Cherry End Table

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Project by Bob O'Brien posted 07-13-2008 11:39 PM 1601 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first serious project to come out of my shop after spending months just setting it up and building things like storage carts. I designed the table in SketchUp (see image with transparency turned on), which allowed me to work out the joinery in detail. As an architect, I have been a SketchUp user for years, so this was a failrly easy transition.

The table has 1-1/2-inch two-sided tapered legs, a 3/4-inch top with pegged, mortise-and-tenon breadboard ends, and 3/4-inch aprons. To add detail to the aprons, I wanted to place three 3/4-inch square holes at the midpoint of each side. I first considered cutting these out with mortise chisels, but then decided instead to avoid the end grain in the holes by building up the rails with the 3/4-inch strip surrounding the holes made of cherry with the grain running vertically. The holes were not cut, but assembled using a jig. To reinforce the end-grain glue joint that was inevitable in this assembly, I screwed the pieces together from the top. The strength of the rails is not really compromised because, like any beam, the stress is greatest at the top and bottom and least at the center. I think the grain reversal gives an interesting visual texture that would have been missing if I had cut the holes in a single board.

The fabrication was accomplished with a combination of power and hand tools. I cut the mortises with a router and chisels; cut the tenons and tapered the legs on the table saw, fine tuning with hand planes; and did all of the sanding with a Festool Rotex orbital sander. For the finish I used Minwax Clear Satin Wipe-On Poly, which after 4 coats produced a tough, smooth finish.

I plan to continue to develop this design with other tables, perhaps working next on a coffee table version.

-- Bob

10 comments so far

View lew's profile


12101 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 07-13-2008 11:43 PM

Great looking table!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3712 days

#2 posted 07-14-2008 12:32 AM

nice table …how about a close up of the holes that aren’t holes , please ?

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

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3768 days

#3 posted 07-14-2008 12:52 AM

Very clean design, Bob, nice lines to it. Look forward to seeing the rest of the series of this design. Thanks for the post.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3856 days

#4 posted 07-14-2008 02:16 AM

Great job! That’s a very nice table.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#5 posted 07-14-2008 03:30 AM

Very elegant and detail-rich table, Bob. Great work!

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

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3797 days

#6 posted 07-14-2008 04:43 AM

Hi Bob

Exquisite detail and design. You did a beautiful job on this table. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 07-14-2008 05:58 AM

Very nice end table. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 3899 days

#8 posted 07-15-2008 04:15 PM

That is a nice design. Very clean.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4006 days

#9 posted 09-08-2008 04:46 AM

Good work Bob ! Looking forward to your next project posting. Very crisp design.

Welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

507 posts in 3540 days

#10 posted 01-29-2009 02:59 PM

I wanted to look at a closeup of the holes too, so I selected the picture in zoom mode, copied it and pasted it in Word. Then I clicked on the picture and use my mouse to drag a corner which allowed me to greatly increase the magnification. Not perfect, but it did allow me a closer look at a great looking table.
I often use this technique to “expand” my look at projects.
Hope this helps.

-- jstegall

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