Arts and Crafts Nightstand

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Project by CodyM posted 08-21-2011 02:20 AM 4690 views 16 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first piece of furniture I have built as part of a bedroom set. Dimensions are 21 1/2” wide, 18” deep, and 28” tall. Made of white oak with a gaboon ebony drawer pull. All handcut dovetails on the drawer with half blind up front and through dovetails in the back. These were my first handcut dovetails so far. Not bad for my first attempt, there were some gaps but I filled those with some wood glue and sanding dust. Solid wood pine bottom with hard maple sides. Finish was three to four coats of Waterlox wiping varnish cut back on the final coat with 0000 steel wool and then applied a coat of paste wax. Inside of drawer was finished with blonde shellac to prevent the everlasting smell of varnish everytime I open the drawer for the next twenty years. Oh yeah, and in keeping with the tradition of the arts and crafts quality I used all mortise and tenon joints which was a pain in the rear with those spindles. Now I am dreading making the bed with all the spindles! Thanks for looking!

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

15 comments so far

View garriv777's profile


140 posts in 2889 days

#1 posted 08-21-2011 02:57 AM

A really beautiful stand. Great job!

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3769 days

#2 posted 08-21-2011 03:01 AM

Nice job, Cody. The light finish on the oak, plus the tapers on the legs, give the piece a nice contemporary look. Nice job on the joinery details.

View dpow's profile


503 posts in 2868 days

#3 posted 08-21-2011 03:25 AM

You can’t go wrong with the Arts and Crafts style. Your nightstand looks great! Now get busy on that matching bed. We want to see more pictures of your work, and sleeping on the floor is hard on the back.

-- Doug

View NormG's profile


6138 posts in 3028 days

#4 posted 08-21-2011 03:54 AM

Great piece to start with, will get more confident as you progress

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 08-21-2011 04:04 AM

Beautiful nightstand.

View rimfire7891's profile


123 posts in 2927 days

#6 posted 08-21-2011 04:38 AM

Hi Cody,

Nice simple design even if was hard to assemble.
Someone has to ask, and we don’t see all sides, however why did you put the shittiest piece of wood on the front?
If it’s by choice and you wanted it there, it certainly adds bit of off-beat charm to the whole piece.
Not insult meant or implied by asking.
Thanks for sharing

-- Playing with wood and metal for the last 50 years, driving and building Land Cruisers for the last 40. Experience is what you get when you don't know what you are doing.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3165 posts in 3133 days

#7 posted 08-21-2011 04:44 AM

Well now, that is very nice. Those mortices must have been tedious, but just think if that was all you had to do for a living. Beautiful!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2522 days

#8 posted 08-21-2011 06:05 AM

The drawer front and side aprons seem a little high and the through tenons protruding a bit too much, unless of course you like that a lot, but the lower shelf is perfect in its placement and the under-beveled top adds a real level of refinement. Nice finish too.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3089 days

#9 posted 08-21-2011 02:35 PM

Nice craftsmanship.. Keep up the good work..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#10 posted 08-21-2011 03:20 PM

Very cool. I’m extremely impressed with your dovetails.

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

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3712 days

#11 posted 08-21-2011 06:45 PM

Usually tops are beveled to make a piece look lighter ,(as in a Shaker design with tapered legs), but in this case , it just looks like a thin top on a heavy carcase , at least in these photos….I agree with vipond33 that the protruding tenons are excessive and the lower “aprons” are a bit on the high side as well. Can’t trust my eyes , but it appears that there is a small bead at top and bottom of the drawer and I can’t tell if it(they) were continued onto the aprons or not. It seems like you have a lot of different styles in mind as you’re designing your pieces , which isn’t a bad thing . JMHO : )
Overall , you did a great job and the finish looks great from here. Congrats on the dovetails !! : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View CodyM's profile


49 posts in 2845 days

#12 posted 08-21-2011 11:56 PM

Rimfire- I purposefully put the piece with the knots on the drawer front to add a bit of rustic visual interest.
Dusty56- Your eyes have not deceived you, there is a small 1/4” (approx.) bead on the top and bottom of the drawer.
And as several people have noticed the through tenons are a bit longer than is typical. They protrude 3/8”, initially I thought I would like this but now with it complete they do look a bit odd. Things I would change:
No bevel on the underside of the top, full 3/4” thickness with corbels on the sides.
Shorter through tenons, 1/4” rather than 3/8”.
Make the drawer front and upper aprons 5” rather than the 6” I went with.
Thanks everyone for the critiquing and comments, they are much appreciated.

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3712 days

#13 posted 08-22-2011 02:14 AM

I think if the top was full thickness , the 6”depth would look fine because some of it would be in “shadow”and the corbels would also come into play, giving it more balance : )
Keep up the good work !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View JohnnyDust's profile


73 posts in 2511 days

#14 posted 08-22-2011 01:20 PM

Nice shot on the dovetails. I’m vasilating between getting a leigh jig or going traditional….

-- I'm not crying... That's dust in my eyes!

View quadcap's profile


18 posts in 2793 days

#15 posted 09-02-2011 10:37 PM

Great looking bedside table, love the exposed tenon.

If you are dreading doing lots of square spindles on the bed, there is a shortcut method with a table saw. What you do is cut out a groove from the stretchers and then cut a strip that looks like dentil molding to fit back into the grove. The result is that you get lots of square mortises without a chisel or mortiser. I found out about this method when building a coffee table from some wordsmith plans (see my projects). The technique is easier to do than describe, but the plans were pretty clear.

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