Here's What Has Invaded My Shop #1: Start of Cabinet Construction

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Blog entry by Scott Bryan posted 11-08-2009 05:56 AM 10371 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Here's What Has Invaded My Shop series Part 2: Completing the Face Frame and Carcass »

My shop has been invaded!!! Mike Gager posted a blog about an invasion of brown recluse spiders in his shop. I have another “invasion” of sorts that has occurred in my shop.

Most of us tend to be somewhat solitary woodworkers and work alone in our shop. This has always been my situation as well. However last week this is what was going on in my shop:

This is my son Jonathan using a jointer for the first time.

Jon and his wife “commissioned” me to build them a vanity a short time ago. And, of course, being thrilled to be able to build something for them I gave an unqualifed yes to the project. But he added one caveat- he wanted to build the cabinet himself- which was a total surprise to me. Jon’s background in woodworking, to this point, has been almost non-existant. He did take shop in high school and managed to produce a toy car and a bubble gum dispenser but really did not have any exposure to power tools or building any type of cabinetry.

Here is the cabinet that they decided to add to their bathroom:

They selected white oak as the wood and wanted it dyed a deep mission brown since my daughter-in-law favors dark furniture. And, despite being married only 1 year, Jon has learned to simply say, “Yes, dear” and let his wife make these type of decisions.

On the first day Jon was taught to operate a miter saw, table saw, jointer and planer while learning to select and prepare rough lumber. At the end of the day here is what he produced with very little help from me:

Next on the list was learning to use the router table since the right side of the cabinet is a raised panel. This is Jon raising the panel on the router table:

After some quick lessons in using trans tint dyes and wipe on polyurethane this is the stage that he is now at:

I had to learn most of what I know on my own so there was (and still do at times) a lot of head scratching and pondering as I learned to operate tools on my own and teach myself various joinery techniques.
I will say that it is extremely gratifying ( and fun I might add) , not only to have another set of hands in the shop, but also to be able to pass along what knowledge that I have to someone else. And to quote Todd Clippinger it is wonderful to “share the love and share the knowledge”. With that thought in mind I decided to blog the construction of this cabinet.

Thanks for looking and, as always, thanks for letting me share this with you.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

20 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5571 days

#1 posted 11-08-2009 06:04 AM

This is like the exact opposite of when I was little and “made” projects in my grandfathers shop while he
“helped.” Sounds like some great quality time in the shop!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4821 days

#2 posted 11-08-2009 07:57 AM

Hey Scott
This is the start of a great blog. I love it when one of my guys wants to come to town and build in the shop.
It’s even better when there learning with you help. Enjoy this time together ,I know your sons project will be great.


View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7170 posts in 4439 days

#3 posted 11-08-2009 08:20 AM

Hey Scott: That is really great that you get to spend time with your son. My son, who lives in Nashville, Tn. likes to do the same when he and the family come for a visit. He’s had very little, if any, experience with machinery and tools—only what I’ve taught him. He loves woodworking, and wants a shop of his own very bad. But job and location makes it impossible right now. He always say”Pop, I’m 40, and time’s running out, and I’m getting old” lol lol. Shoot—I was around 40 when I got into real good. Still learning the wood.
There’s nothing like spending quality time with your kids—and gkids. Just wish they lived closer. Great blog.
Thanks for sharing the pixs, too.

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4435 days

#4 posted 11-08-2009 08:32 AM

Scott quite a first project. My son is 13 and shows no sign of wanting to work in the shop, maybe I will get lucky like you in 5 or 6 years. It is nice to have someone to work with.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View degoose's profile


7284 posts in 4599 days

#5 posted 11-08-2009 09:01 AM

I am so happy you and your son get to share some time together…I was 40 when I got the bug….not training no idea really… just thought hey I can do that… My youngest daughter wanted to hammer nails into wood… so I bought her a hammer… now she is 18 no real interest.. don’t even talk to me…oh well have a Grandson who will be 1 soon… and before you know it he will be wanting to spend time in my shop… I hope..

-- Be safe.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4835 days

#6 posted 11-08-2009 10:34 AM

I guess you had great time together. It’s really reviiving and inspiring to have someone in the shop who wants to learn from us, once a while.
Happy woodworking Scott!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4977 days

#7 posted 11-08-2009 01:23 PM

Scott, enjoy it!

My son just came in on Saturday for a week home and we got lots of shop time planned too. Not sure if he comes home now to see us or to get some “lathe time”. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a thrill to be working in the shop with him!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View charlie48's profile


248 posts in 4414 days

#8 posted 11-08-2009 02:13 PM

Scott,enjoy the invasion.
It looks like a great project,looking forward for more pics.

-- Charlie............Only time will tell if it was time well spent.

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 4974 days

#9 posted 11-08-2009 02:21 PM

Scott, I’ve been waiting for a post from you, what better post could you have. I love it when my son gets involved.
Run with the memories!!!!

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4529 days

#10 posted 11-08-2009 03:11 PM

Great blog Scott. My son worked with me for seven years before I moved to Myrtle Beach. It was fun sharing time together and watching him grow as a woodworker. I miss having him in the shop. Enjoy every minute and thanks for sharing.

-- John @

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4557 days

#11 posted 11-08-2009 03:21 PM

Scott, good blog and looks like your son is absorbing the knowledge quickly. Good quality time and sharing your tools and knowledge. Priceless.

View Dave Haynes's profile

Dave Haynes

203 posts in 4598 days

#12 posted 11-08-2009 03:21 PM

Best thing is having a son to spend time with who actually wants to still learn from the “Dad”. I spend a lot of time doing a lot of things with my son and the joy of this time is priceless.

-- Dave Haynes, Indiana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5344 days

#13 posted 11-08-2009 04:24 PM

You’ll have a great time building together.

The big surprise in sharing with others is how much personal growth I have experienced.

I look forward to seeing the finished project.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4802 days

#14 posted 11-08-2009 04:30 PM

Great job Scott. I wish my son was closer so we could do some projects together. Glad to see your son finally took an interest in your hobby as well. Hope to see many more father/son blogs.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4578 days

#15 posted 11-08-2009 04:40 PM

It’s wonderful that your son is showing an interest in woodworking and that you have an opportunity to work with him in your shop. Many people don’t become interested in woodworking until later in life like I did. It looks like your son is starting earlier. It isn’t always easy to have a time consuming hobby with the daily living demands on young folks nowadays.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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