Maple Bath Caddy (First Real Woodworking Project)

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Project by McPheel posted 01-04-2016 08:48 PM 733 views 2 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first real woodworking project, aside from a few shop jigs and a small bench that wobbles.

After seeing this type of item at HomeSense I decided I would build it for my wife instead of just purchasing it. Up to this point I had spent most of my shop time restoring some old antique Stanley hand planes (Number 4 and number 5), refining my sharpening skills and practicing on scrap with a Japanese Ryoba Saw, a cheap home depot Miter Box Saw and a set of Stanley Sweet Heart Chisels (The current “Gem” of my shop). This project tested most of the techniques I had been practicing.

I drew a rough sketch, went to a hardwood dealer (An entire learning experience on it’s own) and purchased a bunch of maple. I was initially thinking teak due to it’s stability, but figured it would be cheaper to use maple and just seal it real good. This way if I botched the entire project, I didn’t waste too much expensive lumber.

The front and back, top sides and top slats were planed and cut to length. It was a little tricky getting the spacing just right between the slats. Turned out, mechanical pencils were to answer.

Next I cut and glued the half lap joints which will be the adjustable arms / supports

The biggest challenge was cutting the mortises in the front and back pieces to accept the arms snuggly enough to not allow unnecessary movement but loosely enough to allow them to slide smoothly (I used some Wax to assist in this)
I initially thought I would need more support for the arms, but the U shaped arms seemed to offer more than enough stability and support (I ran out of maple).

I put an initial coat of Boiled Linseed Oil on (Everywhere but where the top side pieces glue on)
than worked on routing out the areas for her cell phone and cutting out the slot for her wine.
I used Paul Sellers “Poor Mans Router” trick to get the depth as clean as I could.
After a quick test I realized that a glass of wine would not sit in the slot due to the shape of the top of the stem, I Carved a small bowl at the end if the slot to accept this part of the glass. (This didn’t matter since I accidently glued this piece on upside down).

I tried a few methods for the book stand and ended up finding a nice sturdy Brass rod from home depot that I bent and inserted into two holes with a good amount of Gorilla CA glue to hold in place. I found a perfect piece of Ash at home depot that worked as a stop for a book or magazine.
Everything was glued and I sanded than finished with a few coats of linseed oil (Sanding between coats)
I followed by using some outdoor polyurethane (With the thought that this would soak into the fibers of the wood and offer stability) than finished with multiple coats of Shellac, sanding between coats up to 400 grit and finishing with a bit of steel wool to make it smooth as glass.

In the end, I learned a lot from this project, my wife loved her gift (earning my some more time in the garage) and I finally got some real momentum into woodworking.

I finally got a table saw so my next project will be an attempt at a Humidor.

-- Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing - Nick Offerman

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