While there is no internet available at the shop, there are a lot of books about classic Windsor chair making, primitive woodworking, etc. Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. TrendsRoom & Board Colors by Valspar – New Paint Collaboration Wagner FLEXiO 890 Sprayer Review Save Your Deck or Concrete Patio with Olympic Rescue It!
How-To2016 Kitchen Trends Kitchen Countertop Pricing and Materials Guide An Evening in the Kitchen with Miele June Oven 6 Benefits of Custom Cabinetry What’s the Difference Between a Range, Stove and Cooktop? This project is held together with #20 biscuits, so mark their locations and cut slots for them. This is the step in which things have to go smoothly, or there’s a big mess to deal with.
Next, apply glue to the slots in the other side and the slots in the other ends of the shelves.
Sand the panels and the inside edges of the frames with 120-grit sandpaper, then dry-fit the door parts to make sure they come together properly. The easiest way to fit the doors is to lay the cabinet on its back, and then place the doors in position.
Once the doors are hung, final fitting is done with a sharp block plane to create an even gap around the doors, and to make sure the two doors don’t collide with each other in the centre. I bought some V-groove, knotty pine panelling for the back slats, the kind that comes shrink-wrapped at building-supply outlets everywhere. It takes about five feet of crown moulding to cover the top of the project, and I installed it a little differently than the usual method. Drill and install your drawer and door hardware, then give everything a final sanding before cleaning up the shop and getting out the finishing supplies. I chose to stain this cabinet with the old classic, Minwax Puritan Pine, followed by one coat of Minwax Wipe-On Poly. Attach the second-floor rim joists in the same way as the first-floor version, using deck screws initially, ensuring that everything is level and square. The walls keep the second storey safe and are as simple as they come, built by stacking 2x6s one on top of the other, edge to edge, giving the playhouse a log-cabin look. The side walls are built a little differently because they don’t extend all the way to the front of the playhouse. Unlike the side and back walls, the two short walls flanking the front door sit on top of the floorboards.
If you’re making a window in the front gable end, as I did, cut the opening now and screw the boards together at their angled ends. If you didn’t have help with this project so far, you’ll need some now to put the roof together.
Add a bit more support by attaching a 2×6 that overlaps the uppermost back wall board and the bottom board of the back gable end and sits on top of the back 4x4s. To make the playhouse look better and to strengthen the walls, I added frames around many of the window openings.
The rectangular window’s side frame members are butted between the top and bottom pieces, with everything held in place with screws driven from the inside faces of the frames into the end-grain of the wall boards. I finished everything with a cedar-coloured stain before attaching any extras, such as handles and a steering wheel. I tackled the final assembly of the desk base in two phases: glue-up first, followed by peg installation.
Start by assembling the two right-side outer legs into a single unit (connected by the right-side skirt at the top and the side leg brace farther down).
After you clamp the parts tightly, install the eight drawer bank rails on the front and back of the drawer bank.
Finally, pull up a chair and be the first of many, many people to use your desk over the generations. When I designed and built this desk, I used some key approaches for reducing my shop’s environmental impact. Universal Wall Cabinet Woodworking Plan, Shop Utility Cabinet System for your Basement or Garage.
I have been using a shop vac as a dust collector for over a year, and found that it works fairly well with small woodworking machines such as the ones I own.
I used antique pine for the bottom because it was cheaper than cherry (a detail which isn’t out of place in antique dry sinks for the same reason).
The sink bottom has tenons on the ends which fit into the side stiles and a rabbet on the back edge which fits into a dado in the rear rail.
Begin the final assembly by bringing the case sides together with the bottom panel, sink bottom and door divider. From John Lewis’ old-time woodshop in Brighton, CO, he teaches hand-made chair making and builds furniture in the primitive style from reclaimed materials. Renovations consisted mainly of the addition of an 1890’s base burner stove, some insulation, and patching enough holes to keep the sparrows out. He has a great collection of 1800s to early 1900s spoke shaves, hand drills, block planes, lathe tools, etc. While life in the late 1800s was far from paradise, we can at least look to the parts that maybe we shouldn’t have forgotten, the parts that our culture misses without realizing why.
Cut these parts to rough size, leaving two or three inches of extra length before dressing them to finished thickness. Before you begin, check that both sides are exactly the same length and that you have the front edge of each side clearly identified. This last mark locates the bottom edge of the bottom shelf, leaving 30″ to the bottom of the sides.
Rout from the top down to the middle of the bottom shelf position, the place where the back slats stop.
Having just dry-fitted and labelled all the parts, make sure you have the necessary clamps on hand, pre-adjusted. Butter up more biscuits to fill these slots, nestle the second side in place, and then clamp everything together while making sure that the back edges of the shelves line up correctly with the sides. Since this groove is made to accept the door panels, you may need to tweak the dado width depending on the stock you’re using.
This is a great time to prefinish the panels so they don’t show any unfinished areas if dry weather causes them to shrink.
Start by sanding the crown by hand with 180-grit paper to get rid of the mill glaze and planer marks, then cut a triangular filler piece for behind the crown. Measure 41″ up from the top of the first-floor joists to mark the bottom of where the second-floor joists should go. Those extra joists on the inside of the 4x4s provide enough support for the floorboard ends.
Build these in a similar fashion to the other walls of the playhouse, but with a triangular shape. Each new gable end level is shorter than the one beneath it, so it’s a good time to use some scraps. Before you haul those gable ends up, attach 2×6 soffits at right angles to the outside faces of the gable ends, flush to their top edges. Sand these flat and smooth after taking them out of the clamps, but don’t cut them to final size yet; custom trimming comes later.
Carefully position the pair of legs on the left the same distance apart as the pair on the right, then measure the length and width of the drawer bank panel required to fit in between. Bring the legs and braces together completely (without glue) when the fit is perfect, then mark and bore holes for the tapered pegs that lock these joints together. To minimize seasonal expansion and contraction of the top, choose boards with growth rings as parallel as possible with each board face. I used brush-on urethane, hand-rubbed with pumice and rottenstone, to create a glass-smooth surface.
Use locally cut, air-dried lumber According to research by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, it takes 550 per cent more energy to produce kiln-dried lumber than to prepare air-dried wood. Durability by design The longer your projects remain in active use, the less environmental impact they have per year. Choose non-toxic finishes Water-based and penetrating-oil finishes don’t release harmful vapours into the air, nor do they require solvents for cleaning up. However, I was recently made aware of the dangers that fine wood dust (smaller than 1 micron) presents to our health, and therefore decided to upgrade my shop vac filter to a HEPA-certified filter.
Cut a tenon on the back edge of the drawer divider and a corresponding mortise in the rear rail, the mortise-and-tenon in the back assembly is offset to allow room for this mortise.
The joint where the case meets the base frame will be hidden later with the addition of shop-milled cove moulding. Make the top frame as you did the bottom frame and add the stopped dado on the inside edge.


Blind dovetail the sides into the back and face, and slide the raised panel bottom into its dado before final assembly. The shop is designed not only as a functional woodshop, but also as a relaxing place to be.
Scribe a line across both sides with a square, then mark an X on the upward side of this line to show where the shelf will land. Again, mark another X on the upward side of this line, also making note that the narrow shelf is set back one inch from the front edges of the sides to make room for the doors. This dimension allows the cabinet to straddle most toilets, but if any adjustments need to be made to accommodate an unusual toilet height, make the changes now.
Instead, hold the shelf in place against the sides and make one continuous pencil mark across both side pieces.
Fit shelves onto the biscuits and dry-assemble the entire framework with the help of some clamps. When everything you need is within reach, apply glue to all the slots in one side and the corresponding slots in the shelf ends. Don’t worry about alignment of the front shelf edges for now, since everything can be made flush here after the glue dries.
When you’re ready for final door assembly, apply glue to the stub tenons and also to the corresponding grooves in the stiles. I like to use one board for both drawer fronts so the grain pattern is continuous across them. You’ll almost certainly need to make adjustments, and a sharp hand plane is the tool of choice for this job. This creates an attractive, low-lustre finish, while offering plenty of moisture protection that will stand up well in the bathroom. With these in place, install the floor joists, fastening them to the front and back rim joists. If you’ll be installing a plastic slide for the playhouse, as I did, double-check that it works with the second-floor height you use.
Even a little corrosion can cause screws to shear off eventually when used outdoors, which is one reason deck screws are not permitted by code in applications involving shear forces. Without this step, the joints between the front wall boards won’t line up with the joints on the adjoining side walls.
If you have a mitre saw that’s capable of cutting a shallow angle of approximately 30°, count yourself lucky. Well, it’s not exactly a secret, but only my grandson can fit into the little space that is above the front porch of the playhouse. You should rip these grooves on long 2×6 boards on the tablesaw before cutting the pieces to their final lengths. The climbing blocks are made from offcuts of wood with routered edges for hand- and footholds.
The pegged mortises and tenons, square pegs and tusk tenons all came from this same inspiration.  Start work on your desk by preparing the outer legs, inner legs, skirts (front, rear and side) and leg braces (side and rear). Since these mortises are open at the top, it’s not difficult to chop them out using a mallet and chisel.
Rounded corners soften the look of the design, and also help edges and the finish resist wear better. Slip the front and back skirts down into the notches at the top of the right-hand drawer bank side assembly.
Complete the desk base by adding anchor blocks for securing the desktop, then sand or plane all joints flush.
Prepare this feature now, along with the dados that secure the ends of the shelves and the top ends of the dividers. Penetrating finishes, such as polymerized tung oil or wipe-on polyurethane, are options that eliminate the need for cleaning up brushes. Since energy use almost always creates a significant environmental impact, the less we use, the better. A strong design in a style that continues to look good saves resources and energy while also building a heritage that increases in value as time goes on.
Every time you use a chisel, handsaw or plane, you’re saving electricity while also producing less noise and dust. One of the greenest wood finishes is hemp oil, a product that Canada is a world leader in producing. Make the end joints by cutting the mortises in the side stiles first and then use them to mark the tenons on the end of the sink bottom.
Round over the outside edges of the base frame members first then assemble the frame using mitred corners reinforced with biscuits.
The only tricky part of building the doors is fitting the French-style rabbeted overlap where the doors meet the door divider. The only power tools in the shop are his lathe and the table saw, which is only used for breaking down large pieces of material so they can be managed.
It is funny how going out to the shop and working on a cradle for a friend’s new child for 10 hours can be more relaxing to the soul than any fancy spa or entertainment system.
Tweak the distance between the doors and the drawers, or upper and lower middle shelves as needed.
Check and adjust the framework for square, then install the central drawer divider with glue and a few small finishing nails.
Cut, glue and nail the filler in place, flush with the tops of the sides, and then prepare the crown. As you place these blocks according to the plans on page 23, add or remove crushed stone from beneath them so the top ends of all posts are level.
Although it may seem unnecessary, these joists should sit on galvanized joist hangers installed on 12″ centres. Now is the time to adjust the height of the second-floor frame if your slide is different from mine.
When it comes to installing the second-floor joists, attach them to the front and back rim joists.
A gap-free floorboard assembly such as this isn’t typical, but it means that small toys won’t go missing, nor will small fingers get stuck between the boards. As you work, fasten the ends of the front wall boards to the ends of the side wall boards, capping the side wall’s end-grain.
As long as each board is long enough to be trimmed properly at an angle later, you’re fine.
The front and back gable ends rest on the upper front rim joist and top back wall board, respectively.
Fasten each piece of outer trim to a piece of inner trim, positioned 1″ in from its front edge.
The top surface of the railing is best placed level with the top of the fourth wall board from the floor. I built mine by routing angled dados on the inside faces of the stringers to accept the ends of the treads. Prepare matching tenons on the ends of the skirts and bring them together with the legs for a trial fit. Tilt the left-hand drawer bank side assembly upright, over the ends of the tenons on the front and rear skirts. Eventually, you’ll also need to add drawer guides extending from the front to the back drawer rails, but leave them off for now. Drive screws into oval shaped holes in the edging strips, to allow for movement of the desktop across its width. To keep things simple and rustic, I used screws to join cubby parts, covered with square hardwood pegs. Drill holes in the desktop for securing the cubby, then mount the top assembly to the leg frame.
And you are keeping poorly built furniture from overwhelming the landfills; I hope to make this desk a family heirloom. However, they are so fine that they have a tendency to clog very quickly, decreasing the suction very significantly! Cut the tails first on the ends of the bottom and use them to mark the pins on the bottom of the sides. To make the feet, enlarge the detail from the plan and transfer it onto both sides of each foot blank. Just be sure that nothing is placed on it and to turn it regularly so it gets even exposure. Plywood panels can fit tight all around because they’re immune to moderate humidity changes.
You must avoid getting glue on the panels since it could interfere with seasonal movement and cause cracking.


As with the drawer fronts, cut the crown from a continuous piece of wood so grain patterns wrap around the project. Deck screws will hold perfectly well for a while, but corrosion will make them weak enough to break. This arrangement makes for a clean look on the front, as the floorboards will run from side to side. The lowest front wall boards on each side of the doorway should also be anchored by screws driven up through the floorboards.
Either way, plan on actually making the cuts later, after arranging all boards, with their ends still square, on the ground. You should now have a step-shaped, four-board pyramid in front of you, ready to cut to final shape.
When the gable ends are up, attach them to the ends of the side soffits and then add six 2×4 purlins. Fasten the stringers to treads with three deck screws per joint, then attach the ladder to the post trim and a baluster with carriage bolts.
To provide your little ones with more help getting up this wall, drill a hole in the vertical part of the railing, then knot a rope through it that trails down the climbing wall. Sand these flat and smooth on their outside surfaces, then bring them together with the other legs and skirts.
Later on, the cubby top fastens to the top with screws driven from underneath, while the top is secured with screws driven up through holes in the anchor blocks.
Taper the pegs’ tips, then tap them into the countersunk screw holes along with a little glue. The glass fits into a rabbet groove in the back of the door frames, held in place with wooden strips glued lightly.
The solution is to use a separator in order to reduce the amount of dust and chips reaching the filter. Cut the rabbet in the back edge of the sink bottom and assemble the sides, bottom panel and sink bottom together.
Cut the dovetails which join the bridge to the drawer divider and side, then make the notch which accepts the front stile. I cut the feet by hand with a coping saw but you have access to a bandsaw I suggest using it-you’ll preserve your sanity. Only two screws are needed, one at each end, driven up from the bottom, through the base frame into the bottom panel of the main case.
Instead, angle these back 1? from square, so the front edge of each side is slightly longer than the back.
Clamp each door immediately after assembly and check to make sure that the corners are square and flat.
You’ll get the best results if you leave the side pieces of crown longer than needed for now, then get the mitre joints right before trimming to final length at the back ends.
Anchor the joist hangers with corrosion-proof nails that do not extend through the 2×6 rim joists. Take a look at the plans and you’ll see a pair of extra joists set flush against the inside faces of the 4×4 supports. Continue by adding four more boards in the same way, each one on top of the edge of the one below. As you work your way up, make allowances for any small windows you may want to install next to the door. Cut along the lines (with a handheld circular saw or a shallow-angle mitre saw) and you have your angle. Depending on your particular playhouse design, you may want to add railings at the sides, as I did. The front and back legs on that side are connected with the drawer bank panel that you’ll add later.
Finally, to fit the side and rear leg braces, measure the space between the legs that the braces will span, then prepare shoulders with the required distance between them. As you do this, don’t forget to install the rear leg brace; it has to go in at the same time.
Drawer work I love handcut dovetails, but the traditional orientation of pins and tails makes them harder to admire than they should be. Keep your woodworking hand arrangement of cabinets, countertops, and storage bins?all designed to fit against one wall in your garage or basement. Marc Spagnuolo aka The Wood Whisperer did a comparative review of several well known dust separators, and found that Oneida’s Dust Deputy was a great option. Position the back in place and mark the position of the dado on the rear rail that corresponds to the rabbet on the back edge of the sink bottom. Cut tenons on the ends of the drawer runner and fit them into mortises cut in the sink bottom. Cut the drawer bottoms and dry-fit all drawer parts to highlight any areas that need adjustment. The next two levels of side wall boards must accommodate the 16″-wide windows, so they’re shorter than the ones beneath. Also, notice how the two inner legs interlock with the front and rear skirts using half-lap joints. That’s why I reoriented the dovetails on these drawers to show the trademark dovetail triangles front and centre. Woodworking How-To's, Tool Reviews, Articles and Plans Small Wall Cabinet With small clamp rack.
Apply the glue only to the middle third of the top edge of the sides to allow for seasonal movement. After its tanning session, complete the finishing by applying three coats of tung oil followed by a coat of paste wax.
Measure the distance between the two shelves and cut this piece with the grain running the same way as that on the sides. Fasten a pair of 14″-long 2x6s on each side of what will become your window opening, then span the top of this opening with the uppermost side rim joist. I also made a cart, based on Asa Christiana’s blog article on the Fine Woodworking web site, to keep the shop vac and the Dust Deputy together as I move the rig around the shop. With the case fitted together, mark the notches that allow the face of the front stiles to fit flush with the in the front edge of the sink bottom. This bead balances the one on the door divider but more importantly hides the barrel hinges.
Take apart the framework and sand all the interior surfaces with a 120-grit abrasive in preparation for final glue-up. A belt sander is an excellent tool for adjusting final drawer size for a smooth-sliding fit within the openings.
If you take a more conventional corner-joinery route, remember that you may need to adjust the lengths of the sides, front and back if you go with rabbeted corners, biscuits or butt joints.
The total cost is around $100 US (in addition to the shop vac you probably already own) Not a bad deal when you think about it! This moulding hides the joints between the base and the main case and between the main case and the top. In keeping with the traditional theme, I set each drawer on a single hardwood runner with a dado groove cut in the centre. These runners slide over a hardwood drawer guide fastened to the bottom of each drawer opening.
Drive steel screws of the same size to make pilot holes, then install the softer brass screws.
Next, make matching pairs of drawer runners and guides that slide well across each other, then fasten the runners to the underside of the drawers.
Wooden drawer runners will take some time to make, but the all-wood construction is worth it. Anchor the drawer guides into the desk opening if you’re using the wood-on-wood approach, which can be tricky.
The position of the guides determines where each drawer sits in the opening, so location is key. Cut the drawer guides to length so they fit between the rails, then slide one drawer and its guide into position.
Arrange the drawer so it has clearance on all sides, then drive one screw into each end of the drawer guide to lock it in place. You may need to sand the drawer guides and runners and apply more wax for the drawer to slide well.



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