Oak End Table


After reclaiming a lot of oak pieces recently (check out the reclaimed oak project here) I decided to build a end table for the living room.  The project had a couple goals:

  • Use 4/4 lumber
  • No mechanical fasteners
  • Traditional finish (shellac)

Due to the nature of this pile of wood, there is a mix of quarter-sawn and rift-sawn, it’s not as consistent as I would have liked but that’s life with reclaimed materials.

Getting Started

The process started with selected the wood for the legs.  They’re 1.5″ square and about 24″ long, it was a challenge to find pieces that did not have too many defects.  With the legs identified, all four pieces were run through the thickness planer to ensure consistent dimensions.  The next step was to make and drill out the mortises using a Forster bit and the drill press.


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Next up:  The rails.  There was not enough material to create the wide rails, so I purchased a 1″x6″ at Menards.. and then realized that I needed it to be 1″ not 3/4″.  So I went back and bought a 1/2″ x 6″ and glued them together.  Then I realized I should have purchased 8″ wide and not 6″.  So a top and bottom were glued on it… no idea what I was thinking.

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After the rails and stretchers were cut to length and run through the planer, the tenoning operation could begin.  A sacrificial auxiliary fence was installed and the stacked dado cutter was set to 3/4″.

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With the mortises and tenons completed, it was time to do a dry fit.  Some tweaking was required, and for that a chisel and file were used.  it was somewhat tedious and slow work, but necessary to get a tight fit.

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The Top and Bottom Shelf

The frame was essentially completed, the top, shelf and drawer remain to complete.  The top was a glue-up of several thin oak boards that were not good enough for the legs.  Knot holes and other small imperfections were filled with five minute epoxy and sanded smooth.  A breadboard edge detail was added to hide the end grain, but instead of pegs, glue was added to the end board and the middle board only.  This would allow for expansion and contraction.

The bottom shelf is just a oak plywood piece, which sits into a rabbet that will hide the plys and was notched to fit around the legs.

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While the top was drying, two drawer runners were milled using some oak scrap.  The drawer will slide directly on these two pieces.  Also added a couple strips to attach the top too.  The last picture shows both the runner and the top hold-down, but it’s upside down.

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The drawer was cut from 1/2″ oak plywood.  The edges were concealed with thin strips of oak cut on the table saw.  Nothing fancy with the joinery, just simple rabbet joints and no mechanical fasteners were used, all glue.

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Everything was glued and clamped, again there were no mechanical fasteners with one exception:  the top was secured with six screws.  Amber shellac finished it off (pun intended) and a mission style drawer pull was purchased at Mendards.

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As with all projects, a set of plans were created.  I had deviated a lot from the original design, but the original plans are available:


Gallery of all the images (and some extra pics):



Comments please!