My first piece of furniture

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Project by ProfPenguin posted 10-29-2013 04:07 PM 3671 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first furniture project that I have worked on and I think it turned out pretty well. It was a lot more work than my typical cutting board or rough carpentry project that I’m used too, but I am quite proud of the results. What do you think LumberJocks?

I was going for a mission style look because I wanted to keep it very light and open, which I like in my small house. The lumber is quartersawn red oak with a danish oil finish for the legs and slats that has a great curly figure that I can’t seem to capture on camera. The shelves are solid red oak w/ a danish oil finish as well.

Most of the joints are mortise and tenon for the sides and back, including all the slats. It was my first time trying mortise and tenon joints but they were actually pretty fun to work on. A properly mating mortise and tenon is extremely satisfying. The only non M&T joints in the project are the shelves and top which are pocket screws and dowel joints respectively.

I built this without any plans other than rough dimensions which slowed me down quite a bit. I don’t think I will do that again for any but the smallest projects or details. I am quite handy in sketchup so I really don’t know what I was thinking. That is only one of the MANY lessons learned throughout this project.

I made a couple mistakes during construction, the worst of which was probably my inattention to humidity. My shelves looked great after glue-up but they started to cup significantly despite my alternating grain arrangement. It took a lot of effort to bring them back to flat after I had allowed them to soak up so much moisture from my damp basement. Thankfully a dehumidifier brought down the worst of it and a block plane and a lot of patience took care of the rest.

I also had a bit of a glue-up blunder when I swapped my front legs which resulted in my mortises being on the outside. I am still not sure how I missed that during assembly but c’est la vie. I cut a false through tenon to fit the hole and it doesn’t look too bad.

Anyway, thanks for taking a look! Any thoughts, criticisms, or suggestions are always appreciated!

11 comments so far

View MasterSergeant's profile


1441 posts in 3663 days

#1 posted 10-29-2013 04:34 PM

You have a great piece there, congratulations!!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View BusterB's profile


2298 posts in 2983 days

#2 posted 10-29-2013 04:43 PM

Dang fine start prof…I looked at the pics and was super impressed with that “through tenon” and was thinking how sharp that was. Then I read your description and was even more impressed at how sharp you are…lol Looks great

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View ProfPenguin's profile


31 posts in 2856 days

#3 posted 10-29-2013 05:06 PM

Thanks for the kind words guys!

BusterB, i was really sad when I noticed it after the glue had dried but now I’m actually sad that I didn’t do it on all of the joints, or better yet, actually make them through tenons!

Thanks for looking!

View dbray45's profile


3391 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 10-29-2013 06:27 PM

Two things –
1.) Really nice piece
2.) This is just the start – every piece you will learn something new and different

Good job

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View MsArnold's profile


1 post in 2645 days

#5 posted 10-29-2013 09:04 PM

It’s my anniversary present and it looks even better in real life. I’m a lucky gal.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3514 days

#6 posted 10-30-2013 01:52 AM

Fantastic project. Looks great to me!

-- I never finish anyth

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4309 days

#7 posted 10-30-2013 09:48 AM

A nicely designed and built project. It looks to me that you have a talent for furniture making.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ProfPenguin's profile


31 posts in 2856 days

#8 posted 10-30-2013 02:08 PM

Thank you very much guys! It was a pleasure to build. Now on to the next project. Teaching myself how to build cabinets! If anyone has any good places to start, I’d love to hear them!


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3842 days

#9 posted 10-30-2013 02:19 PM

This is a nice clean piece. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2799 days

#10 posted 10-30-2013 05:07 PM

for a first effort you did a great job….should be very proud of it…well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View steve's profile


363 posts in 2968 days

#11 posted 11-14-2013 03:33 AM

nice job…be proud of yourself!

-- steve/USA

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