For those that are just tuning in, this was originally a quick project for a friend to just have something to throw her shoes on. Crap wood was used, old plywood, nasty aged paint on some of the pieces and now she decided she wants it in the entryway so I have to try and figure out how to make it look halfway decent…
So now I have the carcass built, still needs some sanding and some repair of the cracked plywood areas. That will be remedied by a think layer of sawdust and glue. This will be painted and most of the flaws hidden. This is not a work of art, this is a practical project to hone and practice skills and practice some problem solving. It is my belief that a good woodworker can take some crappy pine and can make it look better. A poor woodworker can take some beautiful walnut and make it look like crappy pine. So while I have been honing my skills, I have been working with the poor stuff, salvaged and found wood.
So here is the task for today. I had to come up with something to hide the plywood edges.
Not very pretty… Even though painted, the edges will still look like plywood. So this is a good practice session on covering those up. Had I not already fastened the top, I could have built a face frame, which would have covered up most of the edges and just would have left the top edge which could have been covered by edge banding tape or molding. Unfortunately, the top is already fastened so no work with face frames today. I don’t really want to do the edge banding, just makes it look like another box from Walmart and the goal of this is to make it look a little cooler than it looks right now. So, I went with the following plan. Cut a board to length. route the edge on the table router, then trim off the edging. Voila, instant molding. (And I thought Handyman magazine had no reason to nominate me to the Woodworkers Hall of Fame…)
I didn’t go with anything fancy, just some cove edging. The cove would slim the top of the edge down so that there would be very little mixed wood where the plywood meets the board. I held up a piece just to give the general idea -
I will run it along the edges so that the open space is framed. This will not reduce the open space for the shoes to fit and, once mitered and trimmed, it will give a more appealing look.
Now why am I going through such pains to explain, step by step, a process where I am working with a crappy piece of wood in an effort to make a slightly above mediocre piece?
For one, this simple project covers a multitude of basic woodworking skills. It involves routing, sawing, dadoing, rabbeting, measuring, mitering, building a basic frame (which is the starting point of cabinetry, box building, bookcases, etc.) and most importantly, using your head to think through a problem then using your tools to make that thought a reality. And secondly, show other new people out there that not everyone out here is a lifelong woodworking guru. You all are fantastic people, modest, supportive, and very skilled. But I have to tell you all that, speaking from a newbie perspective, sometimes showing your work to you folks is like playing Mary Had a Little Lamb to Eric Clapton. So if there are other new people out there feeling a little intimidated, it doesn’t hurt for them to know that there are others in the same boat who are practicing, experimenting, and starting at the beginning also.
I am happy with the couple hours I got to spend in the shop today. I felt good about working out a solution and putting the plan into motion. It may not be the most original, but it was a good exercise in problem solving and shaping the wood to meet the little vision in my head.
Thank you all for reading, and happy woodworking!
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.