How to Build a Nightstand
Housed tenons deliver strength, and tapers create a refined appearance
Synopsis: With its convenient shelf, drawer, and lower storage space, this nightstand is perfect for those who like to keep a lot of reading material next to the bed. The design features housed mortise-and-tenon joints, and the sides of the case are tapered both in thickness and in width. A beveled, stepped detail adds interest around the top, and a stretcher beneath the lower shelf has exposed tenons. The backbone of the project is the housed mortise-and-tenon joint, which has a stub tenon, or haunch, between full tenons. This gives the joint maximum strength, ensures a tight joint line, and prevents any warping.
I designed this piece for a retired librarian who wanted a nightstand that would double as a bookcase. Of course it needed a drawer, which I sized to accommodate pencils and paper or an iPad, along with other items. Since so many essential things compete for space…