End Tables

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Project by DaveFFMedic posted 06-20-2012 04:54 PM 2067 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my first real woodworking project. I set out in my one bedroom apartment to make some end tables. I didn’t have a workshop, so I set up shop in my living room. Mostly hand tools were used in the construction with the exception of a router with a 1/4” spiral upcut bit to make dados.

I started with two boards with exceptional character. One is a 4/4 thickness, the other is an 8/4 thickness.

All of the pieces were cut by hand with 100 year old hand saws handed down to me from my grandfather. They belonged to his uncle.

All edges were planed flat and square.

The joinery was quite complex. Most of it was a breeze with my hand tools.

Two tables were eventually made. I did one at a time so I could learn from my mistakes. The second table was nearly identical to the first, except I used my dad’s table saw to mitre the table top. Doing that by hand on the first table proved to be nearly impossible.

The finish was boiled linseed oil and oil base polyurethane. I completed the finish with a coat of wax. The tables are now 9 years old and look as good as the day they were made. The drawer slides in and out very easily and the finish hasn’t been touched! I am extremely proud of these tables.

9 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2924 days

#1 posted 06-20-2012 05:12 PM

Beautiful piece and wonderful attention to detail (jointry).

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2975 days

#2 posted 06-20-2012 07:12 PM

you have great hand skills .

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3583 days

#3 posted 06-20-2012 09:00 PM

Wow! Excellent joinery on your night stand. It’s not just another table, that’s for sure!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Victor Kerr's profile

Victor Kerr

10 posts in 2833 days

#4 posted 06-20-2012 11:47 PM

verry nice , do what you can,where you are, with what you have. I dont think it could be done any better in a shop

-- Victor,Iowa,

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 2880 days

#5 posted 06-21-2012 01:15 AM

Amazing work! I am blown away by the joinery. Any of the people who claim you need top notch tools to create beautiful projects need to take note.

I have a question for you or anyone else about the top. I love that look, however I have been told MANY times to never frame solid wood with solid wood. I have always been advised to use plywood when framing it as you did. Is that one of those old wives tails or based on the theory of how the wood may react when swelling/shrinking with moisture, or is there some truth to it?


View DaveFFMedic's profile


82 posts in 2799 days

#6 posted 06-21-2012 02:37 AM

Thanks everyone. I have a lot more power tools and a garage to work in now, but I still enjoy cutting joints with hand tools. I think there’s no substitute for a hand cut dovetail.

Joe: As far as wood movement goes, it doesn’t move much for small pieces once the wood has acclimated to the environment in which it will live. The birdseye maple in the top of my table is only about 14 inches square. It has moved a little and you can feel the polyurethane buckled a little. But I really put a thick coat of finish on. If you put a thin coat of finish or only an oil finish, it shouldn’t be a problem for something this small. When I constructed this, though, I have the birdseye middle mounted in a dado on the surrounding frame. I only glued it in two spots to allow the rest of the piece to move in the groove. The cherry frame around the maple is assembled with butterfly inserts underneath.

View SergeantSawDust's profile


173 posts in 2814 days

#7 posted 06-21-2012 03:09 AM

Constructed very well.. Kudos to the complex joinery and all with hand tools. Glad to hear you have a shop now too. Thanks for sharing.

-- Woodworking for the hobbyist woodworker.

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2810 days

#8 posted 06-21-2012 04:12 AM

Excellent looking end tables! Great job on all the joinery, and great looking dovetails

-- Ben from IL

View pmcwood's profile


11 posts in 3125 days

#9 posted 06-21-2012 04:29 AM

Very nice!

-- PMC Router Bits, - Hammond, Louisiana

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