Build a Bedside Table
This small project features stout joinery and angles that will challenge your skills
Synopsis: This is a sweet little project that is not only fun to make, but is also packed with challenges and lessons on creating strong joinery in delicate parts. It has splayed, tapered legs, angled joints, and asymmetric drawers. Because the parts are so slender, it relies on well-engineered mortise-and-tenon joints for its strength. Garrett Hack shows you how to build the piece and deal with the angles and tapers.
I love building small tables. They are not only fun, quick to make, and useful (or saleable), but they’re also perfect for trying new designs and techniques. in my teaching, O have found they are ideal projects to improve hand-tool and joinery skills.
This sweet little table is loaded with lessons and challenges. it’s also a great showcase for creating strong joinery in delicate parts. it features splayed, tapered legs, slightly angled joints, and two asymmetric drawers that fit not-exactly-square pockets. I’ll show you how to build this piece, and give you tips on how to deal with angles.
Taper and mortise the legs first
The legs taper from top to bottom. Before cutting them it’s a good idea to make a full-size pattern out of thin material. The pattern should show the joinery locations, as well as the foot layout.
I trace the pattern on the stock and cut the tapers on the bandsaw. Then i clean up the sawmarks and refine the taper using a smoothing plane. Once i have all four legs made, I play with their arrangement to pick the best show faces. Then I mark the legs so i maintain the proper orientation while cutting the joinery.
I chose to make 5⁄16-in.-wide mortises for these fine legs, allowing for adequately strong tenons yet not weakening the legs as 3⁄8-in.-wide mortises could…