Banquette - 10 lessons from my first piece of furniture.

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Project by davey posted 03-12-2012 08:44 PM 2752 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a banquette I built for my in-laws. They wanted one custom built for their bay window area and knew I wanted to get more into wood work. The paid me by buying me some of the tools I needed for the job. Best payment ever! I had built tree houses, corn hole sets and staging for my church before this so I knew basic woodwork but nothing about furniture.

Here are 10 very “duhhh!” lessons I learned along the way… or should I say after the fact…

#1 – Avoid chip-out with zero clearance.

#2 – Pay attention to grain direction!!!

#3 – Don’t build long lasting furniture with pine. I know!! Dumb! But I was intimidated by expensive wood as I knew I was going to make a lot of mistakes. Wish I could build it all over but lesson learned. At least the booth is a higher quality oak ply.

#4 – Light tables tip easy and need bigger/heavier bases… I know, no more pine tables!

#5 – Lowe’s is great for random odds and ends but the local Woodcraft or Rockler store is a much better way to go.

#6 – Remember to eat while working. And remember your wife is inside wanting to spend time with you!

#7 – Don’t glue together a larger piece that needs to be moved across town!

#8 – When done sanding, wet down surface to check for scratches or “swirls” BEFORE finishing.

#9 – Working till 2am increases the chance of injury and mistakes. Sleep is good.

#10 – Don’t plane an entire tabletop with a block planer. My palm still hurts.

There are many more I’m sure, but I have got some myself at least a little dignity. ;)

Comments are welcome. I have lots to learn and welcome the coaching. Thanks for checking it out!

-- davey

15 comments so far

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3204 days

#1 posted 03-12-2012 08:49 PM

I think you did a fantastic job, and there is no reason not to use pine, well worked it looks great.

Now, that #10…that is funny….

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View davey's profile


23 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 08:54 PM

Thanks! Pine left the table really light. Almost feel the need to sandbag or concrete the center of the pedestal.

-- davey

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3204 days

#3 posted 03-12-2012 09:16 PM

Light wood is not the problem, it is a design problem… :-)

Anyhow, this is how you learn….

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3326 days

#4 posted 03-12-2012 09:38 PM

I think it came out wonderful. Your list of lessons are what we all go thru.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30543 posts in 3067 days

#5 posted 03-12-2012 09:46 PM

Pine can be as functional and beautiful as anything. I’m sure yours is fine. Just gotta match base to table top. I have left plenty of DNA behind learning lessons.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


118047 posts in 4306 days

#6 posted 03-12-2012 10:05 PM

It looks great and you learned a lot ,good job.


View davey's profile


23 posts in 2995 days

#7 posted 03-12-2012 10:55 PM

I oficially retract my comment on pine. haha. Looks Like I have more to learn about it! :)

-- davey

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3001 days

#8 posted 03-13-2012 02:06 AM

This is a very appealing design, proportionately pleasing.
As far as using Pine, it has a reputation as Casual but has been used more and more, recently, in cabinets and some furniture.
If your Mother-in Law is happy, your wife is happy and we all know that’s MOST important.
If moving the table out to sweep/clean around it is not necessary and the foot of the table is open/hollow on the bottum, you could lag a frame to the floor, as you would with the island in a kitchen, and attach the foot of the table to that framework, if the stability of the table becomes a concern.
You’ve done yourself proud, earned some respect, not to mention some new tools and advanced your experience.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3732 days

#9 posted 03-13-2012 03:08 AM

Well, you learn a few things along the way, obtained a few tools in doing so and made more than one person happy. Wonderful job and you may go inside now

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4239 posts in 4304 days

#10 posted 03-13-2012 01:47 PM

Man, are you kidding me?
You are waaay farther along with your skills then I was with your time in the craft.
Between this beautiful project, and the fort for your sons, you are showing you have a natural ability for woodworking.
By the time your oldest son is riding his bike around, you are going to be surprised with how much you’ve learned.
And as far as your “10 lessons” go, I’d be willing to bet just about everybody has matched that list and then some.
Nice job Davey. keep’em coming.

View Ken90712's profile


17865 posts in 3917 days

#11 posted 03-13-2012 04:24 PM

Nice work, looks geat, I hear ya on pine just finished 15 drawers for a lady that insisted on me using pine. Ughhhh … Your work looks great and your angles look perfect well done!

Congrats on the new tools.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4187 days

#12 posted 03-13-2012 04:38 PM

I think there is a big mis-conception about pine… I used to think it wasn’t good for anything other than shelving or framing a house.

Well, I built this about 3 years ago, and It is still holding up great. It is still a beautiful center piece in our dining area.

Click for details

-- San Diego, CA

View PurpLev's profile


8565 posts in 4377 days

#13 posted 03-13-2012 04:46 PM

I think it looks great. planing the entier top with a block plane? wow – impressive that you have the will power…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View davey's profile


23 posts in 2995 days

#14 posted 03-13-2012 05:28 PM

Thanks GrandPaLen, I will ask them about possibly lagging the table to the floor.

-- davey

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3732 days

#15 posted 03-13-2012 09:40 PM

It looks great for a semi first project.

#11 Don’t bleed on project, it takes forever to sand out.

-- Thank You Veterans!

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