The Nightstands Build #2: Update, pattern cutting the curves on aprons and legs

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Blog entry by Eric_S posted 06-28-2010 01:52 PM 2724 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Nightstand Progress Part 2 of The Nightstands Build series Part 3: The Dry Fit »

Well its been a while since I posted an update on the everlasting build of the nightstands. I’m starting to move much quicker now with the build, but still only get a few hours a week to work on it. I’m still on though to apply finish before end of July so hopefully by August it will be fully assembled. All thats left now is the Drawers and top, and a few big fixes to some mistakes which might be more time consuming than I think to fix.

These pictures don’t show too much progress, but hopefully they will help. Last time I posted, I had finished all the mortise and tenons as well as jointing and flattening the bookmatched sides. The side and back panels have all received a 3/8” tongue around the edge to sit in the grooves in legs, I just hope the panels are long enough so they don’t show the inside when it cools down this winter…we’ll see. I dont have a pic of those though as they were all stacked and I didn’t want to take them down for a pic (I was lazy this weekend).

So first up is the patterns I made for the legs(one for the front and one for the side of each leg). The side of the leg patterns start at 1 1/4 and gracefully curves out to 1 3/4”. The front of the legs start at 1 1/4 but I believe go to 2”. The bottom aprons have an 1 1/2” curve. Yes, the patterns for the legs have holes in them. I cut the patterns from my test leg I used to try the mortises on first. A shout out to Dave R is necessary. A while back he helped me redesign my nightstands. These shapes aren’t as defined as his were, but were inspired by his redesign of my legs. Thank you Dave.

Next up are pics of the aprons cut close to the line on the bandsaw. These will be cleaned up with the router and my new expensive(woodcraft had 30% off though) 2 1/2” solid carbide up spiral trim bit :) It also produces a much smoother cut then the regular trim bits. I needed a trim bit at least 2” long and this was all I could find.

This bit was expensive but it can be sharpened since its solid carbide. I believe it retailed for almost $90 but I got 30% off. I’m very happy with this purchase.

Originally I was going to make seperate pattern jigs for each curved shape, but decided I could get with making one that could be adjusted to all of my curves.

And here are the apron curves after beinged cleaned up on the router. The top apron is before being cleaned up with the router bit, the bottom curve just came out of router.

And here are the side aprons all cut :)

I made sure to only cut the pattern bit with the grain, so I cut halfway down the curve, flipped it over, and cut the other half downward to prevent tear out. The very first apron I cut I forgot to do this, and required extra wood to be taken off to hide my mistake…oh well. live and learn.

The legs I cut on the bandsaw, but haven’t done the pattern bit to them yet. I first need to tape them back up with the removed wood to give it a flat top for the template to rest on. These will hopefully be done next weekend.

So now the big things remaining are the tops and drawers. The drawers should be very easy for me, once I get past the milling wood stage. The tops I plan on doing breadboard ends. The top though and drawer fronts though I’ll need to sharpen up my plane irons again because the cherry I’m using for the top and drawer fronts is curly cherry that I tend to tear out. I’ll take my time with those pieces.

All the leg mortise and tenons will be pinned, although I don’t know what wood yet. Perhaps more cherry? I need to also route out a patched hole that is in a VERY visible location on the front of the leg (misplaced mortise…woops). Because of its size, the wood putty doesn’t really blend in so I plan on routing it out and replacing with an inlaid piece of matching hard maple that hopefully will be less conspicuous. The mistake is on the 4th leg from the left, halfway up. This area will be exposed because its the shelf area. If you have a better idea on fixing this than inlaying a matching hard maple please I’m all ears. It doesn’t look to obvious in the picture, but believe me it sticks out.

Finally, I need to figure out what I want to do with the center shelves. I jointed a normal hardwood shelf to the front apron, but the joint wasn’t tight enough so it shows a slight gap. Because of its location as the center of the nightstand, I feel it needs to be fixed. I dont know if I’ll veneer the top of the shelf to hide the gap or just trip the apron part of the shelf down and veneer/inlay a piece or what I’ll do. I don’t have a picture of it because those panels were stacked with the side panels as well but I can post one later if you are interested or have suggestions on the best way to fix it(best = quickest that hides the mistake).

Hopefully now that my schedule is a little more flexible, I can post some more updates. I’m still tryign to figure out what I want to finish it with. I want the cherry to be its natural color. I understand it could take a while to darken but looks much better than trying to fake the cherry aged look with a stain. So I was thinking BLO and shellac clear coat on top?

For the Hard Maple, I’m all ears to a finish that would look good the cherry finish. Take care.

Comments, suggestions, and helpful criticisms welcomed.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

4 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2903 days

#1 posted 06-28-2010 09:18 PM

It looks like it will be a good night stand.

I like all the marking on the legs. That’s something I always fail to do and always regretted it.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3164 days

#2 posted 06-28-2010 09:35 PM

Thanks. Yeah I made all the leg markings at the same time to make sure they were all level. yet still I managed to route a mortise in an unmarked location…go figure.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2835 days

#3 posted 08-23-2010 03:16 PM

Very nice cabinet and excellent posting. Thanks

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3617 days

#4 posted 08-23-2010 03:19 PM

looking great Eric. that’s some sweet parts planing and follow through!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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