First project EVER

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Project by DanII posted 01-20-2015 07:05 PM 1046 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My grandfather was a professional cabinet maker who worked out of his basement. Watching what he could do with an old beat up oak pallet was amazing, but for some reason I never tried woodworking myself. For whatever reason at 35 years of age I decided to give it a go. On my last deployment I spent any and all down time on amazon ordering tools, or youtube trying to learn how to use them. A fellow marine was getting out shortly after our return home so I volunteered to build his shadowbox as my first project. Many hard lessons came with this effort including (but definitely not limited to); 1) I stink at handcut dovetails, 2) Cutting good miters is way harder than it looks, 3) I stink at glue ups, and 4) The patience to do a good finish job is clearly a attribute I don’t have yet.
The box is curly maple with wenge dividers. Finished it with BLO then general finishes wipe on poly. The face frame is attached with hinges to ease access since I was still waiting on one of his unit patches when I gave it to him. Lots and Lots of mistakes on this one but I think I did a half decent job at hiding most of them. It was hard not to point out each mistake and apologize for them as everyone was admiring it. Couldn’t have been too bad because I was promptly asked to make 3 more. Now that he’s gone I can only hope somehow my grandfather saw this and would approve (right after he smacked me in the back of the head for my atrocious miters)
Have to give my thanks to the gentlemen who do the signs on MCB Quantico. They did the laser etching for me at no charge and are awesome people.

2 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1664 posts in 2730 days

#1 posted 01-20-2015 07:52 PM

I think your shadow box looks pretty darn good for a first go. I wouldn’t feel bad about mistakes – that’s how we all learn one mistake after another. The trick is to improve your work with each effort so that you make fewer errors with each project. Ask yourself, “How can I do this better the next time?” and then move forward. Your project presents itself very well. IMHO Welcome to LumberJocks.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View DonB's profile


541 posts in 2932 days

#2 posted 01-21-2015 11:48 AM

DanII: Thank you for your service. You completed a nice project. Never mind about the mistakes – anyone who doesn’t make them is either lying or forgetful. Since you received 3 more requests, your answer is in front of your eyes – “they” appreciated your handiwork. Since we seldom build something for ourselves, you really did complete your project. Have fun, enjoy. Welcome to LJ.

-- DonB

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