Homemade furniture and case

Good morning,
I have been having difficulties finding complete sets of wood furniture and case (for a reasonable price), which has led me to look into someone making a set for me. I have some questions:

1. What types of wood are the best? I have scraps of walnut wood (I know I should use a hard wood, but I think I could find a cheaper wood).
2. Do you recommend a finish/varnish/stain that I should put on the wood?
3. Does anyone know if a chart exists for the different pica dimensions for the wood, and/or the frame of the case?

Anything else you can advise me on is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Because furniture must be exactly square for precise lockup you are much better off finding a source for ready-made furniture and getting a rack made for it. Letterpress Things or Dave Churchman come to mind, but you don’t say where you are, so it’s possible their stuff would cost too much to ship. Too bad — I just sold a rack full of furniture for $10.

I wouldn’t suggest varnishing the furniture, since you don’t want it sticking to anything. I believe maple is the usual wood for it, though any hard close-grained wood would probably be OK. Precision of cut is the most important.

My Hamilton rack holds 2,3,4,5,6,8, and 10 pica widths of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50,and 60 pica long pieces, with room for probably 6 pieces each size.


There’s a place about an hour west of Iowa City that should have lots of furniture. Send me an email and I’ll find their business card when I am back at home.


Thank you for your quick responses. Wow, $10! I just saw someone was trying to sell a set with a homemade case for $450!!!!

I know that precise measurements are important, which is why I have been hesitant on having someone not familiar with letterpress equipment make me a set. Brad, I will shoot you an email!

thank you again,
- S