Paper Shredder in Disguise

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Project by DanTheLumberJockMan posted 2159 days ago 2979 views 8 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw this piece of furniture in a catalog and thought “I can make that”. It’s a small cabinet that hides my paper shredder. This piece started out as poplar since I had plenty left over from building my work shop. But I wanted it to match my existing office furniture which would best be described as a distressed espresso finish. Well, I’m not a finishing expert by any means, so this took some practice.

First, to distress the piece I made a special “tool” to create worm holes. Of course it’s just a bunch of nails pounded into a piece of maple but it worked really well. I learned that you shouldn’t be timid when using it. The holes look large in the unfinished piece, but after the dark stain they disappear somewhat so the larger holes were actually better.

Then I took a V shaped carving tool and checked the edges of the boards. You can see some of this in the final photo. I also used this tool to take a few gouges out of the open areas, always with the grain of the wood.

Then I used a rasp to roughen up the edges where the piece may have been damaged during all the transits across the Atlantic.

And finally I used my random orbit sander to soften all the sharp edges. After hundreds of years of use in the galley of the pirate ship, this piece looks downright worn out.

It’s hard to see most of this in the photos, especially with the dark stain and the shine, but in person it turned out really nice.

Then came the finish. A dark stain just didn’t cut it. I found that a dark mahogany dye gave me the right base color. Then three coats of a garnet shellac added color, depth and age to the piece. And finally, three coats of a semi-gloss poly will keep it from aging any more than it already has :)

I hope you like it.

-- Dan, San Diego, CA

12 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2491 days

#1 posted 2159 days ago

NEAT IDEA!!!! Nice job.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 2309 days

#2 posted 2159 days ago

Great Idea!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View HokieMojo's profile


2098 posts in 2334 days

#3 posted 2159 days ago

nice work. just be careful, i hear these shredders can over heat. good work.

View Chris 's profile


1867 posts in 2597 days

#4 posted 2159 days ago


I think this piece is outstanding. Not only in form but function as well.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2196 days

#5 posted 2159 days ago

Very nice cabinet.
Just let me know (me woodworm) when you need to distress it further.
Take care and work safe.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 2482 days

#6 posted 2159 days ago

Wonderful idea. The construction looks super.

Thanks for posting

View Dean's profile


44 posts in 2182 days

#7 posted 2159 days ago

That finish looks really good in the photo! Do you lift out the machine to empty it?

-- "Skol, Vikings"

View corey cyr's profile

corey cyr

44 posts in 2271 days

#8 posted 2159 days ago

it turned out fantastic

View Budgie's profile


191 posts in 2543 days

#9 posted 2159 days ago

Cleaver. That’s a nice way to disguise it.

-- Bud, Central Square, NY,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2766 days

#10 posted 2158 days ago

I do like it! functional and fabulous

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

780 posts in 2438 days

#11 posted 2158 days ago

Neat idea. I may have to build something similar myself.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View dbhost's profile


5378 posts in 1838 days

#12 posted 1432 days ago

I never would have thought to build a cabinet for a paper shredder. That is a great way to hide that ugly piece of home office equipment!

-- My workshop blog can be found at

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