|Project by Greg Guarino||posted 12-19-2014 10:05 PM||1210 views||8 times favorited||4 comments|
After having built a home for the other 400 or so books in the house, I wanted a place to store the cookbooks, a little closer to the kitchen. I decided to build two of these units to flank a large living room window.
Sketchup is largely responsible for the design. I started out trying to adapt something from a Pottery Barn catalog, but kept tinkering with it until I had a very different animal. The “ladder” sides were the biggest change.
There were a lot of lessons learned during this project. Chief among them was that Sketchup makes it awfully easy to draw a lot of repetitive parts; making those parts takes a lot longer, especially if most of them will be fastened with dowels. 224 dowels in 448 holes. I made a series of jigs that made the dowel holes reasonably efficient, but there was also the sanding, edge-easing and prefinishing to do. That coupled with a job and increased family obligations and this project took nearly six months; a few hours here and there on weekends.
Woodworking is still a pretty new hobby for me. Although simpler then much of what I see on LJ, this is my most complicated attempt yet. It’s my second try at pattern routing, which was used to make the arched stiles. I think they are my favorite detail. It was also my second use of biscuits, which fasten the “ladder” sides to the front and back frames and also were used to glue the “border” pieces around the tops.
Another lesson was that dark stain does an excellent job of highlighting small imperfections. On close inspection there is a certain “rusticity” that I hadn’t intended. My wife loves it though. Maybe I’ll claim it was on purpose.
I finished the units with General Finishes Candelite Gel Stain and GF Gel Varnish. After 3 coats of varnish I steel-wooled it a bit and then buffed the finish up a bit with paper and sometimes a rotary buffer as an experiment. I came out pretty well, but I have to say the gel stain was a real pain on all the inside surfaces between the “rungs”.
I’m tossing around some ideas for “matching” end tables for the same room, but haven’t settled on a design yet. I think maybe I’ll tackle a smaller project for the winter instead.