Friday, December 21, 2007

Woodworking beats home improvement - my new cherry nightstands

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any of my experiences repairing and maintaining my old Cape Cod home. It’s not that there haven’t been things to do around the homestead. Far from it. I’ve squeezed in a few tasks over the past couple of months, but my primary focus has been on my hobby of choice: woodworking.

Woodworking beats home improvement any day... one of my two new curly cherry nightstands.That’s right, I’ve finally hidden myself away in the dark recesses of our basement to spend time where I love to most: my woodworking shop. The project? Two new cherry nightstands for our master bedroom, made from curly cherry (shown to the right). Naturally, there’s a story behind why we need new nightstands and of coarse, our charming old home plays a large roll in this story.

You see, ever since we’ve moved into our Cape Cod over five years ago, the nightstand for my wife’s side of the bed has not been next to the bed, but rather tucked away in the dormer adjacent her side of the bed. Turns out, the two cherry nightstands that I had built roughly ten years ago for our then new, modern, and spacious ranch home were WAY too big for our current old house. Who would have guessed that nightstands with 24-inch-side tops would someday become too big? In hindsight, you could land a small aircraft on those nightstands (or accumulate a lot of books or magazines, in my case).

What made me finally tackle a new pair of nightstands? Like most anything else in life, all it took was a little inspiration. That inspiration came from an article in Fine Woodworking magazine. The May/June 2007 issue of Fine Woodworking featured a story on applying a wax finish to furniture. On the issue’s cover was all the inspiration I needed. A modestly-sized nightstand with two drawers for storage... perfect! (See the cover image at

Only one problem with the inspirational photo: the story was about applying a finish to the particular nightstand, not how to build it. That meant I had to draw plans based roughly off the photo in the magazine. While that can be a challenge and certainly adds time to the project, the process of drafting plans helps keep you sharp, makes sure you stay keenly aware of attention to detail, and gives you an enormous sense of pride when the project is complete and you can say you built the nightstands from rough sawn lumber with your own plans.

As you can see from the photo at, the author’s nightstand was made from highly figured curly maple. I chose curly cherry and a natural finish because the rest of the furniture in our bedroom is made from cherry.

So, with this project almost behind me (the second nightstand still needs its finish), I need to focus on the homestead again. Ice dams again.

As for the fate of the old cherry nightstands, they made a perfect Christmas gift for my in-laws.


  1. Love the nightstand! How much for a book shelf? I really need one now that I moved the furniture in my living room... ;)

  2. Working with cherry is a bit more difficult than working with some other woods, but the fine results of your nightstand prove that the extra effort is well worth it!

  3. Well done Bergie!!! Your new cherry nightstands are really good. You have really done a nice woodwork. I think working with cherry is too difficult so congratulation.

  4. Hey Bergie,

    Your nightstand looks very nice. Yes Maureen lopez is right, you have done a nice woodwork.

    Keep posting. Have a nice time.