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First commission completed

Posted by jbranch (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 18, 08 at 21:42

I have been doing woodworking for about 25 years - always stuff for myself. I got the opportunity to do my first job for someone else. It was a good learning experience as I want to do woodworking full time near retirement.

This was a tough project since this bookcase is so dang big. Measurements are roughly 5' wide x 8' tall. Client wanted knotty pine. This wood is horrible and it has been a long time since I used it. But I like the design and the client gave me a tip so all is good.

Bookcase Left

Here is a front view prior to stain so you can get an idea of the size.
Bookcase Front


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: First commission completed

Nice job - looks great! Hope you charged him well for your time in addition to the tip. Do you want to do a simple twin bed for me? :)


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RE: First commission completed

Marys1000, if I had it to do over, I would have charged more, but I contained costs and did not go over budget, so it was a good project and I learned a lot from it:

1 - The only way I would use this wood again would be if it is painted. Even with pre-stain conditioner, the stain was uneven in places. Also, because of it's size, I had to stain it in sections and that was hard to do and get even color. And, if this project had been painted, I would have used another material any way; so basically I don't see using this lumber again, unless I find a better source for knotty pine.

2 - This is the pine or white wood that is commonly available at the home center. It is very unstable especially the parts of this project that were long, narrow boards. I would buy straight pieces and after cutting them to size, they would bow. Finding straight pieces that had acceptable defects was difficult. One source calls this lumber "Top Choice" which implies it is good lumber, which is just false.

3 - My shop is not currently set up to quickly fabricate large boards or even the bead board plywood back. I will have to address this on my next large project.

As for the twin beds - I respectfully decline since I am taking some time off to take care of some Honey Do's :-).


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RE: First commission completed

Is that 8' tall book case going into a room with 8' ceilings? Make full height cabinetry in 2 pieces to allow it to stand up in the room. I usually make the base as a separate piece from the cabinet if it has to go clear to the ceiling.


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RE: First commission completed

Aidan - it is not a full height bookcase. Not only did I draw the plans to scale, I provided the client a scale drawing of how it would appear in her room. The ceiling is 9'.


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RE: First commission completed

It looks great for knotty pine.


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RE: First commission completed

Awesome. Nice job.


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RE: First commission completed

buy your wood from other sources besides the home centers. All they carry is junk for the most part. Check and see if you have a local supplier. I avoid lowes and HD at all cost.

As far as knotty pine goes though you really dont have much of a choice.


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RE: First commission completed

Mmike032: I know what you mean. The source for the knotty pine beaded plywood carries a lot of exotic woods and before I ever do something in pine again, I will check theirs. I ran across them sort of late in the project. To say that HD and Lowes "white wood" is junk is a understatement. The only reason I bought from them is that they are very convenient and I really thought that if I looked through enough boards, I would find enough decent ones. I found enough, barely decent and I had to fuss with them a lot to keep them straight.


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Clear pine

Even the clear pine from HD was problematic. The best piece I found has an unusual almost quilted look to the grain. I used it on the base and the center vertical stiles.


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RE: First commission completed

Great job. I agree, you need to find a furniture grade wood supplier in your area.
May I criticize one design element I don't like?
It appears as if there is a "captured" shelf in the bottom area. In other words, the face frame is proud of the lower shelf by 3/4". If I'm incorrect, I'm sorry.
Again, nice work.


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