My wife and I wanted a curio cabinet for the living room. We looked at a few commercial ones, but once you get used to quality hand crafted finishes it is nearly impossible to find commercial furniture that has an acceptable quality of finish unless you go to one of a kind custom work or at least to short run nearly custom stuff. But, my wife did not want to wait as long as it would take the Worlds Slowest Woodworker to make one from scratch, so she gave me an Empire Clock Co. kit for my birthday. She knows that one of my favorite parts of woodworking is finishing, and so this was a nice compromise between hand crafted and commercial.

The kit came with the rectangular frames glued up. All that remained was to glue up the frames into boxes (top and bottom), apply the moldings, finish sand, and finish. It went together with very little effort. The joinery is not very sophisticated, but should hold up fine, and no one but me will ever look at the internal joints anyway.

The finish is Waterlox Trasparent, a polymerized tung oil product, wiped on in three coats, and then rubbed out with #0000 steel wool and wax. This gives a nice thin, very smooth finish, and the wood has darkened very nicely over the two years since I put it together. While not the accomplishment that a fully hand crafted piece would be, this kit resulted in a very nice piece of honest hardwood furniture, with not much effort. This is certainly a doable project for someone who does not have the skill, time, or tools to make this from scratch.