The Goldman Dresser: My path to becoming a furniture maker.

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Project by Goldwoman posted 02-20-2014 06:21 AM 5230 views 34 times favorited 56 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It was this dresser that started it all. The cabinet is Cherry, with cross-sawn White Oak drawer fronts and book-matched White Oak side panels, hand-carved Mahogany pulls, and the top and back are inlaid with a distressed sheet metal. The top ‘floats’ one inch above the cabinet. There is a small locking drawer just under the top to provide support in the center of the 6’ span. The dresser stands 18” off the floor, and is 6’ wide by 20” deep, and stands 48” high.

This is the first piece of furniture I ever designed in 2003, which started my journey as a woodworker. It is my personal dresser. I did not build this piece- I had it built by my friend Charles Weidman in Blanco, Texas. I was completely overwhelmed when he delivered it, and immediately knew that I had do do this work.

I just fell completely in love with wood, and 2 years later I quit my job as the creative director at a large ad agency to allow myself time to focus on furniture design. But as most of you know, I’m sure, woodworking is a labor of love, not money! So I continued to do ad work in order to pay bills and put my daughters through college. The furniture dream took a back seat, and while I occasionally did design pieces for friends and clients, I was having them built by Philip Sell. It wasn’t until I designed a piece for a client’s bedroom set that couldn’t be built as I had designed it (designing solely from a visual standpoint) because I didn’t understand how the joinery worked, and I realized I needed to “go to school” and learn about the medium I was designing in.

So… in November of 2011, I met Jonathan Binzen (then editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine) at a seminar held during the Texas Furniture makers Show. I was able to speak to him after the seminar, and told him of my dream. He suggested the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, CA. Although they required an intermediate skill level on shop tools (I had none!), I plead my case to the head of the furniture department, and was accepted as one of 30 finalists because they were so excited to have a designer in the program. But as fate would have it, the final 23 spots were determined by a completely random drawing, and I was not chosen. Crestfallen, my good friend Eric Holland of Swan Percussion ( offered to teach me to build his beautiful drums, tuition free! It wasn’t furniture but the skill sets are the same.

I worked for Eric a day or two a week for 8 months or so, but was feeling stymied and trapped in advertising. Finally, in November of 2012 I took the leap of faith. I rented my house in Austin, moved to Wimberley to be closer to the shop, and began my apprenticeship in earnest with Phillip Sell. One year later in November of 2013, I showed my first piece at the Texas Furniture Makers Show, my goal for my first year.

I am hooked…

-- "The right path always feels too good to be true. It always feels like so much fun you can't believe it." -Dr. Christine Northrup

56 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4735 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 06:28 AM

Lovely design and an amazing build.


View Goldwoman's profile


21 posts in 2842 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 06:29 AM

Thank you again, Jim!

-- "The right path always feels too good to be true. It always feels like so much fun you can't believe it." -Dr. Christine Northrup

View Brett's profile


960 posts in 3917 days

#3 posted 02-20-2014 06:36 AM

Very nice! I like the drawer in the middle, nice touch.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View obi999's profile


213 posts in 4566 days

#4 posted 02-20-2014 07:12 AM

Oh thats fine, i like it that much. great Job!!
Thank you for sharing

-- *** the german lumberjock ***

View Texcaster's profile


1293 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 02-20-2014 07:50 AM

Very beautiful indeed! Dresser and bed!

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2982 days

#6 posted 02-20-2014 09:55 AM

Very nice project, love the design and the handles on the drawers….excellent build, thanks for sharing.

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

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 3122 days

#7 posted 02-20-2014 10:34 AM

Very impressive! Congratulations with such great build!

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4174 days

#8 posted 02-20-2014 10:42 AM

quite a journey. I am impressed with the design of this dresser. Quite lovely. I hope we get to see some of your designs built by you, soon. Glad to see another gal here on LJ’s. We are a small group.

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2733 days

#9 posted 02-20-2014 10:59 AM

Hi Goldwoman, a beautiful dresser and a wonderful uplifting story. I also recognize your journey.

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2769 days

#10 posted 02-20-2014 11:11 AM

wow, that is beautiful, amazing work

-- steve, simple and effective

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30629 posts in 3496 days

#11 posted 02-20-2014 11:41 AM

Awesome job. Great journey. Your persistence has paid off.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Ken90712's profile


18051 posts in 4347 days

#12 posted 02-20-2014 11:49 AM

What a great job and Story!!!!! I wish I had the guts at times to walk away from my career and persue woodworkingfull time. Good for you! I have 6 more yr until I retire to start the next chapter of my life. Love the design and flow of this…..

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

View clarkey's profile


468 posts in 4214 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 12:20 PM

GREAT JOB Goldwoman ! You really bring out all the elements .

View Oldtool's profile


3264 posts in 3349 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 12:47 PM

Beautiful dresser, excellent craftsmanship, great attention to details. One very fine piece of furniture, something to be proud of.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View shipwright's profile


8734 posts in 3956 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 12:52 PM

I like this piece very much.
Good luck on your journey.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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