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A Valet in Michigan

November 26, 2014

I received a letter from Dan in Michigan yesterday and wanted to share it with you.

Dan recently finished making a Valet stand for himself, following the plans from my book,

The Unplugged Woodshop.

I think he did an amazing job on the project and the subtle changes he made are wonderful to see.

Great job on the valet Dan~ ( great photos too )

and thanks again for sharing it with us!

Side detail. Photo by Dan Morgner


     The project initially struck my interest because it involved several things that I had never dealt with before, so I took it as an opportunity to learn something new, challenge myself, and use a new tool.  The most time consuming part of the project, for me, was the feet.  After roughing out the shape, using rasps and a spoke shave to remove the remaining waste, along with cutting the unique mortises took some time but was well worth the effort.  Rounding the dowels by hand while keeping them uniform proved to be difficult as well. 

      If I decide to make another valet in the future, I will most likely choose a different wood.  While I couldn’t be happier with the way the mahogany finished, the ribbon figure that I encountered in the grain made it difficult to hand plane without tear out, even with the bevel up smoothing plane which made for some frustrating days.  Learning how to use the beading tool for the accents around the box was my favorite part, the beading adds another level of detail to this piece that makes it stand out.  

     I decided to make several changes to the original design.  I chose not to veneer the box, the back is a floating panel and I left a reveal around the drawer front to compensate for movement.  The seasons here in Michigan can do crazy things to wood. Overall this project brought on some new challenges but it was worth the time and effort for what I got out of it.

I have yet to buy your first book, but I bought the second one just for this project and it was immensely helpful.  I also wanted to thank you for all of the time you take to post information and videos online for the public.

Thanks again,


The Gentleman's Valet. Project and photo by Dan Morgner

The Gentleman’s Valet. Project and photo by Dan Morgner

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