Making My Side Table Series

Intro FinalOn we have been making an occasional or side table by hand. I didn’t realise this table series would be so popular. I designed it many decades ago and have made many a dozen and sold them or given them to my family and friends. This is a foundational course project that I designed as a training project for new woodworkers and those new to hand tools. They take me a day to make and I can sell them for between £200 to £275 depending on the wood. How to Make a Table IntroAs always it’s all beautiful handwork too. You can learn how to make this one and many a dozen and more other projects by becoming a member of How to Make a Table 2The next project will be the Craftsman-style rocking chair and there will be other projects slotted in there too. How to Make a Table 1

15 thoughts on “Making My Side Table Series”

  1. If I ever get to a completion point with my bench I would like very much to make some of these for my family’s own enjoyment!

  2. Michael Barnes

    At first I was concerned this project was too similar to the occasional table project and said as much in the comments but now I have changed my mind…Whilst the table is similar, the point of the project is different I think. The occasional table was about looking at how that table was made, what tools and techniques the craftsman used ( it was almost forensic in its approach) and then recreating the table to make a matching set. So I was wrong, I admit it…and I’m loving this new series…in fact I love this little table so much I’m planing on it being the next project on my path to becoming a woodworker. Many thanks…these masterclasses are truly invaluable.

  3. I’m getting closer to trying this project. Still going through the other ones before this in your book. Having great success so far. This will be a great project to test my skills and see what I have learned.
    So far the hardest thing I’ve found is squaring the wood. I know that’s just practice and repetition and every now and then I get it first try. Eventually I’m sure I’ll think back after I’ve mastered this and laugh at how hard I thought it was. 🙂
    Always looking forward to the next project.

    1. Michael Ballinger

      Oh man the road to developing skill with hand tools is not an easy one that’s for sure. I’m soooo much better today than when I started and there’s nothing more rewarding.

      1. christopher Mitchell

        yea, Thats a trip isn’t it. Finally learning how to square your wood by hand. I practiced, practiced and practiced and pulled half the hair out of my head but then one day it clicked. Why just last night I finally got a can stuffed it with the rag and filled it with 3-1 oil and I couldn’t believe the difference it made .
        I had been using wax and the camilo oil but Paul’s method made a world of difference. Between a freshly sharpen plane and the oil can trick I was also able to control the plane much better and easier.
        Sometime I wish Paul would just slap me upside the head, and say wake up hard headed and listen to what I’m saying. Sure would make my life

  4. I am just about to start shaping the legs and have been putting it off for some time. I am sure that once I start it will not be as difficult to mark out as it seems. I have used oak bought as a waney edge plank. The hardest part was sizing and squaring the timber. It was with great relief that in your recent q&a that you said it was okay to use machines for the donkey work . In future I might try and get the boards planed to thickness.
    I am not a confident woodworker but the directions are good and easy to follow with some helpful tips.

  5. Very nice table! I made one similar to this one in a course I did here in Holland (but it had to be machined… Still did a lot of work by hand 🙂 )
    Ome big difference in design is the concave parts (don’t know the English term), mine is straight by design. I like this much better! I also made the 4 shelf wall unit as a end-project of the course, also, off course, by hand. It’s nearly done! I only did the rough dimensioning with machines. The teachers did not (or did not want to) understand why I would go through all this trouble, unfortunately, but that is their loss I would say…

    Thanks for all the inspiring words and teachings!! You truly are a blessing!

  6. Paul, I love this project and am looking forward to the final installments of the series. If I wanted to expand this table to a full size table, perhaps 48″ x 28″, what size legs would you use? I believe these legs are 1 1/2 square at the top tapering to 7/8 at the bottom, which would seem to be too small for a larger table. Would a 3 inch square leg be more appropriate, tapering to perhaps 2″ square? With larger legs is a 3/8″ tenon still adequate or does that also need to scale up? Thanks

    1. Michael Ballinger

      I was working away cutting a mortice the other day and an old boy wandered past my bench and boomed, “what is the size for a tenon”. I paused and said, not sure. He put his finger in the air and said, “one third of the thickness of your material” and wandered off. Of course that’s a rule of thumb but probably not a bad starting point for most applications.

  7. Paul,
    Yesterday was my birthday. To my great surprise I opened my gift to discover I am the proud owner of your new book. My Honey hears and actually listens to all the Master Classes as I watch them. The instant she heard me say you had a new book it was ordered and hidden away. To say I am thrilled would be a gross understatement. I am a lucky man whose mate buys him a coveted woodworking book . I am, by the way, loving the new table build. I am currently completing a five unit barrister bookcase and as soon as it is done the table will be next. I am so looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, you have changed my approach to working wood and I am a better craftsman for it.


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