My First Project

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark D. posted 02-04-2008 06:06 PM 1677 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My First Project
My First Project No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
Zoom Pictures

Hi All, My girlfriends dad gave me one of those little combo sets of powertools from Craftsman for Christmas. As this is my first set of tools(that doesn’t include screw drivers, wire strippers, and RJ45 crimpers) I knew it was time to start building something. My girlfriend and I had been looking for a shelf to hold some knick knacks for quite some time, but it seemed everything we found looked too mass produced or was way out of the realm of what I would spend on a horizontal board stuck to the wall… That’s when it hit me…. why not just build it?!

So, I went up to the big box and started looking at their lumber section and decided on a nice stick of poplar I saw… It had a great grain pattern and it was straight as an arrow, and, the price was low enough for me to feel comfortable cutting it in bits with the possibility of needing to double the cost to finish the shelf :-)

The whole shelf is constructed of 1×8 poplar, with a 3/4 square lip around the top edge, no fancy joinery was used, just some countersunk brass screws. The design for the bottom was free-handed on a scrap of carboard from a package of one of my son’s toys(drew half the design and flipped it in the middle.) The finish is Minwax – “Golden Oak” applied in two coats followed by three coats of hand rubbed paste wax. This baby’s smooooooth…

So what did I learn from this project? Handheld powertools ultimately made this project more difficult. With the time it took to get everything set-up, aligned, get the makeshift fence in place, etc I probably could have crosscut the boards, used a coping saw to cut the details, aligned, drilled, and assembled the shelf… But, lesson learned.

-- Looking for free wood working plans? Visit us at

13 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3789 days

#1 posted 02-04-2008 07:02 PM

This is a nice project. This is a fine start to your woodworking journey. Lacking the big tools would have been an easy excuse to procrastinate on starting the project. Instead you built a nice piece of furniture with only basic hand tools.

I like the design on the bottom.

Thanks for the post. Now that you are on a roll what is next on your list?

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mark D.'s profile

Mark D.

155 posts in 3735 days

#2 posted 02-04-2008 07:10 PM

Next is a workbench… Another determination I made from this project is that two sawhorses and thin plywood make a horrible workbench…. I will be posting another project page with photos and details…

-- Looking for free wood working plans? Visit us at

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3955 days

#3 posted 02-04-2008 07:26 PM

Workbench is the thing!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4127 days

#4 posted 02-04-2008 07:29 PM

you did a great job!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4185 days

#5 posted 02-04-2008 07:45 PM

Great job!

Now for the bad news:

Since you have most likely been bitten by the woodworking bug, this little shelf is going to end up costing you thousands of dollars over the next few years as you will continuously discover tools you just cannot live without. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Grumpy's profile


23841 posts in 3818 days

#6 posted 02-04-2008 11:29 PM

Theres always a good excuse to buy new tools Mark, the more you get the more you want (works for me anyway). But at the end of the day its best to keep things simple as simplicity shines through. welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 3851 days

#7 posted 02-04-2008 11:34 PM

Yep!! Hooked another one. Nice job Mark.
God bless

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View shawnseanderson's profile


25 posts in 3731 days

#8 posted 02-04-2008 11:43 PM

Well, the projects that the wife needs done require the correct tools. Don’t they? that got me the drill press and a jointer.

-- Shawn, Washington, No really, its a work in progress.

View Mark D.'s profile

Mark D.

155 posts in 3735 days

#9 posted 02-04-2008 11:50 PM

Yeah, I told her I need a 10” cabinet saw to build the toy box and changing table she’s begging for… Her first words were “How much are those?” To which I responded “eh, just over a grand… maybe I could buy it when I get my tax return?” That sealed the deal… she agreed it would be a good purchase… now… about that jointer, thickness planer and arsenal of lie nielsen planes I want to buy… oh and did I mention those Japanese bench chisels? and maybe we could expand the garage! and… and… :-)

-- Looking for free wood working plans? Visit us at

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3841 days

#10 posted 02-05-2008 12:13 AM

Oh yeah! We got you!

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3902 days

#11 posted 02-05-2008 04:35 AM

LOL… Welcome aboard Mark. The shelf looks great.
Just remember along with all of those tools come more items on the to build list. I need to build something just keep track of mine.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3640 days

#12 posted 11-13-2008 01:46 PM

Looks for your first project!

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2902 days

#13 posted 10-15-2010 03:14 PM

Great looking shelf!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics