Tapered Display Tower - Beetle-Kill Pine

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Project by NBeener posted 10-17-2010 08:14 AM 3590 views 2 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Technically, it’s just about’ finished.

May get one more coat of spar varnish. May get 600 grit wet-sanded. May get paste wax applied. May get nothing more, in the finishing department.

AND … the 1/4” baltic birch ply that I used as backer did NOT take the stain well, so I’ll either re-do it, or replace it with a pine backer, either T&G or half-lap.

Meanwhile, I’m calling it done enough for pics :-)


There’s a pine beetle that’s laying waste to many of our forests, in the Rockies, creating a huge fire hazard of dead fall.

A few miles from me, I found a lumber yard that deals mostly in this beetle-kill pine. A few months back, I bought some boards.

WOOD Magazine had this piece in a recent issue. It caught my eye. So … from rough stock to this bad boy.


- a 2:1 mix of denatured alcohol and SealCoat
- a flood coat of Watco Danish Oil, “Light Walnut” color
- Man o’ War satin spar varnish—two coats so far—only on the shelves and the exterior of the side panels.


The drawer box is dadoes and rabbets.
The top is fastened on with Figure 8 fasteners, in a countersunk 1/8” deep x 1-3/4” Forstner bit-created well.
The shelves are in with #20 biscuits.


The upper panel is a “hidden” drawer. It’s a good tight fit, and with no handle, so there’s a 1-1/4” hole in the backer board through which you shove the drawer forward. The drawer is bb ply with the pine false front.

The false tenons and wedges … finally … were made from the same pine. The wedges had enough of a distinctive look about them that I thought they stood out, appropriately, from the rest.

The top has a chamfer around its bottom edge. All the angled cuts are done at 3*.

And … for pine … the sucker IS rather heavy !

I think the wood has a lot of character. I think there’s the face of an old man in one of the sides ;-)

Thanks for looking :-)

-- -- Neil

30 comments so far

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 2718 days

#1 posted 10-17-2010 08:24 AM

Wow thats is really looking great.

Bet i can make room for it at my place :)

Well done Nbeener.

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View patron's profile


13594 posts in 3250 days

#2 posted 10-17-2010 11:01 AM

it does look great neil

another feather in your hat

well done

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3204 days

#3 posted 10-17-2010 12:42 PM

This turned out beautiful !
Go ahead….give it a spit shine with some 600 grit.
The nice thing about polishing is it can be done anytime later. LOL
I love the tenon pegs : )


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3341 days

#4 posted 10-17-2010 01:11 PM

Very nicely done, Neil.
I agree with Lisa, the tenon pegs are super!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4167 posts in 2765 days

#5 posted 10-17-2010 01:14 PM

Great to see it finished, I’ve enjoyed the build.
Did you get some more clamps yet? :)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2747 days

#6 posted 10-17-2010 02:58 PM

This turned out really nice! Can’t wait to see the QSO tower when it’s completed- with real, rather than decorative tenons. ;) I know you will…..................... hahahah

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View SPalm's profile


5316 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 10-17-2010 03:13 PM

Sweet. Congrats on the build. That pine does have more character than I thought it would.

Looks nice,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3212 days

#8 posted 10-17-2010 03:46 PM

wow neil, this is just beautiful…you did a grand job…Ive got an opening in my shop for a wood technician…would you consider coming and being a part of grizzman productions…lol… the wood, love the finish…its certainly a A+....GRIZZ.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3085 days

#9 posted 10-17-2010 04:01 PM

Hey Neil,

You did a fantastic job on this. I went back and read parts 1 thru 6 just to get caught up. The pictures in parts 4 & 5 didn’t show up for me but it was great seeing this project progress (why isn’t this post part 7 of the series?).

My wife and I are going on a tour of Craftsman style homes in Pasadena today. I just showed her this piece and we’ll be looking for it on our tour. We love the fact that you made it out of beetle-kill pine.

One question though, why is the grain running the wrong direction on the tenons?

Take care,


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10877 posts in 3024 days

#10 posted 10-17-2010 04:31 PM

great work Neil
it´s looking good from here :-)

take care

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3107 days

#11 posted 10-17-2010 04:56 PM

Great job Neil, Saddly, I must anounce that the last of the KLR is being shipped off tomorrow. I did not have the money to fix it, so, I parted it out. Don’t feel bad for me though. I paid nothing for the bike, and I have reinvested the profits into wood working stuff, mostly turning. In a couple months, I will be ( hopefully) posting some lamps that I will be turning for this years Christmas presents. The tricky part will be the lamp shades, I intend to turn aswell.
Love the tower, and great use of a beatle kill tree, Which one was it Paul or Ringo?

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3582 days

#12 posted 10-17-2010 09:57 PM

Congrats Neil, on a nice job. I really love the the Tower.

View a1Jim's profile


116912 posts in 3486 days

#13 posted 10-17-2010 10:13 PM

Hey Neil
Cool build and unique wood too.

-- Custom furniture

View sras's profile


4749 posts in 3038 days

#14 posted 10-17-2010 10:57 PM

Neil, The wood has teriffic character! Nice job on the project – enjoyed the blog as well.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View lew's profile


11946 posts in 3664 days

#15 posted 10-18-2010 02:56 AM

Beautiful build. I really like that you left some sap wood on the top. The contrast really adds interest to the piece.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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