Shaker Night Stand #1: The commitment

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Blog entry by NBeener posted 12-05-2009 05:40 PM 1926 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shaker Night Stand series Part 2: Wooden drawer guides - my first ? (for this project!) »

I’ve always heard that—if, for example, you’re going to quit smoking—it helps to tell everybody you know that you’re going to quit, and on what date you’re going to quit.

It helps get you committed (something that’s been talked about, in my case, for years!).

So … here I go.

My next ww project is a Shaker Style night stand.

Actually, it’s two: his and hers. I’m going to build mine first, so I can butcher IT, and then transfer the learnings to hers. That, of course, presumes that I won’t make the same mistakes twice. No guarantees.

Here’s the pic:

This thing involves mortise & tenons (never done it), dados (never done one), true glue-ups (never done one), and a WHOLE host of other things that Your Humble Woodworker could easily and royally mess up ;-)

What I’ve bought:

- a refurb’d Ridgid 3×21” belt sander and various grit belts
- a Grizzly low-end mortiser (kind of excited about this)
- a Forrester Dado King dado stack (kind of excited about this, too!)
- a blank insert for my table saw. I’ll make it a near-ZCI with the dado stack

This one’s NOT going to move quickly. When I move quickly, I screw things up :-) I also have to stick to my basic rule of no more than 60-90 minutes in the shop at any one time. Then, I have to take breaks—often for the rest of the day … or for a whole day … or … more.

BUT … I’ve told the LJ community, now, what I plan to do … and … pride and integrity will NOT let me lie to all of you :-)

That is all….

-- -- Neil

17 comments so far

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3338 days

#1 posted 12-05-2009 05:53 PM

nice project niel ,
i’m happy you are moving up to a ’ new ’ level .

watch that belt sander ,
keep it moving around ,
if it sits , it just digs itself in .
if you tilt it even slightly ,
it just digs itself in .

love your posts guy ,
keep us informed !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3192 days

#2 posted 12-05-2009 06:59 PM

Have fun neil, I’m sure it will come out great. I’ve started on my nightstands as well, and like you I am taking it slow. I hope to finish by end of January. So what kind of wood are you going to use?

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#3 posted 12-05-2009 07:43 PM

Oh my gosh, let the expletives fly from the shop of NBeener, the air will be blue, if you are anything like me when I start doing something I’ve never done before…........’tis the price of creativity….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3300 days

#4 posted 12-05-2009 08:18 PM

hey hey hey…..the commitment… a new datto blade set too… didnt mention that… will be sweet…..yes take it slow..and use some cheap wood to practice first…...yes ..practice first…..then when your confidance waxes strong…then start on the real wood…...glad to hear the start of a new project…this will be a great increase in your skills….if i can help …just ask…...bravo amigo…go for it.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3300 days

#5 posted 12-05-2009 08:22 PM

and be very careful with that belt sander…keep it flat and the edges.dont let it dip or it will eat your wood…practice with that too…...:)......

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3171 days

#6 posted 12-05-2009 09:42 PM

DaveR: Whaddya’ mean “Am I finished yet?” Didn’t you see the picture I posted ;-)

Patron: thanks, as always for the kind words and sage advice. I’ve literally had two dreams, since ordering the belt sander, about digging in OR catching an edge. Definitely something good to bear in mind.

Eric: thanks much! As to the wood species … um … hmmmm. I dunno. I guess I’ll have to browse around our local lumberyard to see what looks good AND won’t kill the budget. What are you using, and … have you put up pics yet??? I started with poplar in the master bedroom, but … I guess there’s no reason to stick with it….

JimB: yet another reason I put my shop in the basement, rather than in the garage. I do tend to … uh … get a bit colorful, at times ;-)

Grizz: I wasn’t holding out on ya’. I promise ;-) I didn’t realize I’d need the dado blade until a few hours after I’d already placed the other order. I was flipping through the instructions … farther … and saw the dado thing (missed it the first time). The dado stack was a budget-breaker, but … it just didn’t seem that much cheaper to get something less than the Forrest. Buy it once, and buy it right. TOTALLY agree on the scrap wood thing, too, Bud. I’ve realized … very quickly … that there IS NO “scrap wood!”

I’m gonna’ practice M&T joints, dados, glue-ups, and a few other things.

The storage bench is low and has pillows and baskets on it.

The wine rack is hidden by bottles.

The mirror is gonna’ hug the wall, and will live in between two bookshelves.

The other projects I’ve built are pretty utilitarian.

These things are gonna’ show, meaning … every flaw and error will show, too!

-- -- Neil

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#7 posted 12-05-2009 10:42 PM

Neil, this looks like it is going to be a nice piece and it is always good to try something new. Stretching ourselves in this fashion is a great learning experience. Now that you have made the mental committment you are ready to get started. Since you posted this several hours ago I assume that you are already making some sawdust. :)

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

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#8 posted 12-05-2009 10:45 PM

I look forward to following along on this one.

Good Luck – and get started!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3331 days

#9 posted 12-05-2009 11:06 PM

Hope you enjoy your new project Neil and the learning curve that accompanies it. Just one piece of unasked for advice (yet again!). Make sure you learn how to properly use and sharpen the mortiser chisel. This is absolutely necessary if you want to get good results from your new mortising machine. There have been some great articles in the past on that subject in FWW mag. They might have the articles on their website.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3171 days

#10 posted 12-05-2009 11:37 PM

Thanks, Scott! I’m fixing to get ready to make sawdust. That’s close, right? Actually, I’m looking at the cut lists and trying to make sure I can have them cut the panels to fit in my car, but still get the pieces I need. I … er … messed up on that once, and am in no hurry to do it again ;-)

Todd: I did start! I posted the idea, here :-)

Mike: if you’re waiting for me to discourage you from chiming in with your usual great ideas … you’re going to be disappointed :-) I’m really grateful for all the pointers, and make good use of them all!

I’ve done some reading, in the past, about sharpening of hand tools, generally, and have both a couple of stones and a bench grinder. I’ll look up the FWW article, though, and make sure I’m up to snuff. Great suggestion!

-- -- Neil

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3670 days

#11 posted 12-06-2009 04:57 AM

This is going to be a great project!

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3685 days

#12 posted 12-06-2009 03:41 PM

Neil , that is a really nice project that you want to build. Where did you find the plans for it ?
”have them cut the panels to fit in my car, but ” I guess you’re going to make this out of plywood , ay ?
When you mentioned “glue-up” earlier , I thought you were going to make your own panels. : ) Best wishes on your new adventure , Neil .
I’m waiting to see your finished projects ….Now get off of the darned PC and get down to the shop !!! LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3195 days

#13 posted 12-06-2009 05:10 PM

Good Luck, I am sooo proud of you. Okay, most of your new techniques and skills will be simple, just have to pay attention to details. The mortising chisel, must be square to the fence, the bit must be just below the bottom of the corners of the chisel, practice making long mortises by making cuts that do not connect, leave at least 1/8 of an inch between, then connecting them after. God help you with the belt sander, my least favorite, I have a rigid oscillating belt/spindle sander, very good, but…. like everyone said, I don’t know what you would need it for with this project. Just be careful wit it, or you’ll be back to the store to get more wood.
Hopefully this project helps keep your mind off the lonely Beeemer thats been cast aside for the winter, every now and then, you should sit on it and make vroooom noises.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3171 days

#14 posted 12-06-2009 11:19 PM

Charles: Thanks much! I’m off to Denver. I’ll see my brother, for dinner. He’s going to help me figure out all the potholes and how to avoid them. He’s been a woodworker, and a manufacturer’s representative for a FEW different tool companies, for years. Technically, he’s a LumberJock, too (“MountainHigh,” or something), but too busy to chat us up!

Dusty56: I think those plans came from this site. Eight bucks, if I’m remembering right. I’m like a lousy cook, at this point: I can follow a recipe, but creating one … is another story! The plans call for plywood for drawer sides, bottoms, cabinet backs, and such. The top WILL be a true glue-up of five 3 1/2” x 26” pieces of dimensioned hardwood (that I’ve still got to pick). Could I make the whole thing out of hardwood? Yeah. I guess. I dunno’ if I want to, though (fear factor AND $$$!).

Also, Dusty: try to forget about this project. Watching me work is like watching paint dry. Better you move on with your life. I’ll chime in from time to time <big grin>.

Andrew: It’ll be in single-digits for a few days, and it dumped and will keep dumping all the while. Bike has its jacket on (cover), and its pacemaker (batt charger) plugged in. We have an understanding. I haven’t done the Vroom, Vroom thing, yet, but I do turn on the bike and toot the horn every couple of days ;-)

Thanks for all the excellent advice on mortising. I have to remember exactly that: practice, scrap wood, more practice. Don’t go live until you’ve rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. I printed out two of the FWW articles about mortising with machinery and how to sharpen the chisels. Good start.

Also, if anything goes awry with the belt sander:

1) You all will have warned me, well, properly, and thoroughly, but

2) I’ll blame Norm Abrams. He used one a fair bit on his DIY kitchen install. Made it look easy. If it’s NOT easy, then … he has some sort of ethical obligation to frighten moronic newbies like me!!

[I’ll practice with the belt sander, too. In my misspent youth, I did my own body work on my old junker cars. Later, I ran a (failed) auto detailing business. I, at least, have the fundamental knowledge of how quickly good power tools can go to the dark side!]

Off to Denver. My turn, again, with my sister-in-law. I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but … take care of your health, all, huh? Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. I think—if I live to be a hundred years old—they’re going to figure out that stress is the single biggest cause of disease. Not that there are that many good ways out of it, but ….

-- -- Neil

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3163 days

#15 posted 12-11-2009 09:45 PM

Nice drawing DaveR

Neil, Good luck with your joinery!

Need the sander for your glue up top?

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

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