• Advertise with us
Project by scottb posted 07-10-2007 05:52 AM 2321 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Now that the pain and stress of my first real woodworking commission has faded into a dull memory, I figured it was time to post this as a bonefide project.

For the backstory, Refer to the blog series

for the cliff notes:

This was roughly designed, by the customer, (he also gave me a bill of materials, worked out by the folks at one of the big box stores) to hold his expensive imported statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. He wanted something custom made, that would protect these statues, and would last.

My job was to build a box out of pressure treated lumber. The challenge to myself was to make a piece of custom woodworking that I would be proud of, would please the customer, and hopefully lead to a future sale or two.

I quoted based on what I thought would take about a days worth of work (active working time). (I also knew about the max he’d spend, so regardless if it took me two or two-hundred hours, if I wanted the job, the money was in working smart and quickly (and saving on materials). I spent three days working on full-scale drawings, planning cut lists to maximize the materials and save money there, which actually saved me boatloads of frustration later on. In spite of not heeding some important notes to myself (in marker they’d be obvious, Things went fairly smoothly. No mission critical errors…

I found myself making adaptations on the fly, because of said carelessness…. but in the end, everything fell together perfectly – meaning the top was a nice snug fit, weather tight. and the only thing I had to re-do was the plexiglass front window. (because I broke the first two pieces. What a frustrating way to start off your birthday weekend!) Thankfully he paid extra to cover that, though he didn’t have to. Fortunately for both of us (ok, me) I saved him about 30% on the materials by being smart with design and the cutting diagrams. (helped me make some profit on the job, but lets not calculate my hourly wage… and lets ignore that I pretty much put all the money into a dado set just to do the job. – time for tools, not a bad thing, right?

However if a neighbor or anyone else wants one, I’m sure it’d take me 1/4 to 1/3 the time to whip one out.

I don’t wish to ever make something out of P.T. again. But at least I know how to dress it up and make look like something more than the humble (albeit toxic, and quite heavy) building material it is.

Did you know that P.T. Sawdust smells like licorice? I wish I didn’t and hope you never find out.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

8 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5263 days

#1 posted 07-10-2007 12:55 PM

Yes, I did, Scott. I trust you were wearing appropriate skin and breathing protection.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5413 days

#2 posted 07-10-2007 12:59 PM

it did come out very nice.
and I never like to calculate my hourly wage when I’m done a projects…

View Karson's profile


35274 posts in 5487 days

#3 posted 07-10-2007 02:54 PM

Great project Scott.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View WaywardHoosier's profile


80 posts in 5121 days

#4 posted 07-10-2007 03:24 PM


I liked the cliff notes description. It sounds like you have a good working relationship with your customer. I agree, planning up front with cut lists can really make or break a project’s cost. Of course I learned the hard way

-- WaywardHoosier - Behind schedule and over budget, but who's counting? Well of course she is!

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5123 days

#5 posted 07-10-2007 06:10 PM

It came out nice, and having worked with that crap before, I feel your pain. It came out nice though!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5492 days

#6 posted 07-10-2007 07:23 PM

finally, I’ve waited months to see photos of this project. It looks sort of like the rabbit hutch I made once, only I covered it with wire and screen. I think it took me a day to make, as I wasn’t as worried about the appearance as you were, and I didn’t want to make any more of them.

One trick for PT lumber I learned is to buy it a year in advance, sticker and clamp it together with band clamps. After that amount of time, it isn’t so hard to work with, although every hole has to be drilled for screws so that you won’t split the wood. Still, I prefer Cedar or Redwood when I can use it.

Good work Scott,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5333 days

#7 posted 07-10-2007 09:07 PM

Nice manger scene and construction job. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5413 days

#8 posted 07-10-2007 11:59 PM

Yeah, that bugger was heavy, as parts and as a whole. I opted to not use pressure treated ply, the stuff was heavy, poor quality and really really smelled bad. – oh and aesthetically it didn’t speak appropriate for the baby Jesus (not that the plexi window or wavy plastic top did either…) The customer is always right…

If the customer didn’t like it, he could have kept his money, and I would have put rabbits in it!

Good idea about stickering the PT for later use. Not that I plan on using it for much, ever.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics