Canadian Woodworking

Candlestand table

Author: Bob Ireland
Illustration: Lee Gabel
Published: August September 2004

This well proportioned, small, early 18th century candlestand table presents an interesting and easily made turning project.


Stock Selection

Although this table is made of walnut, other hardwoods such as cherry, mahogany, beech, maple, etc., would be quite satisfactory. Softwood is not recommended for this project.

Construction is straight forward. The legs and stretcher are simple turnings, the feet are shaped with a band saw or scroll saw, table top edges are routed and assembled using glue, drywall screws, and #20 biscuits.

Getting Started

Lay out the 3/4″ thick boards to form the table top. Joint the gluing edges for a good fit. Glue and clamp up the top using #20 biscuits for a strong joint and good alignment. Scrape off excess glue and allow to dry overnight.

Glue up sufficient stock to make the remaining parts as per the materials list. When planing to the finished thickness, run all pieces through at the same time to maintain accuracy.


The only turning tools you need are a 1/2″ gouge, a 1/2″ skew chisel and a 1/8″ parting tool.

Leave the 1 1/2″ blanks for the legs and stretcher about 2″ longer than the finished dimensions in order to have extra stock for lathe mounting. They can be cut to finished length after turning. Use the long point down of the 1/2″ skew when cutting the shoulders of the square sections.

Make the Feet and Table Top Support Blocks

Layout 1″ gridwork on a piece of Bristol board, and follow the lines shown to make the feet and table top support blocks (parts D & E). Use half of the design for layout and then turn it over for the other half. This will ensure an exact mirror image.

Before cutting the table top support blocks to shape, drill the 3/8″ holes for the drywall screws first while the blanks are still flat and square. This will allow the plugs to fit perfectly. Once the holes are drilled to the depth shown on the grid diagram, cut the bottom curves to shape.

When drilling the 3/4″ dowel holes in the feet and table top support blocks use a Forstner bit which will cut clean holes with flat bottoms.

Cut the notches on the feet and tabletop support blocks by multiple passes on the tablesaw with the blade raised to the heights shown on the drawings.


Attach the feet to the legs using glue and a 1 5/8″ drywall screw at the bottom. Do this assembly on a perfectly flat surface (for example, your table saw top) to maintain absolute squareness and flatness.

Now attach the table top support blocks to the legs, again using the flat surface.

Glue the 3/4″ dowel and clamp until dry. Be sure to keep this assembly flat and square, clamping also to the table surface if necessary.

Attach the Stretcher to Legs

To keep it straight and true, cut two scrap pieces 9 1/4″ long. Stand the legs and rest the stretcher on the scrap pieces. This centres the stretcher on the leg squares and they can then be glued, screwed, and clamped. Be sure legs are exactly square to the stretcher. Use 1 5/8″ drywall screws in pre-drilled holes in the legs and cover the holes with 1/2″ button plugs.

Finish the Table Top

Cut to the finished 12″x24″ size and cut 45┬║ angles at the corners, measuring back 1 1/2″ for this angle cut. Rout the edges with your choice of bit. A Roman Ogee or French Table bit adds that professional finishing touch.

Attach the Table Top

Centre the finished top on the support blocks (E) and mark accordingly. Attach with 1 5/8″ drywall screws and glue. Be sure the screws don’t come through the top.

Clamp until dry. Plug the screws and finish sand.


Give the table a final sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Remove all dust and finish with three coats of clear satin polyurethane varnish, sanding lightly between coats for a smooth hard finish.

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