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I built this:
I used of the I Can Do That projects from Popular Woodworking and modified it to fit.
Not fine furniture, but for utility and strength it's hard to beat. It allows reasonable case joinery ... or take the approach for modern wooden boats built of ply. The heavy keel and framing are gone, replaced with glued together egg crate structure which provides shape and strength.
Or you can really cheat and knock it together with assembly bolts - as he grows older simply lengthen the sides, then he can knock it flat for university or trade school.
About 10 years ago our city built a new library - the window seating, etc. is all varnished MDF - not as gorgeous as the oak or walnut of the past, but far better than Formica, pleasant to look at, and friendly to the touch.
This *is* a dilemma.
Cheers - Miles Thompson
One thing that I wanted to share with you, though, is that there actually are a great many people who make stuff at home, which is not the high end furniture you see all the time. I am not affiliated with the website I am posting, but I think it flies under the radar for woodworking folk because it isn't really for woodworkers, but people who want to build their own stuff. All you have to do is scroll through the shared photos under the "brag" section to see how many people have taken advantage of the plans on this site. I hope it makes you feel a little better, as if there is hope. Real people making real furniture. Sure, they're not "serious woodworkers", but does that really matter? Here's the link:
It'll look cool, you could probably build it in a weekend or so and it wouldn;t be too hard to outfit it with a few drawers, or just slide a 2 drawer file cabinet uner one end.
The upside is that you could stick a leg vise on it later and he'd have a perfectly serviceable workbench.
The idea of either Ikea, or spending a small fortune on materials for a quality piece sickens me.
I will look forward to your build and hope the idea catches on.
I really enjoy your web site and products.
Thank you very much.
Don't knock "Nawm", with a little imagination there are GREAT desks that will last.
If going the plywood route, Baltic Birch is a great "high end" choice. Lots of plys, few if any voids.
A good middle ground choice to consider is exterior grade MDO. It has a resonated paper surface that takes paint very well.
Do a cutlist. We can cut the parts at the shop.
The middle ground is there, and has always been there, but the demand for it is limited, as it isn't cheap, and the cheap stuff works just as well at the beginning.