What's the 1st piece of furniture you ever built?

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Forum topic by Rick Dennington posted 10-29-2009 01:45 AM 4842 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rick Dennington

5857 posts in 3191 days

10-29-2009 01:45 AM

Ok—I’ll start. In 1964 I was a sophomore in high school. I was taking woodshop and wanted to make something for my mother for Christmas. I have to admit I was really nervous about using the shop power tools, but our teacher was really good, especially on safety. We had to design our own project, then build it.
My project was an end table. I made it from”Zebra mahogony”. Beautiful wood. I put an Ogee edge all the way around it, which had burn marks(there was not carbide bits then—only steel), but it turned out pretty nice. I gave it to my mom, and she acted so proud. She used it all the years she was alive, and she died in 1996. It was passed down to my sister, and she kept it until she died in 2003. It came back to me then , and now I use it to this day. It’s now 45 years old, and an “antique”. That was my very first piece of woodworking, and been doing it ever since. By the way- my dad and granpa were both carpenters and cabinet makers. I guess that’s where I get my love of wood!!! What was your first piece you built? Tell us a story of your adventure into the wood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

49 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 10-29-2009 01:50 AM

Unlike Rick my first project was not that sophisticated nor was it of high quality material, It was a corner cabinet entertainment center that was made to looks like it had dozens of drawers like and apothecary cabinet out of pine. The joinery was mostly drywall screws and biscuits but it looks passable. It was 8’ tall and 36” on each side. with double swing out doors.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4397 days

#2 posted 10-29-2009 01:53 AM

I built a bookcase in shop at high school. When my parents passed away all of the furniture went at a garage sale. I was living 1200 miles away. So I don’t have any idea what happened to it.

The swecond was a Walnut Hi-Fi system (Before Stero). The walnut was reuned in other projects later.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 10-29-2009 02:17 AM

My first was a Hi-Fi made of Mahogony. It was terrible. No imagination at all. Just a big box with legs. Great finish tho…pumice/rotten stone. Years later my dad took it apart and used the wood for a bookshelf…..

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3282 days

#4 posted 10-29-2009 02:35 AM

My first piece of furniture was a fish aquarium stand I did in High School. We had to design our own project in mechanical arts class, then build it in wood shop. My parents had two aquariums (different sizes) so I designed a fish aquarium stand that was stepped so the top of the aquariums where at the same height. Had to design to handle the weight and get the dimensions right. That was in 1965. My parents used it for years, then passed on to my sister, then to her daughter (she still uses it, but as an entertainment center). Was a pine cabinet, but reinfored with 2×4’s on the interior. The next year in school I built an open faced hutch and matching dry sink. My mom still uses the hutch and I have no idea what happened to the dry sink. After High School, I never did any woodworking for the next 18 years

-- John @

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3477 days

#5 posted 10-29-2009 02:38 AM

My first piece, well I guess I dont know that it was furniture, but I built a door stop that looked like a puppy dog. I did this in school when I was about 12. I still have it here sitting next to me on a cabinet. The first piece of furniture was a redwood settee I built for my parents home patio. I built it in cabinet school in 1967. I have that back too and it sits in my back-yard. Not too bad of a job, but I would like to think I would do things a bit different today…ha ha ha.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#6 posted 10-29-2009 03:03 AM

I built a gun cabinet with glass doors out of soft lumber and plywood from the local lumber yard when i was a senior in high school. I didn’t have any plans, it was ag shop, didn’t do much in the way of wood working. I just duplicated what I saw in the Sears and Roebuck catalog. I invented what I didn’t know how to do. Finished it was a colonial maple color stain and varnish. It still looks pretty good ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3365 days

#7 posted 10-29-2009 03:17 AM

My first piece of furniture is our coffee table. Walnut and Birdseye maple, I built it in 2001.

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Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3770 days

#8 posted 10-29-2009 03:23 AM

I was twelve years old , seventh grade shop class. I built a turned walnut shop stool 36” high. Its in pieces now but I still have it. I’m hoping to find time to clean it up and put it back all back together sometime in the near future.

Mr. Phillips seventh grade shop class…...Thirty eight years ago.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3524 days

#9 posted 10-29-2009 03:53 AM

I was under nine years old is all I know about how old I was, we moved from North Carolina when I was nine. That’s where I remember making it. I built a trash basket for my mother. It was a cub scout project. Everyone made one and painted theirs brown. They really looked good brown, but everyone’s was brown, so I painted mine green. I did not really like the color myself and was thinking of repainting it, but the other boys ridiculed it so much I decided to keep it as is.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3499 days

#10 posted 10-29-2009 04:25 AM

In ‘68-’69, I built this combination LP holder and night stand out of a bunch of strapping my Dad had used the previous year to stake his Tomato plants…My First Piece of "Furniture"
It was my night stand for many, many years! The weight of the Albums used to push out the nails in the bottom, so once a year or so I’d push it back together. Finally, about ten years ago, I shored it up with a few screws…it’s still going strong! And I do mean strong! I had to un-bury it to snap a picture…this is how it usually looksThe Album Collection
It doesn’t creak or wobble… I was a little over ten then…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3288 days

#11 posted 10-29-2009 04:32 AM

Seventh grade shop class; I built one of the two options we had, what the teacher called a pedestal table. The top and bottom were panels made of 2 edge glued 2xs (probably 2×10), with the corners radiused or chamfered, builder’s choice. The pedestal was turned from a glueup of 3 2×4s, so it was about 3-1/4” diameter. Mine looked like crap, and the shoulders on the end tenons weren’t square, so it was weak, and it rocked. I used it for a nightstand for a while, and I don’t remember what happened to it. I probably just threw it in the trash, it was such a piece of crap. Ironically, we were allowed to use both wood and metal lathes, and we melted and cast aluminum, but we weren’t allowed to use the table saw – we had to ask the teacher to make all our table saw cuts. This wasn’t during the recent liability craze, either – it would have been about 1978.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Tango's profile


76 posts in 3550 days

#12 posted 10-29-2009 05:05 AM

In 2005, my family and I moved to Florida from South America and wanted a new Dining Desk. Everything we found was either too expensive or not the style we were looking for or of a very cheap quality. Well I decided to try and build something myself. I had no tools at all. This is how I started in woodworking. I’ll post a couple of pics to show that I REALLY had nothing to work with…
The desk came out pretty nice. It was designed by me and I tried to keep it as simple as possible (for obvious reasons :) )

Just Starting....
More progress...
Lots of wood filler

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5857 posts in 3191 days

#13 posted 10-29-2009 07:12 AM

Well guys, it’s looking good so far. Sounds like a lot of us got started in junior or high school. Like huff, after h.s. I didn’t get to woodwork either for many years because of the military, lengthy stays in different hospitals, etc. I guess it was around 1985-86 when I was able to get back to it.
This is very interesting as to the timespan for us all. Some at an early age- some later. It just goes to show—when the ww bug hits, don’t matter how old or young you are. Keep ‘em coming—it’ss gettin’ good.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View AustinFisher's profile


11 posts in 3133 days

#14 posted 10-29-2009 12:56 PM

Pencil/Notepad box that hangs on wall in grade school – still have it. Gentleman’s Valet in High School-part of a drafting and woodworking class gave it away cause I didn’t need it – I wore jeans, t-shirts and PF Flyers.

-- AustinFisher

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3425 days

#15 posted 10-29-2009 02:25 PM

Is a turned lamp a piece of furniture? Osage Orange 6” dia. 20 high. UGLY!
If the lamp doesn’t qualify, 15 years later I built a coffee table. Two cubes of 3/4 MDF with an 1 1/2” thick slab of MDF spanning them. All covered in black “slate” Formica. Not so ugly, but it sure was heavy!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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