My First Peice of (real) Furniture - Maple and Purpleheart

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Project by Novicebutlearning posted 05-22-2010 06:13 AM 3336 views 15 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well over a year ago, my mom asked me to build her something “nice” to replace the rickety and slap-dash shoe rack that was built by her house’s previous owner. I said “sure” and set to designing the piece. Never mind that I did not have a usable workshop, or any work benches, and only one usable electrical outlet. (I should fill you in, my tools’ first home, after I inherited them, was a storage room with one electrical outlet and terrible lighting.)

Undeterred, I set to work.

After month’s of making do with my setup: constantly plugging-and-unplugging machines; hand-planing the solid wood sides because my 15” planer could not get power; constantly tripping the breaker; breathing in buckets of dust and straining to see my work, I got a break and moved into my first real space (the workshop presently featured.) There I could run power for the planer and jointer, build my dust collector, build some workbenches and wire some lighting. It was there that I assembled the sides and made (most of) the top. Unfortunately, I was forced to move before I could finish the piece. And so this piece moved into a barn with all my tools and sat there for the winter. This summer, I rescued it from the barn and brought it to a friend’s workshop where I finished the top, joined it to the casing and put on the first 4 coats of spar varnish. I then brought it to my house where I put on the next 2 coats and sanded and polished it.

If you have been counting, that is 5 separate work areas. Yikes!

Not that my lack of a suitable workshop was the least of my concerns. I made more mistakes than I care to count. My original design is COMPLETELY different than the final product. In fact, apart from the shelves, every other aspect of the design was an attempt to design my out of a mistake I made.

I learned tons on this piece! My skills grew tons. I also learned that grit and determination can overcome poor planning, a lack of funds, an inadequate workspace and a lack of skills. However, I can promise everyone on this forum, that, for the sake of my sanity, I will not build another piece of furniture until I am financially secure and have a usable work space.

For something that holds shoes, I think it did good.


-- A laborer uses his hands. A craftsman uses his hands and his head. An artist uses his hands, his head and his heart.

24 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3735 days

#1 posted 05-22-2010 06:15 AM

lucky shoes!

looks fantastic :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 3016 days

#2 posted 05-22-2010 06:15 AM

gahh i love it

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View a1Jim's profile


117179 posts in 3664 days

#3 posted 05-22-2010 06:17 AM

Very nice

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3177 days

#4 posted 05-22-2010 06:20 AM

That is exceptional work.

View Novicebutlearning's profile


25 posts in 3023 days

#5 posted 05-22-2010 06:21 AM


-- A laborer uses his hands. A craftsman uses his hands and his head. An artist uses his hands, his head and his heart.

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3832 days

#6 posted 05-22-2010 06:43 AM

That is fantastic work. Love the design and wood selection!

View ianlee74's profile


153 posts in 3034 days

#7 posted 05-22-2010 07:00 AM

Awesome! Those shelves look like a lot of work.

-- Ian, Tennessee

View kosta's profile


946 posts in 3441 days

#8 posted 05-22-2010 07:01 AM

looks good

View scarpenter002's profile


606 posts in 3992 days

#9 posted 05-22-2010 07:51 AM

Wow!!! What a way to treat muddy and dirty shoes. Nice job.

-- Scott in Texas

View Ken90712's profile


17566 posts in 3275 days

#10 posted 05-22-2010 10:43 AM

Very well done! Like it!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View david9951's profile


39 posts in 3248 days

#11 posted 05-22-2010 11:43 AM

i really like the idea of the opening in the shelving and think this would be a great idea for an entertainment center or a computer cabinet.

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3535 days

#12 posted 05-22-2010 11:57 AM

man that looks great….can’t wait to see your next project…...well done

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3163 days

#13 posted 05-22-2010 02:13 PM

Impressive project, determination, and ability to adapt…

I really like this. I am sure your mom is very proud of this fine piece.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3372 days

#14 posted 05-22-2010 02:35 PM

I don’t know what your original design was, but I like how your final design came out. Great design, Great work and a Great story!. Definitely can see where you used your hands, your head and your heart!. Thanks for sharing and look forward to seeing more of your work.

-- John @

View CaptainSkully's profile


1601 posts in 3645 days

#15 posted 05-22-2010 03:28 PM

That is by far the best shoe rack I’ve ever seen. Nicely done, and congrats on the shop.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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