Work in Progress #2: A Storefront Counter

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Blog entry by MikeInPenetanguishene posted 12-15-2010 05:01 AM 4435 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Patio Side Table in Cedar Part 2 of Work in Progress series no next part

I recently moved my business (a photography studio) to a new Main St/Small Town storefront. It’s in an old building (used to be a hardware store!!) and has been renovated but in keeping with the period look of small town Ontario.

My front room (reception area) is only 10’ x 12’ but I’d like a ‘old fashioned’ looking wooden counter to use up there. Here’s a photo of one at a friend’s frame shop.

It was made from pine, and although I really don’t like working with pine, it seems to be the preferred choice for ‘that look’. I’m not good enough yet to attempt the dovetail joinery on this one, but wanted a similar feel. I just learned how to use Sketchup yesterday, but came up with this:

I think making it out of Pine will also make it lighter and easier to get out of my basement shop once it’s completed. The inside is going to be sectioned for storage:

This counter is 80” long, but I may shorten it to 6’ just because of my space constraints. The extra storage will be welcome as will a place to show clients my work, albums, etc. and to handle the sales end of things.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be more than welcome. ie. do you think Pine is the best way to go?

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

4 comments so far

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17575 posts in 3096 days

#1 posted 12-15-2010 10:15 AM

Fir might look good, Oak?? Either could keep with the period “look”.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile


57 posts in 2481 days

#2 posted 12-15-2010 02:34 PM

I like the look of Oak – but I think it would make it too heavy, literally. I’ll have to move it out of my basement workshop when it’s finished! I don’t think I can get Fir around here. Never worked with it either. I may have to build it in parts and assemble it at the studio. I’ve got a couple weeks to think about it. I won’t be able to get started until after the holidays.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

View RussInMichigan's profile


584 posts in 2201 days

#3 posted 12-15-2010 05:53 PM

The basic design plan you’ve shown looks like it would be well-suited for making the counter top and the front panel separate from the framing then doing final assembly in your studio. That would permit you to choose your materials without your decision being so heavily-weighted by weight, so to speak.

The enterprise of a new studio sounds like a lot of feverish and chaotic fun. I hope you share your final decision with your fellow Lumberjocks.


View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile


57 posts in 2481 days

#4 posted 12-16-2010 05:11 AM

I’ll post the progress as I get going on it – but like I mentioned may not be til after the New Year. This will be my first ‘big’ project and although it will be more utilitarian than fine furniture, I’m really looking forward to get started.

As for the wood, pine is still in the forefront, mainly for looks and availability. The other local options, (and other than Oak and Poplar never worked with any of these) are Ash, Basswood, Beech, Soft/Hard Maple, Oak and Yellow Poplar.

I actually like Poplar and considering it over Pine. It’s readily available in 4/4, 6/4 and 8/4.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

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