Harvey Ellis Nightstand #4: Panels and Assembly

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Blog entry by DBrown52 posted 03-30-2015 04:17 PM 1896 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Rails Part 4 of Harvey Ellis Nightstand series Part 5: Drawers »

The panels on this nightstand are only 1/4” thick, so I re-sawed them to save wood and bookmatch the grain.

Edge gluing this thin is tricky, but doable with a few cauls. I don’t think I’ll do 1/4” panels in the future. It looks fine, but it’s light and has a tinny sound rather than a solid “thunk” when you tap it. I think on future projects, I’ll keep it at least 3/8” thick and backcut a rabbet to provide some needed heft.

The thin panel also gave me a legitimate scare that will change how I do things from now on. Typically, I leave them a little wide and then rip them down after glue-up in case the clamps mar the wood. I learned the hard way that ripping a wide panel on the table saw presents a kickback risk. Before I knew what had happened, my left hand was bleeding all over the floor from thrown cherry. I consider myself fortunate that the impact didn’t break my hand or cut me deeper. I had a bandaged and swollen hand for a week, but it could have been so much worse. From now on, panels will be glued up to their final size. Stay safe out there, friends.

With the drama of the table saw kickback out of the way, I was able to assemble the carcass. Assembly was done in two stages. First, I made a “front” and “back” subassembly. Each subassembly has five rails between the two legs to deal with, so it was a little tricky and required a few dry runs.

After drying a couple hours, the subassemblies are then joined together with the sides. Two rails and a floating panel connect the front to the rear on each side. Before the top goes on, I’ll add 45* brackets to provide some extra strength. All panels float freely to allow for seasonal movement here in humid western PA.

I’m really pleased with how this is coming out. Tight joints on the outside, square openings for the drawers, and just a hint of a wobble on the four legs that can be sanded out.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Drawers and hardware next. Thanks for reading

2 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3262 posts in 2861 days

#1 posted 03-30-2015 11:20 PM

Dave, I’m sorry to hear about your accident. Nevertheless, it looks like you are making good progress. This is going to be a great piece when complete.

-- Art

View DBrown52's profile


65 posts in 2334 days

#2 posted 03-31-2015 03:32 PM

Thanks Art. I always admire your projects. The kickback was no big deal when put into perspective, just scary. The panel suffered a big gouge from the blade you can see in the glueup photo, but it will never be seen on the inside behind the drawers. I considered remaking it, then decided the nighstand and I could have matching scars.

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