Jordan's Project #1: Getting started.

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Blog entry by Jeff Waggoner posted 02-01-2011 10:04 AM 5650 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Jordan's Project series Part 2: Step #2 Building the Box »

Getting My Wood.

I started looking for a project soon after internationals last year. I started by browsing projects on fine woodworking and a small portable writing desk caught my eye. I showed my dad and we contacted the man that built it. He said that he didn’t have any plans for it because he had constructed it from a similar piece. From there we started researching variations. We found a site with over a hundred in many different forms. A tri-fold stood out to me because of its unique three opening lid and hidden drawers. Through the summer we worked on plans and tried to guess from the pictures how it was constructed. I started practicing cutting the joinery that was required. We started building a prototype out of poplar to identify problems, check overall proportions and practice the techniques required. We stopped when we had a complete shell, but stopped short of the small details.

It was now time to buy my wood and start the project. I chose mahogany and accented it with Wenge. I also used white maple as a secondary wood of the inner drawers because it has a good contrast. We needed some mahogany thick enough to re-saw to make the outside grain appear to connect all the way around. We found some 16/4 mahogany that was 11 in. wide and 6 feet long. This was enough to create the whole project out of the same board, ensuring that all the grain and colors matched. When we brought it home we let it acclimate in the shop for about five days.

1. I cut the piece at 40 in.

2. I skim planned it in the planner to get a flat surface for re-sawing.

3. I jointed it to create a 90 degree side.

4. I sawed two pieces at an inch and an eighth to get the sides.

5. I re-sawed two pieces at five-eighths to get the top and bottom.

6. I was left with a piece that I was able to mill to a quarter inch for dividers and miscellaneous parts.

7. I clamped all the pieces flat on the lay-out table to keep them from warping and cupping, as re-sawed boards tend to.

8. I let them re-acclimate for several days then milled them to their final dimensions.

9. I put them back in the clamps until I was ready to cut the joinery and glue them up.

Here is a short video of the process so far.

See more on this project at

-- Jeff Waggoner,

10 comments so far

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 02-01-2011 10:38 AM

You know the only time you are smiling is when you are touching and playing with wood and machinery!!
You can smile more!! :-)
keep on making that sawdust Jordan!

-- Theresa,

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 02-01-2011 11:02 AM

Looks as if this is going to be fun.

It is looking good so far.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4242 days

#3 posted 02-01-2011 12:16 PM

and the step-by-step information is excellent. Going to be a “treasure” to follow.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3856 days

#4 posted 02-01-2011 12:43 PM

Hi Jordan

It looks like you are starting a great project. I will enjoy watching your progress over the coming months. Your posting is very informative. Thanks for sharing.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Jeff Waggoner's profile

Jeff Waggoner

105 posts in 2772 days

#5 posted 02-01-2011 08:05 PM

Tj65, Ha thanks i know i dont smile much. its actually not because i dont want to. I usually just try to keep myself from doing it because i would be smiling like a dork the whole time. ill work on it ;)

I’ll be posting a new post every few days for the next month. I would love any feedback i can get from everyone because this is still pretty new to me and my dad. thanks for all the support so far! im definitely having a blast

-- Jeff Waggoner,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3755 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 01:24 AM

Jordan, thats a nice project.

View Skylark53's profile


2672 posts in 3142 days

#7 posted 02-02-2011 01:43 AM

You’ve done your research and are working with some nice wood on a really good project. Very fine documentation of your work too. I’m looking forward to more. Enjoy.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3370 days

#8 posted 02-03-2011 03:50 AM

great start to what is gonna be a very good project.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

251 posts in 2854 days

#9 posted 02-03-2011 06:49 AM

I wish I had access to a workshop when I was your age. Way to go.

Try to remember to use your safety glasses with all of the power tools (saws, nail guns, etc.). You only get two eyes, and they need to last a long time. You also might want to protect your ears and lungs too.

I wasn’t much older than you when I got a bit of metal stuck in my eye while using a drill press (the last tool that you’d think about when wearing face protection). That required an unpleasant trip to the ER.

View Jeff Waggoner's profile

Jeff Waggoner

105 posts in 2772 days

#10 posted 02-03-2011 09:53 PM

Marty Backe

We try to always wear eye protection and ear protection and a respirator when needed but we still forget sometimes. We need to work to develop it as a habit so we do it without thinking about it if not we will always forget when we get distracted.

Thanks a reminder is always good.

-- Jeff Waggoner,

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