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With every woodworking project I do, I usually take the effort in trying a new technique that I haven’t used before.  When I first dove into woodworking, I had the help of my buddy Magic.  My first project (with the use of his tools) was the kegorator that graced our dining room.  The construction techniques for it were mostly wood screws and framing nails, with the occasional wood glue. Magic introduced me to dado joints (mainly used in the shelves) during my second woodworking quest: building a stand for the living room TV.  I still used framing nails, but the TV-stand project had more of a balanced use of wood-joints and fasteners (nails/screws) than the kegorator project.  With the help of my Dad, the dog table (my third project) didn’t use any nails or screws at all.  I had learned to use wooden dowels and biscuits along with wood glue and clamps to achieve some nice results.

Kegorator  TV Stand  Dog Table
My projects, thus far, in the order that I built them

Now to take my learning a step further.  Granted I’m not making “pro” quality furniture just yet, but it’s getting there… and to the non-woodworker eye, it looks professional enough.  With my latest nightstand project comes a new way to join wood together.  Of course this time I still used the dado and biscuit joints that I’ve learned in the past, but now I’ve added a little more complication to the project by using dovetail and rabbet joints.  As I’ve been distancing my building techniques from nails, screws and other metal fasteners, the wood-to-wood joinery requires a whole lot more forethought.  Your measurements have to be precise and account for a “little extra” for the joints… and once you’ve made all the appropriate cuts, it’s like putting together a complicated puzzle.  Though this introduces more complexity and build time, the rewards are furniture that is twice as sturdy as nailed/screwed furniture, as well as the professional wood-to-wood look instead of trying to hide ugly screws or nails.

I’m nearing completion of one of my nightstands and will bring the other one up to the same point in the next few weeks.  It’s been slow going, but the learning process has been worthwhile.  My initial plan was to make the two nightstands identical.  However, as I’ve been building I’ve noticed that they differ by as much as ¼ of an inch.  At this point, I’m measuring each one as I go and custom fitting the parts.  Below is my concept along with the progress thus far.  Obviously, it needs some sanding but it’s coming along.

Nightstand ConceptProgress thus far
From conception to reality…

Pam's stained glassIn the conceptual drawing, you’ll notice the stained glass in the cabinet door.  As I’ve been working on these nightstands, Pam’s been doing practice pieces of stained glass.  To the right are a few of her practice runs.  Like my woodworking, I know the stained glass will get better with each new piece that she does.  I can’t wait to get the cabinet door built to drop her stained glass into the door.  I think these cabinets/nightstands will turn out pretty good. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to wire low-power lighting into the cabinets to show off the stained glass and be a nightlight. I’m still unsure as to what type of switch I want to use: a simple slap switch, a motion detector or a light (or absence thereof) detector. Any ideas?

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