A Pair of End Tables

The request for a pair of end tables came from my wife, who had pointed out that we needed something on which to rest table lamps alongside the couches in the livingroom. We both enjoy furniture with simple, clean lines and so we agreed on a set of half round tables in Jarrah and Tasmanian Oak.

This is what I built ..

There were a number of interesting construction aspects, such as bending the aprons, shaping the legs, and cutting the joints.

Bending the aprons

I chose to laminate the curve by gluing 2mm wide Jarrah strips around a form. These were cut on the bandsaw to 5mm and then smoothed and reduced on the thicknesser.

After glue-up, the lengths were hand planned to final size and cleaned up with card scrapers.

Beading the apron

My preference for hand tools really began to assert itself at this stage in the form of a scratch stock that began life as a marking gauge.

This was used to create this bead along the apron…

Shaping the legs

The legs are curved as well as taper, and this provided the opportunity to get the HNT Gordon spokeshaves I had for review a good run.

Each table has three legs, each identical, and I began by cutting two templates out of 1/8” MDF – one for the curve and one for the taper.

Here you can see the legs marked out.

This was then bandsawed close to the line, at which point the spokeshaves came out to plane them to the lfinal dimension.

Here is a close up of the end result.


There were two basic joints – the side legs used mortice-and-tenons, while the center leg used a bridle joint.

The first step was to cut the mortices. The Jarrah was pretty hard, so I put away the mortice chisels and used the router instead. The ends were squared up.

Next came the tenons. At least here I could use handtools again. Making sure all the ends and edges of the stretcher were square, the baseline was marked out with a cutting gauge, and then a mortice gauge was used to mark out the tenon.

The tenons were cut as close to the line as possible. Sometimes I get lucky and they fit first time.

The shoulders were cut away…

… cleaned up with a shoulder plane, and the ends of the mortice cut to size.

Once glued up, the mortice-and-tenon was pinned.

The bridle joint was similar.

Marking out …

Chiseling out …

Here is the final result.

The table top

The Tasmanian Oak top was built out of two pieces cut from a 1” thick board.

This was jointed by handplane, then doweled (to aid alignment) and glued.

The curve was also cut on the bandsaw, and then smoothed with a spokeshave.

After leveling the top with a jack and cleaning the result with a smoother, the edge was lightly chamfered with a chamfer plane and block plane.

The top ended thus ..

Another look at the details.

And a final look at the end result again.

One last area to complete – a Jarrah inlay on and around the table tops. I’ll be back once it’s done.

Regards from Perth

Derek Cohen

March 2007