Simple Bedside Tables

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Project by Don Johnson posted 08-17-2013 10:29 AM 1548 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having given my daughter a new mattress so that my wife and I were more comfortable at night when visiting her at her family home, we found that there was nowhere to put our night-time drinks. So I offered to make a couple of small tables that would not take up too much space in their spare bedroom – which husband John also uses as an office.

I had just a couple of pieces of oak-veneered MDF remaining from making my son some bookcases, so I used them to make the shelves, along with some solid oak for the legs. There was also some iron-on edge banding oak veneer – but only just enough if I was frugal! To give added strength to the joints, I thought of using dowels, and to make it even easier, make them visible – as a ‘feature’.

I originally intended to glue the assembly together, and then drill and insert the dowels afterwards, but trying to assemble and glue at the same time with no positive locations between the legs and shelves was obviously not credible. So I pre-drilled the legs on a pillar drill. I then assembled the unit together – with spacers taped to the legs to get the heights correct – holding everything together with the frame clamps as shown in the second and third pictures. This process did result in some swear words being uttered, especially as the corner pieces on the cheaper frame clamp kept falling off the nylon band, and its screw action was very dodgy – unlike the Stanley version which was a pleasure to use. When everything was finally positioned and tight, I drilled through the legs holes into the shelves – moving the clamp corners slightly for access – and inserting a dowel in each hole as I progressed around.

The final glue-up was relatively easy with the dowels, but the cheap frame clamp was still a pain. The tables came out pretty much like my original sketch (not in the same class as Mafe’s beautiiful colour-washed creations). They are 12 inches square and 18 inches high.

I finished them with three coats of Danish Oil, then Renaissance Wax. My wife thinks that they are OK, so now we await my daughter’s verdict.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

3 comments so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 3151 days

#1 posted 08-17-2013 10:47 AM

I like these. Simple, clean lines, does the job and they’ll blend in anywhere.

Well done.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3484 days

#2 posted 08-17-2013 11:34 AM

Very nice and simple and they look great!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View kiefer's profile


5836 posts in 3743 days

#3 posted 08-19-2013 01:12 PM

AS per plan .
Well done DON .
I seldom make a plan on paper ,they keep me from screwing up .

-- Kiefer

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