Horse Grooming Tote - First Project

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Project by Jim Cronin posted 06-22-2011 09:09 PM 6591 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Horse Grooming Tote - First Project
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First post on LJ, be kind =)

Up until this project I had only build a few jigs (sacrificial tablesaw fence, jointing jig for table saw, box finger jig, and a thickness cutting jig for the table saw) and done a bunch of practicing. So yea, I am pretty much a newbie.

My wife asked me to make a tote for her horse brushes for her birthday and the attached image is the result.

She loves it and I feel it turned out pretty good. I know that if I had to do it again, it would go a little smoother.
I had practiced the box joints a ton so they came out great.

The main challenges that I had were:

1. It is made of pine so that it would be light-weight and easy to lug back and forth to the stall. But, that makes it easy to ding during construction, so there are a few scars. But I figure she’ll dirty it up soon enough.

2. Glue up. I have no idea how I managed to screw this up after a practice fitting and clamping, but in my haste at the actually glue up I reversed one of the sides and clamped it. You can imagine the panic I felt when I noticed as I was admiring my effort.

A quick scream of horror, and then I composed myself to quickly loosen the clamps and try to remove the wrongly placed board. The pins had swollen some and it took every bit of adrenaline I had to pry them apart. I was sure I was going to break one (it is just pine after all). I successfully pulled the boards apart and re-joined and re-clamped them facing the correct way. It wasn’t pretty – but it was saved.

3. Squeeze out. I have never glued a project together before and didn’t realize what the squeezed out (then wiped off) glue would do to my finishing efforts. After I put on the first coat of stain it was heartbreaking to see all the voids in the color due to the glue residual.

Out came the chisel. I delicately chipped away any glue that stood out sorely and then re-sanded gently and applied stain again. I probably should have just re-sanded the whole thing, but I was anxious to be done.

All’s well that ends well, I guess.

Finishing effort:
1. Sanded 100 and 220.
2. Wiped on Wood Conditioner – let sit 30 mins.
3. 2 Coats of Minwax stain.
4. 3 coats of spray on lacquer.

No plans – it just came together.

-- "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" - Abraham Maslow

10 comments so far

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2879 days

#1 posted 06-22-2011 09:21 PM

looks really good; I’m sure your wife will appreciate it!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 06-22-2011 09:56 PM

I like it and I am sure she will love it!
My question to you is…did you have fun! Yes! Well thats what is all about, none of my projects come out perfect, it is how you learn and overcome that makes me smile.
I think you did a heck of a job, SO KEEP IT UP!
Good luck! Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2852 days

#3 posted 06-22-2011 10:42 PM

Great first project

Wont be long before you will be making antiques. :)


-- 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 RichardMu's profile


259 posts in 2927 days

#4 posted 06-23-2011 03:18 AM

Great looking tote. Nice first project and it sounds like you have learned a couple of valuable lessons for your next project. Keep’em coming.

-- You will never build it unless you try. The second one always turns out better.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2650 days

#5 posted 06-23-2011 04:24 AM

Great first post. Welcome here.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3081 days

#6 posted 06-23-2011 03:54 PM

The real test of a project is whether it does the job it was made for, you said your wife was happy, so you
are way ahead on this, if Momma is happy, everybody is happy. The tote also looks real good, and as you
said the pine keeps it light and easy to carry. I am still try to master the box joints. To keep the assembly
easier, lightly mark all the joints with pencil, and it will help the assembly go smoother and comes right off
with an eraser. Don’t ask why I need this help, LOL. Thank you for sharilng, and now that you made the
first project, what is your next step?

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Jim Cronin's profile

Jim Cronin

5 posts in 2770 days

#7 posted 06-23-2011 05:47 PM

Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement. It’s easy to see why it is such an active community here with all the positive remarks.

Bluepine38 – What’s next? I want to try some hardwood so I bought a nice 1’ X 6’ board of maple to play around with. Maybe a nice little jewelry box. Since I don’t have a lot of room to leave projects unfinished, I can’t really dive into anything too exciting yet. I’ll be sure to post, whatever it is!

-- "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" - Abraham Maslow

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18268 posts in 3671 days

#8 posted 06-23-2011 07:19 PM

Looks good from here. Great job for pine.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3716 days

#9 posted 06-23-2011 07:27 PM

Very nice! All the joints look great!

-- christopheralan

View Willie1031's profile


141 posts in 2533 days

#10 posted 06-24-2011 06:35 PM

Be nice? It looks great. I am building one soon, and now I know what it’ll look like. Great post.

-- A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -- Mark Twain

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