I'm betting that for most of us, the first four or five pieces of
"furniture" we make are "shop furniture" - a router cabinet,
maybe with a door and a drawer or two, a work/ assembly
bench, a place to put the miter saw, somewhere to keep
some chisels and maybe a hand plane or two. Since these
are "just shop furniture", they're often built of inexpensive
ply, MDF, some 2x4s or 4x4s and maybe some poplar or
oak or birch for a face frame, a door or drawer front. The
joinery - rabbets, dadoes, some biscuits? The "good stuff"
will have to wait for when, sometime in the future, you're
good enough, as will dovetails, mitered corners with
"feathers", sliding dovetails, finger joints, triple mitered
corners, mortise and tenons and so on. For finishing - some
wipe on or brush on poly. If you're adventurous, you might
try a stain before the poly, maybe some premixed shellac.
But why not include some "real furniture" wood in
the shop furniture, just to get a feel for how it works
and finishes? Why not try at least one "house
furniture" type of joinery? Why not try three or four
different finishes on different parts of each of the
shop furniture pieces? A lot can be learned that'll
come in handy later, if, and when you start making
house furniture. And if something doesn't go so
well - hell that's just shop furniture - you can
paint it if all else fails.
Now folks who've checked out some of the projects
on my wwing site think I'm nuts for putting ten
or fifteen coats of french polished shellac on
a sharpening station top, or coopered doors and
a few sliding dovetail joints for a little router bit
cabinet. Why do graduated drawers with graduated
finger joints on a base unit for a mortiser?
Because I learned somethiing I'll probably use
later - and I've got some interesting shop
So what piece of shop furniture is next on
your To Do list?