At It Again

Most Recent DIY Nightstand Post (9/27/15): Nightstand – Final Class

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the last time I worked on my nightstand was probably in early November, and the class ended in late September. It’s been nearly complete for a few months now, and I lost the drive to finish it! Over the holidays, I found renewed vigor (thank you New Year’s Resolutions!) and spent a few hours on it on Saturday and Sunday. Plus, my boyfriend and I randomly stopped by an Amish furniture store on Saturday, and the wooden furniture was absolutely exquisite. The best part for me besides fantasizing about one day making masterpieces was that I could find imperfections in even professional-grade work! $2000 tables had minor gaps between the wooden boards, and they were still beautiful and well-crafted. I’ve been told by multiple woodworkers that majority of woodworking is figuring out how to adapt when cuts or joins or designs go unexpectedly throughout a project. It combines creativity, engineering, and experience, and I love that I’m entering into a world where imperfections can be the best parts of of a product. I’m going to need a few more projects before my final product only has minor imperfections in it, but my nightstand tells my story. It will be proudly displayed and used in my new home.

It’s amazing the satisfaction I receive after working on my nightstand, especially now in the finishing stages. It actually doesn’t look too different from the last picture I posted because the updates I’ve made have been minor. Yet, I know the amount of work that goes into even making the smallest tweak.

In about five to six hours of total work, I finished glueing on the front pieces and sanding the top of the nightstand. I took before and after photos of the nightstand top, and I think it’s pretty remarkable the difference sanding makes! I used a belt sander to get the roughness out of the wood and smooth over the separate boards (if you can recall, we cut a large piece of wood and reformed pieces with glue and biscuit joining to create the sides and top).

BELT SANDER
belt sander
Belt sander after about an hour and a half of use. We’ll need to replace the belt soon!
BEFORE
The top of my nightstand before sanding. You can clearly see the individual boards, lots of dried glue, and even some residual paper that was accidentally glued on.
The top of my nightstand before sanding. You can clearly see the individual boards, lots of dried glue, and even some residual paper that was accidentally glued on.
AFTER
belt sander
Believe it or not, this is the same top! The wooden boards blend much more nicely together, and you cannot really see any residual glue. If you look closely enough, you can see some scarring from the belt sander. This occurred if I sanded over one spot too much compared to another or was holding the belt sander unevenly.
I thought I'd add one more after photo of me! Sanding is a messy task! Definitely make sure you wear goggles and a ventilation mask. The breathing was fine for me, but I got the occasional sawdust in my eye.
I thought I’d add one more after photo of me! Sanding is a messy task! Definitely make sure you wear goggles and a ventilation mask. The breathing was fine for me, but I got the occasional sawdust in my eye.

What an improvement! I’ll go over the entire nightstand again with a random orbit sander – my very first woodworking tool purchase!  This will help with the final smoothing over and hopefully hide any of the imperfections in the wood occurring naturally of caused by me.

I wanted to treat you as well to my boyfriend’s nearly finished nightstand. He’s a bit farther than I am, and it looks GREAT! He needs to add in some sliders for the drawer and then polyurethane for the coat. I’m going to use the same hardware for the drawer knob and style for the edges. He made his nightstand with ashy maple, and I used mahogany. Despite using different kinds of wood, I think this will match well if we place them in the same room or use them as end tables on the same couch.

This is my boyfriend's nightstand, made of ashy maple. It looks wonderful!! He did a really nice job. He's got just a few more steps to go before it's ready for use.
This is my boyfriend’s nightstand, made of ashy maple. It looks wonderful!! He did a really nice job. He’s got just a few more steps to go before it’s ready for use.

Where do you think we should use the nightstands once they’re complete?

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