These nightstands were made to compliment the woven headboard Zack and I made (see Woven Headboard). Notice the drawer fronts.
I like to start on the most critical part first. For this project it is the legs. I first made a full size template of the leg and annotated it with all critical dimensions. This will come in handy when we make the third part of the set – blanket chest at the foot of the bed.
Multiple legs were laid out at one time on 8/4 oak to reduce waste due to the curved foot. Zack cut them out on the bandsaw and the belt sander was used to give them their final shape.
The drill press with 3/8 inch forstner bit was used to remove the majority of the waste in the leg mortises. These were then cleaned up with a straight bit on the router table. Finally the top and bottom of each mortise was squared up with a chisel.
All frame parts were made of oak. Rear, front, side and bottom stretchers tenons were all cut with the same table saw fence setup.
The frame part faces were then rough sanded on the belt sander and finish sanded to 220 grit with an orbital sander.
The bottom of the nightstand was made from 3/8 thick oak re-sawn from 4/4 stock and planed to size. They fit into a 3/8 dado in the side stretchers. They were sized to fit loosely to allow for expansion across the grain. Foam rubber insulation was tucked into the dado at each end of the stretcher to keep them from rattling and still allow for wood movement. The slats were pre-stained to ensure that adjoining edges received stain.
The front and backs were first glued up and allowed to harden overnight. Then the completed front and back were connected with the side parts and the bottom slats put in place.
Pipe clamps were used to pull all the joints tightly together. Glue was used sparingly on the tenon faces and the mortises were cut slightly deep to allow space for excess glue.
All visible surfaces were stained with minwax red oak to match the previously finished woven headboard. Stain was applied with a brush, then wiped off after 15 minutes.
The most time consuming part of the project was building the drawer fronts. First the 1/2 inch thick drawer faces were laid out with a weave pattern to locate the location of the through holes which were drilled with a 1/2 inch forstner bit.
The scroll saw was used to make the rectangular through cuts.
Chisels were used to carve the relief areas to simulate the weave pattern. Thin strips were actually woven the same size to provide a visual model for the front face of the drawer.
The drawer was sized for two fronts, a blank front and the carved front. With the blank front portion of the drawer inserted into the drawer opening, the carved front was glued to the blank front to ensure an exact fit within the drawer opening. The top drawer rails are visible in this photo. They keep the drawer from tipping when it is slid out. The bottom drawer rails were made similarly. Both were glued to the sides of the frame. Screws were also used on the top rails since the top was attached to them from underneath.
Here are the two nightstands with the tops attached. The two screws at the rear of the nightstand fit though slots in the top drawer rails. This allows for wood movement across the grain. Oak is an open grained wood. Five coats of polyurethane were applied to the top, then aggressively sanded. This brought the top surface almost level, since the open grain portion of the top was below the closed grain portion. Another three coats were applied, then another aggressive sand. A final coat was applied and orbital sanded with a 1800 grit pad. This produced a glass smooth water-proof finish.