Welcome to my catalog of woodworking projects I have tackled. I recently put this together so I could remember the different projects I have built so far. I hope to keep updating this webpage as I create new woodworking projects and learn new skills. Enjoy!
15. Outdoor Picnic Table
14. Hexagonal Fish Tank Stand
13. Indoor Bench II
12. Indoor Bench (Shaver)
11. Garage Wood Storage
10. Seder Plate Box
9. Knife Block - add on
8. Mail Holder
7. Baby Cradle
6. Worktable on Wheels
5. Quilt Rack
4. Router Extension Table
3. Game Cabinet
2. Seed Planter Boxes
1. Garage Bench
Time of build: 2015
Built for: The Family!
Wood used: Repurposed from redwood deck
Description: This one took quite some time! We started by pulling up an old deck in our backyard and storing the wood along the side of the house. The wood sat for quite some time and then with the help or my jointer and my dad's planer, we were able to get the wood to a point it was usable for a project like this. I got the plan from a Wood Magazine and I think it really came together nicely. My wife arranged the top boards so the color/grain made a nice pattern. The finish is a combination of Linseed oil, Spar Urethane, and Mineral Spirits (varying amounts depending on the coat). I like how things came together, although it definitely took longer than I thought. This big project was a bit unwieldy to work on in the garage but I am very glad it is now in our backyard and available for use!
Time of build: early 2014
Built for: The Fish...
Wood used: Leftover plywood
Description: We had an old fish tank from Jenny's childhood and were looking to upgrade. Luckily my brother and I had given my mom a fish tank to grow orchids when we were young and she didn't want it anymore. We repurposed her "orchidarium," but we needed a stand for the hexagonal tank. This custom design is fairly simple and matched the base of the fishtank. I did practice all the miter cuts on a smaller version to get the angles just right. I made one of the sides into a door and I think it came together fairly nicely. I used a dark stain (not the Java...something slightly lighter that I don't remember the name of). As a bit of a decorative touch (and because Jenny kept saying the stand needed to be strong and not fall apart...), I added two maple splines to each of the miter joints. The splines extend to one side door and "match" up when the door is closed. A fun project!
Time of build: mid 2013
Built for: My Wife
Wood used: Cherry and Maple
Description: The Shaver Bench was my downfall. Jenny liked it too much and wanted me to make something similar for our master bedroom...with a few modifications). First she wanted it to look nice(r). Second she wanted it to be able to have storage for large containers underneath. Third she wanted it to look nice. I liked the look of the two contrasting woods with the Shaver Bench, but wanted to do something a little cleaner (not sure what I mean by this...but this was a thought going through my head). I decided on Maple and Cherry, as I had good success with those woods when I built the cradle. I measured out the bench requirements and first found out that all my 13/16" Maple was too short. I could either get fancy, or buy more wood. Being cheap, I decided to 'bookend' the center of the bench with maple running with perpendicular grain. The end product looked pretty good, but getting the glue up to look as good as I wanted was not trivial.
From the Shaver Bench experience, I decided I didn't want to ad-hoc the bottom structure, so I built the whole thing on a piece of sturdy plywood. I added an extra deep cherry lip to the front so it looks like the solid wood I used for the bench top is thicker than it really is. Instead of using the jointer, I just cut all the pieces on the table saw. That saved time and still made the glue-ups line up.
I am proud of the supporting structure underneath the bench. I
originally planned on bracing the bench on three sides and only putting
a backer on each wall the bench would rest against. This way the
bench wouldn't have any legs and Jenny could have all the storage space
she wanted. Unfortuantely, once we put the bench on the backers, it
looked good, but there was a substantial deflection of ~1/8" in the
center front when we sat on it. The whole thing didn't feel sturdy. So,
with the help of my Dad, we build some supporting struts that we
connected to the front of the bench that extended at an angle and
connected to the back wall. After tightening some things down,
the bench feels solid, has a clean look, and Jenny has her storage
space. I finished the whole thing with water-based poly applied using
my Harbor Frieght HVLP sprayer my Dad got for me as a gift.
Time of build: early 2013
Built for: My Mom
Wood used: 13/16" maple (assorted widths I usually get from Southern Lumber), random cedar from a tree my parents cut down in Shaver, more maple for the legs
Description: This project took awhile to get off the ground. It started because my mom wanted to have a different bench in their Shaver Lake home. After some drinking, I said I could make a bench if they gave us their old bench (cast iron sides with wood slats). It seemed like a good trade as we got a bench right away! My Mom laid out the rough shape she wanted the bench to have in the foyer area and she taped and cut out some newspapers so I could take that rough shape home.
I designed the entire thing from the rough shape, building the top
first. I wanted to try something new, so I decided to incorporate some
of the cedar logs my parents had given me from a tree they cut down
into the bench. I settled on making 1.5" x 8" blocks that I
incorporated in the glue up of the top. The top was done in two
separate pieces, the long ~8' part and the shorter ~3' curved part. I
used the jointer to get all the edges of the individual glue ups nice
and flush (some hand work here and there). To get the two glued up
pieces together, I clamped them down and used the router to cut them
simutaneously in one pass. This was not easy, but the different
orientation of the wood did end up gluing up ok. I probably over-built
the legs and support structure, but I didn't want it to fall apart. The
picture to the left is the bench in the master bed room at home...Jenny
wanted to see how a bench would look there and whether or not I should
be making something for our home (that was the start of the Indoor
Bench II project). The bench was finished with water-based polyurethane
(probably could have put more on than I did).
Overall I am pleased with how it turned out. Once again I learned a lot (probably mostly forgotten now). It was great to incorporate some lumber from a tree my parents cut down and the low profile of the bench is exactly what my Mom wanted. Fun project...now that it is done.
Some pictures from when I just put the bench together in the garage...
Time of build: ?? not sure
Built for: The Garage
Wood used: Leftovers
Description: I needed a place to store some wood in the garage. Floor space is at a premium so I decided to build some overhead wood storage. As always, this project is probably over built...but I didn't want any wood crashing down onto my head! It works really well and I can use either my ladder or the worktable on wheels to easily get access. Now I have no problem buying the "cheap" 13/16" maple at Southern Lumber and storing it myself so I can start a project with it any time.
Time of build: mid 2012
Built for: The Seder Plate
Wood used: Poplar
Description: Jenny and I got a Seder plate on our visit to Turkey. Jenny wanted me to make a box so the plate would be safe. Unfortunately, the box if functional but didn't turn out as nice as I wanted. I built a finger joint jig for the router to construct this box and that worked fairly well. The finger joints came together nicely (maybe a little tight to start), and I was generally pleased with the look of the box I designed. However, staining once again was an issue. The first go around I decided to use an old stain that I had lying around. It turned the nice box into a blotchy mess. UGH!! Why do I do this?!! We used the box for awhile, but every time I looked at it I was ashamed. I got fed up and resanded it a bit and tried to salvage the look of the Seder box with a darker stain (the General Finishes Java). It improved the look quite a bit...not as good as I would like, but now good enough where I don't cringe everytime I look at it. Lesson learned....at least until I want to finish off an old can of stain on a "side" project.
Time of build: mid 2012
Built for: The Kitchen
Wood used: Poplar
Description: Jenny gave me a fancy knife for my birthday in 2011 (it took awhile to get around to this project). We were happy with our current knife set and wanted an easier way to store the new knife. I extended the knife block with a new slot on the top. To get all the wood to match, I restained the entire knife block using the General Finish - Java stain I saw as being recommended from some wood working show or magazine. It turned out great and we are still using the knife block today!
Time of build: mid 2012
Built for: Mail Storage
Wood used: Poplar
Description: Our mail kept piling up on the kitchen table and we didn't have a great place to store bills that we didn't want to pay right away. I designed this simple mail holder so we could put it on a counter/desk and keep our mail organized. There is a slot for me, Jenny, bills and mail waiting to be sorted. Fun project as I got to use the router to make most of the joinery. No screws or nails, just glue. I took a couple of pictures while the project was unassembled so I could remember the joints I used.
Time of build: Late 2011, early 2012
Built for: My Son
Wood used: Maple and Cherry, Walnut pins
Description: This was truly a labor of love. I am not sure if all new expecting parents go through this, but once we knew about Nathan, I really started fixing (or learning to fix) things around the house. I believe this is why all Dads know how to fix things...because they do so much of it before their children are born. I also wanted to build something for Nathan an Jenny suggested a cradle. The sides and bottom are made from 13/16" maple boards (assorted widths) that I got from Southern Lumber. The maple was surfaced on two sides and had one clean edge. I like the clean look of maple and getting the wood this way makes it a lot cheaper. I found this plan (not sure from where) and really liked the look of it and that the cradle easily swung back and forth. The dovetails are cut by hand (they are hard and I need to get better at cutting those). I really worried I would mess up the workpieces badly, but after practicing a few times on some blanks, I think they turned out well. I don't have a lathe, so I had my Dad turn all the spindles (Thanks Dad!). Nathan used this cradle for the first couple months of his life, but pretty quickly out grew it (he was a really really big baby). Jenny now keeps the cradle in her quilt room to store yarn, so at least it still gets some use and is not stored away in the attic collecting dust.
Time of build: mid 2011
Built for: Me!!
Wood used: left over 3/4" plywood, left over mdf, craigslist-found tabletop
Description: This project was quite a bit of fun to build. I used mostly recycled materials and now I have a worktable on wheels that gives me quite a bit of flexability on building things in the garage. I use it in some way or another for large projects and small everyday fix-its. I found the plan from a this book I picked up at a garage sale. One of the neat things about this build was more practice with frame and panel doors and a really neat way to make drawer joinery using only the table saw. I found the table top free on craigslist for an easy laminate surface to work on. I adjusted the plan (slightly) so I could use this table as an outfeed table for my table saw. The drawers and cabinets also open from both sides. I put a vise on one side which has also come in handy. A great garage worktable!
Time of build: late 2010
Built for: My Wife
Wood used: Poplar, cherry spindles, plugs and buttons
Description: My wife is an amazing quilter. I have spent more than my fair share of time in quilt stores, quilt festivals, and fabric shops. She actually presented me a quilt she had made for me on our wedding day in front of all our guests. Only naturally I would eventually make her something to help display her quilts. I searched for something to make her and came across this wall mounted quilt rack plan. This project actually came together fairly easily. The adjustable shelves are a nice feature and the cherry plugs and buttons really highlight the light color of the poplar. Some of the smaller parts I made by hand while the decorative sides I rough cut with a jigsaw and cleaned up by hand. Once again I used poplar, but this time I searched through the stack to get poplar that was uniformly lighter in color (no brown/green spots). After the fiasco with staining, I only used a clear top coat of polyurethane and let the wood speak for itself. I think it turned out well and the quilt rack is now hanging in our bedroom with several of her quilts on display, including the quilt she gave me for our wedding when it is too warm to use on our bed.
Time of build: early 2010
Built for: Me!!
Wood used: left over 3/4" plywood from the Garage Bench project and Game Cabinet
Description: My Dad gave me my grandfather's router (an old craftsman) to help populate my garage with tools. He said it was scary to use. He was right. So I built an extension to my table saw and replaced one of the cast iron pieces with a router extension table. It works great. The picture to the right shows the router extension table on my "new" Unisaw (also a Delta product), although I originally built it for my Delta contractor table saw (which I sold after I picked up the Unisaw from a friend). The router extension table is great and allows me to use the table saw fence (with another attachment I built for router bits). I recently got a nicer router (not as scary), but I still use the router table I built. As my garage/workshop is not very big, it has been nice to have the table saw double up as a router table.
Time of build: mid-late 2009
Built for: Inside storage
Wood used: 3/4" plywood, poplar (face frame and doors), maple (glue-up top)
Description: Although the garage bench was my first project, this was my first REAL project for inside our house. I wanted to build something I could be proud of looking at everyday and that was also functional and that we could use everyday. I think I succeed with one of those. Our house doesn't have much built-in storage and we were storing all our board games out in the garage. I came across this Shaker Storage Cabinet article, liked the overall design, and decided to take on the project. I had just started getting excited about woodworking and had purchased an older Delta Contractors table saw and wanted to test it out (after spending quite a bit of time tuning it up). Almost all the cuts and joinery for this project were done on the table saw. This project taugh me quite a few things...mostly what not to do. I learned about glue-ups, frame and panel doors, face frames, and staining (errrr...staining!!). As I was just starting out, this project was a nice introduction to using hardwoods (poplar is nice and cheap). As you will notice, in the original article, the cabinet is painted. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to try and stain my cabinet (I like the look of wood grain and thought my cabinet would have a cleaner look not being painted). I was very happy with the final construction and I was even excited enough to take a few pictures of the mortise and tenon joinery I used when making the face frame along the way. However, I definitely jumped too fast into the staining. I decided to use an all-in-one stain and sealer. I applied it to the frame and panel doors first and after letting it dry, realized it was ugly. I spent quite a bit of time sanding it back down and tried again. I used a different all-in-one stain and sealer, but didn't get much better results. By this time, I was pretty fed up with the project and was too tired of sanding. I still don't like the look of the blotchy stain, but we use the cabinet everyday and it is quite functional. From this experience, I now believe at least as much time should be spent preparing, staining, and applying a top coat as cutting and building. I also have learned to really test out the stain on some scrap pieces before jumping all-in and regretting my decision later. I also learned that not all hardwoods are equal and that poplar is a difficult wood to stain and could really benefit from applying some type of pre-conditioner. This may be one reason why the cabinet in the original article was painted. Someday my cabinet may move out to the garage and live its life outside as a place to store odds and ends. For now, it remains in our house and a reminder to me to be patient and not rush through a project (easier said than done!).
UPDATE - 2013, We redid our living room and the Shaker cabinet has
made the move out to the garage. It is a nice storage cabinet for my
tools and other garage items. No hard feelings! I am glad it
lasted as long as it did inside.
Time of build: early 2009
Built for: My wife
Wood used: left over 3/4" plywood from the Garage Bench project
Description: These simple planter boxes for starting seeds were nothing special. Most of the cuts I was able to do with my mitre saw. No fancy joinery, just butt joints and screws. They have served us well and several crops have been started in these small boxes. A quick project that used some leftover wood and made my wife happy. Happy wife = Happy life!
Time of build: late 2008 -
Built for: Garage storage and a place to put my compound mitre saw
Wood used: 2x4s, 3/4" plywood, 1/4" hardwood top, 1/2" mdf drawer fronts
Description: This 2-drawer bench has oversized drawers to fit my toolbox and other random tools. Following my father's advice, I built this bench with enclosed drawers to have storage protected from the sawdust that would eventually get produced in the garage. I got to build part of this project with my brother when he was visiting, and I learned it is always better to have another set of hands (e.g., Chris, hold this finishing nail while I take a whack at it with this framing hammer...). When you don't know what you are doing, it is also good to have someone else around to talk some things through. I designed the bench in Solidworks and it stayed fairly consistent with my initial drawings. The top was sized to the mitre saw (my only real tool at the time). While I was away at work one day, my Dad made and installed custom drawer handles from leftover 2x4 pieces (Thanks Dad).
Some of the original SolidWorks pics and plans:
©2014 David W. Wagner