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)
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???