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    Build a Craftsman Side Table

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    My Uncle Bob was one of those classic uncles that would pull nickels out of your ear and tickle you until milk came out your nose. He worked most of his life as a butcher—and I suspect his daily use of a band saw for cutting pork chops naturally inclined him to use the same tool for crafting furniture. This piece was inspired by a table Uncle Bob made 30 years ago; one that still serves as a side table next to my reading chair in the den.

    Looking for More Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects?

    Ridiculously SImple Furniture Projects contains 38 great looking furniture projects anyone can build. Features indoor and outdoor projects plus tons of tips, techniques, friendly instructions and color photos to guide you through each project. Spike Carlsen's previous book A Splintered History of Wood, was selected as an NPR Best Book of the Year. For more information visit www.ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com

    BUY IT on amazon.com




    How to Make

    You don’t need a band saw to create this table. The round top and round lower shelf are precut discs purchased at a home center. Glue and screw the leg braces to the large top disc so the 5-degree cuts on the ends are angling outward. Cut 3/4" x 2-1/2" notches in the lower disc spaced equally around the perimeter. Cut the legs to length, with 5-degree angles on each end, and create the decorative cutouts as shown in the photo below. Use a backer board so the bit doesn’t splinter the wood as it emerges through the backside of the board. You can cut the slot “freehand” or use a straight-cutting jig to help guide your jigsaw. The trim head screws used to secure the discs to the legs are simply drywall screws with a thinner shank and smaller head. Predrill the holes to minimize the chance of splitting the wood. inconvenient

    click to enlarge

    1) Glue and nail braces in an “X” shape on the bottom of the tabletop. Note the ends of the braces are angled outward at 5-degrees.

    click to enlarge

    2) Divide the smaller disc into 4 equal pie slices, then measure and mark out the notches for the 1x3 legs. Cut the notches with a jigsaw.

    click to enlarge

    3) Drill holes in the legs to create the ends of the decorative cutouts. Cut out the slot with a jigsaw guided by a “straight cutting jig.”

    click to enlarge

    4) Secure the tops of the legs to the large disc using glue and trim head drywall screws. Prop the bottom disc on scrap 2x4s and position the legs in the slots. Make sure the upper and lower disc align and that the table isn’t leaning to one side, then glue and screw the legs to the bottom disc.



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    Table blueprints

    Mike Berndt writes:

    Hi I am looking for detailed plans for this prject. Are they available? I am doing this with my middle school students and they love the design.


    Mike B.

    Davisville Middle School

    North Kingstown, RI

    Hi Mike   THe plans are

    Spike Carlsen writes:

    Hi Mike


    THe plans are available in a book I wrote "Ridiculously SImple Furniture Projects." But if it's for your middle school students, send me your email address and/or mailing address and I will send you scans or photo copies of the illustration and project as it appears in the book for you to use. My direct email is carlsen@usinternet.com. Thanks for teaching the next generation of woodworkers. 



    Where can I get the precut discs?

    James Espy writes:

    Spike, I have been all over metro Denver and I cannot find these 15-inch and 18-inch precut discs. Home Depot does not have them. Loews has only 18-inch and 16-inch plywood discs. The largest that Hobby Lobby carries is 12 inches in plywood. Michaels Crafts does not carry them. The retail lumber outfits do not carry them. I am hoping that you can tell me exactly who does carry solid pine discs in the appropriate dimensions. Exactly what is their address? What is their email address? How much do the discs cost?

    Precut wood discs

    Spike Carlsen writes:

    Hi James

    Thanks for the note. I live in Minnesota and was able to buy the discs through the local Lowe's and Menards Home Centers. Next time I'm at one of these stores I'll jot down the manufacturer and send the info to you.





    Michael Thoma writes: I'm disappointed that he didn't answer your question. I even e-mailed him through his other website that there was a question on this article. I'm not sure why, could be a number of reasons, but it doesn't make me want to rush out and buy his book.

    Question on dimensions

    Dean Blondefield writes:

    Hello Spike, I read through the article and looked at the drawing for the side table, and did not find certain dimensions that would be helpful to me in building this table.

    On the leg decoration, what is the diameter of the 8 holes, or if you will, what size of spade bit did you use to drill them out?

    Also on the leg decoration, what is the width of the slot that runs between the holes (not the slot length)?

    And while I’m asking, would you please share what type of finish you applied, and how you applied the finish?

    Thanks greatly,


    Uncle Bob's Table

    Spike Carlsen writes:

    Hi Dean


    THe holes for the decorative cutouts are 15/16" and the slots are 1/4" wide. Good luck on your project!! I have another book just out called "Woodworking FAQ: The Workshop Companion." Check it out. Best





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