My first plan-free project...

Submitted by Joni on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 10:11

This was my first project without a set of plans, and all I had was a pitiful hand-drawn diagram and a lot of good ideas from prior Ana-White projects/plans (Google sketchup seems beyond my intellectual capacity!). I started with a spare piece of cherry that I wanted to use somewhere, so it became the basis for the top of this office shelf unit. I had to go with the dimensions of the cherry, so everything was built around that.

I used maple plywood for the base and sides of the cabinet, and pine furring strips for the frame/edging. Then, once I had the entire unit put together, I decided that I would like to stain just the frame. I had to take the whole project apart (all 51 pieces), stain the frame/edges, varnish the interior portions of the maple, and re-assemble without ruining the finish.

I try to never use glue because it's the one action that can't be reversed. I made a critical error on this (in a rush) when I installed the lower shelf in the wrong place and glued in a panel that hid all the screws. I thought the thing was totally ruined. My husband suggested adding a 2nd divider and calling it a "design feature". It saved the whole project.

Once re-assembled, I didn't want my Kreg holes to show, and I haven't had much luck with the Kreg plugs. So, I added a mitered frame around the insides and stained it cherry to match the edges.

Minwax didn't have a water-based cherry that I liked, so I mixed my own out of various water-based stains. That process took over a week to get just the right tone. This was the first time I've used Minwax Polycrylic, and I will be using this product is fantastic.

Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
Cherry for the top, Maple plywood for the remainder, and pine 2x2 furring strips for the frame/edging
Finish Used
Minwax Pre-stain conditioner, Cherry water based stain (made from 6 parts Antique Walnut, 2 parts Cinnamon Toast and 1/2 part Colonial Pine), followed by 4-5 coats Minwax polycrylic
Recommended Skill Level



Sat, 03/21/2015 - 17:03

Wow! This is an amazing piece and I would love to build this. Could you give me more detail on how you assembled it???

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