Aurora Night Stand #3: Shelf and top

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Blog entry by Topapilot posted 01-02-2009 08:15 AM 5173 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Unexpected help Part 3 of Aurora Night Stand series Part 4: Going Old School... »

Here’s an update on the progress I’ve made on my nightstand.

I completed the draw with the proud finger joints. After some e-mail back and forth with Darrell I’m holding off on the handle and will mount that after finishing.

I completed the bottom shelf. I think this design is pretty interesting because from a distance the shelf seems to be attached to the lower rails of the table. However, the shelf floats on a support mounted to the bottom of the end rails with a space all around as shown here:

Floating shelf with draw in background

In the background you can see the draw with the proud finger joints (click the link if the picture is cut off on the right).

I also glued up the core of the top, and milled the breadboard ends. I’ve never had good luck with bread board ends, I’ve never been happy wth the way they’ve come out. For this, I followed Darrells book and got a slot cutting bit for my router:

Slot cutting bit

Now, in the past I’ve been leary of using the router handheld as I tend to tip the router, or the wood moves around and I get poor results. This time I remembered the old workmate (a.k.a $8 router table stand) has bench dogs so I used them to clamp the breadboards and it worked great (well, after drilling new holes in the workmate to match the size of the breadboard).

Breadboard end clamped in workmate

The core of the top was easier as it is big enough to clamp to the bench:

Top core spline groove

Once the groove was cut, I made the spline. This genius idea came from Darrell; the spline is glued to the core, so you want the grain running the same way. Easy enough if you have a board the right size. The simple solution is to mill a board with the grain running cross ways, and slice it up like scrabble pieces and glue them in individually:

Breadboard spline made from squares

Next I need to mortise the breadboards for the screws. However, after digging out my drill press mortise attachment and downloading the directions, I remember why I put it away years ago: it sucks. Really – you plunge the chisel into the workpiece and it sucks the piece back up with the chisel. I had to use the mallet to get this test piece off:

mortise chisel with jamed test piece

It seems the drill bit itself is catching on the wood, it protrudes from one side of the chisel. At this point I’m either omiting the ebony detail on the breadboards, or going at it by hand with a chisel, but I’m worried about ruining the part.
Any ideas?

4 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3809 days

#1 posted 01-02-2009 03:54 PM

Hi Robb,

I’m surprised that thing didn’t come with some sort of hold down. Maybe you could clamp a piece of wood to the fence above the part to hold it. Or you could mail it to me and I could use my mortise machine when I get around to it <g>

This is coming along great. I see I still have some room to the finish line!

-- Scott - Chico California

View mmax's profile


179 posts in 3450 days

#2 posted 01-02-2009 04:43 PM

Before proceeding any further you may want to read this review:

I tried one of these several years ago and that is what convinced me to buy a dedicated mortising machine.

Regards, and best of luck with the nightstand.

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 3835 days

#3 posted 01-02-2009 05:03 PM

I did have a hold down, it got cut out of the right side of the picture. I think I’ll mark out the mortises in some scrap and try cutting them out with a chisel to see how I do.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 01-02-2009 08:12 PM

Nice progress, Robb!

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