|Project by Mr. Paddy||posted 01-03-2013 12:49 PM||1252 views||1 time favorited||9 comments|
I built this desk about a year ago, a few months after graduating from college, and although it’s a relatively simple design, it was a bit ambitious considering the tools and space I had available to work with. After buying a few tools to get me started (circular saw, router, belt sander), I got excited and wanted to start building immediately. After a trip to Lowes’ for the straightest red oak boards I could find, I started cutting and gluing wood together like a castaway building a rescue raft. I didn’t own a clamp, but I built a giant jig out of two-by-fours and long capscrews that I could tighten down to create my tabletop. It was a sight for sore eyes, but I was motivated by the challenge. Like a child riding a bike with no hands, I was feeding off the joy of building something that could come to a crashing disappointment at any second. Working over a dropcloth in my apartment bedroom with two roommates downstairs, I was unaware of the colossal sanding job I had just created for myself.
The resulting slab of wood was twisted and bowed so severely that I ended up cutting off 8” more than I initially had planned, just so I could get a reasonable surface to start sanding. I let it sit in the corner of my room for a long time before I built up the courage to start sanding. I took my dropcloth outside (the “home”less man’s workshop), lay the pile of glued boards on top, and began sanding. With my cheap belt sander and inexperienced hands, I gouged and ripped away until the surface began to resemble something flat. Practicing my technique on the bottom, I was able to get a routine going on the top, and after a mere 20 hours, I was confident that I needed a better sander.
After buying a new orbital sander and turning it into a well used orbital sander, I was happy enough with the flatness. I have since learned to use a hand plane.
The rest of the desk went relatively smoothly. I moved into a house with a garage which allowed me to spread out and expand my tool set, and I took a few days to build a simple work bench. Using a doweling jig and some guided router passes, I cut the legs and had them glued up in no time. The desk came out sturdier than I expected, but was really a learning experience in the end. The finish is sub-par, the design could have used a to-scale drawing to tweak some of the aesthetics, and the overall look is a bit unplanned, but it was a fun first project.
Looking forward to sharing some of my more proud moments in future posts!
-- I have the toes I have. Let's leave it at that.