I need help

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Blog entry by Martina posted 08-13-2009 08:15 PM 2235 reads 0 times favorited 54 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am trying to build a buffet table for my mom for Christmas- from scratch. I have drawn up 7 different plans. I cant make up my mind which one, so I went to my local hardware store to look at wood, hoping this would help, well the gentleman that was helping me – insulted me, he asked what kind of tools I had, I told him, the he said “well that’s your problem, why don’t you go back into the kitchen and let the man of the house do it! I looked at him and said “Not married, no boyfriend, and this is a gift I want it to mean more than store bought or money!” He came back – “Well I can see why you are not married!” I left, I was so upset that I cried on my way home, I almost wanted to give in and buy one… So here I am I need help, the male figures in my life are not any help – they all are busy and the one person that I can talk to is my mom – but I cant with out giving the surprise away.

What do I do?

Here are my stats:
Desired Size:
6ft long x 4.5ft tall x 2ft deep
Desired Wood:
1) Pine
2) Walnut
3) Plywood, MDF
Dark Stain – to match the kitchen cabinets
Pictures are under my “projects”

#3 is my favorite, and has the most storage – but is larger than the others and I don’t feel confident that I can Master such a large project with a hand tools…

Please help.

-- Martina, Houston, TX

54 comments so far

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4081 days

#1 posted 08-13-2009 08:30 PM


First of all, don’t put any stock into what that person had to say at the store. He obviously suffers from severe stupidity. Secondly, keep in mind that many woodworking masterpieces were constructed uisng hand tools only. Mueseums are full of them. Finally, Project # 3 looks great. Yes, it’s larger. But that just means it has more parts. Plan and work your build in manageable pieces and it wont be any harder than the smaller designs. It will just take you longer to do it. Finally, I’d recommend building it in pine. Just make sure you use a seal coat before staining it. Pine has a tendency to blotch. Good luck. Mom will enjoy it!


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View NICUTO's profile


27 posts in 3788 days

#2 posted 08-13-2009 08:31 PM

i like design numbers 6 or 7.

And also i would call the owner/manager of that store and give them a piece of your mind!

good luck!

-- Nick, Maine;

View rustfever's profile


759 posts in 3482 days

#3 posted 08-13-2009 08:37 PM

Would you be my daughter?

I wish i were closer as I would love to help on two fronts. construction and de-struction. [I would like to help put that Red-Neck in his place, a.k.a. De-struction]

-- Rustfever, Central California

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3540 days

#4 posted 08-13-2009 08:47 PM

Don’t ever let the A-holes get you down. You can do this and we will help anyway we can. If possible just use plywood for the cabinet and solid wood for the frame, doors and drawers.

View PurpLev's profile


8541 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 08-13-2009 08:50 PM

I like #3 the most, then #6 for it’s simple lines.

I think #6 would be easier to accomplish though.

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

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3940 days

#6 posted 08-13-2009 08:58 PM

i liked 2 and 5.

View DonDA's profile


171 posts in 3403 days

#7 posted 08-13-2009 09:08 PM

I like #3. Whichever you pick – go for it. You can do it.

-- Don, Saginaw Mi

View TheWingDoctor's profile


14 posts in 3615 days

#8 posted 08-13-2009 09:19 PM

First off, don’t ever go to that hardware store again! Don’t do business with …. I think you know what I want to say.

I like #5, and for something as long as 6-7 feet good plywood would be the best bet. Try to avoid home center plywood, go to a real lumberyard and buy quality plywood. A solid wood face frame will cover the plywood edges and give a great look to the buffet. Use solid wood for the drawer fronts at least, popular makes good drawer sides with plywood bottoms. Keep it simple and the job can be accomplished with basic tools and care. I wish I was close enough to be of some help but Ohio is a ways from Texas. lol. If I can be of any help in the design or planning stages send me a PM and I will do all I can to help.


-- Bruce - Fav. Quote "A man's got to know his limitations." Dirty Harry Calahan

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3844 days

#9 posted 08-13-2009 09:19 PM

Don’t let the mouthbreathers get you down, Martina. In the meantime, join an established local woodworking group (hopefully with a large member base), tell them your story and see if you can find out more about the guy, then take your final wood order elsewhere after you make mouthbreather work up no less than four quotes (cherry, walnut, oak, and pine), then call up the store and cheerfully tell the owner why you didn’t buy from him, and casually mention your affiliation and how you’ll be writing an article about the experience building the buffet table for the monthly newsletter. Ha!

I’m partial to #1, although I do tend to prefer mission and shaker style furniture, so I might be biased. The more drawers you add the more time you’ll spend constructing, so keep that in mind.


View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3644 days

#10 posted 08-13-2009 09:43 PM

Feel free to post the store name and phone number here in your blog. There is no reason for that dingus to treat a customer that way. Wanna guess what we could do with the phone number?

And definitely look into joining a local woodworking guild. They will be tickled pink to have you! Find a mentor there and pull every last bit of knowledge from their brain!

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3790 days

#11 posted 08-13-2009 09:44 PM

The guy was an idiot who was threatened by a woman…..his problem not yours. I would encourage you to seek out the manager of the store and let him know what an insulting idiot he has working for him.
YOU CAME TO THE RIGHT PLACE! Lumberjocks are helpful.
I am not acquainted with anyone who was born with complete woodworking knowlege or a fully equipped shop. Doing challenging projects is how we know what tools we need…and too often only desire. Rat was right…..all of the 18th C furniture masterpieces were built with hand tools…..I never thought of it that way but he is dead right.
First thing is to pick your design. Build what you are comfortable with. Take it one step at a time. I am concerned about your 4 1/2 foot height. Typically buffets used for serving are between 30 and 36 inches high. Reevaluate how many drawers you include, they usually only collect clutter. One row of drawers below the top gives a nice linear appearance. Pine would be a good choice as it is easily worked with hand tools and readily available in most areas. One of my first projects was a complete set of white pine dining room furniture. That was 25 years ago and I still use it every day. I can send pictures if you think it may be useful.
Above all Martina…BE SAFE. Please feel free to contact me at anytime and I will give whatever assistance I can. Actually, that comment was moot because that’s what Lumberjocks do.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3653 days

#12 posted 08-13-2009 09:49 PM

I like number 3 as well. Not knowing what your experience level is right now, I feel that doing all those drawers and openings might be a touch ambitious. If you are up for the challenge, then by all means, go for it. They are all great designs. A good way that may help you pick is to draw up a cut diagram. If you’re like me and prefer to do some things the old fashion way, use an architect’s scale along with some inexpensive drafting tools (triangles, T-square, etc.) and do up a scale drawing of your piece and you can also plan your plywood cuts the same way. Or, as I’m sure will be mentioned, you can try figuring out Google SketchUp. I say try, because I’ve been trying to figure it out now for a while and can’t seem to get it.

As for the issue with the store, if they are part of a chain (i.e. TrueValue, Ace) then along with contacting the owner/manager, I’d write a letter to the home office about the type of service that is at that store. If that fails, a letter to the editor of your local paper can do wonders as well. I’m sorry that you were treated like that. Try not to let it get you down.

Good luck.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3442 days

#13 posted 08-13-2009 09:50 PM

Hmmm….sorry to hear there are still neanderthals living amongst us….I would bet that person has no relationship of any consequence as his opinion is truly archaic. If it were my store, I would hope the customer lets me know about my sales people being so rude….He would receive his final check instantly….

Now as to your project…you should have enough time to perform either project that you roughed out. I think either of your drawings are superb and would make excellent tables….A choice would probably need to be based upon the personal preferences of your mother…as to type of decoration/furniture that is in place.

As to materials….In these types of situations….I use less expensive woods for the frame….and then cover the exposed areas with the better grades… can also use plywood backing and buy vaneer or use trim to cover the exposed areas (thus using inexpensive plywood to get the shape) just depends on what you are comfortable with using….On a piece I did for a friends kids room….(they didn’t want to spend alot – but they wanted the furniture to match)....the pieces in the room were all maple (the rather ugly colonial style) so I used cheap 1/2” ply for the shape and drawers…then glued up some maple vaneer and some thin cut trim pieces….I used false fronts for the drawers…..They loved it…and it was easy/cheap to make.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Martina's profile


43 posts in 3396 days

#14 posted 08-13-2009 10:01 PM

Yall are amazing! I would love to have any of you as a father! I did call his manager and tell him about the issue and comments, he apploized and offered me 10% off my order.

Now how do you ”?notch?” a drawer together? Is it a chisel and hammer? I hope so!

-- Martina, Houston, TX

View Martina's profile


43 posts in 3396 days

#15 posted 08-13-2009 10:05 PM

Lowes – 281-255-6777

-- Martina, Houston, TX

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