Cottage Side Table Tutorial

11:06 AM

These side tables used the legs and table top from a nesting table, but you could always make those from scratch too.  The tutorial is focused on the green table.
The little yellow table uses the same techniques for the "X"detail, and you can find more tips for the blue herringbone table HERE.


For these tables I used:
 TOOLS: table saw, miter saw, Kreg jig, drill, and finish nail gun
MATERIALS: drawer and box 1/2" thick MDF, 2x2 corners, 1x2 trim


Once you figure out the dimensions of the box, plan out the drawer.  I made my drawer 1/4" smaller in height and width from the opening so it would have room to slide in and out.

To construct the drawer, I used 1/2" MDF.  Each of the four sides was first cut along the bottom to create a dado trench for the drawer bottom to go into.  (You lower your table saw blade to only cut through half the thickness of the board.)  I also added the trench cut across the front of the drawer to give an illusion of two small drawers.
Once cut, I used a finish nail gun to construct the front to the sides.

Once the front and sides are constructed, you can take 1/8" thick board to slide into the trench.
The back of the drawer also has the trench to completely enclose and support the bottom within the walls of the drawer.

I used the 1/2" MDF for the base of the sides, bottom and back of the box. The front had a 1x2 runner along the top.  You can see in the image below, how I used the Kreg Jig to create pocket holes so the back and sides could be screwed perpendicularly into the corner 2x2s. 
This aerial view also shows how the 2x2 creates a 1" drop along the sides and corners, leaving room for the detail "X" finishes on the ends.

Once the box is built, I had created pocket holes along the top so I could screw it into the table top without having holes or nail heads in the already finished surface of the nesting table top.

To attach my little spindled legs, I created a strong base on the bottom of the new storage boxes by drilling large holes about 1" deep with a spade drill bit.  With glue and a tight fit, the new legs are secure and not coming off any time soon.


For the "X" detail on the ends, I first cut the 1x2 top and bottom pieces, leaving the open area for the X.  I used cardstock to draw the two diagonals from corner to corner, and made them 1.5" wide since that is the width of a 1x2.  I cut out the X to use as a template.

Cut out the end angles on the 1x2 hunks.

I cut one of the paper templates in half, removing the portion where the two sides overlap.
Turning it face down, I traced the open area that will need to be removed.

To make the X joint like a linking log, I used the lower table saw blade to only cut through half the thickness of the wood.  Using the angle push stick, I cut the two outside marks, then just cut out the center of the wood, one blade thickness at a time until the space was gone to create a wide dado cut.  

This left two pieces that fit together totally flat in the x shape.  I just glued them on the box sides and secured with the finish nail gun.

These same methods were used to make the small yellow table, but I just left out the 1/2" MDF side and back base.

Anything I build needs wood filler to fill in the cracks and imperfections.
Once dried and sanded, I primed and painted the box with the green latex semi-gloss paint.
Then using 200 grit sand paper, I removed the paint in corners, edges of drawer, and other places that would be naturally worn.
I next put a layer of Minwax Mahagony wood stain on top to stain the raw wood I'd distressed and to slightly discolor the paint.  I use mis-matched socks to wipe off all the wood stain after it's sat for 10 minutes or so, leaving a streaked tinged green, then stained corners and sides.
I sealed it with two layers of satin clear polyurethane.

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