How to Build a Contemporary-Style Bedside Table

Basic cabinet boxes are built then accented with an exotic hardwood to create high-end looking nightstands.


Tools and Materials:
3/4” meranti (an exotic hardwood from the Philippines) plywood
3/4” solid poplar
1/2” prefinished maple plywood
18” full extension drawer glides
Brad nailer with 2” brad nails and 1-3/8” pin nails
power drill with 1” wood screws and 1-1/2” wood screws
countersink bit
pocket jig
sander and sandpaper
paint, polyurethane and painting supplies
wood putty and wood glue
table saw and a miter saw
tape measure
safety glasses

1. Build the cabinet box using the 3/4’ solid poplar. On a table saw, cut the pieces to size:
-   top: 19-1/4” x 36”
-   two side pieces: 19-1/4” x 21-1/4”
-   inner shelf and bottom piece: 18-1/2” x 34-1/2”
-   back: 21-1/4” x 36”

2. Attach the top, shelves and sides to the back with wood glue and 2” brad nails. Set the inner shelf 8-7/8 inches from the top, and attach the bottom shelf 1 inch from the bottom.

3. Build the two drawer boxes using the 1/2” prefinished maple. On a table saw, cut the pieces to size:
-   two drawer bottoms: 17” x 32-1/2”
-   four drawer fronts and backs: 8” x 32-1/2”
-   four drawer sides: 18” x 8”



4. Assemble the drawer boxes. On the inside of the front, back and side pieces, make a 1/2” dado cut a 1/2" from the bottom. Fasten the two sides and the back together. Slide the bottom drawer piece into the dado groove then attach the front piece.



5. Attach the drawer glides to the cabinet box and drawer sides with wood screws.

6. To build the drawer fronts, cut two pieces of poplar at 10” x 36”. Cut two pieces of meranti at 1” x 36” and another two pieces of meranti at 4-1/4” x 36”.



7. Center the 1-inch piece of meranti on the poplar piece (5 inches on center). Attach the two pieces with glue and brad nails. Then center the 4-1/4” piece of meranti on top of the 1-inch piece, glue and nail together. To give the drawer pulls extra support, insert wood screws from the back into all three pieces of wood.

8. Fill in any nail holes with wood putty and sand the surfaces. Stain and varnish, let dry completely.



9. Attach the drawer fronts to the drawer boxes with glue and brad nails. The fronts should sit flush with the bottom and sides of the drawer. For extra support, use wood screws to secure the fronts to the drawer from the inside of the drawer.

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