There is often a great deal of confusion around this issue. Most people, if you told them to get a 2×4 piece of lumber would assume it measures 2 inches by 4 inches. BUT WAIT! It does not. It measures 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″. This is VERY important when you are designing your project and dimension the plan.
I needed a bookshelf (well, I need several, but this is a start). This was built primarily from (sides, shelves) 1″x12″ and (front stiles) 1″x4″ #2 white pine. The back is made from cedar fence pickets. The construction is pretty straight forward.
I built this shelf 15 years ago or so and it ended up stored on a shelf in my garage. It was originally built un-distressed, however I feel the distressing gives it a bit more character. So, give your 13 year old son and his spend the weekend buddies the right tools and you get a distressed shelf. To get it this way, I first lightly sanded the original polyurethane coat with 220 grit, then we distressed it, then we painted on a Van Dyke Brown glaze, letting that sit about 5-7 minutes, then wiping off, being careful to leave it in the indentations. A few days later it was time to clear coat with Deft. First coat, then lightly use 0000 (4 ought) steel wool to knock off raised areas, then another coat. Very fast and simple as Deft dries quickly. Next it will hang in my bathroom, ready for all the crap on the back of the toilet.
This is a close up of the worm wood look achieved by using a nasty looking tool made from a one foot length of wood with 3 Sheetrock screws driven through it. Use screws vs. nails as nails leave a square hole from the point (or at least cut the point off).
This has been a fun project, taking about 6-8 hours to build so far and next will be the doors. They will be mortise and tenon or butt joint with cleat with punched tin inserts.
The Materials Used
It is built in a Shaker style using low cost white pine for the body and top and cedar fence pickets for the back, all obtained from Lowes Home Improvement (though you can find this type of wood anywhere). Take your time, look for good, straight boards with interesting patterns. As I am doing Primitive and Shaker style furniture and want it to look a little old and distressed, I use wood that may have blemishes, knots, dents, etc.
I started with a rough sketch. Originally there was a shelf here, but I wanted something more. It stands about 32.5″ tall, 40″ wide across the top and 14″ deep across the top. It is built primarily from 1×12 (sides, bottom shelf and inside shelf), 1×6 (front stiles), 1×2 (braces across top, front and back), and 1×8 (two pieces butt-edge joined to form top). Continue reading
This is a cupboard design I had seen years ago in a book my mother had (have the book now, thanks Mom!) and modified for my own needs.
It is made from inexpensive white pine bought at the local Lowes. The back panel is left-over bead board (thanks again, Mom) painted with some old maroon paint I had around. Just enough to get it done.
The stain is Minwax English Chestnut, one good coat left for a few minutes, then wiped off. Then three coats of polyurethane were added, with a 220 grit light sanding between coats.
I prefer more distressed looking furniture, not sure why, though it seems to feel warmer to me, though I did not distress this piece. I am happy with how this turned out and it was done in a about 8-10 work hours, taking several days during the actual build for drying times, etc.
I saw some similar shelves for sale for $500-$700 dollars. I think I have about $40 in wood as the paneling was left over scrap from my parents. Re-purpose and reuse!
In the picture on the right you can see it glued and nailed, squared up and clamped. This all took about an hour. Again, this is inexpensive, knotty white pine. Just take time to find straight boards, though a little warping is okay. Remember to look at the end grain, see if the board is cupping.