Joe’s Fishing Boat Entertainment Center
By Joe Oliver from Eaton, IN
Added on September 30, 2013
My mom called one day asking what I thought about a boat-shaped bookshelf/dresser thing she had seen at a craft store. She wanted to put a small TV on it for use at their place at the lake. After looking it over, I thought, I could make that! And probably better! And probably for less than the price they’re wanting!
So I came up with a plan, materials list, and the tools I would need. I just recently purchased a decent table saw after saving up for over a year and I was dying to make something nice and big! I gave mom an estimate of what I thought would cover the lumber and some basic tools. Well, this being my first actual project, I was way off. It cost quite a bit more in both lumber and tools (and time) than I thought it would. But I have to say I think it turned out great and I learned a whole lot that I didn’t know just a few months ago.
I learned to make dados, bevel cuts, joining boards, big glue ups, routing, finishing and a lot more. It was fun and kept me wanting to get back out in the shop (I’m learning to call it that instead of my one-car garage!). Along the way, I came across a lot of “head scratchers” that had me thinking. So, of course, I went right to TheWoodWhisperer.com and watched and re-watched Marc’s videos, which got me right back on track. I’m grateful for this awesome resource for us new hobbyist woodworkers.
The boat is made of both maple and mahogany, and maple veneered plywood. I like the contrast of those two woods. The back is thin pine paneling laminated to plywood to give it a more rustic look. I stained it so it would be a similar tone as the mahogany. The cabinet at the bottom was an idea my wife had when I was having trouble coming up with a way to make the whole unit stable enough for a TV, yet keep the look and feel of a small fishing boat. I think her solution was just the ticket! My dad calls it the live well for his keepers. I drilled a couple holes behind the cabinet and the TV shelf, so that a DVD player could be easily tucked away out of sight. I even found a nice boat cleat to use as a handle for the door!
For the finish I decided to go with a wipe-on varnish, using Marc’s techniques to get a good build-up of coats. I wasn’t sure how to complete it to make it look great, so I came back here to see if there were any hints, and lo and behold, a video about finishing the finish had just been posted a few hours earlier. I followed Marc’s steps and it came out silky smooth. My parents love their new “boat” and I am thrilled with my first major build as a woodworker!