Poplar Endtable with exposed pocket hole joinery

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Project by treaterryan posted 08-17-2012 11:48 AM 3214 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First Project Post! I just finished this endtable for my little brother last night. It is made of poplar finished in with minwax dark walnut oil stain and topped with GF Arm-r Seal. I used prestain conditioner to help with the blotting issue I’ve read about with poplar. The bottom has 3 coats of Arm-r Seal and I put 5 coats on the table top, rubbing with 0000 steel wool in between each. The table is constructed with pocket holes to aid in the ease of construction. I did not have any 3/8” poplar dowels on hand, so I left them “exposed” for that “true craftsman” look.

It measures 18”x18” wide and 26” high. The bottom measures 16”x16” wide which allows a 1” overhang for the top on all sides. I left off the bottom shelf, I liked the way it looked without it.

My little brother just got his first college apartment and all he has is a bed and a TV. I promised I would make him this earlier this summer and I just finished it last night – he moves in today, so just barely hit the deadline. I figured he could use it as either and endtable off of his couch (if he buys one) or as a night stand. I wanted to put a drawer in it, but I have not reached that level of woodworking yet. All of the wood was purchased at HD – still working on buying a planer and jointer.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

10 comments so far

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 2953 days

#1 posted 08-17-2012 12:28 PM


That’ll hold up better than anything he’d find at Ikea. :-)

Having gone thru 4 kiddos in college, I would suggest the shelf on the bottom. They will never have enough places to put things. :-) You can just make something that lays on the support beams. That way, he can remove it if he wants.

BTW, love the ‘true craftsman” comment. I also love pocket holes.

-- -- Don from PA

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2553 days

#2 posted 08-17-2012 12:32 PM

Hi Neighbor! Thanks for the comments. I may add the shelf on later. I have to deliver it tonight up in Slippery Rock.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 08-17-2012 12:52 PM

Great job!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 08-17-2012 02:13 PM

Thanks Jack. This is my best project to date. I would like to make a matching pair with drawers and M&T joints soon to hone my abilities.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2454 days

#5 posted 08-17-2012 06:06 PM

Very credible first effort. Wise to not try something super complex to start with. Certainly much nicer than the stuff I built for my college brother many years ago !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1082 posts in 3439 days

#6 posted 08-17-2012 06:33 PM

Nice looking table.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2553 days

#7 posted 08-17-2012 07:47 PM

Thanks everyone! I can’t wait to make more projects as I love hearing everyone’s comments.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View je_superfly's profile


74 posts in 2376 days

#8 posted 08-17-2012 08:07 PM

Excellent project Ryan! I made something similar to this with what you were describing for my brother. I did the bottom shelf and a drawer on mine. I like the finish you chose better though! I’m sure your sibling will enjoy this well past his college years!

-- -James, Sumerville SC

View Oldtool's profile


2751 posts in 2457 days

#9 posted 08-18-2012 01:52 AM

Well done, first project or not. From the photos the joinery looks tight, no gaps. That’s a good thing.
Arm-R-Seal is a nice finish, and you did a good job with it.
Happy woodworking.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Popsnsons's profile


387 posts in 3247 days

#10 posted 08-18-2012 03:21 PM

I’m sure it will be greatly appreciated. Nice work!

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

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