My first woodworking project ever: a night stand

  • Advertise with us
Project by goethert posted 07-09-2012 06:08 PM 1888 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a small night stand for young kid.
Since this is my very first woodworking project, I would like to hear your advice. Which part could be better?
I don’t want to make the same mistakes in my second project. Thanks.

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4587 days

#1 posted 07-09-2012 06:19 PM

It looks great from what I could see. I guess a typical beginners make mistakes on how the attach tops. How did you attach yours. Over all a very impressive first project.


View goethert's profile


20 posts in 3217 days

#2 posted 07-09-2012 06:25 PM

The top has two pieces of woods. I used the hand plane for the edges and glued them together.
I attached the top with the two side boards with 3/8’’ dowels and glue. I felt the dowels are strong enough for this application.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3379 days

#3 posted 07-09-2012 06:46 PM

Way better than my first project! Nice job. I’m hardly in any position to be giving advice, but if I had to offer some, I might suggest trying to seal the end grain on the top a little before applying the finish, just to keep it from over-absorbing and being darker. What finish did you use?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View goethert's profile


20 posts in 3217 days

#4 posted 07-09-2012 06:58 PM

After using Minwax stain, I used Minwax Clear Gloss Fast-Drying Polyurethane to finish.

View dbray45's profile


3405 posts in 3786 days

#5 posted 07-09-2012 07:09 PM

If you have endgrain showing, sand it smooth with 600 grit before finishing. Overall, for a first project, you did great.

Welcome to LJs

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View goethert's profile


20 posts in 3217 days

#6 posted 07-09-2012 08:00 PM

when you say ” sand it smooth with 600 grit before finishing”, it is before stain or before final gloss finish?

View Stephen Fox's profile

Stephen Fox

110 posts in 4404 days

#7 posted 07-09-2012 08:10 PM

I live in an old house with swoopy floors so I would have made the sides of the base with a cut out like you did for the front to eliminate rocking. Polly is a good choice for a kids night stand. The rule of thumb for tops is to use some kind of fastener that will allow for some wood movement (expansion and contraction of wood during seasonal humidity changes) A top that size will probably be all right glued on but something larger could be a problem. The stain looks a little blotchy. That is a problem that does not have an easy answer. Sometimes a gell stain works better, sometimes a sealer coat prior to staining. I would say it is a great first project. My first woodworking project was a bird house that no self-respecting bird would choose live in!

-- Stephen NYS

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4698 days

#8 posted 07-09-2012 10:58 PM

Sand the endgrain BEFORE staining to reduce the absorption rate. (Gives a more even color tone )
Not sure if I’m seeing planer knife marks under the finish on the drawer front , but careful sanding and inspection under low level lighting will prevent this in the future. The nightstand overall is fine , but finishing is the hardest part to master.
Keep up the good work : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3258 days

#9 posted 07-09-2012 11:47 PM

I like this. definitely a good start. You didn’t mention but it looks like pine. That is a tough wood to finish I am also fairly new and picked up some good tips that really help me out.

1. If you are using pine (or any softer, porous wood), use a pre-stain conditioner. Google it, there are a lot if different ones. I like the Charles Neil stuff

2. Pre finish your pieces. apply tape where ever you will be putting glue. Glue won’t stick to finish. It is SO much easier to get an even color and finish when everything lays flat. You just have to be careful during final assembly. Everyone has their own methods, and some say this is a huge waste of time, but it works REALLY well for me. I may put a final coat of finish on after it is assembled, but so far I haven’t needed to. I just buff it out and wax it.

2 – Rub out you last coat of finish. Use either a super fine (800+ grit) sandpaper or some steel wool. Unless you have a professional clean room, you are going to get little nibs in your finish.

With using ploy, when I put on the last 2 or 3 coats (I generally do 4 or 5), I thin it with mineral spirits. You got the hard part right though – it looks flat and square


View DonnyD's profile


49 posts in 3184 days

#10 posted 07-10-2012 12:49 AM

looks good to me

View woodrookieII's profile


304 posts in 3673 days

#11 posted 07-10-2012 02:07 AM

Nice night stand.

As a first project, might I suggest you put your name and date on the bottom.


#12 posted 07-10-2012 02:14 AM

Very nice job. I always love the look of the dark stain with the natural drawers. Keep up the good work.

-- Brian Brace Fine Furniture Maker,Blk Mt NC

#13 posted 07-10-2012 02:17 AM

You were asking for a few things of advice as far as looks go i would put just a little bit more of a over hang on the top and it makes the piece seem lighter on the bottom especially with a darker stain.

-- Brian Brace Fine Furniture Maker,Blk Mt NC

View Mike's profile


60 posts in 3219 days

#14 posted 07-10-2012 06:00 PM

Great job, that came out really nice!

View TexasJim's profile


86 posts in 4246 days

#15 posted 07-11-2012 09:28 PM

There are some Z brackets for attaching tops available at several places – is one.
After you have sanded but before finishing, rub your project with mineral spirits. It will highlight any mill marks or glue stains you have missed.
Use shellac as a sealer before staining blotch prone woods like pine and poplar.
Pretty nice for a first project. Keep going and develop those skills. It’s a fun hobby.

-- If the world was a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

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