Last week I received a wonderful letter from Sarah, a wood worker in British Columbia, Canada. Sarah built a fantastic version of the hunt board project from my first book, Made by Hand.

She used a nice combination of wood species and added some textured details on the drawer pulls and leg tops.

Great job Sarah, and thanks again for sharing your project!

photo(11)

Tom,

I finally finished the sideboard and I love it, mistakes and all.  When I bought your book I was a beginner with an apron plane and a few chisels. So I jokingly tell folks the cabinet cost me a large fortune!  Seriously though your book and DVD were an inspiration and helped me prioritize my tool purchases and consider quality for life long use.   
When I bought your book my husband and I were living in a small cottage on a really small island ( no other people, or dwellings) totally off grid. After the first year we installed solar for basic electricity and a solar water pump to have running water.  I remember being in bed under the comforter and reading your book from front cover to back in one go. Sometimes,  even with the wood stove going in the winter,  under the comforter was the only really warm place to be in a cottage built for summer use.  You write so well and truly gave me inspiration.  At the time, I was wondering how I could get into furniture making on an off grid island. The cottage is 450 sq ft so my workshop ended up being  on the front porch with a tent awning protecting two sides so the rain wouldn’t come in. For a wedding anniversary my husband surprised me with a small work bench from Lee Valley that fit the small area.    I had access to a college shop with tools at one point and so did not do everything by hand.  I didn’t have any big planes at the time so was thankful to use their planer and jointer.  However, I did have to re-plane the top when I messed up the dovetails on the cabinet and that is when I fell in love with the low angle Lie-Nielson jack plane. Mistakes are learning opportunities and there have been many :- ) so many dovetails for such a small piece and like walking a dog in the forest, it does two or three times the distance of the actual trail. So to with my dovetails. If they had  all worked I would have an eight drawer cabinet!  
As I write this email the sideboard is visible and occupying a place of prominence in our home.  Actually,  we rearranged the whole house to accommodate it :- ). 
I changed a few things but not much, your design was the inspiration. I altered the grooves so the sliding doors can be removed, the legs are tapered a little more and the drawer pulls are modified grommets from Lee Valley with some texturing to go with the curly maple. I also textured the top of the legs. The wood is all local from Vancouver Island where I live. The cabinet and legs are arbutus and the door panels and drawers are figured big leaf maple.
I would not have attempted anything so beautiful without reading your book. Keep writing (and videoing) about your work it is obviously a real passion. 

Cheers,

Sarah
photo(15)
photo(13)
photo(12)