My pine nightmare finished

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Project by dawsonbob posted 12-28-2013 08:37 PM 1905 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay, here it is… finally: my first project. When I started this project I had no idea what I was doing (Furniture? You just need a big hammer, a saw and some nails, right?). I had seen some New Mexico pine furniture that looked fairly simple and I thought “hey, I can make that,” so I plunged right in. Well, the early carpinteros who made that stuff knew what they were doing and, well, I didn’t.
I read everything I could find on the web, haunted LumberJocks,  bought some tools a bit at a time and slowly approached the project. First I designed it in Sketchup,   which I’ve been using for years, transferred the measurements to my boards, and started cutting. Now, I spent over thirty years as a commercial artist, carefully measuring and cutting on a daily basis, but I soon found out that measuring and cutting wood is a whole ‘nother animal. How was I to know that using my buddy’s old, cheap B&D jigsaw just wasn’t going to cut it (pun intended) for fine work. Well, I quickly learned.
At any rate, I got everything cut and dry assembled and then, uh-oh… what next? I took some pictures and posted them on LJ’s  asking for some help “My pine nightmare” ( ) on how to finish this thing. I would like to thank everyone who so generously offered their help to someone as totally clueless as I was: it made a huge difference.
I finally finished this beast, and here it is. It’s pretty crude (I know, I know, the preferred term is “rustic,” but it really is crude), but it is finally finished. There are no metal fasteners used in this piece, its all glue and joinery. I’ve gained an incredible amount of knowledge over the course of this project, and gotten some new tools to make the job better (a little dozuki really does cut better dovetails than an old, cheap backsaw from HD).
All I can say is the next one will be eleventy-thousand percent better, and I can’t wait to start.
Thanks for reading and looking. Comments — and especially criticisms — gladly accepted.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

10 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30052 posts in 2537 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 08:41 PM

That’s a whole bunch of notches and cutting. It came out looking nice. I am sure that you have a list of things that you learned while doing this project as well.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View dawsonbob's profile


3096 posts in 1954 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 08:49 PM

Thanks, Monte. All those notches and all that cutting looked so simple in Sketchup :) I really had no idea what I was getting into but, like a bumblebee that doesn’t know it can’t fly, I did it anyway. I learned an incredible amount from this project, and the next one will be very similar, just so I can see what it could have been.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 2450 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 11:16 PM

Very nice. It took me a while to figure out why Norm Abrahms always seemed to have built “prototype” on the NYW show.

View dawsonbob's profile


3096 posts in 1954 days

#4 posted 12-28-2013 11:26 PM

Well, this is pretty much a prototype if there ever was one, but Norms prototypes seem to come out better than my finish on this one. It might be that he has a little more experience than I do, but I intend to catch up soon (yeah, sure). Thanks for looking.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2626 days

#5 posted 12-29-2013 07:14 AM

Ha Ha it looks so easy on paper – Welcome to L-J’s where we overthink projects just for the fun of it.

There are many projects that never get finished… look your project is finished – Well done!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 2823 days

#6 posted 12-29-2013 01:07 PM

Well done on getting it finished. And hey, it didn’t turn out too bad at all.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View EricTy's profile


62 posts in 2449 days

#7 posted 12-29-2013 02:11 PM

Lessons learned are hopefully never forgotten. It looks good and you will certainly improve your skills as you go.

-- Only you know the mistakes were intentional...

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3065 days

#8 posted 12-29-2013 05:06 PM

It doesn’t look that bad at all for your first project and it was a fairly challenging project. You learned a lot and didn’t quit. Congratulations tuffing it through no 1 so you can do no 2 right.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Steve Tripp's profile

Steve Tripp

31 posts in 1994 days

#9 posted 12-29-2013 06:10 PM

Very cool. Great project.

-- Steve Tripp, Minneapolis, MN

View dawsonbob's profile


3096 posts in 1954 days

#10 posted 12-29-2013 07:44 PM

Thanks, guys. This really was a great learning experience. The things I learned on this, my first project, will stay with me forever and help make future projects better. I want to keep the lessons learned, but sell the actual project to finance the lumber for the next one. There’s a local furniture store that handles rustic furniture (“Oh, look, Herbert! Isn’t that simply darling? It would be perfect by the toilet to hold paper. Buy it for me; I simply must have it.”). In this case crude — uh, I mean rustic — just might work in my favor. If not, I can always sell it on Craig’s List.
I had a lot of fun learning new things on this project, and I sure gained a lot of respect for those of you who know what you’re doing and make real furniture. I’ve already designed the next one and I’m sure it will be even more fun — and a whole lot better — than this one.
Thanks again for the C&C!

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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