WT225 – Shop Furniture: Pretty or Plain

On today’s WoodTalk “Weekend Edition”, we’re talking about shop furniture projects. How nice do you make them?


Dustin is wondering about shop projects. Do you treat them with the same attention to detail as furniture projects? Do you use all matching wood or just use up whatever scraps you have lying around? What about quality of materials ie. home center plywood vs high quality plywood? My OCD tendencies have me wanting to build all my cabinets and carts with matching wood, hardware, etc., but is this considered going overboard for just a shop?

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2 replies on “WT225 – Shop Furniture: Pretty or Plain”

As a guy who works project to project in a two car garage I normally make shop projects to just work. Utilitarian projects are just that and they are a great way to rid yourself of all those shorts and skinny pieces that are always floating around the shop. If it is functional and structurally sound who gives a darn. Chances are most woodworkers will be replacing items as their needs change. Most build their shops as they go and never finish. If it works use it.

I use shop projets to try things out and they usually turn out pretty. My workbench has doors and drawers and I didn’t have enough plywood left to complete the drawers. I figured out that a 3/4″ edge banding would solve my problem. I’d never done edge banding before and I had some leftover walnut. It turned out really nice. More recently I built a travelling tool chest that I built out of african mahogany and black limba. I had some leftover african mahogany that I had no use for and I decided to buy a bit more to finish. The black limba was used as an accent wood and I like to try new woods. Since I had no idea how it would be to work with, a shop project was a good place to try it. It was also the first project on which I tried dovetails. They weren’t perfect but even if they turned out like crap, it’s not like I cared that much. Bottom line, I like to use shop project to get out of my confort zone. It usually gives good results and some may call them fancy and pretty but it’s a side effect of trying new things!

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