Man - this took forever

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Project by hannes posted 1408 days ago 2387 views 9 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Bedside tables was the goal and would be my first real furniture project. I like dark and light color wood combinations and I saw a few maple and walnut combination pieces here on LJ and thought I had to give those a try. The problem is these woods are quite expensive this side of Africa, but again that was a great motivation for me to take my time and learn to NOT rush my projects.

My skill set is also a bit limited, so this would also be a great learning experience and it was. Just before I started on this I bought a combination jointer/thicknesser so my first lesson was to get the machine set up and through a bit of trial and error got some good results in the end. Then it was also my first dovetails – made by hand and they came quite well, but I also learned how to make them look better than they actually were :-)

I worked on this some weekends and a bit during the week after work. Sometimes only half an hour or so per day, but I made a rule that as soon as I get tired or rushed or wanted to just get a particular piece done I would stop right there and continue another day. That way I learned to take my time while doing this… maybe too much in the end, but so worth it.

Also it was a first for me to use danish oil and floor wax as a finish and that was much easier to get a decent finish than I thought. It is silky smooth and I have to thank Div for giving me a few tips.

I’ve used mostly mortise and tenon joints (need better and faster way to make these) using a drill press and a table saw and dovetails for the drawer. Wooden slides for drawer and wood buttons to attach the top.

So it took me 4 months after hours to make 2 bedside tables… better not quite my day job :)

-- Hannes, Cape Town, South Africa

35 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


112014 posts in 2208 days

#1 posted 1408 days ago

This piece turned out great.

-- Custom furniture

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 2723 days

#2 posted 1408 days ago

Beautiful design and craftsmanship Hannes. Your “skill set” is quite remarkable for a first try. The dovetails are exceptional. That rule about not rushing is a very good one, for safety as well as economics (not ruining wood). Thanks for the post!

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View sras's profile


3815 posts in 1760 days

#3 posted 1408 days ago

4 months is a fine pace in my book! Can’t let more important priorities get in the way. That’s only 2 months per table. They look great!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View woodcrafter47's profile


349 posts in 1736 days

#4 posted 1408 days ago

Great job!! Very nice looking bedside the wood contrast. Thanks for posting

-- In His service ,Richard

View SouthpawCA's profile


254 posts in 1864 days

#5 posted 1408 days ago

Very Nice!!! Love the dovetails. And 4 months isn’t bad at all – it takes me a month of weekends to do a weekend project.

-- Don

View jeepturner's profile


920 posts in 1423 days

#6 posted 1408 days ago

Looks like they turned out great, and don’t sweat the small stuff, like how much time it takes. Unless you are building for profit, worrying about the hours can take some of the satisfaction out of it.
Thanks for including some of the build pictures.
One of the reasons I joined this site is to get a chance to converse and share with woodworkers around the world. I like to see their perspective. I would gladly trade you some American hardwoods for a couple of African species. :-)

-- Mel,

View Pawky's profile


278 posts in 1435 days

#7 posted 1408 days ago

They came out great, a job well done indeed.

View cwdance1's profile


1143 posts in 1890 days

#8 posted 1408 days ago

Very well done, great looking table.

Wish I could do work like that.

View JJohnston's profile


1577 posts in 1922 days

#9 posted 1408 days ago

Strictly for curiosity’s sake, would you mind me asking what you paid for the lumber? I can use an online converter to convert Rands to Dollars and m^3 to board feet.

-- "Sorry I'm late. Somebody tampered with my brakes." "You should have been early, then."

View littlecope's profile


2897 posts in 2133 days

#10 posted 1408 days ago

Pretty Pieces, my Friend… Nicely Done!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Roger's profile


14368 posts in 1435 days

#11 posted 1408 days ago

don’t beat yerself up over how long it takes. In my eyes, woodworking should be somthing you enjoy. I guess it gets better when you’re able to retire, and throw that clock away. Don’t give up. Looks like you’re doing a very fine job to me.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Brit's profile


5125 posts in 1474 days

#12 posted 1408 days ago

Great design and really well executed. Another one for my favourites. Who cares about how long it took? As I always tell my wife “You can’t rush quality” to which she replies “How would you know?”

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View CanalboatJim's profile


196 posts in 2136 days

#13 posted 1408 days ago

Lovely project. I like to see Arts and Crafts projects done in other woods. I also work in short increments of time. Woodworking is my hobby not my profession, so I have the luxury of time that professionals don’t. Trying to work when your tired or rushed is a sure formula for a big error or a big accident. It’s amazing how much you can get done if work for an hour or so every day.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View Bearpaw's profile


207 posts in 2351 days

#14 posted 1408 days ago

A better way to cut the mortise joint is with a plung router and an up spiral bit. I am doing 2 end tables and that worked well. Just do this a step at a time and then run the bit from one end to the other to clean up the slot.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View Dark_Lightning's profile


1692 posts in 1740 days

#15 posted 1408 days ago

Some really nice work for a first, I’ll tell you that…or even if you had more experience!

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