Small Projects #56: Walnut End Table Done

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Blog entry by Madmark2 posted 12-05-2021 04:30 AM 769 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 55: My first ever router inlay! Part 56 of Small Projects series Part 57: Pool Table Rebuild »

After the success of the walnut air filter cabinet SWMBO decided she really liked walnut and asked for a matching end table.


I hate sharp corners. I tend to carom off things and I can’t count how many times I’ve been gouged by sharp corners. The top is 24” sq and made from a glueup of four 7/8” x 6” (actual) boards. The edges are routed and corners rounded.

Leg Pairs.

I started with six, 1×6 x 2’ S2S boards. Cleaned one edge and ripped each into two 2-9/16” pieces. The 12 pieces were then color and curve matched for four 3-ply leg blanks. Once the glue dried overnight, each leg was slightly trimmed to get rid of the glue squeezeout. The legs were then planed until perfectly square at what turned out to be 2-3/8” finished.

Two adjacent faces on each leg were beaded in from each edge with a triple beading bit on the router.

A shelf is planned and the legs have a 3/8” deep dado routed for the 3/8” x 2-1/4” shelf supports.

SWMBO specifically requested tapered legs. Given the requirement for a drawer and a shelf, the max length for the taper was only 5” or so. I decided that I’d taper to half the leg size or 1-3/16”. I drew the angle on the router wing, moved the fence over and fiddled with the taper gauge until the angle lined up. Drawing a line 5” from the bottom and aligning the leg in the jig until the line was on the edge of the kerf of the ZCI. Locking everything down allowed me to cut dual tapers on the inside faces of each leg.

The legs are 2-3/8” thick and you can’t cut the tapers in two passes. So I was forced to raise the blade just about full up but was still 1/8” shy of a thru cut. I cut as far as I could and then flexed and snapped off the last little bit. Fortunately the beading had removed some material. The remainder was easily sanded off leaving clean, smooth tapers all round.

The taper cuts have a certain “pucker factor” due to the high blade exposure. Normally there is a cut hazard, but at that height a full amputation is possible. Combine this with the the different stance (to right of fence, pulling taper jig & stock tight to rip fence – out of reach of STOP sw!) and I’m not ashamed to admit I had SWMBO watch me work for those cuts … just in case.
The build plan was to make the two sides first and then the front and back. This order is needed because the apron has a drawer on the front and the final front and back dimensions are dependent on the drawer finished size.


The drawer construction is such that the drawer can be pulled out to full extension but won’t fall out. This is done without metal drawer slides. The key is to leave the rear of the drawer proud. The bottom of the rear is flush (and glued to) the top of the bottom plywood. This leaves ~1/2” tongue sticking up at the rear. This acts as a catch and requires the drawer front to be tilted up to be removed. Quite handy to have drawers that won’t fall out.

The walnut front and pine slab sides are joined with the Fast-Joint Mini patterned dovetails. The back is dadoed into the sides. The bottom fits into the dados on the sides and front, and is glued to the bottom of the back. The bottom was some 1/4” walnut ply scrap I had left from the air cleaner cabinet .

The Fast-Joint Mini comes with two guide bushings, standard and tight. Up to now I’ve been using the standard guide and, as my technique has improved, the joints were loosening as I was cleaning out the templates better. So for this (and presumably future) projects I moved to the “tight” guide bushing. I also re-centered the guide as precisely as I could. I was rewarded with perfect fitting, rigid joints. The went together and came apart with the rubber mallet during dry fit and formed perfect tight joints with zero play. After gluing & clamping there was hardly a hairs breadth difference between sides and front.

The drawer has received its first of three “wet” coats with 50%-50% poly-MS mix. I don’t just brush on one pass and quit. The first couple of coats soak into the wood quickly and I keep applying until the wood stays “wet”. I find that this builds quicker than just one thin coat but still cures quickly.

After the top was finished it was placed into the sun for an afternoon to harden the final coat.

Ready for final base build.

The 1×8 aprons are attached to the legs with double #20 biscuits at 2” and 5-1/2” down from the top. The slots in the apron were nominally in the middle of a 3/4” actual board. To space them close to the middle of the 2-3/8” legs, I simply set the biscuiter on a piece of 3/4” scrap and the aprons were automatically nicely inset.

… the next day …

Built the front frame around the drawer. The original plan was to rip the front into three pieces and the center into three, drawer front and two ends. Well that failed when I cut the wrong face of the drawer front dovetails. (sigh) Plan B: Cut the ends separately and run ‘em vertically.

Front face and back were ready so it was time for main assembly. It went together with a little help from SWMBO. Looking good. I’ll let it sit in the clamps overnight.

In clamps on my “bench”.
Good shot of the shop too.

… time passes …

Building the drawer slides:
The two guides are pieces of 2×2 with one quarter cut out. I made one set from a piece of scrap 2×10 x 18-3/8” long and I needed 18” +- a RCH.

The trick to cutting out 1/4 of square stock is to have the blade slightly higher than the distance of the fence to the far side of the blade. Being a little deeper in the cut insures no residue in the corner. Ideally your depth and distance are exactly the same, but getting it dialed in can be touchy. Faster, easier, & guaranteed no ridge in the corner if your blade is a bit (~1/16”) high.

WARNING: The 2nd cut traps the removed section. STAND ASIDE OF THE BLADE TO AVOID KICKBACK. on my saw the offcut just falls away due to the length, but kickback is possible in this cut!

Trimming the bars to length is key. You can’t dowel or biscuit. They don’t need to carry a ton of weight so a snug butt joint is needed. I marked and left the line and snuck up on the fit 1/32” at a time.

I carefully duplicated the layout of the drawer cutout on the inside of the rear apron. I trimmed until I could just get the corners started. Since everything is flat, you can’t tilt the guides in. You get the corner started and twist both ends in place. Once I got them dry fitted, I put glue on the ends and positioned them quickly. I left the guides slightly shy of the drawer front opening and of the rear marks. Being a little sloppy prevents binding. You have to work fast as it takes muscle to get the pieces properly aligned before the glue starts to grab.

Drawer guide.

Once the rails were positioned, the drawer was placed on them from the inside. In this design the drawer is trapped. It can’t fall out and is travel limited by the rear stop bar. After the top is installed, the drawer is in there forever.

Drawer cannot fall out.

The rear stop was a piece of the ~5/8” 1/4 square cutout from the guides. I set the stop bar by putting it a little short and then pressing the drawer front flush. Clamping set it permanently in place. Someone might someday slam the drawer hard enough to break the join. I might drill & dowel the joint for strength.

Fit looks good. Needs a knob.

Well that’s it for today.

… About done …

Base has had its first coats of 50%-50% poly-MS mix. The padded feet have been nailed on. The drawer pull has been installed. The top is screwed to the base with a couple of 1/2” x 2” L-brackets. This is simple and easy and gives a way to remove the drawer. It’s basically done except for final coat of poly and that needs to wait a couple of days for the primer coat to harden.

Knob is installed after this pic.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

5 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5464 posts in 3321 days

#1 posted 12-05-2021 09:52 PM

Very nice…I like those joints.

View pottz's profile


22280 posts in 2317 days

#2 posted 12-06-2021 12:23 AM

lookin real sweet mark,nice work on the looking dovetails.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Madmark2's profile


3253 posts in 1921 days

#3 posted 12-18-2021 05:08 AM

Bump at completion.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View pottz's profile


22280 posts in 2317 days

#4 posted 12-18-2021 05:16 AM

damn nice my friend !

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Madmark2's profile


3253 posts in 1921 days

#5 posted 12-18-2021 05:46 AM

TYVM pottz.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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