Projects of Dave Fernandes

These projects are from Dave Fernandes of Rolla, Missouri, USA.


Dave's latest project is this beautiful custom built-in bookcase. He also describes his project.


"My bookcase is ALMOST for the most part done. It was...pure hell. It took several months and a lot of work. I wanted to post some photos. I wish I had taken more but I was knee deep in getting it done. Many thanks to my two daughters and my wife for both support and help. My two daughters did a LOT of shelf pin drilling and I am forever grateful.

In case you are curious, it's solid maple. The cases are solid maple plywood ($$$) and the trim is solid red maple. The crown molding is red oak as is the shoe molding... no I have no idea why but it just looked good to me. The ceiling is horribly wavy so the crown is straight but the ceiling is...not.

Many thanks to Dewalt for one hell of a nailgun as it got well used. Kreg also saved my tail with their shelf pin jig... OK plugs over." :)




Here's a set of photos from start to finish, of Dave's project - a great looking desk for himself. Dave's comments are in quotation marks.




"I did the other end of the desk and its starting to come together.  Now some cleanup on Friday -- may take a night off.







"I got the wood for the top.  Wanted to go with something fancy but it adds up really fast.".  (see the photo of the stacked wood.)

"I am working on the CD drawers and that takes time. Drawers take forever and I'm not even doing fancy joints, no dovetails but drawers are a LOT of steps but well worth it."





"It was a LOT of work -- not particularly hard but time consuming.  Anyway, this is the setback set of drawers for CD's and small items.  Tons of dado's since the guides were also dadoed.  I followed Norm's instructions except I used cheaper materials -- much cheaper actually but hey, it will look great with fronts."


"All of these next images are of pieces to a puzzle.  The pieces are drawers and a slide out tray for the computer tower.  I also have another drawer for the top of the section.  I finished the inside of the large frame to hold all the pieces but not the outside as I still have moulding to put in on the outside.  Whew, lots of work and I feel like its taking forever, but it's fun and I'm feeling more confident as I refresh my skills again."






"Just gluing on the edging to cover some plywood.  The bottom tray now slides out to give access to the computer tower.  The top drawer is in place as is everything else.  Now I have to build the front drawer and add hinges, add fronts to the top drawer and the tree drawers that hold floppies.  In fairness, I should have used better plywood but I'm on a budget.  It would have looked nicer though."







"After some time consuming modifying and fitting, this is my final setup all glued to the frame." 











"This is a shot of the unit with the drawer fronts in place."








"The handles got added today.  I'm working on the door and have to build a jig to route hinge mortises as the hinges just stick out too much and look ugly.  That will take a little time to setup."










"I've been at it but at a much slower pace.  I finally got the drawers and molding put in on the right side.  I have yet to make fronts for the drawers but that's coming.  I also selected some wood for the top."








"I tore apart the old top with a circular saw and rejointed the edges and made it better -- much better.  Did it this weekend."








Have a few days over break to put some progress forward and now it's starting to look great.  Please note the left side is backwards from the right side.  Just happened the way I set it up.  I'll flip them both the right way when done.  I used poly instead of laquer because its winter and I can't let it fume outside so poly is much better on the stink factor.   I did three coats on top -- then I'll wax and it will look great.  The drawers got one coat.  Still lots to do.



And here's Dave's finished project lookiing great!




This ia a bed Dave made for for his daughter. Here are some in-progress shots and some of his words describing the process. (Don Firth)




"Well this is the latest on the bed. I started adding Shellac just to offer some protection. The rails were not put in yet. I'm leaving that till after I do a rough finish of everything else. The moulding is all in place and all the pieces are ALMOST ready. 









"I have LOTS of extraneous glue removal which is chisel (no hammer) and sand and sand (80, 120,180,220) in that order which gives it a really smooth finish. This is the TEDIOUS part of building furniture...really tedious - but it does give you a smile to get it right."










"Made a disaster of the runners so I redid those but now have lots of firewood for the winter (LOL).  Anyway, this is where I am at.  Applied, roughly the first coat of shellac.  Will do about five or six before the final varnish and of course some holes to drill for final assembly but, as my wife says, "I'm in the home stretch."





"Well, the bed looks so much better than my Red Sox do right now. I put it together using pipe clamps just to inspire me a bit and to setup some holes for the bolts. It does look good now. That's only shellac which has some protection but the finish comes on Friday when i can let it air all day outside. That stuff is NASTY but I love how the laquor finish looks.  Daughters Naomi and Avi are part of the fun too."








"It was a LOT of work but it got done today, April 29, 2010. Maple and beech with a very nice mattress and boxspring. Paid too much for the mattress? Of course I did. That's what crazy Dad's do!"









"These are two pencil holders. Entirely from scrap pieces. There is no plan. I just grab some pieces, glue them together and cut them to size. Then I use the drill press and drill holes using Forstner bits (here I wouldn't skimp). Then use a sander attachment to the drill press to sand the holes to a smooth finish. Then I use the router table to round the corners but use a trim router for the holes. I don't use a trim router much but this is a perfect application since it's too unsafe (in my opinion) to use the table for this. Finally, I find a large bottom piece and cut it to size, round the corners on the router table and the glue to attach. I sand, add linseed oil and then a finish. I like to use steel wool and rub in some furniture wax as a final step to give it that glass like finish. Takes forever though for the wax to dry but it's worth it for that smooth finish.

The woods I used were purple heart, cherry, mahogony, black walnut, beech, red oak and birch. Again I used all scraps so pick and choose what you have available. Match alternating colors and it looks great.




"This cutting board was made entirely with scrap wood, namely Maple, Cherry and Birch. I alternated Cherry with Maple strips and used birch for the edges. I varied the width of the cherry vs. the maple for effect. I then cut them to length and used a cabinet scraper to get a really smooth edge. I like a cabinet scraper better than a planer now for stuff like this since it's super easy to sharpen and fun.



Once I edge glued them together, I ran them through the planer. Then more cabinet scraper work. To get the corners, I used a "Grampa Technique". I used a tin can to draw a circular corner and then cut it with a jigsaw and then shaped again with a cabinet scraper. I used a 1/2" round over router bit and then once again ran through the scraper (the end grain) and it gave it a smooth finish.


Finally, with my kids, we got some food grade mineral oil. I did a lot of research on this and that was the general consensus. My daughters spread it on. Five coats and eight hours of drying time between coats. I used these great triangular plastic mounts (whatever they are called) that let me do both sides and then dry."



"I built this dresser out of both beech and poplar.  I used poplar for the drawers simply because it was cheaper.  The drawer fronts are beech.  I have never used beech before but now it is my favorite wood.  It has less of the wavy grain of oak and gives a much smoother finish (ya it costs more!)."







"For finish I used shellac (clear) and then laquer.  I like shellac because even clear adds color but it also leaves drips if you're not careful since it has almost instant drying.  The laquer is fantastic.  You want a shine and a smooth finish, it is the way to go. Sadly, it also dries like lightening and can leave drips that are VERY hard to see -- trust me on this one.  (of course my eyes are not what they used to be!" (LOL)


"I gave it to Avi last night and she looked at it, sipped from her sippy cup and moved on.  Oh well...I love it".








"Here are the final photos of the very long and very hard bed project. It is made of solid oak (not quartersawn sorry) and oak plywood (thanks Home Depot for that great "straight" plywood!) I finished it with two coats of shellac and Deft Clear Lacquer. We got a great deal on a mattress and I added a 1/2 sheet of plywood underneath the mattress for those trampoline wannabe's."




"Special thanks to:
Vic - for the tapering jig and for the plywood idea
Don Firth - for years of encouragement & the Deft lacquer suggestion
Jerry Schiller - for the shellac idea
Tom Dowling - for the picnic table
Wood magazine - for the plan"



Here are a couple more shots of Dave's bed project.



"Here's a very simple project - a storage box, that I made out of curly cherry - very, very expensive, even rough sawn. I chose very simple jointery and so forth because I cared about the wood's look."




"After over a month's worth of work, Naomi and I can show our first dresser. Without a doubt, THE hardest project I ever tackled.  It challenged me in every turn. First time I ever did tongue and groove and never did so many drawers in my life. The router was a great. great tool to get this done. 

I bought roughsawn lumber at the end and it saved me lots of money. The planner got a workout. 





The drawers are poplar and the rest is solid red oak. Now my older daughter can live out of the dresser vs. paper bags.

Thanks grampa - couldn't have done it without you. I also see 10,000 mistakes and flaws in this dresser but live and learn."







"Here's a medicine cabinet I made. I wasn't proud of it at first because the door handles were slightly off from each other (one higher than the other). I couldn't believe I did that, but as I use it daily, it's grown on me. Besides the finish is like glass. Naomi picked out the heart doorknobs."





"This was more sweat than anything I have ever done. My wife did the upholstery (bless her heart).  It's made of solid oak and poplar. I waxed it as well. I call it an Ottoman."







"Here's a scooter for my daughter Avi.  It is made of Douglas Fir scraps."







"I finally got some cherry off the local lumber yard in the scrap bin. Never believing in waste, I put a pencil box together with it, although my wife calls it a Barbie Coffin.




Anyway, I used the finishing tips on WoodWorker magazine and it looks so cool. The ends are oak for contrast and I have now lots of scrap oak to use up!"






Entertainment Center: "This project I did over the summer. It's oak plywood with oak trim. The right side has adjustable shelves a feature that I liked but of course we never actually use! It really eliminated lots of clutter but as you can see, we found more to create!"






Message Center: "This was the last project I completed before my wife left for China. I wanted to surprise her but ran out of time to complete as I wanted so I took a shortcut or two but it looks good and we use it every day."





EndTable: "I owe Don a great deal for answering questions for me. Without a doubt, the hardest thing I ever done. I was given only the spec of 18" tall and with one drawer and a shelf. It's solid oak outside of the plywood shelf and plywood bottom for the drawer. It took many a weekends from idea to paper design to putting it together. When I ran into hiccups I am grateful that Don was able to answer this newbie's questions. It really is beautiful to me and yes, there are some flaws but, as my wife says, unless you point them out, you can't see em."



Recently making finger jointed boxes, Dave has sent shots of this nicely done oak box. He accomplished this precision, using the "finger joint/box joint" jig like mine, available from Oak Park Enterprises. This material is available both in Canada and the USA. Check the appropriate catalogue at their website for further information.





"My first project.  A simple pencil holder built entirely from scrap lumber.  My wife came up with the idea of using dowels to hold some scrap paper.  It's simply 5 layers of different wood glued together with holes up top."





"A magazine rack.  I like this one because it involves no screws but then again doing all that doweling and matching it up (even with a template) is a challenge.  This was made entirely out of pine."






"I got the initial plan for the stool and then a friend suggested I build a door and seal it all off for storage in the stool.  For the top I purposely used cherry plugs covering the screws to hold the steps since I thought it would look pretty."



"My thirst for storage cabinet space was a royal challenge. It has hardboard
glued to 3/4 plywood with dado's cut for each of the removeable trays. I wanted it because
it kept the dust out.  The pictures do not show it but it rolls around on wheels.
The pipeclamps are there because I am lazy sometimes about putting things away!"





"This was a very challenging project but I built it all from red oak ($$$).  Totally doweled connection with birth dowels for shoes.  I used a custom stain for the color which looks awesome on oak.  It can separate into 4 sections with a top that also separates.  I don't know why I did it this way but I thought it would look kinda cool."




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