Furniture kits

Hello. Beginner question. Dare I ask.... What companies are you all currently recommending for high quality furniture kits? I was looking online at The Bartley Collection.
I did a google group search, but with the way things work these days, the responses might be out of date. Thank you.
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Your local hardwood supplier.
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Just buy some wood. Cut away anything that does not look like furniture.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Looks great. Might save a lot of time finding wood, etc. why not try a small project and give us your evaluation.
Josie
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jack asks:

OK. disregard the smart-assed opinions. It's understandable that a total beginner won't have tools or skills to build furniture. Bartley's is a good place to start: their kits have excellent reputations.
You'll still need some skill and equipment, mostly in dealing with clamps and gluing and finishing, but you do not need such items as a table saw, jointer, planer and router, so the coss are much lower. I would strongly suggest you pick up a top quality measuring tape or other such device, the required clamps, and a block plane just in case changes are needed (Lee Valley's Veritas apron plane is excellent for this, as is the E.C. Emmerich block plane [especially as tuned by Tom Watson]).
I also suggest you start small and as cheap as possible. Bartley's grouping of kits includes some that are mighty expensive, which means they're also mighty complex. Go with the easy stuff at first.
You might also want to consider a small clock kit from--who else--Klockit. They've got an estimable selection of wall clock kits, as does Emperor Clock. EC is more expensive.
Good luck.
Charlie Self "When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary." Thomas Paine
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Jack - You have probably figured out that most of the guys who frequent this group tend to build their own stuff.
I agree with Charlie. If you think you have the inclination to put a piece together and finish it, start with Bartley or one of the clock companies. In fact, Klockit offerors some non-clock music box, weather station and other kits that are good starter projects. Some of the Bartley stuff is pretty sophisticated but they have some shelves, tables, etc. that will challenge you and let you produce some nice items. Frankly, you would have to have some pretty nice shop equipment and experience to build some of the pieces, mouldings and other details used in these kits.
The clock companies also offer plans for some of their products. One of my first serious projects was a schoolhouse regulator built around a 1901 movement my grandfather had. It was a very rewarding project that has been hanging in our houses for 25 years. If you get started with a kit or plan and feel like this is something you would enjoy, hang around this and other wood newsgroups, subscribe to wood-related magazines and check out your library. This is usually enough to get a hidden tool-fetish out of the closet.
References:
alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking rec.crafts.woodturning alt.binaries.pictures.furniture (lightly used but some pretty neat stuff shows up from time to time) https://www.bartleycollectioncatalog.com/index.cfm http://www.klockit.com / http://emperorclock.com/catalog/index.php
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Sounds like you've seen this Bartleby stuff close-up ?
Just what do they include ? What's done for you, and what's still left to do ?
BTW - If you're after a nice project but don't want to do the machining, take a look at Gerstner machinist's toolboxes. They have a few of their designs available as near-completed kits, for around half the finished price. www.gerstnerusa.com
--
Smert' spamionam

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Andy Dingley asks:

Check out: http://www.bartleycollection.com/accessories4.htm
Then check the rest of the site.
Charlie Self "When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary." Thomas Paine
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Yes with Barley and a clockit.
I haven't actually assembled a Bartley. I had a neighbor who what a shop teacher and a very gifted craftsman in his own right. Like most teachers he held more than one job to make ends meet and used his shop for income. When mama wanted a clock he turned to Bartley to save himself time. He put together one of their grandfather clocks. The kit contained pretty much what you would expect from a Revell model car kit, but much more precise. All parts are cut out, milled to final shape and sanded. Tricky jointery is done (doors and some case-frames are assembled and sanded, etc.) However, they by no means, do all of the work. He still had to pre-assemble all of the case parts, align everything, and disassemble and tweak prior to final assembly, just like a shop-built project. They did an excellent job of matching wood for assembly but he still had to use hand tools to get things to fit to his liking. Counting wood, movement and components, hinges, etc. the kit probably contained around 100 parts and he spent several weeks getting it assembled and finished. His final product was beautiful. He ended up building a few more furniture kits, most of which he sold. After watching that happen I kept myself in touch with their catalogues and web site.
I did build a Clockit short-case regulator in the same general time frame. It too came in the form of milled and sanded parts. The door and crown were preassembled and sanded leaving 15 or so parts or subassemblies to be put together. This one was easy requiring about a week including finish. Quality of the kit was quite good and it is ticking away right next to me. This inspired me to modify a Klockit plan and build a schoolhouse regulator around the antique movement mentioned in my first post.
Make no mistake. These are quality kits, especially the Bartley stuff. As I recall Ed payed more than $500 for kit, with movement, 20-some years ago. My regulator was probably in the $50 range for a much simpler kit (I just hit their site and a similar kit is $89 or $32 for plans and parts (quartz)).
I think they are a great motivational project and assembly will challenge any starter. Final finish will challenge any of us.
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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote: [snip]

Maybe you will never get ahead $$ wise, but the items our dad's dad made in his basement shop are priceless to me and my siblings and almost every tool he purchased is still in use by one or another of us. His work is also the standard by which we measure our own progress.
Josie
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To be honest, we're not.
What sort of piece are you thinking of ?

Looks like nice enough stuff. I'd want better pictures before I spend over $1000 though.
I'm not sure what a kit is really gaining you though. It provides all the parts (I know some people just can't find decent timber locally). It also does the big-machine machining for you. There's still an awful lot of work left to do though, including the finishing. These are expensive kits, and they're a long way from "screw on the handles and you're done".
So what is this kit giving you that a good project book doesn't ? If you have the space to work on a large piece, and the money to buy this kit, then you can afford a decent table saw and work from plain timber. If it's a small clock and you're really short on space, then it might work, but I just can't see the proposition of building something on the scale of a highboy where someone is skilled enough to finish the kit, yet not skilled, equipped and experienced enough to do it from scratch.
I think building one of these kits would work, and deliver some good furniture - but so would something simpler, from scratch, with guidance.
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Pretty expensive kits, those Bartley units. I recommend the local lumberyard and some tools. Do what I did - start small with a few basic tools, after a few years you'll be making the stuff in that catalog.

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Hi Jack, As an alternative, why not decide upon some piece that you would like such as a baby rocker, cedar chest or whatever. Then come back to this group, giving your location and see if one of the members is interested in supplying you with the machined parts. You quite likely will end up with good workmanship at a reasonable price. Cheers, JG
jack wrote:

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Try http://www.vandykes.com/subcategory/111 /
I have never tried their kits. I have hopes of selling kits someday so I've looked around a bit. Not much out there; maybe not much market :-(
I cannot speak to their quality. Some of the stuff looks pretty nice. The Mission Oak (which is one area I'll concentrate) is not so nice. Very clunky looking, but some of their case work looks pretty good.
BW

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On 25 Oct 2004 11:03:15 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Bill Wallace) wrote:

That's putting it mildly ! How about downright plug ugly ?
This stuff is only _copying_, for goodness sake. How hard is that to get right ?
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