You pass Jeff Miller's shop window every day on your walk to the Metra train. You look at the website with the class listing every day. I know money is tight right now, that you're making about $34,000/year before taxes, that graduate school costs half of that, and that you need to cover all of your living expenses. But that table making class will be worth it, and will introduce you to endless happy hours of woodworking and some of the most talented and generous people you'll ever meet. You don't have any credit card debt, but having a few hundred dollars of it won't kill you. Trust me: in 2010 I don't remember what it cost, only that I made that beautiful cherry Shaker-style end table and learned enough to make more furniture afterward; that I was hooked; and that having things to do by hand after being in an office job all day will save your soul. Trust me. For all the books, videos, websites and other resources online, you'll make the biggest leaps and bounds in woodworking when you take a class with a true expert with decades of experience who can observe and help you correct and hone YOUR mistakes and form.
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This box is the fifth generation of this design. After each production run of about 20 boxes, I make slight design changes to enhance the look and simplify the machining. Any hardwoods would work, but since the box uses so little lumber, I prefer to incorporate highly figured woods. For safety, ease of construction and consistent cuts, I use a jig for bevel-cutting the legs and another jig for beveling the top surface of the lid.