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Project by agianni posted 01-12-2011 03:42 PM 1577 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife’s sister had her first child last Spring and as they were looking for nursery furniture, they couldn’t find what they were looking for, at least not in their price range. I offered to make them the armoire they wanted. This was my first piece of “real furniture” I built and it was by far the most ambitious woodworking project I’ve taken on. The only thing that wasn’t complete in the pictures is that I had to re-do the back because it didn’t fit quite right. But the baby was due and I didn’t want to wait on delivery.

There are certainly things I’m not happy about, but given my relative inexperience I’m pretty happy with it, and my sister-in-law loves it (and just made a request for another, less ambitious piece), which is the most important thing.

The case is made from birch ply and the face frames, door frames and trim are maple.

I built new cabinets for out kitchen before, which was a good introduction to how I would end up constructing this, but I had never had to deal with finishing something on this level before. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get it to look good and match the finish of the rest of the nursery furniture. This wood whisperer video ended up being the most valuable single resource for me:

I followed his technique pretty much exactly:

1. Raise grain on wood and sand after dry
2. Wet surface and wipe on water-based die stain until the desired darkness is achieved.
3. Apply gel stain over die

I used General Finishes Medium Brown water-based die for the first step and mixed General Finishes Candlewood and Georgian Cherry (about 6:1) to get the slightly red tone I was looking for in the piece. I used a spit coat of thinned de-waxed shelac followed by two or three coats (I don’t remember now) of GF Arm-R-Seal (satin).

-- Andrew

5 comments so far

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3079 days

#1 posted 01-12-2011 04:14 PM

Turned out nicely and you learned a few things along the way too, from the sounds of it, which is always a good thing.

What’s the other requested piece?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2722 days

#2 posted 01-12-2011 04:27 PM

Gorgeous! The clean look/lines that I definitely prefer. What a wonderful piece that will enjoy lifetimes of use.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3509 days

#3 posted 01-12-2011 04:30 PM

Very nice work. The color turned out great too.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#4 posted 01-12-2011 04:34 PM

Nice looking armoire.

View agianni's profile


13 posts in 3021 days

#5 posted 01-12-2011 04:52 PM

I was asked to build a small entertainment center because the open shelves they currently use for their AV equipment is becoming problematic as my niece become more mobile :) I’m trying to figure out if I can build it in an art deco waterfall style to match some of their furniture in their dining room, but I’m a little confused as to how to make that happen. I actually posted a question to the forums about this but haven’t gotten anything back

My SiL said she would be happy if I used the armoire design language on the entertainment center piece if I can’t figure out how to make the art deco design work. Taking on the art deco design was my idea anyway :)

I’ll try to do some updates as I actually build out that project regardless of the design I go with.

-- Andrew

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