Bedroom Nightstand

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Project by paratrooper34 posted 07-25-2010 04:39 PM 2167 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Everyone!

So I am posting my latest project – a Bedroom Nightstand for my wife. Now, by no means is this a work of art or the next piece to be featured in FWW. I posted this to show some stuff that I did with hand tools. It wasn’t solely done without power; I did use a router for two things: the edge treatment on the top and the grooves to hold the drawer bottom. I also sized all parts with a planer and jointer at the woodshop on post. All else was done with hand tools.

I made the little bead seen on the bottom of the sides and drawer (top and bottom) with a Stanley 45 with a ¼” beading cutter. I will say it took a lot of patience as the walnut I used was VERY gnarly; lots of grain differentiations. I got through it by setting the cutter very shallow and taking miniscule shavings. Definitely need a sharp blade on the 45. It really is a nice tool when you have it set up correctly. I am going to try to start using it more often now that I have learned to get some good use out of it.

The sides and back are mortised into the legs. Again, only hand tools for this. I used my LN saws to cut the tenons and squared them up with a LN rabbet block plane. So easy to make tight fitting mortises this way. Would it have been quicker with power tools? Yup, absolutely. However, I get a good amount of satisfaction with the hand tools (while listening to Old Time Radio!). Plus, I don’t have to deal with the mess and noise. I also have to give credit to my shooting board. I took the time to make a really nice one and it has added incredible accuracy to my work. All joinery is 100% square with no “fudging” to get pieces to work right or look right. The drawer is assembled with through dovetails as the drawer front is false. I was going to use blind dovetails, but decided against it to save a little time.

If you can see in the pictures, the legs are tapered. I have to admit, I fretted considerably on how I would taper the legs. I considered going back to the wood shop and doing it on the table saw. That would require me making a jig and getting it set up, etc. So I thought about and asked myself “How would they do this back in the day when there were no power tools?” With a saw and a plane was the obvious answer. So I marked out the tapers on each leg. I then put them in the face vise and sawed the waste out with my rip panel saw. Once I did that, I pulled out my Ulmia jack plane and got the cuts straight. Smoothed them out with a smooth plane, viola, it was done! I was actually surprised at how fast it went. Now this part of the table I would argue was just as fast, if not faster, than using a table saw or other machinery (when you consider jig making and setup, etc).

I sanded the tabletop only. Because of the highly figured grain, I could not get it completely smoothed out to look right. I tried my cabinet scraper, card scraper, and smooth plane and while most of the top was good, there were a couple of areas that just would not cooperate. So I sanded up to 600 grit and called it good. The table is finished with Wachsoel and polished with furniture wax..

It really is a joy to make furniture with hand tools. It helps relieve stress and brings satisfaction knowing you built something by hand. I am slowly weaning myself from the power tools, but I have to admit that there are some things that they do that are beneficial to me also. I think I am starting to find a nice blend between power and hand.

-- Mike

8 comments so far

View CampD's profile


1833 posts in 4826 days

#1 posted 07-25-2010 04:53 PM

I like the gnarly grain, makes it very unique!

-- Doug...

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 4278 days

#2 posted 07-25-2010 04:53 PM

Clean lines and simple design I like it . Good job…......................................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4390 days

#3 posted 07-25-2010 05:07 PM

Thank you for posting such a detailed project description. I appreciate it when people take the time to do this. You’ve already put so much time and usually effort into the project, that taking an extra 5-10-minutes to add the details really fills the whole thing out for me.

Sounds like you learned a little bit along the way too.

I’m sure your wife will enjoy this piece. If she does, a job well done!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5013 days

#4 posted 07-25-2010 09:32 PM

Nice nightstand.

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 4744 days

#5 posted 07-26-2010 12:27 AM

That’s the next project on the list (wife’s list) for me. Except I need to make two. I appreciate your post. It gave me some more design ideas as I try to formulate the details in my head.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 4382 days

#6 posted 07-26-2010 12:36 AM

I’m right there with you on the blend of power and hand tools. I’m going to take a dovetail course from the folks (Frank Strazza) in a couple weeks. It’s amazing how nice it is to break out the (properly sharpened) hand planes and saws to make something that will hopefully still be beautiful long after I’m dead and gone.

Since I have limited time, the table saw, jointer, and dimensional planer all are great for roughing things out, but a handplaned and scraped finish is amazing to feel.

Nice work, keep on posting!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4514 days

#7 posted 07-26-2010 12:48 AM

Beautiful project.
Great description.

As for me … I’m soldering some lamp cord to my one hand plane ;-)

-- -- Neil

View paratrooper34's profile


916 posts in 4292 days

#8 posted 07-26-2010 04:22 AM

Thanks everyone!

I know I really enjoy reading the “How To” part of projects, so I like to add that to mine.

Araldite, I already started laying out the wood for its match. The wife insisted I make one for each side of the bed. The boss wins out this time!

-- Mike

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