This is where it all started. Gillia went out of town on a business trip, and I took the opportunity to put the miter saw to use for something other than casings and moulding.
She'd wanted a bench for the end of the bed, but she could never find quite what she wanted. I sent her a picture of a built version of this. It was listed as an advanced project on Shanty2Chic via Ana White's site, but, well, I try not to let labels slow me down.
I didn't quite follow the plan exactly towards the end, making it the first in a series of projects where I don't quite follow the plans. I'm actually kind of proud of that. I don't think I've once actually followed the plans to the letter. Each project seems to lend itself to some change or embellishment somewhere. It's one of those ways where woodworking is kind of like cooking. You look at the ingredients you have and you alter or adjust if they seem to suit it. if you dogmatically follow a recipe, it can be disastrous.
Anyway, back to the bench. It's made of pine, using mostly select pine from Home Depot. It's held together with pocket screws and glue.
One of the best parts? I let Gillia pick the finish that she wanted to use. It is her bench, after all.
What did I learn?
This was the first project. We'd done a lot of house renovation at this point, and I'd bought and learned all about the miter saw right before this when I cut all the moulding and casings for the house. Measuring, cutting and placing all that MDF gave me a pretty serious affection for the miter saw where I felt like I had a bit of skill and precision.
But, fundamentally, this is the project where I learned some measuring (tape measure), some marking (mechanical pencil), and figured out that cutting things with consistency is better than strictly adhering to a measurement.
I learned that I could tackle something labeled an Advanced project and knock it out in a couple days. Is it really advanced? Well, as far as DIY furniture projects go, yeah. It's not "fine furniture" but it sure was a good gateway drug, and, honestly, it's a pretty piece of furniture that we're going to treasure forever. Gillia hasn't even put pulls on the drawers yet because she doesn't want to do anything to mar the surface.
More than anything, I learned that I really, really liked building things with wood.
What would I do differently today?
Well, lots of things. But, for this one project, because it's special and was a gift, I'm going to abstain. In other projects, I'll delve more into the little tips and tricks, little gotchas, and all the important things I learned. For this one, let's just consider it in the spirit was given and received, and let's call it perfect.