If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that we are in the process of buying a new house, which means I'm in the process of building new furniture to fill the new house. A few months back, I stumbled across this freaking awesome side table and decided I needed to make one myself.
I took one look at all those spindles and knew instantly I was going to need a special tool in my arsenal. Fortunately, I was able to find a self-centering doweling jig, and just about everything else at Rockler.com.
The jig isn't 100% necessary, but it will make your life so much better! Plus, then you'll be all set up for some upgraded dowel joinery. Other than that, the build is pretty straight forward. I love the light airy look of this design, but since I was making this table out of wood instead of metal, I needed to go with a hardwood (sorry friends, no pine this time). I chose birch and poplar, but you can use oak or whatever hardwood you would like to use.
* This post contains affiliate links
- (66) *1/4"- Hardwood dowels
- (1) 6'- Hardwood 1 x 4
- (2) 36"- 3/8" Hardwood square dowel (found in the trim aisle of Home Improvement store)
- (1) *1/4" x 24" x 24" Acrylic sheet
- *Self-centering doweling jig
- *Heavy Duty stapler
- *5/8" heavy duty staples
- *1/4" drill bit
- *Brad nailer
- *18 gauge- 1" brads
- *18 gauge- 2" brads
- *wood glue
- *measuring tape
- (optional- *1/4" drill bit stop collar )
1. The first step is to cut the top and bottom rails. Rip 1 x 4 board into 3/4" x 1" strips. If you don't have a table saw, you absolutely could buy 1" hardwood dowels.
2. Set the miter on your saw to 30 degrees off square. Cut twelve trapezoids, 12" from long point to long point.
3. On the longest side of each strip, make a cross mark, every inch.
4. Now the self-centering doweling jig comes into play.
The jig is really simple to use. Each hole on the top of the jig has a corresponding line running down the side of the drill block. Align the line on the block with a line on the wood strip and twist the handle to tighten.
5. Use a drill bit stop collar, or mark your drill bit with a piece of tape. Drill a 1/4" hole, 1/2" deep, centered on each line.
It should look something like this.
6. Divide the 1/4" dowels into roughly thirds and tightly bundle them together with masking tape. Cut 22" long.
7. Time to assemble. Start with one piece of the bottom rail. Partially fill each hole with glue.
You may need to use a mallet or hammer to pound them into place.
8. The next step can be a little tricky. It may be easier to lay the panel down on its side. Add glue to a second rail and insert the opposite ends of the dowels. Measure outside corners on both sides and make sure they are the same distance. If not, you may want to put a few clamps on it end to pull the panel into square. Build all 6 panels and allow to dry for several hours.
9. Once everything is dry, you can start to connect the panels. Start with two panels, hold them vertically and align the top and bottom rails.
Add glue to both sides of the joint and clamp them together on a solid work surface. Drive two, 2" finish nails from each side of the joint. Be mindful of the angle you hold your gun. You don't want to shoot a nail out the side. Attach all 6 panels the same way and allow to dry for several hours.
10. Once the whole frame is assembled and dry, you can trace the acrylic top. I chose acrylic because its lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive. If i was made of money, I probably would have gone with polycarbonate (AKA plexiglass), which is even stronger and resistant to scratching.
Decide which end is going to be your top and lay it face down on your acrylic. Trace the inside of the opening with a marker. You can cut the the acrylic with almost any kind of saw. You just need to move somewhat quickly and not allow a lot of friction to build up, or the acrylic will start to melt. I used a jigsaw with a medium speed wood blade and it cut like butter.
11. To hold the top in place, you'll need to create a small rail from the 3/8" square dowel. Flip the table frame right side up and measure each side of the inside of the top rail. It should be around 10 7/8". Cut 6 pieces of dowel into trapezoids, 30 degrees off square on each end and 10 7/8", long point to long point.
12. Measure the thickness of your acrylic and add 1/16". Measure this distance from the top edge of the top rail and ascribe a line. Line up the top edge of the dowel with the line and secure with glue and 1" finish nails. Work your way around the hexagon, creating a tiny shelf.
13. Flip the frame top side down. Use a heavy duty stapler to drive two, 5/8" staples across each joint. Just an extra little step to help hold the joint together.
14. Fill any cracks and seams with wood filler and sand smooth. Paint or stain however you'd like and remember to seal with multiple coats of your favorite clear finish.
Drop in the acrylic top and here's what you've got!
I love how it turned out, but I'll be honest, it took me a little while to try to convince my boys not to climb inside : )
I've been drooling over Rockler catalogs for years. I am so excited to finally get my hands on some of their tools. If you are a DIYer, take a chance to browse their site. You'll have your entire Christmas list filled out in like 3 minutes.
If you want to save this idea for the future, feel free to pin the image below.
*This post contains affiliate links and sponsored content paid for by Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced.
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