Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By ScottGoddard
Hi - i would like to reconstruct the below console table, but I could do with advice on the top section. I am torn between making the 'box' and top in ply wood. This would mean i wouldn't have to worry about movements and i could easily paint or cover the top in Marmoleum.

If i were to make the box from solid wood what would people recommendations be for the joints between the bottom, sides, front panel and back? dove tails?

You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
By MattRoberts
I think you might be worrying about wood movement a little too much. Bear in mind that people were making furniture long before plywood existed.

Also, wood movement is much more of an issue in more humid climates such as the US, than it is in the UK. That's not to say it's not a consideration, because it definitely is, but it shouldn't prevent you from using normal timber
By bohngy
This might help you out a bit. This is more of a traditional construction, with mortice and tenons at the leg joints. the central rail is needed for the drawer runners. You can join that with a fancy dovetail, or a dado. It doesn't matter which as it will never be seen.

Note you would need some chamfered blocks, to have parallel draw runners.


You can build your drawer boxes and fix on the fronts, but I realise it's not exactly as you would like. The ends would look a bit odd, as the square draw fronts would overhang the edges, according to the set angle of the legs.

I wouldn't worry about dust boards.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
By bohngy
Scratch that, I didn’t look at your picture properly. Yes, build the box like a big drawer, with a strong bottom and screw your trestle legs to the base, via the stretcher.
If you like the look of dovetails, go with those. If you use 1/2 blind, you can hide the pins/tails with the drawer fronts and the ends look pretty. The top of the ‘box’ doesn’t need to be solid, just a couple of rails will be enough to fix the top on with.
User avatar
By custard
I've made several pieces of furniture that had similar constructional challenges. The way I chose to resolve them was with legs that went right to the top (fastening legs to the underside of a box unit will severely weaken the structure, it might work for low coffee tables, but console tables are generally quite tall with commensurately long legs), and drawers that were not full width. This latter point is important, building drawers that aren't full width, but are full height, requires building an internal frame of runners that both supports the drawers and holds the front of the entire unit together.

If I get a chance later on today I'll try and dig out some photos to illustrate the constructional details I usually go with.
User avatar
By custard
Here you are Scott. This is a style of console/hall table that I make fairly regularly, this particular version is one drawer, but I've also made these with two or three drawers.


As you can see, it's a handle-less drawer, and the drawer is full height, but not full width. This means there's no full width front apron to give the unit rigidity, so that rigidity has to come from an internal structure. With a bit of ingenuity you can then utilise that same internal structure to provide drawer runners, drawer guides, and drawer stops.

Here's the same table flipped over,




You can probably figure it all out from the photos, but here's some constructional pointers.

-There's a frame immediately below the drawer that bridges the width of the table and delivers the rigidity. If you wanted a dust board then you just make it a frame and panel instead of just a frame. The frame is mortice and tenoned together to maximise its strength.

-This frame is glued into rebates in the two members that run front to back on either side of the drawer. You need to make this frame a really snug fit so that there's long grain glue joints on two edges of each side. I start with the frame being about 1mm too wide and then plane it down until it's a perfect fit. Note, these members are flush with the side sections of the front apron, the rebate makes it look in the photos like they're inset, but they're not.

-Those two side members are dowelled into both the front apron and back apron. I make up a simple, custom dowelling jig for each job from a block of dense hardwood like Maple or Beech. I wouldn't recommend biscuits or dominos because it won't give you any more long grain glue surfaces than dowels will, at least in the front and back aprons it won't. If you're really fussy you could replace the dowels with square stub tenons, but cutting a square tenon without a mortice machine is a right faff, and I'm confident five or six dowels in each joint is perfectly adequate.

-Don't forget that when you cut the drawer from the front apron you'll effectively shorten it by the thickness of two saw kerfs. So start with a front apron that's over length, make the two cuts, close up the three components together, and only then mark out and cut for their final length.

My next job but one also features this style of drawer. Here are some photos of the plans I've drawn up, which hopefully will provide further guidance.



If you've any questions just ask.

Good luck!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.