The (poorly) finished product!

Welcome! Forums Project Series Bench Stool The (poorly) finished product!

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  • #141287

    Hi folks, may I present my very first woodworking project. In retrospect, I should have started with something simpler, but I needed a bench stool for my carving table and the best way to learn is to push your comfort level.

    It’s made of just stud-grade pine from Lowe’s with a few coats of boiled linseed oil.

    At the end of the day, I’m happy I finished but I can see it’s not very good.

    Lessons learned:

    1. I should have spent more time on stock prep. I just couldn’t get my stock square enough, so the layout suffered.
    2. There were a couple of medium-sized knots in my top rail mortise holes, which ultimately caused some problems in the joints. I don’t think they’re going to fail, but I know they’re there.
    3. The mortise and tenon joints caused me a lot of trouble. I think that’s mostly a function of practise though – I’d never cut a mortise before, but they each got steadily better.
    4. More practise is needed measuring tenon shoulders. It was much harder than I thought, working with an angled shoulder.

    In any case, while I’m not completely satisfied with the end result, I’m confident the next will be better.

    I happily await any criticism, encouragement, or tips to make my next piece!


    my first project was my workbench and chopping M&T joints through 4 inch posts was an interesting experience to say the least. They are definitely the more difficult joints to get proficient at. The one “trick” is to use the guide Paul demos in several videos, it keeps you from chopping out of square.

    I think it’s a job well done for a first project.


    Peter Bernhardt

    skippy, that’s a very decent first project! I still have one of my first projects around to remind me where I started. The important thing is to keep at it, learn from your mistakes, and look forward to doing it better the next time. That’s what makes this so rewarding.

    Also, I’d recommend exploring the series for other projects that build skills. Try the tote, box, cutting board, saw horses and work your way back to this stool. These build confidence in measuring, layout, sawing and other essential skills. Once you have done those you’ll find making those mortise and tenons more accessible and comfortable.


    Peter Bernhardt
    instagram: peter.bernhardt

    Matt McGrane

    As far as I can tell from the picture, it looks fine. This is outstanding for a first project! You should not feel bad about it in any way. More practice will bring more skill and more confidence. You are on your way.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    Thomas Angle

    I think it looks good for a first project. It seems like you have the right attitude of always striving to do better. You cannot fail in the long run doing that.

    Arbovale, WV

    Proverbs 18:13
    13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

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