Humble beginnings

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Project by ScottinTexas posted 01-26-2013 06:06 AM 2675 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Humble beginnings
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It all started about a year ago. I still didn’t have a “bed” after moving in to my first house. I am sleeping on a matress on the floor. Looking around at furniture stores was simply depressing. Not only the inflated expense for what even I can see is shoddy workmanship, but the lack of what I see as a no-brainer: a platform bed (why do I need a box spring and a metal frame?) with drawers underneath. How practical is that?!? Ok, I did find some eventually but overpriced junk. OK, THIS IS IT. I am going to do it myself! I didn’t have so much as a circular saw. This project not only inspired me to buy a circular saw and a router but also a dovetail jig (Porter Cable – yeah, whatever.)

At the time I’m proud of myself. But this is something I put together with no plans and wood from Lowes. But I did use dovetail joints. I didn’t like the fact the drawers were the clunky dimensional stock I bought. No planer, though. I had not yet discovered the hardwood suppliers in my area and thought this was the best there was available.

The picture is lacking the plywood I used to support the mattress. In its final stage, there isn’t much to see.

17 comments so far

View jeff's profile


1120 posts in 3669 days

#1 posted 01-26-2013 07:55 AM

i think you did a good job for having limited tools…you did add some craftsmanship with the dovetails on the drawers…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 2573 days

#2 posted 01-26-2013 12:37 PM

Nice job, I actually need to build some drawers for a closet. I also toyed with this idea for
our bed. Thanks I think I will now, again nice job!

-- Measure twice, cut once.

View JoeRPhilly's profile


174 posts in 2356 days

#3 posted 01-26-2013 12:41 PM

Nice job, and it’s a very practical and well used item. You get to appreciate it every day! Now you’re hooked right?

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1103 posts in 3635 days

#4 posted 01-26-2013 12:57 PM

Everyone starts somewhere, and this as a starter is advanced with the dovetails. I think my first project was a shelf off the edge of a countertop. a few curves with a jig saw for the supports and a flat board with some edge pieces. Nothing fancy at all, but it was functional and I didn’t pay anyone to do it for me. Pretty satisfying really. Looking forward to the next projects you share.


-- Scott, Irmo SC

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3271 days

#5 posted 01-26-2013 01:52 PM

Looks good, well done! Welcome LJ’s.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2569 days

#6 posted 01-26-2013 02:08 PM

Like Scott said you got to start somewhere. What better place than where you spend half your life. Haa Haa

I’ve been WW for a while and I have never used the dovetail joint. I have an old sears jig but never got around to using it.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View johnstoneb's profile


3063 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 01-26-2013 02:43 PM

Good job. I haven’t tried dovetails yet. I want to and will one of these days. They are a little intimidating.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View wreker's profile


16 posts in 2189 days

#8 posted 01-26-2013 04:05 PM

Looks like you did a fine job.
I too feel the same when I look at furniture in stores.
If I may make 2 suggestions,
1) your back might benefit from the extra support of a plywood stretcher across the frame between the drawers. You could just sandwich it between cleats.
2) You can still bevel or round the edges of the drawer fronts with the circular saw, or router. They look strong enough to stand on, so they should easily stand up to some more machining :)

View ScottinTexas's profile


108 posts in 2152 days

#9 posted 01-26-2013 05:29 PM

wreker – I do have plywood over the top of the base for the mattress. It overhangs the base a few inches so when it is all together the drawers are a few inches inset from the mattress and the plywood (like how cabinets have a kickspace.) I just didn’t include the plywood on top of the base in this photo since it doesn’t really look as good. The plywood is just that – it is meant to be covered up by the mattress so it is nothing fancy. I didn’t even put an edge on it but I did think about it at the time – maybe some moulding since you can see it a bit. But since I was rounding the corners for safety I couldn’t think of a way to do that.

One other thing I didn’t mention was the whole thing will come apart with a screwdriver. The drawers won’t, but the base will. I built it so I could move it myself if I had to.

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


697 posts in 2894 days

#10 posted 01-26-2013 05:48 PM

Very ambitious for a first go at this addicting hobby. Looks like you did a very good job. So how did you finish it? For things like this I really like to use milk paint from General Finishes. It goes on very easy, you can mix the finishes….one coat of say blacn and a red second coat give a rust color….a lot of options for different colors and goes on with a sponge brush.

Looking forward to seeing future projects…

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

View ScottinTexas's profile


108 posts in 2152 days

#11 posted 01-26-2013 06:05 PM

AlBCuttnWud – Thanks! Painting would have been the appropriate finish – especailly since it is a mixture of woods and not anything too breathtaking at that. But I wanted to see the wood itself so I used some Watco “Danish oil.”

It has been an addicting hobby – I have a planer and a table-saw now plus a few other things to show for it. It was the discovery of a hardwood suppplier in my area that made me inspired to do more, though. If all I had was some big box store to buy from I don’t see how I could have been inspired to do more.

View ScottinTexas's profile


108 posts in 2152 days

#12 posted 01-26-2013 06:13 PM

johnstoneb – when I got the inspiration to do them, I looked online for ideas. I found a video showing how to do them by hand and tried it. They made it look easy and it was actually easier than I thought it would be. It was a fun experiment but I couldn’t see myself doing them all that way. Especially when I didn’t (and still don’t) have a decent workbench. And this project was more of a utilitarian thing – never really intending it to be fine furniture. Plus I wanted to do half-blind dovetails which is even more work and skill. I would like to do some by hand for a project some time in the future, though.

View ScottinTexas's profile


108 posts in 2152 days

#13 posted 01-26-2013 06:20 PM

ldl – a jig using a dovetail router bit cutting the pins and tails in one stroke is just too elegant an idea for me to pass up. I don’t know about the Sears model but that is what the Porter Cable jig does. There was a bit of a learning curve setting it up until there was an “ah-hah” moment when I understood what they were trying to convey in the instructions. It is also good to label your drawer sides and front, inside and out – maybe use masking tape so you don’t have to erase later. It can get a little confusing.

View Grumpymike's profile


2335 posts in 2519 days

#14 posted 01-26-2013 10:45 PM

Wonderful job on this project, I’m glad to see you tooling up for the next projects.
Welcome to LJ’s, you will enjoy this site and the inspiration that lives here

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View EzJack's profile


457 posts in 3374 days

#15 posted 01-27-2013 05:09 AM

This is what it is all about, right here. Getting stuff done with the tools you have and doing a damn fine job.

-- Ain't better or worse than any other woodpecker in the woods.

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