My Start in Woodworking

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Blog entry by cheller posted 04-18-2007 04:22 AM 876 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first woodworking project was a plywood cabinet for the nook next to the fireplace in our first house. That was in about 1986. It was simple construction – held together with screws and L brackets. I can’t remember if I had a plan or not. I do know that the size was based on the space I was filling. That cabinet is still in use, although it now lives in our garage and holds gardening supplies.

My second woodworking project was shelves for the office/library in the same house. The plan came from a Time/Life book. In this design a frame is built of 1X2s around a shelf bracket strip. At the top and bottom a bracket is constructed perpendicular to the shelf bracket which attaches to the wall. We no longer have those shelves, since they were sized for that house. I did build a set for my parents – I’ll try to get a picture the next time I’m there.

My third woodworking project which I made in about 1988 was a cabinet for our kitchen which has been moved twice and is still an integral part of our kitchen. It also is based on a design from a Time-Life book. It is not a great example of woodworking skill, but it has held together. It’s made with big box lumber and plywood. The frame and panel look doors are plywood with strapping.

All the pieces were cut before assembly, so the pieces don’t fit as cleanly as I’d like.

Here’s the outside:

Notice that the doors are not square in the openings and the bottom rail sits below the angle cuts in the stiles. The closure mechanism, a deviation from the plan, was cut with a jigsaw and I guessed on the size. I’ve always meant to replace it with a smaller one but never got around to it.

And the inside:

It’s not fancy but it did help to feed the addiction. And my skills have definitely improved since then!

-- Chelle

8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#1 posted 04-18-2007 03:39 PM

I like it!
Isn’t it fascinating to look back and acknowledge how much you’ve learned/grown/?? !!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4326 days

#2 posted 04-18-2007 03:43 PM

we all started somewhere… technically I never even made my first woodworking projects. Just coached my grandfather on what I wanted to make, and agreeing on how it all went together, first laying hands on it when it was completed. Couldn’t reach, let alone use the Radial Arm saw at that age… but I always considered them projects that I made… as a consequence, the first once I really made weren’t terribly square, or cut cleanly. (made a step stool that always gave you slivers…. but I kept it for years)

Oh what we learn by doing, reading, and finally getting the right tools.

You could always make new doors for that cabinet (or leave them painted and drive Obi nuts!)

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

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#3 posted 04-18-2007 04:10 PM

painted wood. Rick is currently helping a business redo their work area. The shop used to be a lumberyard (way back in my teen years, it was there). Anyway, he says the boards are at least 2” thick. And his job this week was to paint it all.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4096 days

#4 posted 04-18-2007 04:38 PM

Thanks for the post cheller. I think it would be a good idea if everyone had a blog entry that described their entrance into woodworking. It would be interesting to read and I think you’ve inspired me to write about mine. Thanks.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4098 days

#5 posted 04-18-2007 05:30 PM

Thanks for posting. Every project is important; every project is a step. Unfortunately I believe my first one or two woodworking projects are lost; one was a miniature sailboat, the other a square lamp base with teak? veneer. You have reminded me of these projects, and for that I thank you.

-- John

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 4108 days

#6 posted 04-18-2007 06:11 PM

Thanks for all the kind words. It was interesting for me to think about all those really early projects. The first one’s were built in my study! For the one pictured here I graduated to the basement. It was several years after that before I had an actual shop space.

The cabinet is painted because 1) that’s what we wanted at the time, and 2) the wood is low grade plywood and cheap pine. If I made something similar today it would be very different.

-- Chelle

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4138 days

#7 posted 04-19-2007 01:42 AM

What a great first project! Very nice to be albe to look back on the beginning – my first project was a mahagany and maple lamp in junior high school and I don’t have it or a photo!


View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4310 days

#8 posted 04-19-2007 04:15 AM

Thanks for sharing your beginnings with us.

-- Jesus is Lord!

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