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This has been my most intimidating project to date, since it's going to be seen by a bunch of people on a regular basis, and was for someone with a pretty demanding eye. I'm more or less pleased with how it came out, though there were certainly mistakes made along the way.

Step 1: Parts!

Wood:
1/2":
3x - 2x4' finished plywood
1x - 2x2' finished plywood

1":
2x - 1x2'
1x - 1x4'
20x - 6x30"
10x - 8x8" 
2x - 4x24"
2x - 4x48"

1/2":
3x - 4x24"
4x - 3x24"
4x - 3x48"

1/4":
1x - 3x24"
2x - 1x24"
2x - 1x48"

Note: These lengths do not take into account the thickness of the pieces they're being layered onto, so don't cut until you're at the step that uses the pieces.

Trim:
(width/thickness depends on what you choose; the rope trim used on this was approx. 3/8x1/2")
1x - 50"
2x - 26"

Other stuff:
Lots of sandpaper
1 quart of paint
Small amount of accent color paint
Applique
Wood glue
3/4" nails

Step 2: Base and Upper Box, Part 1

The upper box parts designated "top [piece]"; base pieces designated "base [piece]"
 
  1. Cut the 2x4' plywood pieces to 23x47"
  2. Cut the 1x4' piece to 12x47"
  3. Cut the 1x2 pieces to 12x23", less the thickness of the 12x47" piece (mine was a hair over 3/4" thick, so my sides were 12x22 1/4")
  4. Glue and clamp the top front and sides to a plywood piece, so the front/sides sit on the top
  5. Finish-sand the insides of the top box (this is a huge pain if you wait until the end)
  6. When that dries, glue and clamp a second plywood piece to form the bottom of the box
  7. Cut the 1x4x48" pieces to 47" long
  8. Cut the 1x4x24" pieces to 23", less the thickness of the 1x4x47" pieces, long
  9. Glue and clamp the base front/back/sides to the 3rd plywood piece to form the platform
  10. When dry, sand all joins smooth

Step 3: Base and Upper Box, Part 2

  1. Cut the 1/2x3x48" pieces to 47 1/2" long
  2. Cut the 1/2x3/x24" pieces to 23 1/2", less the thickness of the 47 1/2" pieces, long
  3. Glue and clamp 2 of each to the top of each side of the base
  4. Glue and clamp 2 of the side pieces, and 1 of the front/back pieces, each to the top and bottom of the top sides and front
  5. Once dry, sand all joins flush
  6. Cut the 1/4x1x24" pieces to 24" less the thickness of the 1/4x1x48" pieces
  7. Glue and clamp the 2 side and 2 front/back pieces to the top of the top box front, back and sides; it should be layered onto the 1/2" pieces from steps 1-5
  8. Once dry, sand all joins flush
  9. Finish sand all surfaces

Step 4: Columns

  1. Glue and clamp the 1x6x30" pieces into right-angle pairs
  2. When dry, glue and clamp 2 right-angle pieces to form a column; make sure to overlap properly so the columns are square
  3. Sand the side joins flush
  4. Make sure that both ends of your columns sit level and all are the same height
  5. Glue and clamp a 1x8x8" piece to the top and bottom of each column; do 1 side at a time, making sure to center the column on the base
  6. Again check that your columns sit level on both sides
  7. Finish sand all surfaces

Step 5: Notes Holder Thingy

  1. Cut 2 1/2x4x24" to 18" long
  2. Cut an angle into the resulting pieces, so the front is 2" wide, ascending to 4", 2" in from the edge
  3. Glue and clamp these pieces to the remaining 1/2x4x24" piece
  4. Cut a 2x24" piece off the 2x2' plywood
  5. Cut the remainder of the 2x2' plywood so it is 18" wide
    (The cuts from steps 4 & 5 need to be angled so the pieces will join flush when attached to the frame)
  6. Glue and clamp the 2x24" piece to the flat part of the frame
  7. Glue and clamp the 18x24" piece to the angle part of the frame
  8. Cut the angle plywood so the front edge is a flush 180 degrees with the front edges of the frame
  9. Cut the 1/4x3x24" piece to 2 1/2" wide
  10. Glue and clamp the 1/4x2 1/2x24" piece to the front of the frame
  11. If your angle cutting is a precise as mine was, you'll need to fill some gaps with wood filler
  12. Finish sand all surfaces

Step 6: Test Fit/Final Surface Prep

Put it all together, without gluing, to make sure everything looks right. Fill any gaps/dings, etc. Give everything a final high-grit sand.

Step 7: Final Assembly

  1. Glue and clamp the columns to the base, 3 on 1 side, 2 on the other; they should be about 1" back from the base edge; make sure to wipe off any glue that squeezes out, as sanding those joins is nearly impossible without causing some damage
  2. Glue and clamp the top box to the base; make sure it's centered before clamping--this is the point of no return; again, wipe off any glue squeeze out
  3. Glue and clamp (well, sit something heavy enough to be surrogate clamp) the note holder to the top; make sure it's centered front-to-back and side-to-side; mind the glue

Step 8: Paint

  1. Prime the whole thing
  2. Paint the whole thing; lightly sand with high-grit paper between coats
  3. Also paint the trim and applique separately; for this, it was antique gold paint, which was selectively sanded back, and in other places added to, to create a distressed metal kind of look

Step 9: Attach Accents

  1. Attach, using nails, a long piece of trim to the top of the front of the top box; leave about an inch of overhang on each side
  2. Attach a piece of trim to each side
  3. Use a dremel or hacksaw to cut the front piece flush with the sides
  4. Similarly, cut the side pieces at an angle so as to blend into the corner curve at the back
  5. Sand the join into a smooth curve on the corners
  6. Touch up the paint to recover the sanded bits, and cover the nail heads
  7. Center the applique and attach to the front face of the top box, then touch up the paint
And that's that!

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