Paper Shredder in Disguise

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Project by DanTheLumberJockMan posted 09-02-2008 04:57 PM 3701 views 9 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 2976 days

#1 posted 09-02-2008 05:14 PM

NEAT IDEA!!!! Nice job.

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

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 2794 days

#2 posted 09-02-2008 05:28 PM

Great Idea!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 2819 days

#3 posted 09-02-2008 06:42 PM

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

View Chris 's profile


1869 posts in 3082 days

#4 posted 09-02-2008 07:03 PM


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


14144 posts in 2682 days

#5 posted 09-02-2008 07:16 PM

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 2967 days

#6 posted 09-02-2008 07:53 PM

Wonderful idea. The construction looks super.

Thanks for posting

View Dean's profile


44 posts in 2667 days

#7 posted 09-03-2008 12:45 AM

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 2756 days

#8 posted 09-03-2008 01:59 AM

it turned out fantastic

View Bud's profile


191 posts in 3029 days

#9 posted 09-03-2008 04:36 AM

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

-- Bud -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3252 days

#10 posted 09-03-2008 04:52 PM

I do like it! functional and fabulous

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

785 posts in 2923 days

#11 posted 09-03-2008 07:57 PM

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


5426 posts in 2323 days

#12 posted 08-30-2010 03:54 PM

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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