Lifestyle

How to make your own DIY side table

Are you in need of a handy and stylish side table to add a new dynamic to a room in your house?

Maybe you’re after a bedside table to keep your phone and your book, or maybe you need a spot next to the sofa for your morning coffee. Well, have you ever thought of making one yourself?

If you have the right tools, the materials, and a little bit of confidence – it is more than possible. And the bonus of making your own table is that you can design it in a way that matches your home and your personality perfectly.

Domestika teacher and co-founder of Bibbings and Hensby, Matthew Hensby has provided a simple, step-by-step guide to help you create a beautiful side table for your home.

If you follow Matthew’s plan, the joints are all shaped by hand in order to eliminate the need for any powered tools.  

Also, this table can be made from any timber you like or have to hand. Whichever species you choose, straight grain will make planing much easier:

1. ‘First, saw the legs and seat from the wooden board, leaving their width and thickness a little oversized.’ 

2. ‘Next, plane each leg and seat, edge straight and make sure they’re square to each other.’  

3. ‘Taper the legs with hand plane.’

4. ‘Plane facets onto the edges of the legs to achieve a 25mm octagon at the thin end.’   

5. ‘Mark the position of leg mortices and draw guidelines on the seat.’

Glossary of terms

Chamfer: Cutting away a right-angled edge or corner to make a symmetrical sloping edge.

Planing: A wood planer is a woodworking tool, which produced boards of even thickness that are flat.  

Mortiseand tenon: A mortise (concave part) and tenon (protruding part) joint connects two pieces of wood or other material.

Tapering: Tapering is when one end of the timber is lesser than the other in relation to the angle of the cut.  

Kerf: A slit or notch made by a saw.

6. ‘Carve a chamfer on the underside of the seat.’ 

7. ‘Now plane the end faces of the seat smooth.’

8. ‘Shape tenons on legs using a block plane to get them down to a circle.’ 

9. ‘With all three tenons shaped, saw a kerf in the ends for the wedges – perpendicular to the grain of the seat.’  

10. ‘Glue and wedge legs into the top. Any wood glue should do the job.’

11. ‘Level the tabletop to the bench top by placing wedges under the feet. Draw around the feet to achieve a line parallel to bench top, then saw to this line to level feet.’

12. ‘Chamfer the edges of feet with block plane to prevent them chipping when being used.’  

13. ‘Finally, apply a finish or paint to the tabletop if desired.’

Bibbings and Hensby have a step-by-step video course for this piece on creative online learning platform, Domestika.

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