Side table with a twist

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Project by Kuffy posted 05-09-2017 06:48 AM 1095 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished making this little side table for myself. It stands about 615mm high, made from Myrtle and Tassie Oak. I made it for my new ADSL2+ modem and home phone. It can also be used as a pretty decent drinks table, bottle of whiskey in the bottom, glasses in the middle, and the top for holding the glass full of whiskey. I would have mocked this up for a photo but I don’t have any whiskey or wine or anything fancier than a bottle of powerade in the house.

Although this was a pretty quick and simple build, the drilling of the dowel holes messed with my head for a couple of hours. I got it done with only minor error. Luckily timber bends/compresses/crushes and so everything lined up properly with only light wacks from a dead blow hammer.

View on YouTube

First up I made a MDF template of the leg curve using a pretty dodgy setup of a router trammel and then used the template to shape the Myrtle legs on the bandsaw and then router table. I also glued up two 6” Tassie Oak boards to form the panel for the shelves. Store bought 1/2” dowel.

Then I cut the shelf circles out roughly on the bandsaw and made them true circles on the lathe. Using the lathe lets me sand the edge with little effort which beats hand sanding or scraping the edge smooth. I just used an 8” faceplate with tailstock pressure to hold the circles in place, no glue or sticky tape. It worked well, didn’t slip or chatter etc.

I then drilled three dowel holes in the edge of the bottom and middle shelf. I would have loved a horizontal borer for this operation, but instead I just drilled a nice clean square hole in a piece of Jarrah and used that as a drilling guide.

I then spent a couple hours scratching my head figuring out where the holes go into the curved legs. I would explain what I did and how I got there, but honestly I don’t remember, but whatever I did, it if there was ever any doubt. Didn’t photograph it, but it is in the video. I just built a quick n nasty jig to locate the legs and drilled with the drill press.

Then I smoothed everything out. I just sanded the faces of the circles #180 → #600. The legs I used a block plane, card scrapers and a custom plane I built in an hour to smooth the internal radius. This custom plane worked like a dog, a real piece of junk, but it did work and made short work of any burn marks and chatter from the router. The mouth kept clogging, and the bed angle ended up way too high after I had shaped the bottom curve. I aimed for about 60° (should have aimed for 45°) but I think it must be around 68° now, maybe more. And of course, using Jacaranda for a plane is such a bad idea, waaaaaaaay too soft but I did know that before hand but I had forgotten that I had some 60×60 redgum in the garage as well. The redgum would have been a much better choice.

I then glued up the table in two sessions. The legs, bottom and middle shelf first. Then I had to level off the top of the legs and attach the top in the second session. A pic of my clamping system for attaching the top. Coolabah and Red Mallee burls with a bottle of titebond 3 to top it off, just don’t bump it or it will be humpty dumpty all over again

Then I sprayed it with a can of Minwax Satin poly. Left it to cure for a week and smoothed the finish using foam backed 500 grit sandpaper and then some 0000 steel wool lubricated with Organoil Danish Oil which seems to have none, or very little resins in it (crap stuff, so I use as lubrication only). The finish is nothing special. Just an open finish which has had its roughness smoothed out. spray->smooth->ship it! about 30minutes work to finish….so bad…no love nor care

And my photography setup, it kinda worked but my photos still suck

Let me know what you think, any comments or criticisms are welcome. Cheers


12 comments so far

View Rich's profile


2266 posts in 492 days

#1 posted 05-09-2017 07:04 AM

Your photos do not suck. That’s a nice studio for capturing what you built. A neutral gray card, combined with a photo editing app to do white balance will ensure your colors are fairly true.

You built a smoothing plane for this? That’s pretty impressive.

Overall, great work!

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View Kuffy's profile


41 posts in 525 days

#2 posted 05-09-2017 07:40 AM

Thanks Rich. That red background is some material felt like stuff I have for lining the bottom of boxes. I’ll pick up something in a grey next time I am at the markets. I did build a curved sole smoothing plane for this because I don’t have a curved spokeshave which works well enough, possibly user error but my stanley 51R has a massive mouth opening and I find it just digs in more often than not. I am currently saving up for one of HNT Gordon’s spokeshaves because they look awesome.


View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5743 posts in 3256 days

#3 posted 05-09-2017 11:05 AM

Great presentation of your work. The video was 1st class and you photos are also good! Lots of work went into that little table and it looks great! Nice job Kuffy!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Kuffy's profile


41 posts in 525 days

#4 posted 05-09-2017 12:24 PM

Thanks Tony. There certainly was a lot of head scratching as to where those dowel holes were supposed to go and at what angle…and then how to actually drill the thing. Got lucky with it though. Always better to be lucky than good ;)


View mahdee's profile


3843 posts in 1670 days

#5 posted 05-09-2017 12:29 PM

Great project and video. Looks awesome; thanks.


View Rich's profile


2266 posts in 492 days

#6 posted 05-09-2017 02:25 PM

Thanks Rich. That red background is some material felt like stuff I have for lining the bottom of boxes. I ll pick up something in a grey next time I am at the markets.

- Kuffy

You can also use a white seamless paper and, by varying the distance you place it behind the subject, get background effects ranging from light grey to dark.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View helluvawreck's profile


30112 posts in 2769 days

#7 posted 05-09-2017 03:07 PM

This table is beautifully done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View BurlyBob's profile


5239 posts in 2168 days

#8 posted 05-09-2017 03:12 PM

That’s a wonderful table. Very stylistic.

View dannmarks's profile


454 posts in 484 days

#9 posted 05-10-2017 12:59 AM

Look, you did such good work all the way thru. And by that I mean as a teaching tool as well. This is one of the best projects I have seen displayed anywhere.

View Kuffy's profile


41 posts in 525 days

#10 posted 05-10-2017 06:27 AM

View ohwoodeye's profile


1947 posts in 3056 days

#11 posted 05-10-2017 09:13 PM

Nice way to make a simple project become difficult :)
Well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View albachippie's profile


772 posts in 2938 days

#12 posted 09-27-2017 11:00 AM

Ingenious on all counts. Your pics are excellent too. If you are bothered about exposure, get a grey card for setting your exposure to middle grey, and set your white balance to known white. A mix of lights can be awkward to work with for accurate lighting, but you’ve done a great job on both counts, table and photos!

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

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