Man - this took forever

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Project by hannes posted 10-18-2010 11:20 PM 3207 views 9 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Bedside tables was the goal and would be my first real furniture project. I like dark and light color wood combinations and I saw a few maple and walnut combination pieces here on LJ and thought I had to give those a try. The problem is these woods are quite expensive this side of Africa, but again that was a great motivation for me to take my time and learn to NOT rush my projects.

My skill set is also a bit limited, so this would also be a great learning experience and it was. Just before I started on this I bought a combination jointer/thicknesser so my first lesson was to get the machine set up and through a bit of trial and error got some good results in the end. Then it was also my first dovetails – made by hand and they came quite well, but I also learned how to make them look better than they actually were :-)

I worked on this some weekends and a bit during the week after work. Sometimes only half an hour or so per day, but I made a rule that as soon as I get tired or rushed or wanted to just get a particular piece done I would stop right there and continue another day. That way I learned to take my time while doing this… maybe too much in the end, but so worth it.

Also it was a first for me to use danish oil and floor wax as a finish and that was much easier to get a decent finish than I thought. It is silky smooth and I have to thank Div for giving me a few tips.

I’ve used mostly mortise and tenon joints (need better and faster way to make these) using a drill press and a table saw and dovetails for the drawer. Wooden slides for drawer and wood buttons to attach the top.

So it took me 4 months after hours to make 2 bedside tables… better not quite my day job :)

-- Hannes, Cape Town, South Africa

35 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117690 posts in 4031 days

#1 posted 10-18-2010 11:28 PM

This piece turned out great.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4546 days

#2 posted 10-18-2010 11:31 PM

Beautiful design and craftsmanship Hannes. Your “skill set” is quite remarkable for a first try. The dovetails are exceptional. That rule about not rushing is a very good one, for safety as well as economics (not ruining wood). Thanks for the post!

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View sras's profile


5135 posts in 3583 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 11:37 PM

4 months is a fine pace in my book! Can’t let more important priorities get in the way. That’s only 2 months per table. They look great!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View woodcrafter47's profile


352 posts in 3559 days

#4 posted 10-19-2010 12:41 AM

Great job!! Very nice looking bedside the wood contrast. Thanks for posting

-- In His service ,Richard

View SouthpawCA's profile


272 posts in 3687 days

#5 posted 10-19-2010 12:49 AM

Very Nice!!! Love the dovetails. And 4 months isn’t bad at all – it takes me a month of weekends to do a weekend project.

-- Don

View jeepturner's profile


941 posts in 3246 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 01:06 AM

Looks like they turned out great, and don’t sweat the small stuff, like how much time it takes. Unless you are building for profit, worrying about the hours can take some of the satisfaction out of it.
Thanks for including some of the build pictures.
One of the reasons I joined this site is to get a chance to converse and share with woodworkers around the world. I like to see their perspective. I would gladly trade you some American hardwoods for a couple of African species. :-)

-- Mel,

View Pawky's profile


278 posts in 3257 days

#7 posted 10-19-2010 01:16 AM

They came out great, a job well done indeed.

View cwdance1's profile


1159 posts in 3713 days

#8 posted 10-19-2010 01:34 AM

Very well done, great looking table.

Wish I could do work like that.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3745 days

#9 posted 10-19-2010 01:42 AM

Strictly for curiosity’s sake, would you mind me asking what you paid for the lumber? I can use an online converter to convert Rands to Dollars and m^3 to board feet.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3956 days

#10 posted 10-19-2010 01:51 AM

Pretty Pieces, my Friend… Nicely Done!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Roger's profile


21007 posts in 3257 days

#11 posted 10-19-2010 01:58 AM

don’t beat yerself up over how long it takes. In my eyes, woodworking should be somthing you enjoy. I guess it gets better when you’re able to retire, and throw that clock away. Don’t give up. Looks like you’re doing a very fine job to me.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Brit's profile


7753 posts in 3296 days

#12 posted 10-19-2010 02:04 AM

Great design and really well executed. Another one for my favourites. Who cares about how long it took? As I always tell my wife “You can’t rush quality” to which she replies “How would you know?”

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View CanalboatJim's profile


200 posts in 3958 days

#13 posted 10-19-2010 02:16 AM

Lovely project. I like to see Arts and Crafts projects done in other woods. I also work in short increments of time. Woodworking is my hobby not my profession, so I have the luxury of time that professionals don’t. Trying to work when your tired or rushed is a sure formula for a big error or a big accident. It’s amazing how much you can get done if work for an hour or so every day.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View Bearpaw's profile


262 posts in 4174 days

#14 posted 10-19-2010 02:25 AM

A better way to cut the mortise joint is with a plung router and an up spiral bit. I am doing 2 end tables and that worked well. Just do this a step at a time and then run the bit from one end to the other to clean up the slot.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3490 posts in 3562 days

#15 posted 10-19-2010 02:29 AM

Some really nice work for a first, I’ll tell you that…or even if you had more experience!

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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