Mid Century Inspired Nightstands

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Project by FenceJumper09 posted 02-23-2017 02:20 PM 2294 views 9 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After building the contemporary bed, the next step was to complete the nightstands!

Continue reading if you are interested in the process I used.

The nightstands started off with a trip to a local sawmill I found on Craigslist to pick up some walnut for the main assembly and some white oak for the drawers. I purchased most of the usable walnut they had and they were very accommodating!

I am currently a member of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild so I packed up the lumber and headed to the guild to “rough” mill the lumber down as it was pretty obvious it was still moving a bit. I then started cutting the lumber down into rough dimensions for the parts I needed. After a couple of weeks acclimating in the shop, I headed back down to the guild to get the lumber to its finished dimensions!

The first stage of the process was the glue ups for the main boxes and the legs. After they were dried, I cut the bevel on the front face and cut the 45 degree miter on the table saw. This process was a little nerve racking with my right-tilt saw but it ended up working fine.

I then used the taped miter process found in many threads on this website to put the boxes together and it worked great and was so much easier than the other options.

I then built the leg assemblies and started work on the drawers.

I decided to use the NK Drawer technique and it was a breeze once I read a couple articles and browsed hundreds of pictures! I dovetailed the runners into the sides of the boxes and only glued them at the front to allow for wood movement. I used white oak for the runners and hard maple for the slides, both waxed with paste wax. These slides are so smooth! I had some extra walnut veneer laying around from my table build so I used that to class up the drawer bottoms a bit.

For the drawer boxes I wanted to avoid doing a false front so I decided to try a half-blind offset dovetail (??name) I needed the offset to account for the way the NK slides work. I used my Rockler dovetail jig as I do not have the patience or skills to hand cut dovetails. The jig took some time to setup as this is not one of the typical dovetails in the manual. After some trial and error I got the fit I was going for. For the finish of the white oak I wanted to darken the wood without using a stain. After reading some threads on fuming, I decided to give it a try! I built a little tent out of a saw horse and a tarp in the carport. I had some ammonia from Lowe’s so I filled some saucers and let the white oak sit for 48 hrs replacing the ammonia after 24 hours. The final product turned out great and I look forward to using this process again.

The final, and most time consuming, step was the finishing. I was trying to match the bed I built so the steps were BLO, grain fill, wipe on satin poly. I tried the Aquacoat clear grain filler and did not get very good result. I think I should have started with it and then the BLO. After many many coats of finish and sanding I am very satisfied with the smoothness and sheen achieved.

Thanks for taking the time to check this out!

-- David, Center of Alabama, Clemson Tiger in Hostile Territory!

12 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1857 days

#1 posted 02-23-2017 02:39 PM

Very nice. Good job on documenting the build! Good looking drawers … although you cheated on the dovetails … LOL!

View FenceJumper09's profile


41 posts in 1807 days

#2 posted 02-23-2017 02:59 PM

Yes I cheated, but at least I was honest! There was a time constraint on this project as a new addition to the family will arrive in less than a month. I didn’t have the time to learn the process of hand cutting dovetails and wouldn’t have done them justice!

-- David, Center of Alabama, Clemson Tiger in Hostile Territory!

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3553 days

#3 posted 02-23-2017 03:17 PM

nice looking build

View Ottacat's profile


556 posts in 3061 days

#4 posted 02-23-2017 04:15 PM

Great looking tables. I don’t view using a jig for dovetails to be cheating. After all, did you cut the tenons on the leg stretchers by hand and chop the mortises purely with mortise chisels? Slippery slope as to what is ‘cheating’.

View pottz's profile


19974 posts in 2194 days

#5 posted 02-23-2017 07:34 PM

i agree totally with ottacat,if your into doing hand tool work great but using modern tools and techniques i fine with me.people hand cut dovetails 100 years ago because,well they didnt have power routers!its the finished product and the personal enjoyment that matters.and the result here is a pair of beautiful night stands,great job.

-- 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 dannmarks's profile


1028 posts in 1791 days

#6 posted 02-23-2017 11:01 PM

Cheating is when you are not honest. This was wonderful work and well done for sure. I know I would be very proud of them. In fact when I make drawers I use the Lock-Rabbet Drawer Joints which is even less complicated. Really nice work on this.

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3627 days

#7 posted 02-24-2017 04:15 AM

great looking night tables

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View CausticGuy's profile


17 posts in 1729 days

#8 posted 02-24-2017 04:27 AM

Very nice! Love the style.

View JacobPrince's profile


1 post in 1666 days

#9 posted 02-24-2017 10:17 AM

That looks very stylish. I would buy it from you. Is it for sale?
I love the wood texture it is made of. It plays important role for furniture, I am sure it it was built up of sycamore texture, that would not look nice as the one you have chosen.

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View FenceJumper09's profile


41 posts in 1807 days

#10 posted 02-24-2017 12:34 PM

Thank you all for the kind words!

Sorry Jacob, these are not for sale.

-- David, Center of Alabama, Clemson Tiger in Hostile Territory!

View Fiddy's profile


230 posts in 2520 days

#11 posted 02-28-2017 12:18 AM

Very nice job on these – great look!

View FenceJumper09's profile


41 posts in 1807 days

#12 posted 02-28-2017 01:23 PM


-- David, Center of Alabama, Clemson Tiger in Hostile Territory!

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