I have just recently started on the journey of woodworking. There’s been posts here and there or other specific threads that have touched on the topic, but I thought it would be cool to start a place to talk a bit more about tools and process, as well as a showcase. This is a very new thing to me, so I’d love to learn more from the community about the things they have made, tricks, etc.

I wanted to build a cassette shelf that would allow me to keep some cassettes spine out (for compactness, as my collection has gotten a bit larger), as well as some face out (things I want to listen to in the short-term, things I want to showcase, etc.) After playing around with a few different layout ideas, I’ve decided on this offset checkboard that is basically of the pattern:

Face  6  Face  6  Face  6  Face
5   Face  6  Face  6  Face    5
Face  6  Face  6  Face  6  Face
5   Face  6  Face  6  Face    5
Face  6  Face  6  Face  6  Face

Laying it out it looks like this. I’m using some foam blocks to act as spacer behind the face tapes to make them more or less flush, but they can be replaced over time with 3 cassettes as my collection grows, which will be neat).

The basic construction is a poplar frame with miter (45 degree) cuts and chiseled mortises for the smaller poplar shelves for each row. The pine back is stapled on the frame, and the rest of the construction uses wood glue. The only saw I have right now is a jigsaw, and attempting to freehand the 45 degree cuts was pretty messy, lots of sanding to get things to square up correctly :sweat_smile: here’s the frame and the back:

I am just now finishing up the staining process using Watco Danish Oil on recommendation from a friend, which really does a great job bringing out the grain of the wood. I learned that wood glue blocks the pores of the wood from accepting stain, so I’ve been using a process of staining, spotting the problem spots (for what will be the visible parts of the shelf), and chiseling/sanding them out as best as I can, and then applying stain to those spots. Next time I will definitely be more diligent and deliberate when applying the glue. Here’s the shelf drying after the first coat of stain:

Here’s a detail shot of one of those chiseled-to-accept-stain spots. Kind of gives it a little character that I don’t hate, so happy accidents! hah

Here’s the finished shelf:

All in all it’s been a really fun project, and I’ve found wood fun to work with (though I think I might need to be a little more deliberate about wearing the dust mask when sanding, as I have gotten some pretty bad headaches the past few days, which I’m thinking that might be contributing to.) It’s cool to take a small step each day and see the thing come together over time.


ooo I’ve really been wondering about tool/process reqs for people who are working with wood at home

I’m used to working with band saws/table saws at school but I’m losing access soon and want to figure out how to get back into it in an apartment / back porch setting

I’ve built acoustic instruments before with just hand tools before, that might just be the way

1 Like

Yes… a woodworking thread!

Woodworking is something I enjoy and would love to get into in more detail. I’ve built a few bits and bobs (using only hand+power tools). Mostly stuff for our kids (I’ll get some pictures).

I’m looking at getting a bandsaw as my first bit of ‘proper’ kit, as I think it could cover a lot of a table-saws uses in a more compact frame. I’d love to get peoples opinions on this (what are the ‘essential’ starter machine pieces for a compact one man woodwork-shop?).

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Ishitani before, check out their videos for pure aspirational (and beautiful) woodworking:


I know a guy who built acoustic guitars in his dorm room at college. He’d put his tools and workpieces inside a transparent plastic garbage bag while cutting and carving, to catch the sawdust.

1 Like

Built this farmhouse table a week ago :slight_smile:


I build pianos for a living right now, although the complexity of the woodwork involved in them isn’t all that high.

I’m constantly trying out some side projects to build up my skills. the next task is to wrap a nice wooden case around a fatar digital piano keyboard I just took delivery of. it’ll offer the chance to do some more fine-detail casing than I normally get the chance to do. also trying to teach myself some more joinery techniques—I’m fascinated by traditional glueless construction techniques.

I also strongly (strongly) encourage people to get a real respirator with particulate filters, eye protection, and ear protection.


I’ve got 10 years of woodworking experience doing a variety of woodworking at variety of scales of production (electric and acoustic guitars, hi-fi audio cabinetry, custom furniture, various small-medium scale wooden objects.) I also worked in woodworking tools retail for a bit. I’ve got a lot of thoughts about various topics.

I used to scour the internet, used book stores, libraries for all the information I could absorb on woodworking. I would recommend people read anything by Chris Schwarz and his publishing house Lost Art Press.

I also believe in spreading the gospel of Tried and True wood finishes, so check that out of if you are tired of finishes cut with various things that you probably shouldn’t be breathing in.


seconded on getting proper protection. also while the issue is much more complex than MDF = bad, also be aware of the hazards working with particular materials can present beyond just glues and varnishes. I know quite a few people who didn’t take proper precautions doing woodwork professionally and the health consequences are very very real from hearing damage to cancer.

I don’t get to do much at the moment but have done various small projects over the years. I really enjoy reductive wood/plywood furniture. I also grew up around woodworking so while I’m not doing any of it myself at the moment I def like just looking at Japanese joinery, fancy tools, traditional techniques, so on.

I’m working to set myself up with a basic workshop for some planned projects and the idea is to keep almost everything at hand tools. my planned exception unless I decide to stick with a pull saw will be a track saw for breaking down bigger boards. A really great tool if you can’t afford a table saw economically or space wise, but want something to do jobs like that. higher end models are also pretty clean, though if you go for a Festool track saw and vacuum system you are looking at $$$.


thanks for bringing up safety. I looked into it, and a true respirator/face shield really is not very expensive at all (seems like some well rated options on amazon for 30-40 dollars). that will be the next purchase in this journey.

So far as ear plugs goes, I did use my hearos when using the saw. Those are hi-fidelity ear plugs for concerts and such, so they don’t reduce by a ton of dBs, but probably better than nothing. I’ve seen a few ear plugs that are similar to the hearos, but have a sliding dB dial, I’m gonna take a look deeper into that.

also @toomanatees for the tried and true finishes…it looks like those all come in paint cans. Kinda dumb question, but is there some sort of vessel you’d recommend for applying? With the watco bottle, I was just using an old t-shirt and would turn the can over (which has a small cap) while holding the t-shirt over it to wet, and then apply to the wood.

I haven’t stumbled on the perfect solution for this. One shop I worked at used to fill up a handful of plastic finish syringes, which worked but they would get gummed up over time and we’d end up tossing them. I just dip a corner of a my finishing rag into the can. You don’t need much, so it works all right. The original recipe with the beeswax is so thick the rag technique works fine, but their danish oil is thin enough you could probably use effectively in a squeeze bottle.

1 Like

I don’t use a mask or respirator, but I only work outdoors and my only power tool is my dad’s old Craftsman hand drill from ca 1970 or so. I hope I’m not breathing enough dust to cause problems. It doesn’t seem at all like I am.

First thing I’ve made in wood in yonks: a bench for shoes, and sitting on to put them on. My partner made the cushion out of foam and fabric. The rest is 18mm ply and dowel joints.

Lots of learning smile putting this together. I CADded it up in Fusion first, which let me play with layout a lot. Rough cutlist done by the timberyard I got the ply from; I then cut the backs and shelves myself. Primarily, using a tracksaw, and a replacement top for a Festool MFT suspended on sawhorses. Some benchdogs support the tracksaw rails. I’m not quite convinced I set the saw up right - I’m highly adept at getting things almost, but not quite, square.

There is some wonkiness around the back where some dowels were too long, but otherwise, it’s good: it works, the Osmo finish is nice, it does what we need, and we made it together. I’m particular proud of the half-lap slots for the shelves (made with the saw alone).


Are the faces of the boards stained differently than the edges? There’s an interesting two tone look in the picture

Hobbyist woodworker here. Just posted pics of a 216hp 6U rack I built over here.


Working on building my next eurorack case at the moment. I’ll try to remember to post photos of the process.

If you don’t have tools (I don’t) look into your local tool libraries. We’re lucky there are many here in Seattle and it’s an incredible resource. I’ve made some steps, mantels, a coffee table, and my first eurorack case only with borrowed tools.


it looks like plywood, so the edges will often have a darker appearance (and take finish differently) than the top/bottom layer.

1 Like

Here’s my latest woodwork endeavor (using my very basic skills :slightly_smiling_face:).

It’s a stool/step for my daughters desk/shelf unit (Ikea Svalnas), built using some salvaged pine shelves (taken from a schools laboratory).

I built it using hand tools only, and it was a good chance to practice getting neat mortise and tenon joints.

Next woodwork job is my wife has requested some radiator covers for our bedroom and landing (can’t find nice modern ones anywhere).


nah, it’s just because it’s plywood - the edges have the visible laminated layers. I designed it as a box, and then added the rim at the top; this is primarily so the ‘seat’ pushes force down onto supports, rather than being ‘hung’ from the sides. Loadbearing, etc. I’d possibly have half-lapped the seat if I knew more.

1 Like

it’s very beautiful - tidy mitring and screw caps, far better than I could do. I’m guessing you have access to a table saw?