My Thorsen Side Table

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Project by Zuki posted 04-28-2007 01:13 AM 2305 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my interpretation of the Thorsen House Side Table. As you can see I have put a couple of twists to make it my own while keeping a couple of elements to show the table’s heritage.

What makes my version of this table unique is that creating it took not only a labor of limited skill but a labor of love. My wife has environmental illness and is sensitive to all synthetic products such as glue, press board, stains and varnishes. Creating this table was not only a challenge for this contest, but a greater challenge to create a piece of furniture my wife could enjoy without causing her to become ill.

As with most woodworkers, I first canvassed my “stock” of wood already on hand . . . rough 2×4 spruce and some D4S 1×6 pine. Not much to pick from . . . but what the heck. I made the legs from the 2×4 and the remainder from the left over bits of pine. After rough cutting and lightly sanding the other pieces I started the cutouts. Hoping to use the templates as a guide I quickly realized that they were not printed to scale . . . darn. I broke out my compass and ruler and laid out the designs. I was off to the drill press where I popped a few holes, rough cut the openings with a jig saw and finished things up with my table mounted router and ¼ straight bit. The stretchers and apron bottoms were accomplished with a jig (the first I ever made) and my trusty router and flush trim bit.

As you can see I put my own twist on the top by incorporating a removable ceramic tile. Four pieces of pine, held together by pocket screws (my favorite way of joining wood) and my faithful router . . . made a unique top that can be easily altered to match your mood. In this case you would either have to be in a gray or beige mood . . . but you get my point.

As I do not have mortise and tenoning equipment I broke out my American Standard pocket hole jig and attached the aprons after I laid out and drilled all the holes in the legs. Next came the stretchers and shelf which were attached through a set of holes in the legs.

It was at this junction that I wanted to spend some money (besides the new router bits) on the project. I trudged off to a lumber yard and asked them if they had any dark coloured wood. He suggested walnut and sent me out back to see “da Boys”. Well “da Boys” pointed me in the direction of the darkest corner of the warehouse where there was a small amount of walnut. I picked out a suitable piece and headed back to the light hoping they could cut me off 2ft as I only wanted to use it to plug the holes in the table. Out came the electric chainsaw and off came 2ft. When I went back out in the shop and reached for my wallet . . . the guy behind the counter told me to take the wood as it would be to much trouble to write up a bill of sale. Whooo Hooooo !!!

Back in the garage I spent an evening cutting 39 5/16 plugs for the table. I could see the finish line. After plugging all the holes, attaching the top and giving a final sanding . . . I was done.

I love the little table and the skills I developed on this project will only make my next project that much more fun.

I hope you like it.

-- BLOG -

20 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1765 posts in 3129 days

#1 posted 04-28-2007 01:23 AM

This came out very nice. What is the finish?

Also could you post a larger photo? I would love to get a closer look.


-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3338 days

#2 posted 04-28-2007 01:28 AM

Very nice Zuki,
My wife has the same symptoms as your’s. When I make something I have to leave it out in the shop until the finish is completely cured, with no fumes. It takes quite a bit of patience.

I like your table, it’s neat the way you incorporated the tile into the top.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 3116 days

#3 posted 04-28-2007 01:47 AM


There is actually no finish. Judie has “allergies” to chemical based products and she actually perfers unfinished wood. I was thinking of staining with coco or tumeric (which I have done with other projects) but decided against it.

The backdrop does no justice to the table – gotta find something better than styro.

-- BLOG -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3338 days

#4 posted 04-28-2007 02:12 AM

The smell of the wood some species bother Barb.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 3276 days

#5 posted 04-28-2007 02:30 AM

Very nice.

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

655 posts in 3172 days

#6 posted 04-28-2007 05:28 AM

I like it! Very nice.

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 3366 days

#7 posted 04-28-2007 05:41 AM

Very nice. Looks great.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dollarbill's profile


91 posts in 3177 days

#8 posted 04-28-2007 05:42 AM

Really Great

Keep it up.


-- Make Dust

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3199 days

#9 posted 04-28-2007 12:32 PM

this is wonderful!!! The table top is great. I really like that idea.

how much walnut do you have left?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View oscorner's profile


4564 posts in 3349 days

#10 posted 04-28-2007 01:35 PM

Great job! My wife is allergic to pine, so I can’t make anything from pine unless it is painted or sealed so she can’t smell it. She has asthma so she doesn’t spend much time in the shop because the wood smell bothers her. I like your design and the fact that you were able to get some free walnut out of the deal, too.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3166 days

#11 posted 04-28-2007 02:33 PM

Very nice!

Have you considered shellac as a finish?

Once dry, it is very hypoallergenic.
In fact, more shellac is eaten than used in wood finishing.
It’s a popular additive to candies, e.g. M & M’s.

-- 温故知新

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 3097 days

#12 posted 04-29-2007 02:55 AM

Very nice job!

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View CharlieM1958's profile


16097 posts in 3257 days

#13 posted 04-29-2007 04:25 AM

Beautiful craftsmanship!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 3366 days

#14 posted 04-29-2007 04:49 AM

Just make sure you don’t accidentally eat your table if you shellac it ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Karson's profile


34987 posts in 3439 days

#15 posted 04-29-2007 06:02 AM

very nice table, And I hope your wife enjoys it with you.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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