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Project by mikega posted 07-08-2010 02:04 AM 2567 views 4 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I hope that everyone has been checking out Jim’s (a1jim) excellent post on building a lowboy with Charles Neil. Building a lowboy is something that I have wanted to do for a long time now but just was not comfortable trying on my own. When I heard that Charles was building a lowboy on his Mastering Woodworking show I knew it was time to stop dreaming about building one and time to get to work actually making one. I wanted to do some carving on mine so it is slightly different then the one he built. I found an article in FWW that showed a lowboy with a fan carved on the center drawer. I was able to follow the series and build right along with him with a few minor changes. The step by step instructions were excellent but the thing I like most about his teaching is how he shows you how to avoid problems and how to get out of trouble when things don’t go as planned. When it came time to finish my lowboy Charles once again invited me down to put the finish on it in his shop. I am really glad I did. On the first day we put and orange dye on followed by a Rosewood stain then several coats of lacquer. Everything went as planned that day. Next day while Charles and Sherri were busy shooting next weeks show, Charles helper Ed and I started scuffing all the pieces getting them ready for the last coat of lacquer. We sprayed the top, case and top drawer and everything looked good but the bottom drawers looked like we put a crackle finish on it. I was starting to panic. We went out and told Charles what was happening. He went right back, grabbed this that and the other thing then after a few minutes he walked by me and smiled and said “everything will be alright now” and it was. He later explained that for some reason on those 3 drawers the top coat was drying too quickly and not getting enough time to dissolve into the bottom layers. Not having any lacquer retarder he placed on a heavy coat of a thicker lacquer slowing down the drying time.
Thanks to Mastering Woodworking show and a lot of help from Charles and Ed my lowboy is no longer a dream and I now have the confidence to continue building bigger and better projects.
I know that Jim has said this several times before but I will say it again, if you really want to take your woodworking to the next level you need to check out Charles site at:

-- Mike

18 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4775 days

#1 posted 07-08-2010 02:06 AM

very nice Mike! it looks great!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5226 days

#2 posted 07-08-2010 02:21 AM


I can’t say enough about this piece. Sometimes these are “overdone” with ornate carving, inlays, etc., but this has just the right mix of dignity and details, with a superb finish to match.

I’m envious of your accomplishment, Sir!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View rammel's profile


6 posts in 3898 days

#3 posted 07-08-2010 02:23 AM

Beautiful job, something to be proud of.

-- Mel

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4584 days

#4 posted 07-08-2010 02:32 AM

Looks wonderful Mike how great it is that your close enough to have Charles help you in person . I had to stop my blog while I was putting my tool sale together. But hope to continue this week.
I would be more than pleased if mine turns out anywhere as nice as yours or Charles.
Great job.


View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 4017 days

#5 posted 07-08-2010 02:36 AM

Absolutely Gorgeous!

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5408 days

#6 posted 07-08-2010 03:39 AM

Mike: Great job on the build.

Visiting with Charles is a great experience.

-- 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 ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4781 days

#7 posted 07-08-2010 04:45 AM

Excellent job! Exquisite detail and craftsmanship. Beautifully done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View sras's profile


5867 posts in 4136 days

#8 posted 07-08-2010 05:35 AM

That is definitely a “next level” class of a project! Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View vicrider's profile


183 posts in 3906 days

#9 posted 07-08-2010 08:12 AM

Truly an excellent example of traditional design and superb craftsmanship.

You should be very proud and I’m sure you will enjoy this piece for years.

I love those cabrioles!!!

-- vicrider

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4043 days

#10 posted 07-08-2010 02:14 PM

Mike, WOW! When I first saw this, I thought that looks like a store bought piece. Then I clicked on the “Zoom Pictures” button for a closer look. The craftsmanship is phenomenal. (I had to look up that spelling)
The dovetails really stand out for me. You have done an excellent job which you should be VERY proud of. Whoever uses this will cherish it well past our time on this rock!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View blackcherry's profile


3345 posts in 4830 days

#11 posted 07-08-2010 04:29 PM

Stunning work the cabrioles legs are just craftsmanship at it finest. A wonderful accomplishment for sure and a treasure chest as well, thanks for sharing …BC

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4727 days

#12 posted 07-09-2010 08:12 PM

HOLY MOLEY! That looks great and you should be very proud of what you have made. The shell carving and the finials look especially good to me. Keep up the fine work.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 3896 days

#13 posted 07-12-2010 02:37 AM

Mike the lines of the legs flowing into the main body of the chest that continue around the lower perimeter,acsented by the beautiful relief carving and turnings are drop dead gorgeous. The hardware puts the finishing touches on a beautiful crafted piece.You have collaborated many wood working venues together to create a beautiful piece of art.

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4181 days

#14 posted 07-12-2010 03:50 AM

Yeah. All I’ve got is … WOW.

“Wow” is what I say when I’m just too impressed to come up with the words.

And … as Charles Neil’s latest huge fan … I’m envious that you got/get to work with him, on pieces like this.

Bravo !!

-- -- Neil

View mikega's profile


81 posts in 4875 days

#15 posted 07-12-2010 05:01 AM

Thanks you everyone for the comments.

Neil you are right about Charles. I was very lucky to have found him. Without him this piece would still be a dream.

-- Mike

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