Build It: Simple Side Table

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on October 2, 2016

Watch the full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNBzKC6aCXo

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to construct a simple yet beautiful side table. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for a Simple Side Table:
– 2×2 fir balusters, to make the table legs
– 1×4 fir decking, for fabricating the table aprons
– 5/4-by-6-inch fir decking, to make the tabletop
– Carpenter’s glue, for gluing together wood parts
– Narrow stick, to spread glue
– Cloth, for wiping away excess glue
– ¾-inch plywood and toggle clamp, to make tapering jig
– 120-grit abrasive disks, for random-orbit sander
– 1½-inch pocket screws, to screw together wood parts
– ¼-inch-thick spacer blocks, for creating a reveal between the aprons and legs
– Double washers and 5/8-inch screws, for securing the tabletop
– Furniture glides, to fasten to the bottom of each leg
– Primer and paint, wood stain, or clear polyurethane varnish, to finish the table

Tools for a Simple Side Table:
– Miter saw, to crosscut lumber to size
– Table saw, for ripping lumber to size
– Bar clamps, for clamping together the tabletop
– Random-orbit sander, to sand smoother wood parts
– Router and 1/8-inch-radius rounding-over bit, to shape the edges of the table legs
– Pocket-hole jig, for making pocket-hole joints
– Cordless drill, to drill holes and drive screws
– ¾-inch spade bit, to drill recesses for double washers
– Hammer

Steps for a Simple Side Table:
1. Cut the fir table parts to length with a miter saw.
2. Use a table saw to rip off the edges of the 5/4-by-6-inch fir decking, creating four square-edge boards.
3. Apply carpenter’s glue to the edges of the boards, then evenly spread the glue with a narrow stick.
4. Use two bar clamps to clamp together the four boards to form the tabletop.
5. Wipe off the excess glue with a damp cloth. Allow the glue to cure for 2 to 3 hours.
6. Make a tapering jig out of ¾-inch plywood and a 1×4. Cut a notched taper into the 1×4 to permit removing ½ inch from the 2×2 legs. Adjust the taper to start 8 inches down from the top of the legs. Screw a toggle clamp to the top of the jig.
7. Set the 2×2 into the jig and lock it down with the toggle clamp. Turn on the table saw and slide the jig past the blade to cut a taper into the 2×2 table leg.
8. Unlock the toggle clamp and rotate the leg 90 degrees. Lock down the clamp and cut a second taper into the leg.
9. Repeat the previous two steps to cut two tapers into each of the remaining three 2×2 table legs.
10. Sand smooth all four sides of each table leg with a random-orbit sander fitted with 120-grit abrasive.
11. Next, use a router equipped with a 1/8-inch-radius rounding-over bit to ease the sharp corner where the two tapered leg surfaces meet. Repeat for each leg.
12. Remove the bar clamps from the tabletop. Use the random-orbit sander to sand both sides of the tabletop.
13. Use the router with 1/8-inch-radius rounding-over bit to rout around the top of the tabletop.
14. Use a cordless drill and pocket-hole jig to drill two screw-pocket holes into each end of all four aprons.
15. Slip a ¼-inch-thick spacer block beneath each end of the apron to create a reveal along the leg. Then fasten the apron to the table legs with 1½-inch pocket screws. Repeat to attach the remaining three aprons.
16. Drill four 1/8-inch-deep recesses into the top edges of the aprons with a ¾-inch spade bit. Position the recesses close to each table leg.
17. Use a 5/8-inch screw to fasten a steel double washer to each recess.
18. Set the tabletop upside down on a padded workbench, then place the bottom portion of the table on top with legs sticking straight up.
19. Center the table legs on the top, then drive 5/8-inch screws through the double washers and into the underside of the tabletop.
20. Hammer a furniture glide onto the bottom end of each table leg.
21. Finish the table as desired with primer and paint, wood stain, or clear polyurethane varnish.

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