Shaker nightstand

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Project by SteveTaylor posted 01-29-2013 05:45 PM 1337 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi All, Been a while since I had a chance to update here, so I beg forgiveness.

This is a shaker-style nightstand I made from my daughter. Its made from African Mahogany and finished with an oil/varnish blend. The secondary wood was aspen. This was my first attempt at dovetails for the drawer, and turned out not too bad, IMHO.

The Mahogany is a beautiful wood with very nice alternating grain patterns, but made it a royal pain to plane. After a few attempts, and not having a high angle bevel up plane, I gave up and switched to scrapers and sandpaper. The tearout, even with my smoother, was horrendous. I didn’t have access to 8/4 stock for the legs, so I laminated 2 pieces of 4/4 wood, and then tapered them. You can tell if you get very close, but I think it turned out well.

Perhaps using wildly figured wood was not the best choice to learn to handcut half-blind dovetails on, but I think they worked out OK. As with any project, the journey was more than half the fun, not just the look on my daughters face Christmas morning. I learned alot on this project and enhanced my skill set. Other than using a drill press to hog out the mortises, all the joinery was hand cut using handsaws, chisels, and an old Stanley router plane. But I think for the next one, its time to but a shoulder plane.

The only negative comment my daughter made was “So, where’s the one for the other side of the bed?”. So I now have another piece of Mahogany out in the garage, waiting till I have time to do it again.

Thanks for looking, and happy sawdust!

Steve Taylor

-- "I learn more from my mistakes than my I learn quite often."

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3723 days

#1 posted 01-29-2013 05:56 PM

Nice work Steve this looks great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View docspencer's profile


374 posts in 2091 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 08:18 PM

Very nice work Steve. Sounds like you did much of this with hand tools – which makes this even more impressive. I’m thinking of the Woodwright’s Shop on PBS.

View Oldtool's profile


2723 posts in 2336 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 11:51 PM

Very nice nightstand, well done.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3060 days

#4 posted 01-29-2013 11:58 PM

Very cool! I love the striations! That sure adds interest.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View SteveTaylor's profile


18 posts in 2350 days

#5 posted 01-30-2013 01:12 AM

Not “quite” to the Woodwright’s Shop level, but thanks. It would have gone faster and most likely more precise with using more power tools, but in addition to making this for my daughter, I wanted to learn/improve my handtool skills. The tenons were cut with a chisel to define the knife wall, a backsaw to cut the cross grain, a dovetail saw to take off the cheeks of the tenon, and a router plane to trim the tenons to fit. Was a lot of fun (with a wee bit of swearing involved, as well).

-- "I learn more from my mistakes than my I learn quite often."

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