You Want What

You Want What

You Want What? Contest

comments (75) February 7th, 2011 in blogs

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Enter our You Want What? contest co-sponsored by by posting a comment with your craziest client story.
While many woodworkers might have recoiled at at a client requesting an accordion design theme, furniture maker Judson Beaumont thrives on  furniture that breaks the rules of conventional cabinetry. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Enter our "You Want What?" contest co-sponsored by by posting a comment with your craziest client story.

While many woodworkers might have recoiled at at a client requesting an "accordion" design theme, furniture maker Judson Beaumont thrives on  furniture that breaks the rules of conventional cabinetry.

Photo: Courtesy of Judson Beaumont:

When it comes to furniture, most folks think in terms of conventional styles like Shaker, Arts & Crafts, or Federal. Although most craftsmen and women appreciate and convey beauty in their project, at the end of the day, we still view furniture as utilitarian projects that offer storage in the home. Recently however, Fine Woodworking covered the quirky, lyrical work of furniture maker Judson Beaumont in Playful Furniture That Breaks the Rules.

Beaumont's work represents the polar opposite of the types of projects most woodworkers tend to tackle—bureaus with graduated drawers, tables built primarily with straight lines and minimal curves. His work not only represents a complete departure from the norm, but an engineering marvel.

So what's the oddest, or most interesting client or family request you've ever received for a piece of furniture? Ever built an accordian cabinet like Beaumont's? That's the idea behind our latest reader challenge co-sponsored by, "You Want What?"

Here's How to Enter
Simply post your story in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post and you'll be automatically entered into the "You Want What?" challenge co-sponsored by

Entry period runs from January 14, 2011 through February 14, 2011.

We're after your quirkiest furniture building stories, your oddest requests, the weirdest furniture ideas you've ever brought to fruition. If you think you've got a story that will leave us scratching our heads or dropping our jaws, you might just have what it takes to take home one of two prize packages that include:

• A one year Gold membership to valued at $1,200

• A Fine Woodworking Archive DVD valued at $149.95

• A Complete Illustrated Guide to Woodworking DVD-ROM valued at $199.95

• A $100 gift card to Rockler

Total value of each prize package: $1,649.90

Be sure to read the complete rules on page 2.

posted in: blogs, odd furniture, quirky furniture, interesting furniture

Comments (75)

DennisBear DennisBear writes: Hi Milbrand. Yes we stock patterned Acid etch glass and mirror. Please look through this web site
You can choose any patterned acid etch glass or mirror that you like.
Best Regards,
Bear Glass
Posted: 4:51 pm on February 17th

Milbrand Milbrand writes: Good afternoon Bear Glass. I am in cabinet making business. I use acid etch glass and mirror on regular bases. One of my clients told me that your company is one of the biggest stock distributor of acid etch glass and mirror. He gave me the link to your web site I ve looked it through, but i didnt find any patterned acid itch glass and mirror. I need patterned acid etch. Do you stock smth like that? And if you do. Can you send me your brochure so i can chose any. Please let me know as soon as possible. I have few rush acid etch projects.
Posted: 2:23 pm on February 17th

DennisBear DennisBear writes: Hi Ken. Thank you for ordering our antique mirror. It will be ready tomorrow for pick up.
Or delivered to you on Thursday
Bear Glass

Posted: 3:38 pm on February 15th

KenHarrison KenHarrison writes: I need 3 pcs of 1/4” Bronze antique mirror. 32×58 clean cut.
I ve also sent you fax to 7188320786
Posted: 3:23 pm on February 15th

DennisBear DennisBear writes: You can give the dimensions of antique mirror to me. Or send us fax or e-mail
Bear Glass
Posted: 3:00 pm on February 15th

KenHarrison KenHarrison writes: Hi Dennis. I ve received your antique mirror samples. They all look great. But Bronze antique mirror is what i need. How can I place the order? Do I have to send a fax?
Posted: 11:06 am on February 15th

May40 May40 writes: When the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine arrived, I started reading the articles before bed and set it on my nightstand that night. When I came home from work the next day, my daughter was waiting for me. I hear “DDDDaaaaddddyyyy can you built me something, You can build anything”. When I hear “Daddy” along with “You can build anything”, I know I’m in trouble. I asked what she wanted built. She says a dresser. Then it hit me, my just received Fine Woodworking magazine open on my nightstand to the dresser article “Playful Furniture That Breaks the Rules” by Judson Beaumont. I said what your next choice that looks kind of tough. She says, “Dad get real, that will be easy”. So, not to disappoint her I said I’ll give it a try. Actually it wasn’t too tough. There were enough “clues” in the article to build the dresser for her and put my own personal spin on it. I still need to put a finish on it and wait for that next wood furniture request.

Photos here:

Posted: 12:48 pm on February 14th

ScottStewartDesigns ScottStewartDesigns writes: Ticket to Heaven?
I was near the end of a 6 month church remodel. The planning committee had boldly chosen walnut and birdseye maple for the pulpit area, including the 20' high main wall. All was going well, so the committee leader asked me to design a cross for the big wall. Her only guidance was to make room for a brass plaque saying that she was the donor. Nice - a small custom job that I was guaranteed to get. I came up with a hollow, but substantial looking cross design in walnut and birdseye. It would fit in perfectly...I wrote up the estimate and priced it fairly.
We met and I showed her the plans, explaining the size, details, etc. She was thrilled until we got to the price. Her expression instantly changed to worried disappointment. She looked at me and said "Oh, no, no, no, I want something nice!", and then, "something like this!" She handed over a 'Sears' catalog of church products, about 1 1/2 inches thick. I flipped through page after page of crosses for sale. None were as large, or as nice as what I had designed, (not even close). But they were more expensive. In fact the large ones that she had circled were WAY more expensive. My mind flashed to a stained poplar cross in the middle of my fine work. It wouldn't do...there could be only one solution!
I told her, "let me go back to the drawing board. When I'm done I'll make a full size sample of one end so you can see how it will look." Several days later, and after about 1/2 hour of work, I brought her a sample identical to my original drawing. She was ecstatic while holding it in her hands. The finished product would be far superior to anything in the catalog. "How much?", she asked. I took a small gulp and gave her my new price - a bit higher than the most expensive cross in the catalog. This made her extremely happy and I was happy too!
I made about $600 per hour on the project...15 times more than the original estimate. I didn't feel too guilty afterward. She got exactly what she wanted, the best cross that money could buy.
Posted: 11:37 am on February 14th

DennisBear DennisBear writes: Absolutely. We deliver twice a week to your area. This would be on Mondays and Thursdays.

Posted: 3:43 pm on February 11th

KenHarrison KenHarrison writes: That sounds like a great deal for my antique project.
My address is
779 Montauk Hwy
Water Mill (NY) 11976-2607
Are you Guys delivering to this area

Posted: 3:22 pm on February 11th

DennisBear DennisBear writes: I can send you samples of Bronze and Sperma antique mirrors by mail or with next day delivery to your area It will be for free. Message me if you are interested with your contact info. Thanks
Bear Glass
Posted: 10:58 am on February 11th

KenHarrison KenHarrison writes: Hi Dennis. I like Bronze cloudy and Sperma antiques. It looks nice. But do I have a chance to get small samples of these items. If so how much? and how can I get them?
Thank you.
Posted: 10:32 am on February 11th

DennisBear DennisBear writes: Hi Ken. I am from Bear Glass. We have new antique mirror products like Sperma antique, Medium Antique and Bronze Cloudy Antique. We stock over 15 styles of antique mirror
We also do custom antique mirrors. Check out these sites for more info: http://WWW.ANTIQUEMIRRORSHEETS.COM , http://WWW.ANTIQUEMIRROR.BIZ , and . I hope this helps.
Posted: 9:18 am on February 11th

KenHarrison KenHarrison writes: Hi. I ve looked through few antique mirror web sites. I saw some lines of antique mirrors that are pretty good and really large. But for one of my projects i need something unique. Something custom made. Do you guys know where can i find custom made antique mirrors? Please help
Posted: 4:14 pm on February 10th

Deonis Deonis writes: Hi Dimitri. Thank you very much for your help. This company is really great. They have everything i need for my business. Their Starphire glass is great. Thank you again.
Posted: 10:37 am on February 10th

PineStreet PineStreet writes: Maybe this doesn't fall into the category of a traditional woodworking story, but in the process of remodeling a third floor bedroom/bath, we were faced with the dillemna of finding a way to quickly, safely, and efficiently remove all the demo materials. Going up and down three flights of stairs through a house with tight turns and high-end finishes, outside, and then up steep hardscaping steps - in all, a few hundred feet of time-consuming time, slow-moving work. A traditional demo chute couldn't be used because of the landscaping/location of the house. We alleviated the problem with a zip line from the 3rd floor to a dumpster a 100+ feet away. Debris went down (ever see a flying bathtub before!); materials and tools went up. Here's a clip of the zip line in action, complete with flying bathtub:

Posted: 10:13 am on February 10th

DimitriB DimitriB writes: Hey Deonis, I am in Cabinet making business. I normaly buy starfire and acid etch glass from Bear Glass company.
They are located in Brooklyn (NY). Try to call them at 718-832-3604 or get information from
I know for sure that they have 1" Starfire. I hope this helps you.
Posted: 8:59 am on February 7th

lbcollier lbcollier writes: My son was doing a video for school that required a boat to be built that looked like a shoe with a heal and a rounded toe. Neat trick and needing more than a little thought.
Posted: 2:36 pm on February 6th

routerfan routerfan writes: A client I worked for before called me one day and said I have a perfect project for you. He had bought 20 russian rifles from world war II and wanted to house them in a dark walnut coffee table. He wanted to get them into the house and make his wife happy at the same time. They were housed in a green army crate with special scalloped pieces that held the guns in place. We re-used the scalloped pieces in the new coffe table and I made a new shell out of dark walnut with dovetailed ends and a bread board top.
Posted: 10:14 pm on February 4th

drhino24 drhino24 writes: A client approached me about making a bunk bed and things were slow so I agreed a little prematurely without really getting all of the details. The one thing that made me double take was that after I went to look at the fairly small room that this was going to fit into (with an 8' celling) I was informed that this was to be a triple bunk bed with storage and a matching cabinet for the side. I drew the plan the way they suggested it but unless the person on the top bunk was an extreme caver or a new born, it would not be big enough. So after some redesigning of the dimensions we went back over design and the customers decided all the railings were to be flush to the outside of the posts, as opposed to centered like they would normally be, and the permanent rails on the entire bed would be fit with 3" tall dovetails that flush mounted the bed rails into the massive 4" solid maple bed posts. The safety railings and ladders would need to be removable, the beds would be able to be taken down and used as a single bed in the future, and there would be cherry accents and inlays fit into the piece to break up the maple and give the bed a little contrast. Some of those were my ideas but I was sort of thinking out loud while they nodded and added them to the list.
So construction began and I made the outside railings first with the big dovetails and the cherry stripe on the top railing. The customers and I agreed that in order for someone to fit on the top bunk and still be able to breathe while they sleep, the bottom bunk needed to be about an inch off the floor. The rest of the beds were spaced to accommodate a standard twin bed with a little breathing room and a normal sized adult on top (they wanted to be able to sit on the beds with the kids and read bed time stories) The side rails were held on with big stainless steel bolts that went through the posts into the rail and were covered with removable cherry caps. The ladders were placed one in front for the second bunk and one on the side for the third bunk. They were made of all maple with cherry plug caps over the screw holes for the rungs. Also the top two shelves on the matching storage unit needed to be changed to cabinets so the kids would not use the shelves as steps and fall.
The bed was so big I could not fit it in my shop so I needed to wait for a day that it was not going to rain at all to bring the entire monstrosity outside and assemble all of it to test fit the railings, ladder, and other accessories then tear it all down and bring it back in. I reinforced the floors with maple boards and plywood to make them as strong as possible to make sure there very active kids did not go flying through the floor by jumping on the bed and to test it I climbed to the top bunk and jumped up and down like a lunatic (which the neighbors probably got a kick out of) to try to make the thing move or wiggle and the thing was a rock it did not budge an inch. If it could put up with me tap dancing on the thing standing up I don't think the 40 lb. kids laying on the top will bother it to much
This was probably the strangest thing I have made so far for a customer and involved the most thought and planning to make the most out of a pretty small space. In the end the bed was disassembled into about 25 pieces in order for me to get it to there house and assembled in the room and there kids have been jumping and climbing on it ever since. The bed was against two walls and about 3 inches from the celling with the storage cabinet tucked in the remaining space in the corner at the foot of the bed. They sent me some great pictures of it all set up and although construction and designing made me a little crazy I am happy at the end result and the customer absolutely loved it.
Posted: 7:30 pm on February 4th

JoshuaLynncustomfurn JoshuaLynncustomfurn writes: Close to two years ago, I found an ad in Craigslist from a guy wanting a TV stand. I wanted the job so I could show more range with my work and ofcourse get paid for it. He had these cute little plans he had made and had every thing figured out, money was no problem he'd say and I'll make sure you're compensated for your time. To some people a line is just line and the craftsman knows what it is, the craftsman knows that the line holds a value and will change other lines and measurements. So it started there, taking his design and adding 3/4" to every line balancing the piece to get the speaker cabinets the right dimensions. So the plans are good and we go get boards I need, it took me an hour to sort thru them so I could do the grain matching. With the boards home I was able to start work, or so I thought. I glued the top heavy on three edges, he then informed me that he wanted a 30 degree angle around the three sides. Not a problem if I had a router with the proper bit, back and fourth we went over the angle and I wound up hand cutting it with a coping saw. My now fiancee couldn't believe what I was doing, I didn't like it but figured "Hey, I'll get a good payday for making this happen.". With the table top done I was working on the rest of the case fairly quickly, so here it was door time! Origional plans called for speaker cloth and 1/4" glass that he was supposed to find, he then comes over with 16 guage stainless steel to use over the speaker doors. Now I was going from furniture maker to metal worker and stainless steel at that, so he ate a $8 blade so I could cut it (how nice of him). Made on hell of a racket while cutting threw several fits and even called to see if any one else would even touch the job... not so much. Using my circular saw the cut was pretty ugly but I was counting on my rebate to hide it, the client wasn't happy about the cut the clients fiance pretty much stoped caring and just wanted it done. Handels changed since we now had stainless steel in the doors, and guess what happend with that 1/4" glass? Yep we had to go to 1/8" and I had already rebated all the doors, so we had nice little white tabs showing thru the glass. He then called one night at close to 10pm and suddenly realized that he needed holes and shelfs on the inside of two speaker holders, I let him sort the glass shelfs and I proceeded to drill over 120 holes for each speaker so I knew that they were fully adjustable. Finally I had the piece finished (after 5 weeks of work) and took it to him, didn't know we were delivering to a second story apartment with a 6 month old Lab puppy. I figured had worked hard and met his every demand so now it was time to get what he promised... a good pay. I was handed $140, add to that the inital $100 payment I asked for to start work and the $40 he gave me before the finish went on = $280. I had spent the last 5 weeks working for $1.20 per hour and a lot of those weeks were 50 hour weeks so more like $1 per hour. Since then I've learned a hard lesson, know exactley what I'm charging for work and add-on's get addon pay. On an end note, the piece looked great and has gotten a lot of good comments. I'll be charging $2-3,000 for the next one though.
Posted: 4:58 pm on February 2nd

Deonis Deonis writes: Hi Guys. Can you please tell me, there can I buy 1” starphire Glass? I called at least 20 glass companies but the thickest they have is 3/4”. May be you can help me.
Thank you.
Posted: 1:43 pm on February 2nd

rpeowen2 rpeowen2 writes: While remodeling a brick row house in Albany, NY we had some brickwork near the floor of an interior wall that needed to be repaired. Since we were leaving the bricks exposed (very in back then) we wanted the brickwork to match in color and quality. After the repairs were made it became obvious that none of us were bricklayers and we had to cover it with something. Since the wall was shared with a church, we decided to make a church door about 12" tall, laminated arch, little strap hinges of wood, door handles the whole thing. Everyone who looked at it wanted to know if it opened (it didn't) and what it was for. Seemed obvious to us: Church mice.
Posted: 12:26 pm on February 2nd

FredsWorkshop FredsWorkshop writes: When my daughter was expecting her first child (born Valentine's day 2010), she asked if I would be able to make her a dresser with a changing top that could be converted,in time, to a normal dresser top. Using pocket screws and a quarter-inch fascia strip to hold screws temporarily for the front rail, I was able to attach it as well as the side rails, from underneath, hardware unseen. With the baby now just about a year old, I have recently replaced the dresser top rails and the fascia strip to create the dresser top she had envisioned. Because we live in different cities, I kept her abreast of the progress by posting photos at:
Posted: 10:56 am on February 1st

GNiessen GNiessen writes: We cut down a dying cherry tree a year before we started building our new house. The base log was 9' long and over 2 feet in diameter. I could barely move it with my tractor. My wife wants me to build a built-in booth dining area with a raised platform that will give a better view out the window that ended up a foot higher then we would have liked. She also want me to incorporate some reclaimed wood we got from an old family home in Kentucky. We already did most of the window trim in 100+ year old Tulip Poplar. Some of it is amazingly green. We even have a set of stairs about 8' high that she wants in the living room. They came originally from an old Catholic church before being use in the old house, so at best guess they are about 130years old. And two big hand hewn beams about 8x9 and 12 and 16 feet long. But I have do so something. I have so much wood in my shop I can barely move.
Posted: 7:08 am on February 1st

GNiessen GNiessen writes: We cut down a dying cherry tree a year before we started building our new house. The base log was 9' long and over 2 feet in diameter. I could barely move it with my tractor. My wife wants me to build a built-in booth dining area with a raised platform that will give a better view out the window that ended up a foot higher then we would have liked. She also want me to incorporate some reclaimed wood we got from an old family home in Kentucky. We already did most of the window trim in 100+ year old Tulip Poplar. Some of it is amazingly green. We even have a set of stairs about 8' high that she wants in the living room. They came originally from an old Catholic church before being use in the old house, so at best guess they are about 130years old. And two big hand hewn beams about 8x9 and 12 and 16 feet long. But I have do so something. I have so much wood in my shop I can barely move.
Posted: 10:02 pm on January 31st

KenHANGITALL KenHANGITALL writes: I did a job with a carpenter that was a basement remodel and the entire job was meant to be a english pub style rec room. The plan from the start was a drop ceiling with a tin ceiling look. The walls were finished and the owner told us she now hated drop ceiling and could it be sheetrocked. There are many valves and junction boxes and wires that needed to be used later so this was not an option. The next day she came to us with a picture of a beach house that she wanted the room to look like now, My solution to this problem was to make beams with shiplap bead board panels that were pickled and removable. It actually cam out great even if it took three times as long to build as it should.
Posted: 9:03 pm on January 31st

obi96 obi96 writes: I did a lot of work for a creative marketing type a few years ago. He had bought an old one room school house in rural Vermont, whos only bathroom was at the top of a very steep set of stairs.
He had a second toilet installed on the first floor, but it only had a free standing screen for privicy in the open floor plan. Awkward to say the least when hosting a party.
He charged me with building a circular enclosure with a door, 8 feet tall and clad inside and out with rolled aluminum flashing which apon completion, He dubbed the "rocket potty"
Posted: 2:15 pm on January 31st

Smearedpaint Smearedpaint writes: You want me to build what?

I have to start this by being honest. It was not me that was asked to build this interesting item. It was my boyfriend. He is a new boyfriend and a wonderful man. He has described many things he has custom built for clients over the many years he has worked in contruction. He owns quite the custom cabinet shop, and is modest about his work. I find it truely amazing the detail he and his team put into their work. Being an artist myself and appreciating the detail and difficulty of good design I am impressed with what they produce. One thing I love to hear him describe is a door a client wanted. Yes, a door, his client wanted a door custom built. Now its a door. How can it be complicated, or interesting? I know that I personally love old doors the wood, the feel of the peeling paint from years of application. I can go to a re-use-it store and be enthralled for hours looking at doors that were once part of someones home, office or building. I can run my fingers over the edge and wonder at the many people who have touched that door. Who they were, what they were doing, what that door opened too or closed off. What did that door conceal? Doors keep us safe, hide what we dont want seen. A door can be so many things. They open to allow those that we love access to our lives. So, to me a door can be very interesting indeed. The door he was asked to build happened to be a pocket door. Have you seen pocket doors... they certainly can be one of the most plain of items, after all they are hiden most of the time. However they are used when we dont want that door taking up space in our rooms. So we hide our door, pretending it is not even there. This particular door was a very large pocket door, and it was not just one... but two sides. It was to measure 3' wide, 6' in total width by 8' tall. and be 3 inches thick. That is one very large pocket door! A pocket door to be slid open and closed. What was it to conceal... a kitchen. A place where we gather as friends and family to enjoy eachothers company. The kitchen refered to as the heart of the home. Where wonderful meals are created and messes made, dishes piled high. This door was HUGE by door standards and heavy, but they set to building it. The large catch... the pocket door must blend into the wall look attractive like the fine cabinetry they had built. Oh and did I mention it must also open like a regular door on a swinging action! WAIT, They wanted a pocket door that they hide in the wall HOWEVER it must open like a regular door, but on a swing action? Yes... so the caterering companies can back into it with hands loaded with food. Concealing the kitchen and the possible mess, from the company in the opposite room. The other catch... not being able to tell that there is a door within the door. Did he build it? Yes he did! It is by far the most interesting and beautiful door. Looking at it closed you would never guess there is a door within a door. It can be latched open or closed, looking attractive like very large built in cabinetry. I can now imagine in my mind the numbers of people who will pass thru that door that is not just any door... but two doors. A door within a door, I can wonder if they appreciate the craftsmanship and care that was taken going into such a creation. I know there are those that will be amazed and others that will pass through it without thought. I however will know that is something that that man of mine and his team designed, created, and installed. That door keeps people out, hides messes, allows access to some denys it to others. That door is part of a very beautiful home. Doors are truely interesting and amazing when you think about it.
Posted: 2:18 pm on January 28th

Farmersteve Farmersteve writes: A few years back, my sons Junior class had to decorate for the Junior/Senior Prom. Since I'm the dad with the most tools, I said if they needed anything I would be happy to help. I didn't know the theme for the prom was going to be "A Night in the Chocolate Factory". The next thing I know I've "volunteered" to build Willi Wonka's boat. It took quite a bit of head scratching, but I ended up with a boat with a working paddlewheel(powered with my cordless drill with a ziptie on the trigger) and gaudily painted by all the kids. I'm sure it wouldn't have floated but it was a big hit at the prom.
Posted: 11:28 pm on January 27th

slowman slowman writes: About 2.5 years ago I went to work for a company just opening on a new site, as a marcom manager. they were planning a new show room for their wares and learned that I was kind of a serious weekend woodworker so they asked me to help in this project. they then went on to enlist the lowest bidders for the job, a fact that became painfuly obvious as soon as the plans from the interior designer came in - they were all the wrong measurements and absolutely counter ergonomic in every possible way. It took me two weeks to convince them that the 5000 $ worth of plans would produce cabinetry they will never be able to install, let alone use, and 2 days to come up with better plans. than I went to the carpenters shop, rented his place from him with all his best workers, and proceeded to produce perfectly fitted built in cabinetry, trimmed in white oak and zebrano, all 160 linear feet of it fitted into a room with no straight corners using a two man team in under 3 days, and saving them almost 20,000 $ along the way.
But that is hardly the odd point about this story. the best is yet to come - 1 year later the CEO calls everyone to the conference room, and announces that as we are not doing so well, half of us will be let go and the others will move to a new, smaller facility. he then proceeds to say it will be done in one week, and then goes and cuts down the power saying we cannot afford it. Since times were hard and my pay was OK, I was willing to do much to keep my job, So I end up dissasembling the entire show room cabinetry that took three men to install three days, alone, using a headlight, in pitch dark and no AC 2 floors below ground in dead winter. and without breaking anything, so I will be able to reinstall it in the new place. and in 5 days, while also dissasembling and packing all the other furniture in the building. and then we land in the new site, and I get the worst shock as I see the new place for the show room, which is half as large as the last place and the movers have thrown all the cabinets into the place in one big heep. I played moving blocks with 40 pound cabinets for 2 weeks trying to sort everything out and had to canibalize and remake many of them to fit into the new place, using just a skillsaw, a straight edge, cordless drill, screws and glue. after all is done I felt realy good with myself and then comes the real surprise - the CEO marches into the room, ignores the miracle I have literaly performed for him, looks up, and says: "havent you noticed the empty space above my office?" while poining to a dark opening 3.5 meters above the floor in one of the walls. "why have you not done anything to use that?" and storms off, clearly unsatisfied. Fearing for my income with a new baby on the way and my wife not working, instead of telling him to go to hell, I borrow a ladder from the bouilding's maintenance crew and climb up. indeed, there is a small room beyond that opening that can be used for storage. but the opening is in a position imposible to get to by a conventional staircase, especially one that you have to navigate safely with heavy and cumbersome loads. then an article about torsion boxes and shelfs with no supports from fine woodworking comes to my mind, and I decide to build a torsion box from the wall just under the opening out into free space and connect the stair case at right angle to it. I make all the calculations and produce a 4 by 5 foot square torsion box out of 2 by 8 clear pine with inner bracing in a full diamond patern with a double layer of 3/4" hardwood plywood top and bottom outer skin bonded with about half a galon of yellow glue and 200 deck screws and hook it up to the cement wall with 12 3/4" by 10" cement anchors. this platform could bear a load of 400 pounds on its lip, and over double that on its middle, without saggging even 1/16", to which I attach a single flight of stairs with 18 steps, 4 more than local building code allows without a landing, and then proceedn to invite the building inspector, explain the situation, show him my calculations and receive a special permit for the entire job.
were they satisfied then? of course not. a swine will not become a gentleman even if you deck him with gold (or oak, zebrano, and miracles) I am now in a better place and sewing them for the last few months they have never paid. I believe this is what they mean by a hard earned lesson. or maybe I am just a slow learner. should have read the signs and all that.
hope you enjoyed my (long) short story, thanks for reading.
Posted: 9:23 pm on January 27th

PSeverin PSeverin writes: I called it the "why Lord me" project. A house client said her former boyfriend wanted us to re-clad the 1st house they had built when they were together in Seattle. It was not a very pretty house in the one photo I would see of it... a stark 2 story structure over a basement garage, tiny punched window in fields of Masonite siding under shallow gables. What does he want it to be I asked?

A Japanese bungalow he said.

Can I change the roof? No he said. Can I change the eave, no... Can I see a picture of the side and back of the house...and he was too embarrassed to give me one. It's so ugly he said. Here are floor plans.

I could hardly drive over to see the thing. I live in St. Paul and Seattle is not close. But we must solve the problems we are given and well designed things don't really need much help. In the end it looked remarkably better and yes just slightly Japanese. We were both pleased with the results. It would be years before I could sort of see it through the thick Washington tree growth.

I know some will say a house isn't furniture. But it's just the way you look at it. Buildings are just big decorated boxes we bump around in instead of into. And this project was truly a "you want me to do what?" event.

Posted: 8:07 pm on January 27th

davidleo davidleo writes: I want what? A décor piece. That is a real challenge to make. A six pointed star with each triangle shaped as a mobius strip. The 180degree twist in the triangle will be distributed evenly around the three sides of the triangle. Where the two triangles meet will have half lap joints. This item is currently under construction.
Posted: 6:32 pm on January 27th

caryhson1 caryhson1 writes: Things already build and crossed off the list are:
A sofa that was detachable at the center in order to make it onto a NYC elevator.
A Cajon drum/side table
A 5’ diameter ceiling light fixture with 4-60watt bulbs
Wedding centerpieces out of painted Holly branches with an entry piece of a hollow log self standing shelf system
An Ipe Ofuro style Bathtub

Things still on the to-do list:
A new harp, requested by my harpist sister
A rocket ship for fighting aliens, request of my nephew.

More requests to come I am sure.

Posted: 12:09 pm on January 27th

LocoJoe LocoJoe writes: Several years ago I received a call from one of my customers asking me to look at a drawing and submit a bid. I was shocked, to say the least, to open the drawing and find a toilet seat complete with specifications and drawings for the hinges as well as the nylon bumpers, finger lifts etc., for the seat. Turned out it was for an aircraft modification plant. The specifications included how it was to be painted, the type of screws to be used to mount the hardware and everything had a +/- 0.020 tolerance requirement. Oh, and did it mention that it was a modification of a cheap toilet seat used in commercial outhouses? I got the bid ($235.00 each!) and made approximately 200 of them over the next few years!
Posted: 9:01 am on January 26th

Black_Cat Black_Cat writes: Regarding my post on January 20, photos are now displayed in the Readers Gallery. Check them out at:
Posted: 4:40 am on January 26th

Denru Denru writes: About fifteen years ago, a woman asked me to replace a standard staircase with a circular staircase that connected the same two landings. When I tried to explain the folly of building a pointless loop in the middle of a flight of stairs, she was unfazed. I finally convinced her to reconsider by using sections of her son's slot car track to demonstrate the function of a circular staircase.
Posted: 8:02 pm on January 25th

Allencarl Allencarl writes: I was asked by the pastor of our church to build a full size electric chair with all the bells whistles and restraint straps to look as realistic as possible. I found pictures on the internet and outdid myself making it look as sinister as possible.
His reason; he wanted to demostrate the cross was really a very cruel punishment designed to end life, but we now wear it as jewelry forgetting what it really stands for.
He had it on the platform covered with a black cloth and when he came to the right point in his message, he asked if we would like to wear jewelery that looked like this, and at that moment he ripped off covering and there was this soft gasp heard in the audience.
They have since used it at wedding receptions as a gag on the unsuspecting groom.
Posted: 7:48 pm on January 25th

Dadzor Dadzor writes: bbeck2 writes: This past summer I was asked to build a coffin for a family friend’s grandfather. Having recently passed, I only had 2-3 days to complete the project.

I did a double-take when you said you didn't have much time because you were recently deceased. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that you are still writing half a year after your untimely demise.

Thanks for the (unintended) chuckle.

Posted: 6:18 pm on January 25th

MNWild MNWild writes: Did a time and materials project for a client, sent my best man, Tim for the project. At the end of the project, the cllient called about the bill, specifically Tim's bill rate. The client explained that he knew that Tim had attended a training class a few months ago. The client then proceeded to deduce that Tim's hourly rate probably included the cost of his training. I explaind that while it did, it was spread out over many hours, not just his project. The client then explained that for his project, Tim would not have needed any of the expertise that he had acquired at the training class, so he wanted the value of that class subtracted from Tim's billable rate. You want what? The answer was NO!
Posted: 5:20 pm on January 25th

KenHANGITALL KenHANGITALL writes: I was thinking of a job I had in college where the boss came in one day with a pile of barn siding he found on an old fallen down barn and a few boxes of sheetrock screws. He wanted me to make very , very crude cabinets out of the boards with as much rustic appeal as possible so his wooden boxes would look even more refined and polished. I have to admit they had a certain rustic charm. He used them for a few years and I stopped in where his store used to be a few years later and the new owner had some glass ornaments displayed on them. I guess it was four hours well spent.
Posted: 4:09 pm on January 25th

bbeck2 bbeck2 writes: This past summer I was asked to build a coffin for a family friend’s grandfather. Having recently passed, I only had 2-3 days to complete the project. By the end of it I had offers to make 5 more.
Posted: 12:36 pm on January 25th

GEide GEide writes: In-flight goat-roasting cabinet??? Do you have photos? -Gina
Posted: 12:17 pm on January 25th

SenecaBud SenecaBud writes: No accordian desk or anything that complex but...When we moved into our Cape Cod style home in Brentwood, NH, my daughter's bedroom had a half bath - which, per the Cape's roofline, was cramped and had no storage except for the small cabinet under the sink. It needed a mirror - of course! But then I got talked into designing a combination mirror-cabinet to fit the constraints of the angled roofline/ceiling height. Without a real woodworking shop then, it was quite a challenge. The rectangular mirror was angled to match the roofline and as large as possible for the size constraints. Inside this "thing" were two small cabinets with dooors & shelves. The other storage cubbyholes were irregularly shaped per the overall shape as a trapezoid with a small top side and larger bottom dimension. I had to worry about weight so I used thin plywood where ever possible and pine for the primary wood. I finished it in clear satin oil-based poly, installed the mirror and I was flattered that my daughter showed it off to all her girlfriends who visited. Had I known at the outset how difficult the project was with all the weird angle joinery...I might not have done it. We no longer live there so I can't forward a photo.
Posted: 11:14 am on January 25th

vltrnjd vltrnjd writes: My daughter has her degree in forestry (great source for a woodworker). She is the Director of Education for a non-profit urban wildlife rehabilitation group. "Mom, I need a tree." "?" "It has to fit in a small car and have a wheel kids can spin to then answer a wildlife question and win a prize at fairs and shows. We'll use it to market our Ed. programs." Safety with children was a concern and it had to stand and be stable, but light enough for volunteers to carry. I made three cases that latch securely together - each light enough to carry and small enough when broken down to fit in small cars. It is a lovely five foot tall tree with a knot hole for animal photos to show up when the wheel is spun. A set of 5 two-sided wheels are easily interchangable and the cases carry supplies. Photos here:

Posted: 10:59 am on January 25th

Holry7778 Holry7778 writes: This was one of my many crazy ideas. It now threatens people in my living room. It was built while in college as a competition peice. It had a lot of input from my wife, who was then my fiance.

I only wish it could move in its own accord! Peolpe still ask what it is. And when they see it moves they are often left speakless. If was fun to build. Hope you all enjoy
Posted: 10:28 am on January 25th

Thomabubinga Thomabubinga writes: The most challenging thing I've ever made was during my internship, last year (I'm a student at a woodworking school in the Netherlands). A client came in with a problem. They needed a HUGE '&-sign' to be built (that's how we call it). It was about 80x60x30 inches, fully dimensional as the curved parts go past eachother in a 3-dimensional way. It was a pretty tricky thing to built, espescially because it had to be done in about 20 days, from first meeting the client, to finishing and delivering. We started making a skeletal-formed base. After that we glued and nailed 3 layers of wacky wood on the sides and finished the last layer with thin MDF. After a lot of milling and sanding it was sprayed in a white color and off to the client, leaving a bit of a problem because at first,it didnt fit through the doors....

When I asked them what it was used for, they said: "Ahh we just need it for a commercial photoshoot and then we will probably never use it again" *smile*
Posted: 10:06 am on January 25th

jbschutz jbschutz writes: A few weeks ago, I got a call from a woman in California that wanted me to make a custom box for her deceased husband's ashes. Well, I have done a few of urns, and I like to ask a few questions to help me design something special for each "client". Well, this one surprised me. She wanted one large box that would be able to house his ashes and hers......when the time came. In addition, she wanted a small matching box to carry in her purse with just a small pinch of his ashes.
Posted: 9:47 am on January 25th

jbschutz jbschutz writes: A few weeks ago, I got a call from a woman in California that wanted me to make a custom box for her deceased husband's ashes. Well, I have done a few of urns, and I like to ask a few questions to help me design something special for each "client". Well, this one surprised me. She wanted one large box that would be able to house his ashes and hers......when the time came. In addition, she wanted a small matching box to carry in her purse with just a small pinch of his ashes.
Posted: 9:47 am on January 25th

Ecbntmkr Ecbntmkr writes: One of the more unusual pieces I've ever been asked to make was a dining table with a limestone top. The client wanted a full sized dining table with a limestone top that was wrapped in cherry. The table had a piece of glass over the very top so that there was a flat surface to eat from, but you could still see the limestone under the glass. We used 2" tubular steel for the legs and support frame for the limestone. Once the steel support system was done, the piece of 3" thick limestone was cut placed on the steel legs/supports. I then used wedge anchors to fasten a board to the vertical face of the limestone so as to have something to fasten the cherry apron to. I then wrapped every visible part of the steel leg/support system with cherry so that the only thing that could be seen was cherry and limestone. We called in a glass cutter to fashion the top after I had finished the table top apron. I ran a 1/4" rabbet for the glass to sit in to be flush with the apron top. The client then used a skid loader to pick the table up and placed it in his dining room by driving the skid loader into his house (the floors were spancrete so that they could support the weight of the skid loader and the table.) I also built a coffee table for the same client using the same materials.
Posted: 9:45 am on January 25th

Vin68 Vin68 writes: 3 years ago I did some floor leveling carpentry for a new customer. The following year I did some more flooring work and built a small bookcase for their bedroom. As I was packing up to leave the lady asked if I would be willing to work on a "different" type of wood project.
Of course, my immediate reply was "yes".
She then hesitated to describe the project, stating it was a sensitive type of thing. I told her to just blurt it out.
She said she wanted a custom head board and foot board built. I told her that if it was within the capabilities of my skills and tooling that I would be happy to build it.
She said the head board only needed to match the foot board in appearance, but that the foot board needed to be hinged at the top and have a piece that opened up, making the foot board twice as tall. Then it needed some oak sliders that would extend up with holes in them to tie your wrists to!!
At that point, I just stood there with a blank look on my face and said "oh".
Then I figured what-the-heck. It's a wood working project and proceeded to build a "Dominatrix bed".
While in the process of building it, my insurance man stopped by to inspect something and saw it laying across my work bench. After getting a laugh about what it was, he started looking at the quality of work and is now my best customer and referral source.
Posted: 9:07 am on January 25th

pkennedy pkennedy writes: A few years ago a client called asking us to build a coffin for her cat. It was mahogany with side rails and a lined interior. Quite a nice piece. The most interesting part of the project was overhearing the initial inquiry. The conversation progressed something like this.

Do we make what?
Mame were you trying to reach someone else?
oh, I undertand. the plastic ones aren't proper for your pet.
Well, I guess we could do that for you. Let's see.
How big is your cat?
You're not sure - ok.
Where is your cat now?
In your freezer next to the frozen vegatables.
OKAY, Can you take some measurements.
With those measurements we could build a proper coffin for your cat. You are very welcome.

Now I come out of my office and have to ask the designer - we are building what? Did I overhear that conversation correctly? Needless to say for the next week there was one topic of conversation around the shop and speculation as to what the next request will be.

Be careful when looking in other people's freezers. You are never sure what you'll find there.

Posted: 7:59 am on January 25th

ranger175 ranger175 writes: My boss had me build a dog coffin, complete with carrying poles and carpet lining. At first I thought he was playing a joke on me, but when he re-appeared in the shop with the dog's dimensions and approximate weight, I soon realized it was no joke.
Posted: 6:57 am on January 25th

cgww cgww writes: I've posted a photo here -
Posted: 12:07 am on January 25th

cgww cgww writes: I have been fortunate in the past few years to do some woodworking for an interior decorator. While most of what they ask for is pretty standard stuff, on one occasion I was asked to build a flying carpet bed for and Aladdin themed child's bedroom. It took me a while to figure out how to make it function as a bed but still have the appearance of a wavy carpet. In the end I was able to find what I thought was a good solution to both. Though I was not able to see the final installation, I designed and built the bed to be supported on the wall along one side with a french cleat and the opposite side was suspended with cables from the ceiling. It was a fun challenge to build and hopefully enjoyed by it's new owner.
Posted: 11:49 pm on January 24th

GraniteLedgefarm GraniteLedgefarm writes: Ok,
while this is not a piece of furniture, I believe it is quite unique. We are nearly finished restoring our 200yr old 30x40ft barn. It was disassembled to the ground last year, a new foundation poured under it, the entire frame was repaired or replaced as necessary. I cut down and milled some 100 pine and ash trees for replacement timbers. The crown achievement of the project is the 5x7ft cupola on the roof. The entire roof of the cupola and sidewalls ROLLS OFF on a set of four rails along the ridge of the barn roof leaving the interior floor open to the sky. I will be installing a telescope in the cupola for my astronomy hobby.
Posted: 6:19 pm on January 24th

thing thing writes: i had to build some realistic tree for a store interior one had a diameter of 36 inches, as well as building a downsized cottage for a display case. the rest of the store was covered in shiplath sidding
Posted: 5:13 pm on January 24th

franco88 franco88 writes: i guess that if you want to ask "How does one use such a thing?" then everybody will think-" you're not an artist, are ya son!"
For my part, I would say that "out of bounds" is where most of the interesting games are played and that, making it up as you go is a sure way to have an interesting journey. There's a lot of fun to be had along the way, especially when you reach a destination that you knew nothing of to begin with but are thoroughly delighted with when you arrive.
Posted: 12:30 pm on January 23rd

Black_Cat Black_Cat writes: Some years ago, when the first of my six children got married, I offered, in the interest of expanding the gene pool, to build an heirloom baby crib for the first-born of each family. As a novice, spare-time woodworker, I was blowing smoke, as I really did not comprehend the intricacies of baby cribs, especially those built from scratch, with no plan. However, I was soon to find out, as the first daughter announced her expectancy. Not long after, a couple of others followed suite.

Of course, I had to let each pick their own style, and as luck would have it the first three had relatively simple tastes and picked from a Pottery Barn catalog, a basic, sled style, with only minor variations between them. I wasn't sure where to start, but I did manage to record most of the dimensions and trace on a piece of Masonite, the leg shape before getting kicked out of the local Pottery Barn store. From there, I soon became adept at cutting mortises in straight rails and tenons on straight spindles. Number two was a piece of cake, as it was essentially identical (except finish) to number one. Number three wanted a unique leg design, which was a little challenging, but it was otherwise the same as one and two. Ergo, I was now a master crib builder... of that design.

When number four announced, being all cocky and sure of my talents, I emailed her a number of crib photos from the internet, including some complex ones, thinking she wouldn't pick them because they were too weird. Well she not only picked one of them, she picked the most complex of the bunch, which had round and curved everything, and then she had the nerve to ask for a few other features on top of that. This design was not available in Pottery Barn, and they wouldn't have let me in anyway, so my graph paper tablet and I became very good friends as I spent the first two months (I'm a part-timer)designing, contemplating, dreaming, and wondering how to build this crib. Fitting straight spindles into straight rails became a skill of the past as I now had to deal with round, S shaped rails (a mortise nightmare), and headboards that curved in two dimensions and featured raised panels with carved designs.

Well, after 11 months (yes, the baby was on time, but I wasn't) the crib was done, and turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself. So, I crated it up and shipped it on a freight carrier from Idaho to Virginia. However, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry. Due to a shipper glitch, the crate got hung up in Pennsylvania, so I had to meet it there and drive it to southern Virginia, to get it set up in time for number four's 2 month birthday party (what we won't do for our grandchildren, right!?)

OK, now I am absolutely a master crib builder, but numbers five and six are yet to come, so don't hold your breath.
Posted: 12:17 am on January 20th

nktattoo nktattoo writes: Now my wife wants an acordion end table and coffee table,thanks, I'll be scratching my head over this one.
Posted: 9:13 pm on January 18th

scobourn scobourn writes: I made a table for an interior design client using an old black cast iron Singer foot operated sewing machine base with an old Flexible Flyer sled for the top. Client uses it as a sofa table and is quite pleased with it.
Posted: 4:20 pm on January 18th

dataman dataman writes: A customer wanted two floor standing cabinets for her front room. Each about 8' wide but the difficult part of it was that her house was an A frame! Plus she wanted the finish to match the existing pine walls. The top was 16" deep to the wall the the bottom shelf was over 32" so it was an interesting if not confusing build.
Posted: 11:49 am on January 18th

Wood4Fun Wood4Fun writes: Client ordered a near square dining table with specific dimensions. Considered the space the table would be in, if I built to order, it would have filled the space.
After arguing with the client for some time regarding dimensions... I finally had to tell my WIFE that I'd just do what makes sense.
Posted: 11:38 am on January 18th

GEide GEide writes: CLA2Home, could you post a photo of the completed project in the gallery? Then post a link here so we can check it out? Glad to hear that it meets the client's needs!

mhein68, are you going to make it? If you do, please post a photo of the completed project in the gallery and share a link here.
Posted: 10:29 am on January 18th

CLA2Home CLA2Home writes: My wife asked for furniture with a purpose a hair care utensil caddy and it was a challenge because she is my toughest critic. I tried to find what she was talking about but she had specific needs for her hair equipment. After drafting up several designs she picked one and I went to work on this very specific piece of furniture. I used birch because it was going to get a lot of use. She is very organized now with this piece of furniture and my wife loves it.
Posted: 8:06 am on January 18th

mhein68 mhein68 writes: This may not be odd but.. My 7yr old daughter would like a rack to keep her fingernail polish in "so she can see all the pretty colors"... At 7yrs old???
Posted: 7:11 am on January 18th

DWats DWats writes: Now if Momma starts playing that squeeze box, Daddy nor anybody else in the house will sleep at night. Cool design.
Posted: 4:00 am on January 18th

jtpesq jtpesq writes: My wife keeps asking me to justify "our" investment in tools, materials and time spent in the shop! She thinks that my excitement about a beautiful piece of wood and my obsession with making boxes is nuts. What could be crazier than that? (other than the fact that she puts up with me). Enter me too please.
Posted: 9:45 pm on January 17th

jwiggers jwiggers writes: That certainly looks like a "sound" piece of furniture.
Posted: 7:52 am on January 17th

StephenPaul StephenPaul writes: What a high note! an accordian desk
Posted: 3:46 am on January 17th

casaheil casaheil writes: I wonder how you store things in the bellows section of the chest?
Posted: 12:21 am on January 17th

mrfixitnow mrfixitnow writes: That's musically delicious!
Posted: 3:22 pm on January 16th

KenHANGITALL KenHANGITALL writes: I had a request to build a set of built in shelves to fit a building that was purposely built out of square. The building had to fit a zero lot line building that had to follow the crooked lot. The shelves had to try to look square but be built "crooked". As my father in law would say " A man on a galloping horse would hardly notice the difference." They would not let me build them to hide the out of clitter situation I think they wanted to show it off.
Posted: 8:28 pm on January 15th

FineWoodworkingEditors FineWoodworkingEditors writes: Brian, you've gotta share a crazy client story to enter! And even if you don't "sell" your own work, we're using "client" in the broadest sense... could be a spouse, neigbhor, child, etc.
Posted: 1:27 pm on January 14th

BrianS36 BrianS36 writes: What key is the desk in? B-sharp? Enter me.....
Posted: 1:07 pm on January 14th

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