Contemporary Side Table

Editor's Choice - Mar 21, 2018

This is the Side Table to a contemporary desk I posted a last month (or so); constructed of Walnut & European Beech.

From the Desk, I’ve re-used the back legs; then modified these legs to form a complimentary front set. The shelf is supported by the front legs, and M&T (Dominos) into the back legs. The table top is supported by risers above the shelf (front) and the back legs. All joints are M&T.

More than a few… the most instructive would be that I should have used a precise template to form the legs: subtle variations in the legs become annoying to me – the back legs have a decorative/functional spline which rises above the splaying arcs, and the legs should symmetrically move away from the spline as they rise – a detail point, but it may be a good ‘look-out-for-this’ to others.

As is customary for my projects, the Layout time is at least 50% of the overall build time.

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Everyone, Do Take Care.

Woods: walnut

Tools: everything i own


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Madts ...

What a wonderful table. Well done.


Andulino ...

Amazing work. I love the arches

Moment ...

" Tools : everything I own " ……….that made me laugh !
Great design .

Jack ...

Beautiful and so unique. Congrats on your editors choice.

a1jim ...

A cool and unique desk Mike a wonderful choice for the wood too.

MJCD ...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments. This piece completes an idea started several years ago: needing a computer/writing area at home. The main desk design took shape last August; with this side table requiring its own version – a lower shelf, and some artistic solution to the shorter height related to that.

The table is finished with 2 coats of Zinsser SealCoat, with a top coat of Deft Interior Poly (un-thinned); then wet-sanded at 3000 grit.

One of the design considerations was balancing the table front-to-back, due to the narrow (20") depth and open lower portion. The top (5/4 nominal) is an inch proud of the under-supports – placing more weight on the back. The shelf is 5/8" thick, and slightly inset from the front edge. The legs are 4/4 nominal, with each leg having a 3" flat at the top (supporting the walnut at various locations) – this offers plenty of glue-surface: the top of the legs are the M&T into the underside of the top & shelf, respectively. Both the top and shelf have a 1/2" by 3/4" walnut under-support bars running across the long axis – this is inset into a 1/4" deep groove – given their span (48" and 45", respectively, I wanted some additional bracing.

Racking is address several ways:
The domino M&Ts;
The back spline – between the legs – is mortised (3/4") into its base, and rises about 10" through a mirrored grove in the two back legs;
The front risers (on the shelf) form a 90 degree curve, and each are mortised at four points: two on the top and two points on the bottom. Both the top & bottom of the risers are glued along their surface to the shelf & top, respectively.
No doubt this is over-kill; however, it is how I build things.

Glue-up became its usual tense event – I applied too much, and cleaning-up the squeeze-out took more time than getting the table assembled: this goes back to days when my joints didn’t naturally close, and I relied on glue and clamps to get the job done. Maybe one milepost that you pass along the way is fine-tuning processes and techniques to create tight joints.

Moving onto bar stools.

Again, if I can provide any additional information, please let me know.
Everyone, Do Take Care.

Mpad ...

Great design and execution. Appreciate the time that goes into the design and planning of such a project. Mpad.

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

What a cool design , very impressive

More Creations MJCD

Contemporary Side Table