Canadian Woodworking

Night table

Author: Michel Theriault
Published: April May 2003

Use this night table next to your bed and your favourite reading material will be close at hand. It will also give you a place for your reading light and alarm clock.


Make Top and Sides

Make the top and side panels by gluing up 5 ½” boards at least 1” longer than needed. Make sure one end is perfectly flush and even; then cut the second end to size, once dry.


Half Circles

Using a compass, draw the ½ circle at the bottom of the side pieces and cut them out with a jig saw. Sand the cut edge smooth by hand using #180 sandpaper folded up or with a drum sander mounted in your drill.

Join Top and Sides

The top and sides are joined with dowels. For the top, drill four evenly spaced dowel holes at each end. The holes should be ⅜” in from the end and 1”, 6”, 11” and 16” from the edge. Drill matched dowel holes in the top edge of both sides, making sure that the best side of the boards will be facing outwards.

Make Supports

Make the drawer and shelf supports by first drilling countersunk pilot holes in one end of each side support, then screwing the side supports to the front supports so that they are flush on the top and front.

Place Shelves

Tack the shelf in place on one of the support assemblies with brads so that it is flush at the front and sides. If necessary, trim the shelf to size with a sanding block or block plane after it has been nailed to the support.

Install Supports

To install the supports, first drill countersunk pilot holes in the support side pieces, then screw the two supports in place onto the side pieces 3 ⅜” from the bottom and 5 ½” from the top.

Attach the Top

Add the top by applying glue to the mating edges of the top and side panels and to the dowel holes. Insert the dowels into the holes in the side panels and place the top over the dowels, pressing them into the matching holes. Make sure the night table is square then clamp it down or set the night table upright and place books or other items on the top to weigh it down while it dries.

Face Pieces

Screw the face pieces to each support from behind through countersunk pilot holes.

Assemble Drawers

Assemble the drawers by screwing the side pieces to the front and back pieces through countersunk pilot holes drilled 3/8” from the edges. Glue and tack the bottom on from underneath with brads, trimming with a sanding block or block plane if required. Screw the drawer front onto the drawer from inside so that it is centered and flush at the bottom.

Drawer Handle

Add a drawer handle and insert the drawer into the night table.


• Screw the top onto the sides with counterbored pilot holes and flat screw hole plugs instead of using dowels.

• Skip the decorative hole in the bottom of the side pieces if you don’t have a jig saw.

Tip:  Buy pre-laminated 12” wide panels for the top and sides, adjusting the other measurements as required.

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