Television Cabinet and Other Ongoing Projects


Following some house reorganization, it became apparent that we needed a new TV cabinet.  So I set out to build one.  As it needed to be done in a quick manner and did not need to be an heirloom piece, I decided to explore Kreg pocket joinery.

I was not sure what to expect of the Kreg mini jig.  After some testing, I felt pretty good about the joint quality, seemingly quick and solid.  I then set to buy the lumber for the cabinet.  To speed the build and to eliminate the glue ups, I chose some edge glued furniture panels from the home center.  They were not great quality material but sufficient for a painted furniture piece and flat enough for assembly without additional face planing. I did true their edges with my jointer plane.

I started by sawing to length the two upright pieces, truing the ends with a plane and framing square.  Then with the uprights clamped together I marked the locations for the shelves. Next I cut and planed a 1×4 to length for the front kick and used it as the template to layout, saw, and plane the top, shelves, and bottom and rear cross pieces.

Once all the stock was to final dimension, I marked the locations of the pocket screws and proceeded to drill all of them with my 1/2″ corded drill (my eggbeater would have gotten a real workout with this task, but the power option here was a great time saver).  With the Kreg right angle clamp, I began assembly.  I found driving the screws with my bit brace cumbersome from the lack of good clearance in cabinet’s carcass (next time I might opt for a screwdriver).  I also discovered that by driving screws by hand the additional pressure required the joints have a little extra stabilization over what the right angle clamp provides. I think if one were using a power screwdriver this would be less of an issue.  Fortunately the work holding ability of my bench and holdfasts allowed this extra stability to be easily accomplished.  For my first assembly with the Kreg jig/screws, I was pleased how the build went and felt it resulted in a very solid piece.  After some licks with my smoothing plane and some sanding, this TV stand was done in a day and ready for painting.


A few picture updates from some other ongoing projects…

Diary box built for my daughter. Made from 1/2″ poplar and built in the style of the packing box from the “Joiner and Cabinet Maker”
Eastern white pine stock for dovetailed schoolbox from the “Joiner and Cabinet Maker”. Hope to get the pins sawn tonight. I have been quite enjoying these cool June evenings in the shop.
Window sash stock rough dimensioned from 2×6 for a window replacement in my parents house. Drying in my house until fall for construction and install before year’s end.
Disston No. 7 (24″, 6 ppi) rip saw. Found for $20 at antique store this summer. I will be rehabbing and sharpening soon.  It will be a good worker at the bench. Same antique store where I scored a Stanley No. 8 for $18 this spring. Two great finds!

A Packing Box

My first task when I started woodworking was learning how to cut boards to length. I did much research on what type of saw I need and how to use them. After studying the very well-done askwoodman and giant Cypress sites on Japanese saws, I purchased a 12” ryoba saw from Japan Woodworker. Incidentally I do like my Gyokucho Japanese saws, but I now have more or less converted to western hand and back saws except for rough carpentry work. I spent much time cutting 2x4s into small pieces while I learned to use the ryoba saw.

My first project with my newly acquired sawing skills and the collection of tools pictured in my last post was to build a small packing box.


This is the initial project presented in The Joiner and Cabinet Maker. The first part of this book by Lost Art Press is a reprinted fictional account of a young woodworking apprentice, Thomas. Originally published in the early 1800s, the book essentially tells Thomas’ story during his years as an apprentice. Along the way it provides instruction on hand tool woodworking shop practice and three projects, a packing box, a school box, and chest of drawers. The second part of this book is written by Christopher Schwarz and he provides additional description (and analysis) on how to build the three projects presented in the original text. I was fascinated with the packing box and its simple construction (wood and cut nails) made it an ideal first project for me as well.

I did not yet have a bench or dedicated place to work, so I built the project on my back patio using a work surface of two plastic sawhorses with a plywood board on top. My packing box was built from 1/2” yellow-poplar and 4d cut nails. Battens secured the lid boards together and nails through the lid were clinched. While I felt the box turned out pretty solid and square, two things become apparent very quickly. I needed a work surface that did not slide around as I tried to plane the box joints smooth and I needed a sharper plane iron.


The Start of My Woodworking Journey

My hand tool woodworking journey started 18 months ago with the collection of tools and books pictured.


Some tools were purchased and some were acquired from family members. I received the plane from my grandfather probably more than 20 years ago. One of my first tasks was restoring it back to service and I learned much from this process. He won the Stanley Handyman No. 5 as a Christmas door prize in the late 1940’s (1949 I believe). The Stanley drills were a gift from my father-in-law. The books, The Essential Woodworker and The Joiner and Cabinet Maker, are from Lost Art Press and are outstanding for learning hand tool woodworking. I have read them each in their entirety, twice.

I have had an interest in carpentry and woodworking my whole life. I have been fascinated with Roy Underhill’s show and his woodworking approach since the early 1980’s when I would watch it on my family’s black and white television. I made a point to watch when I could and hope the TV static over the antenna was not too bad that day.

Before acquiring the pictured items I had done little more than use a cordless drill, hammer nails and assemble pre-made furniture together with as screw driver and hex wrench. I cannot really point to one thing that started me down this woodworking path. Though in the fall of 2013 I had an odd urge to “have some project” or “make something”. I pondered a couple of activities to address this, but one day while I was on the computer I got the notion to search for “traditional woodworking”. This one action started my journey and the last 18 months have been filled with studying woodworking books, following woodworkers blogs, hunting for and restoring tools, and building a number of projects from small simple boxes to a 17th century joiners workbench. The forthcoming additions to this blog will outline my path so far, what I have learned, the items I have made with hand tools, and the joy that I have gained.