Design + Build

Side Table

Note: Amazing quality Eames Dowel base by      

Note: Amazing quality Eames Dowel base by      

You know the old modernism joke about minimalism being a way to get people to spend more for less?  Simplicity can be pretty difficult to achieve. So, what goes into a side table?  Lots.  Here is a quick break down of this little table.


3-5 boards are edge glued to make one large panel that will be both of the visible sides and the top.  These boards also get mortise and tenon joints for strength and alignment.

glueup rev.jpg

grain wrap.jpg

The panel is necessary to get the signature grain wrapping along all three visible sides.  This also requires hand selecting the best possible lumber.  It is cut down into the top and both sides.  Each of these pieces gets a miter cut along each of their four sides.  The bottom is glued into a panel and mitered, separately.


mortise tenon.jpg

Additionally, the top, both sides, and bottom all get mortise and tenon joints to increase the strength of this joint.

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The exposed miters are extremely fragile.  The front and back of the case receives a chamfer to square off this edge.  This prevents breakage and adds to the overall consistency of the table.



This is the finished back.  It is critical to complete the overall look.  I sometimes think this is the hardest piece to make.  It gets a pretty simple rabbet, but nailing the dimensions can take some time.  The top, sides, and bottom miters are so fragile before they are glued together that it can be difficult to get exact dimensions for the back.  A little patience goes a long way here.

finished back.jpg

That ends up being; 2 panel glue ups; 16 miters; 22 mortise and tenon joints; 4 rabbets; four grooves and 8 chamfers.  Not counting the drawer, which is a whole project unto itself, the case is complication simplified.