Bedroom Furniture: End Table

These wood working plans include:

The following drawings:

  • Face Frame showing the position of the stiles and rails.
  • Front and Side Elevation showing the dimensions.
  • Drawer Slide Detail with the position of the drawer slides and a detail of the slider's position with the stile.
  • Drawer Detail showing the dimensions and pieces of a drawer.

The plans have a List of Materials, showing a breakdown of materials needed for the cabinet.

The Instructions include a Cutting List giving the sizes of pieces to cut; how to layout the parts of the cabinet, cutting dadoes, the face frame, making the drawers, installing molding, finishing and staining and finally installing the pulls.

Drawing of our bedside end table.

Materials Needed

  • 1 - 2x8x3/4" oak G2S plywood for gables, drawer fronts, tops and bottoms
  • 1 - 2x8x1/2" oak or G1S plywood for drawers
  • 1 - 2x8x1/4" oak for back and drawer bottoms
  • 2 pieces 1x6x6' oak S4S for face frame
  • 2 pairs bottom mount 12" drawer slides (Blum)
  • 1 box flathead wood screws # 6x5/8" for slides
  • 2 drawer pulls
  • 1 lb 1 1/2" bright finish nails
  • carpenter's yellow wood glue


Rip the plywood to the sizes in the following cutting list.

Cutting List

  • 2 gable ends at 12" x 23 1/4"
  • 1 top at 12 x 18 1/2"
  • 1 bottom at 11 3/4" x 17 1/2"
  • 1 back - 1/4" plywood- 17 1/2" x 19 1/4"
  • 2 drawer fronts 8 3/8" x 16 1/4"

First layout the gables for each unit. Cabinet plywood is considered G2S (good 2 sides), but one side is usually a bit better than the other. Always rip the best side up on a table saw and the best side down with a circular saw. Use a sharp blade with the highest number of teeth for finishing work. Lay the best sides of the gables away from each other, they will be on the outside of the cabinet. Lay out the gables for where the shelves and top and bottoms will go. We want to dado these pieces in. Either use a dado blade with the table saw (preferred) or use a router and jig. See article on the Router Jig:

For all dados cut in 1/4" deep the full thickness of the board. The Face Frame drawing shows which piece overlaps and which piece comes to the other. The hatched line shows the gables and tops and bottoms. Refer to the Cutting List, these are exact sizes, the more accurate you are here the better the cabinet will turn out. Remember to dado out for the back of each unit with 1/4" plywood. Assemble the pieces with glue and nails. Turn each unit over, in turn, and install the 1/4" plywood back, this should keep it square. Nail and glue the back into the fixed shelves, too.

The face frame is made up of vertical pieces called stiles and horizontal pieces called rails. These are ripped, from the 1x6 stock, according to the sizes shown in the face frame drawing and cut to length by holding the piece against the frame and marking in place. These should be face nailed to the box with glue. Set the nails with a nail set just below the surface if not using an air nailer.

On the gables layout the position of the drawer slides. The slides come in matched pairs, with one for the drawer and one for the gable. They are marked LH and RH for left and right hand. The drawer mounts install on the bottom of the drawer with the roller at the back. We'll get to the drawers later.

The gable mount slide is shown in this drawing. The end with the roller goes to the front and is flush with the outside of the face frame and resting on top of the rail. Screw these in position using #6 x 5/8" screws, 3 per slide. Make sure they are installed square across the gable. Since the gables are not flush with the stiles, pack out the gable with a ripping to bring it out flush and install the drawer slide onto the strip.

Put the cabinets away for now, while we make up the drawers.

The drawer boxes can be made of 1/2" plywood or melamine. The sides are rabbeted to receive the front and backs, which are the same size. The outside width of the drawer must be 1" less than the opening between the stiles to allow for the drawer slides. You'll notice that one slide mounted on the drawer is flat on top and the other side has a rounded top which grabs the roller. There is a bit of adjustment with this design, better to be a bit too wide on the 1/2" gap rather than too tight. I'm talking a maximum of 1/16". At 1/2" on each side the drawer will slide nicely. The bottom is simply screwed to the sides, back and front since the slide supports the bottom anyway. For melamine, since glue won't hold too well, except at the raw edges, I prefer to screw the box together. I use #6 x 1 1/2" drywall screws. With plywood, glue and nails work well. Don't fasten the drawer front onto the drawer box yet, wait for this step later. The height of the drawer, less the bottom, is about 3/4" less than the vertical opening.

At this point we will fasten the molding profiles around the top, as shown on the elevation drawing. You can purchase molding for this purpose or use a router to make your own. I allowed for enough material in the Material List to make your own. Rip the solid oak into 3/4 x 3/4 strips. Cut them to the approximate length adding extra for the miters. The profile is best done with the router under mounted to a table, as described above.

Rip the base for the bottom unit and router a profile on the top of it. The two front joints are again mitered. Fasten in place with glue and face nails.

Cut the drawer fronts out of the 3/4" plywood. The edge grain can be covered with oak wood edging tape or rip a profile out of the solid oak stock. If going to router a profile on the drawer fronts be careful where you place your nails. We don't want to hit them with the router, since it is easier to router the edge after it is fastened to the front.

Time to sand and apply the finish to your project. Fill all nail holes with a putty pre-stained to your liking. Plywood and lumber has a mill glaze on its surfaces when purchased. This has to come off before applying a stain or clear finish. Use about a 100 grit sandpaper for the first pass. It doesn't take too much to remove this. Don't sand any finer than 150 grit before the application of stain. I've had people wonder why stain won't grab the wood when they sand with 400 or 600 paper. They sealed it off by trying to do a perfect sanding job. Don't sand too much of the veneer off the plywood, it is very thin. Remove any saw or router marks on the edges of the solid oak. Remember to sand the drawer fronts and set them aside for the finishing process before installing them on the drawers.

For a choice of finish, I prefer a satin or semi-gloss clear Polyurethane product. Varathane is such a product. I use the Varathane Professional Clear Finish, which can accept a number of coats in a day, yet is oil based. If stain is your choice, it goes on before the final finish. I prefer a gelled stain applied with a lint free rag. Rub it on and wipe it off. Allow the stain to dry overnight before applying the finish. In my opinion, stay away from the stain and finish applications in one step. If the stain is not to your liking, after it dries, that's it. By pre-staining you have the option to sand it lightly to lighten the color or add a bit more to darken it. Apply at least two coats of the clear finish.

With the drawer fronts, line them up with the doors below. Insert the drawer box into the slides by tipping the drawer down to engage the roller and lift up again and slide the box in. Start by drilling 3/16" holes through the front of the drawer box in the center of the front and near the sides. Clamp the drawer front into place with the drawer open with the use of spring clamps or C-clamps. Don't marr the surface. From the inside of the box, screw through the two holes into the front. Careful with the length of screws, you don't want to go through the face of the front. Remove the clamps and slide the door in. When happy with the position, install the pulls by drilling with the same bit through the face of the front as well as the box front to match the spacing of the holes in the pulls. Most times the pulls come with a 3/4" machine screw as well as a longer one. You may have to cut off the screw to fit the length of going through the two pieces or buy a longer screw to fit.

Tip: When cutting a machine screw to length, thread on a proper size nut first, cut the screw and back off the nut which cleans the threads in the process.

Drill and attach the pulls onto the doors.

Tip: When drilling through a finished frame, as when installing drawer pulls, hold a scrap block of plywood on the inside to prevent the drill from chipping the wood as it penetrates the frame.

Wow! Nice job.


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