM

Excellent work on your first project! You tackled quite a few techniques to start out with, but you seem to have learned them well! Keep up the good work!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2715 days

#9 posted 07-03-2014 02:26 AM

Great job on your first project. Glad to hear you learned so much. It is amazing how much we learn if we really immerse ourselves in something. 4 years ago, I was clueless. Now, I am marginally less clueless :).

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2674 days

#10 posted 07-03-2014 03:17 AM

Congrats, and yeah you should be proud. How many people on earth can say they built their own table? Not many.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1659 posts in 3629 days

#11 posted 07-03-2014 02:30 PM

Isaac, nice work you’ll treasure it for ever and for a “First” piece I’ll look forward to the “Next” piece Well Done

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View isaac42's profile


56 posts in 2632 days

#12 posted 07-03-2014 02:51 PM

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

View Billy E's profile

Billy E

162 posts in 2860 days

#13 posted 07-03-2014 05:25 PM

Looks really good. I’m hoping my first project with walnut turns out equally well.

-- Billy, Florence SC

View AUPilot's profile


10 posts in 2207 days

#14 posted 07-05-2014 07:08 PM

This is a great first piece. I love the different joinery and the dark rich color of walnut. When I was reading what u learned it reminded me of all the stuff I learned the hard way as well. Like checking to make sure ur table saw is cutting perfectly 90, making sure ur rip fence is square, making sure ur joiners rip fence is square, measure twice cut once, and always dry fit everything before glueups. With wood like that u should experiment with tung oil finish. It brings the natural color of the wood like poly but is more durable in the long run. If you want check out my page I have a walnut and poplar dinning room table with a tung oil finish on it.

View isaac42's profile


56 posts in 2632 days

#15 posted 07-07-2014 01:57 PM

AUPilot: Do you use 100% tung oil, or one of the tung oil finishes? Little did I know when I started on this woodworking quest that I would need to learn so much about different finishes and finishing techniques, in addition to all the stuff to know about working with wood. Thanks for the tip.

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