Barley Twist Nightstand (Spalted Oak)

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Project by emptyjay posted 11-16-2011 04:34 PM 2552 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a couple of boards of heavily spalted oak lying around, so I made this barley twist nightstand over the past week. It took nine days—four full weekend days and a couple of hours each weekday evening…I figure somewhere in the 40 hour range, including finishing.

The spalted oak is beautiful, but I had to lay out my cuts carefully to avoid the punky areas. It took me a long time to decide on how to glue up the boards for contiguity and grain match, but I think that what I finally landed on works well.

I turned the legs on a Craftsman Routercrafter. No lathe work at all. Lots of hand sanding involved. I think I spent in excess of an hour per leg sanding.

The front apron is cut from a single piece of wood, and drawer is dovetailed with applied cock beading. I accidentally cut my dovetails too deep (the stop on the dovetail jig wasn’t secured tightly), so there are a couple of “character flaws” on the inside front corners of the drawers, just barely noticeable if you look.

My only regret is that I made the top too small (or rather, I made the base too wide). I would have strongly preferred to use a traditional thumbnail edge treatment for the top. However, the top was not large enough for this profile because the reveal over the base is not sufficient. I had to settle for a cove edge treatment for the table top, which works but isn’t ideal.

7 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#1 posted 11-16-2011 06:34 PM

Very cool little nightstand!

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3310 days

#2 posted 11-16-2011 08:53 PM

Nice job on the table. I really like the legs. My dad bought the Routercrafter years ago, but we never used it much.
It seemed like a good idea, but like most Crafstman products, not well made enough for me. You obviously learned how to use it though.

Thanks for sharing


View emptyjay's profile


16 posts in 2412 days

#3 posted 11-16-2011 10:55 PM

The Routercrafter works a lot better than appearances would suggest. It’s not really built that well, but there are some techniques to overcome its inherent weaknesses. It’s one of the only products out there that can turn twist designs, the other I’m aware of being the Legacy Ornamental Mill (which is very pricey but also more versatile). If I ever get a lathe I’ll relegate the Routercrafter solely to turning twists, but for now it suffices for basic “turning” work.

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2832 days

#4 posted 11-16-2011 11:54 PM

Nice, glad to see you took the time and effort to mill a left and right twistl. I ve run into a couplle of router crafter owners that did not know it had that capability. What bits are you having the best success with ?

View emptyjay's profile


16 posts in 2412 days

#5 posted 11-17-2011 12:34 AM

Yep—I made a special effort to mill left and right twists, but I’m not sure if I got the sides reversed. In any case, I use a barley twist bit from Magnate, which works like a charm. The website says that it is made for the Legacy Mill, but it works fine in my PC890. I’ve tried other bits in the past but this bit simulates the traditional look the best that I have seen.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3579 days

#6 posted 11-17-2011 12:51 AM

Great table, lots of character

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2570 days

#7 posted 11-17-2011 01:10 AM

Beautiful, Great job!

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