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Plesums Woodworking Site

Charlie Plesums builds custom furniture, using first rate materials and techniques, to meet your unique size, function, or style requirements. He is glad to build moderately priced conventional items such as bookcases, entertainment centers, beds, and tables, but he also loves to build special items of exceptional beauty (sometimes called artistic or studio furniture). See the section about us for more about his background and over 60 years experience. Or just enjoy the examples of our work below.

Lumber prices vary wildly, and with the housing boom of 2020 have skyrocketed (or in some cases, the desired wood is not readily available). The prices on this site are still a good estimate, but are not updated continuously. If you are interested in a copy of something here, the price may need to change to cover my costs; if you want something similar, it is still an estimate. Let's talk!

With his engineering training, he has a special interest in design challenges - for example, jewelry storage built into a lingerie chest, or a bedroom entertainment center at the top of a chest of drawers. This web site shows the prices to reproduce previous projects to give you an idea of what your piece may cost. We hope you will enjoy looking.

Our other site

We learned many business and technology lessons as a solo woodworker that we started another web site to share those ideas.

Examples of our work

We often build entertainment centers, from the very straightforward to the complex (although with new electronics technology, fewer need to be complex).

These are three separate walnut "library" bookcases (library because of the doors at the bottom). They can be used together or independently.

A partner desk is narrower, front to back, than a conventional desk, so that they are convenient when placed back-to-back. We build them as two separate desks for future flexibility, including the ability to place them end-to-end.

A simple blanket chest is a great addition to a bedroom for out-of-season clothes and bedding. This is cherry, but it can be made from almost any wood.

Normally I would say I build furniture, not repair or refinish. But our own dining room table was in terrible shape: the old finish had worn off and the factory veneer was stained, so I re-veneered and refinished it. I think it came out well, and would love to do a similar job for you.

Over the years we have build many saddle stands, out of various woods and occasionally with inlays on the front like a brand or map or horse's name.

This is the first "product" that we also offer as a plan so that you can build one yourself.

This very large (over 6 feet tall) Dr. White's Chest (based on a classic Shaker furniture textbook) turned out wonderfully. I modified the design so the upper doors (too high to see into drawers at that level) were the full width, and the 7 drawers slid on wooden slides. The only plywood was in the drawer bottoms. I would love to see this piece in a year or two when the cherry matures to an even richer brown.

The customer then went on to have me build a triple dresser for his daughter, and two chests of drawers for his two sons, in a similar style.

It falls on the dividing line between conventional and exceptional - this customer wanted the piece built of solid cherry hardwood, no plywood. If I had been allowed to use plywood at the appropriate points, it would have cost half as much, making this a conventionally priced piece of furniture, with comparable (or even better) lifespan than the hardwood version.

Examples of our exceptional (artistic) work

This large round dining room table is 6 feet in diameter and easily seats 10 people. There is a lazy susan, 3 feet in diameter, in the center, about 1/8 inch above the level of the outer table. Of course, it is also available in smaller sizes.

This walnut lingerie chest features 10 drawers of various sizes (one of them hidden), with crotch veneer on the front of the drawers, and walnut burl on the top. It has numerous special features such as felt lined jewelry drawers with sliding trays, and a hidden latch to keep visitors out of the jewelry drawers. Not only does it provide useful storage, but it can be a dramatic addition to a bedroom - a special chest, perhaps added on a special occasion.

Walnut veneer Lingerie Chest 1874

This stand-up desk was built for someone who was planning a regular stand-up desk then finally showed us a picture of his dream desk - with lots of drawers. Of course, we can do that for him. The back is similar to the sides, so it could function as a lectern. He wanted some interesting wood for the writing surface, so we applied bubinga veneer to the top (and another veneer on the bottom so it wouldn't warp). The drawer fronts were copied from an antique desk - veneer on the handles and small decorative grooves above and below the handle (made with a custom cutter).

Personal service

We love the opportunity and challenge of building things to meet your special requirements, especially those that include unusual features (Charlie's engineering degree still shows) - we would be glad to chat about your needs. You may call (512-423-7560) or e-mail ( days, nights, or weekends - we work from our home, so you will have our personal attention. Despite the large amount of woodworking equipment, including an imported European combination machine the size of a car, our shop is still in our garage. We do not have a showroom... most of our furniture is custom made for a particular customer and has been delivered... but we do have a few items in our home that we would be glad to show you. We are not a licensed contractor, so generally do not build kitchen cabinets or other items that must be installed or built into your home.

Area served

We are located in Northwest Austin Texas, 78759. We travel to the Dallas area periodically to visit our son, and will consider taking something there for you. Most of our customers are local, so if it is impractical for you to pick up, and it fits in our minivan, we will work with you on delivery. We welcome customers from anywhere. Shipping small items is easy, but if you are interested in larger item and are remote, please check these issues.

Are we expensive?

No, but if you are looking for bargain furniture, it is not us! The large scale overseas factories using man-made or composite materials and automated machinery can do a better job building cheap furniture than we, whether sold by WalMart, Ikea, Crate and Barrel, or Rooms to Go. If you want inexpensive furniture, enjoy our ideas and suggestions, but please don't ask us to try to compete with these low-cost vendors.

If you want good quality furniture that will last a lifetime, we are competitive with quality "store-bought" furniture (but see our notes on what we have found in some presumably "good" furniture stores). If you need a custom size or special feature in your furniture, we excel, because every piece we build is custom made to meet your needs. We are amused when we are often asked "what size does it comes in..." The answer is "whatever size you want."

One of our customers said they were "looking for a Toyota, not a Lexus." I know woodworkers who are clearly "Lexus" (and are far more expensive than we are). I can't say how our furniture is less than theirs, but our focus is on value for the customer rather than absolute perfection... I like the "Toyota" analogy. And our work should certainly not be compared to a "Yugo."

If you are considering having us build something for you, see our page on getting started

Competitive Bids

We do not want to do competitive "bids" to build furniture (or "bids" for comparison with commercially available options). We want to build furniture, not write multiple proposals for each potential sale, and have ample work from people who understand our costs, based on the examples on this web site, referrals, and personal discussions. Most of our customers have come back for two to five (or more) items, so we must be doing something right.

Designs and Dimensions

For each group of furniture, in addition to the construction details for individual pieces, we have also included sizes, facts, and figures we have collected from countless sources. These can be your starting point, as they are ours, if we are going to build something for you.

If you are a woodworker who is planning to build your own furniture, we hope you find the data we have collected to be useful. If you use our data, we only ask that you share your experiences and any lessons learned with us.

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This entire site (layout and contents) ©2003-2020 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

We primarily serve Austin and the Central Texas area, but travel to the DFW area periodically and are glad to serve the Garland, Plano, Dallas, and other North Texas areas, and are willing to ship anywhere.