Simple Eucalyptus and Maple Side Table

  • Advertise with us
Project by Patrick Garrett posted 08-18-2013 11:55 AM 1628 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first project post to LumberJocks. I started building wood furniture a little under three years ago, and I’ve been perusing the posts on this site for tips on finishing and generally to look at the great project photos people are posting. I figured it’s time to dive in and start sharing some of the projects I’ve completed now that I’ve built up a small portfolio.

My first furniture piece destined for the living area is the eucalyptus and soft maple table in the photos above. I spent a ton of time reading books, Popular Woodworking magazine, and generally trying to soak in everything I could about how to make the joints and do the finishing work.

Construction started about 2-1/2 years ago, and I finally finished it last year. I built the table with the 1950’s vintage Stanley #5 jack plane I inherited from my grandfather, a circular saw, and a cheap set of chisels from the big orange home center. The eucalyptus machines very nicely with hand and power tools, although the circular saw did create some burned areas that had to be planed off. The maple has a mildly curly grain, which caused some tear-out since I hadn’t started scary-sharpening my plane blades by then.

I had the problem that I was so busy trying not to make mistakes, and spending so long finessing the top flat and make the tenons fit, that I just didn’t seem to be able to finish the project in a reasonable amount of time. Finishing was a similar challenge, taking me nearly a month to complete. A few months after finishing the first table, I decided the fear of making mistakes was for chumps and I completed another matching table in three weekends.

The aprons terminate with beveled tenons that slot into chisel-cut mortises in the eucalyptus legs, since squared tenons would have interfered with each other. The top is held on with four angle brackets from the home center, although I would use a cleaner method like tabletop clips if I redid the project now.

The finish is shellac seal-coat followed by 4 coats of Minwax Water-based Poly, which was pretty easy to use and has less VOCs than similar oil-based polys. So far it’s been holding up well to use, with some minor scratches being the only sign of wear.

In future iterations of the table the modifications I would expect to make are to add a eucalyptus trim strip along the bottom of the apron to tie in the color scheme, and I’d probably taper the legs down to something like 3/4” at the bottom to decrease the visual clunkiness.

-- Makes airplanes by day, planes wood at night <|>

4 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3542 posts in 3688 days

#1 posted 08-18-2013 12:27 PM

Welcome to LJs, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience.
Nice table, it came out great. The joinery is nice and tight, all the legs are straight, and I bet it doesn’t even wobble. Great work. We’ll be looking for your next project. Thanks for posting.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View gsimon's profile


1338 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 08-18-2013 07:04 PM

I know what you mean about spending most of the time trying to avoid mistakes – it can overtake the actual act of woodworking! Ha ha
Great table – you obviously have the patience and skill
Welcome to lumberjocks!

-- Greg Simon

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3321 days

#3 posted 08-19-2013 01:18 AM

It may be a simple design…but it looks great…well done and welcome to Lumberjocks….:)

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 08-30-2013 10:48 AM

Great design and great build.An elegant side table is a classic furniture piece.Side tables are a great option for completing the look of your home since they themselves are very appealing to the eye.They are great to place in a home or apartment with limited space.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics