Is this too difficult for a newbie?

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On 30 Apr 2004 20:55:50 -0700, tmyap snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Adrian) wrote:
|Hi All, | |We just moved into a new house.
Congratulations!
|I'm thinking of taking up WW and |building a new bed myself: |http://popularmechanics.com/home_improvement/furniture/2002/11/mahogany_bed /
Nice project. | |We've seen many beds in furniture stores etc and this is the only one |that we both like. It looks really beautiful in the photo. But I'm |afraid that this might be too difficult for a newbie. | |I have absolutely no experience in WW(ok stop laughing please). But |I'm technically inclined and I have lots of patience. I'll buy a table |saw and a router, and work in the garage or our walk-in attic. Should |I do it?
This would be a taxing project for a newcomer; however, I never cease to be amazed at some of the "first projects" that I see published here and there.
I speak as a relative newcomer to WW as well, but like you I am technically competent (retired engineer, one-time machinist), but artistically challenged. While I still have the mahogany magazine stand that I built in Jr High School in 1954 and a night stand that I built in a adult education class a dozen years ago, my recently completed end table was essentially my first project. I am delighted with the results and since the joinery is essentially the same, albeit on a smaller scale, as your proposed project, I believe that you could pull this off.
That said, here are some things to consider. The first is cost. No, maybe the first is all the other things that will occupy your time in a new house. But once you get to this project....
Price the lumber you will need. Figure that 20% of what you buy will go in the fireplace. Price the finishing materials... you will be surprised. I spent about $200 on cherry and poplar and at least $100 fooling around with different dyes, stains and topcoats. (Purists will decry staining cherry, but that's another story). I was trying to complement an Ethan Allen entertainment center. I could have purchased something similar, but not quite right size wise, for $450, so cost savings are not in play. If I factor in the cost of machinery, the table cost about $5,000. [g]
All things considered, if I were in your shoes, I would look for a WWing course at a local Jr college or high school adult education course. For your tuition, you get access to not only instruction but also tooling. Often, you'll get a significant break on the price of materials too. You may have to do a specified project to begin with and take the class again to do a project of your choosing, so this might be a long-term task.
But there will be some structure and definite dedicated time for working the job. I can almost guarantee you that there will be other things vying for your time while you are at home.
Consider getting your wife (known as SWMBO, she who must be obeyed, in rec.ww jargon) to sign up too. When you want that new doodad for the shop, she'll want it too.
Good luck,
Wes
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Depending on where you are, you may be able to find a course that will teach you the basics you'll need (joinery, finishing , etc, etc, etc) while you use their tools.
If you really have zero experience, it's not impossible to build the bed you want but you'll make a lot of mistakes on an expensive project. Find some training (community college, school board adult ed program, et al) and you'll be much more confident when you start, have a good idea of how to use the tools, and a much better chance of success.
And... Thanks for the link to the plan!
djb
--
"I'm a man, but I can change... If I have to... I guess." -- Red Green

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Your biggest problem is the second mortgage on the house to "pay" for the material to build the bed.
I think, with proper tools and LOTS of time, you could almost certainly build the bed...
Adrian wrote:

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tmyap snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Adrian) wrote in
The bed doesn't look too technically hard to build, but if your like me the finishing is usually the part that takes the experience. With all the panels, your first project should be a router table. That was my first project and my goal was to make it as well constructed/fitted as furniture. I quickly discovered that I was several new tools and a couple of projects away from being ready for actual furniture. Besides, the router table, and work bench get used on every project so it wasn't really a time waster.
Good luck! Jim

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