STARTING FROM SCRATCH
The need for furniture fueled his start.
SHOP OWNER: Robert Kehoe
LOCATION: Houston, TX
Two years ago, I moved into a new house and I needed furniture. I wasn't too keen about shopping for furniture and since I was in no hurry, I decided to build what I needed. I've always been good at designing and building things; that's why I'm an architect and an engineer. So, I started to look into how to build furniture. Two years ago, all I owned was a Skill saw with a rip blade. I started buying tools off e-bay and reading wood magazines. I saw a tallboy in an issue of Fine Woodworking magazine and said to myself "I'll bet that I can figure out how to build one of those". This thinking was not cocky, but confidant and willing to suffer through the inevitable mistakes.
It took me a month to get happy with the drawings. I knew better than to cut anything or buy one stick of wood until I had a set of drawings. I entered a state of shock when the specialty hardwood dealer said that my cherry, poplar, and cedar would be $1,200. In fact, I’m still in shock.
The hardest thing to make was the thick curvy molding at the top. I had to borrow a bandsaw and a big router bit. The stock was rough 6/4 cherry and figuring out how to cut the shape on a router table was tough. I bought the Queen Anne carved legs from Classic Designs by Matthew Burak. Although I could make them now, at the time I didn't have a clue and I still don't own a bandsaw.
The drawers have ½-inch poplar sides with ¼-inch aromatic cedar bottoms. There are no dovetails but rather, full rabbet corners. I hand carved the sunbursts in two of the drawer faces with an $11 set of tools off e-bay. This was my first carving experience and the learning curve was steep. There are also two secret drawers in the top. I used a cherry gel stain with four coats of poly to finish the tallboy.
The build was three months long. I am a testament to the amount of information that is available on the Internet, on TV, and how much good advice is available at the local wood stores.. . . Bob Kehoe
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