A side table for storing your CDs and tapes.
This traditional-looking storage table keeps your CDs and tapes out of sight, but at the same time makes them easily accessible.

Electronic entertainment media are everywhere these days. Cassette recorders, VCRs, and DVD and CD players have changed the way we enjoy our leisure time. These devices provide an almost unlimited selection of enriching and entertaining pursuits. Unfortunately, the more we use them, the more storage space we need. Most entertainment-center cabinets provide for some storage, but often this space is insufficient.

To address this need, we designed a small side table with three drawers sized specifically for these items. The table has a traditional style that can fit in a variety of room settings. And it's proportioned to serve as a lamp table, end table or night stand.

It also has the advantage of being quite easy to build. It has a minimum of parts, and its joinery is extremely basic. You should be able to complete it in three or four weekends, and still have time to mow the lawn or take a well-deserved nap.

We built our table from solid mahogany and mahogany plywood, but it would look equally attractive in cherry or walnut. It has drawer boxes built of solid maple with slide-in plywood bottoms.


Building The Base And Top

Begin construction on your side table by cutting slightly oversize blanks for the table sides, back and bottom from mahogany plywood. Rip and crosscut mahogany edge-banding strips. Glue and clamp the strips. After 20 minutes, scrape off excess glue, then let the glue cure. Use a plane to trim the edge banding flush to the panel (Photo 1). Next, trim the panels to finished dimension.

Glue and clamp strips of mahogany to the plywood panel edges, and then trim them flush to the panel with a block plane.

Rip and crosscut the table legs, and mark their tapered profiles. Use a band saw to cut the legs to shape (Photo 2). Clamp each leg to the workbench, then use a block plane to remove saw marks (Photo 3).

Mark the taper on two faces of each leg, then cut the tapers on a band saw. Stay on the waste side of the pencil line.
Clamp each leg to the workbench top. Next, use a block plane to remove saw marks and refine the leg taper.

Lay out the locations of the joining-plate slots on the sides, back, bottom and legs. Use the plate joiner to cut all the slots except those in the rear legs that receive the case back. These are cut later. Hold a leg firmly to the workbench, and cut the joining-plate slot (Photo 4). Cut the joining-plate slots in the panel edges and along the bottom edge of the back panel (Photo 5).

Mark joining-plate centers on each leg, then cut the plate slots. Hold the leg firmly to the work surface while doing this.
Clamp a tall backstop to the workbench, and hold a panel firmly against it. Cut joining-plate slots in the panel edge.

Apply glue to the joining-plate slots in the legs, the slots in the side panels and the joining plates. Then, clamp together the two subassemblies, each consisting of two legs and a side panel (Photo 6). When the glue has fully cured on the subassemblies, use the plate joiner to cut the slots in the rear legs for the joints with the back panel. Clamp a straightedge to the assembly to help position the plate joiner when cutting the slots. Note that these plate slots will slightly intersect with the plates that form the side-panel joints.

Assemble two legs and one table side with glue and joining plates. Apply pressure with a clamp at each plate location.

Next, join the back and bottom panels with joining plates, glue and clamps (Photo 7). Complete the base by joining this subassembly with the side panels and legs (Photo 8).

Glue and clamp together the table back and bottom. Take this subassembly and join it to the leg-side subassemblies.
Use bar clamps at the location of each joining plate to evenly distribute pressure when assembling the table case.

Cut the plywood panel for the table's top, and prepare the edge banding. Cut miters on the ends of two pieces of edge banding so they correspond to the dimensions of the top, and then glue and clamp these to the top. Cut mitered ends on the remaining edge banding, then glue and clamp these to the top (Photo 9).

Glue and clamp two mitered edge-banding strips to the top. Then, cut the mitered banding strips that fit between them.

Gently plane the edge banding flush to the top after the glue has cured, and cut the molding on the edge banding with a router and cove bit. We used a shallow-cutting cove bit (Item No. 387, MLCS, Box 4053/C-24, Rydal, PA 19046; 800-533-9298). Cut joining-plate slots in the bottom of the tabletop, and then glue and clamp the top to the table base using standard plate-joining procedure.

The drawer box is built with rabbeted and grooved pieces. Assemble the box with glue and finishing nails.

Drawer Making

Rip and crosscut the drawer box pieces and the bottoms, then cut the rabbets and grooves in them using a dado blade in a table saw. Drill 1/16-in.-dia. pilot holes in the drawers (Photo 10). Slide each bottom into its groove (Photo 11).

Cut the plywood drawer bottom to size. Once the glue has cured, slide the drawer bottom into its groove.

Install the drawer slides on the table's sides and on the drawer boxes according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Cut drawer faces to size and install them (Photo 12). Install a knob on each drawer face. Install the drawers, and adjust the slides so the drawers have a uniform 1/16-in. margin on all sides. Remove the drawers from the table and remove the knobs and slides before finishing. Sand all surfaces with
120-, 150-, 180- and 220-grit sandpaper. Dust off the surfaces completely between grits.

Clamp the drawer front to the drawer box, bore pilot holes, and attach the front with flathead screws.

Since mahogany is an open-grained wood, the first finishing step is to apply a grain filler. We used Behlen Pore-O-Pac Paste Wood Filler (Item No. 843-812, Woodworker's Supply, 1108 N. Glenn Rd., Casper, WY 82601; 800-645-9292). To apply the filler, thin it with naphtha to a creamy consistency, then spread it over the surface with a paintbrush. When the filler appears dull, scrub it off with a burlap rag. Let the filler dry overnight, then sand the surface with 320-grit sandpaper.

We stained our table with Behlen Solar-Lux, a non-grain-raising, dye-based stain (Item No. 847-466, Medium Brown Mahogany, Woodworker's Supply). Although this stain is meant to be applied with a spray gun, it can be brushed on if you add a retarder to it (Item No. 847-585, Woodworker's Supply).

Let the stain dry overnight before applying the first coat of Waterlox Transparent Finish (Item No. 294-001, Woodworker's Supply). Apply this according to the directions on the container.

Key No. Size and description (use)
A1 2 3/4 x 15 x 15 11/16" plywood (side)
A2 2 3/8 x 3/4 x 15" mahogany (edge banding)
B1 1 3/4 x 15 11/16 x 17" plywood (back)
B2 1 3/8 x 3/4 x 17" mahogany (edge banding)
C1 1 3/4 x 14 5/8 x 17" plywood (bottom)
C2 1 3/8 x 3/4 x 17" mahogany (edge banding)
D 4 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 x 25 1/4" mahogany (leg)
E1 1 3/4 x 18 x 20" plywood (top)
E2 2 3/4 x 1 x 22" mahogany (molding)
E3 2 3/4 x 1 x 20" mahogany (molding)
F1 2 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 14 1/2" maple (drawer side)
F2 2 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 14 1/2" maple (drawer side)
F3 2 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 14 1/2" maple (drawer side)
G1 1 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer front)
G2 1 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer front)
G3 1 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer front)
H1 1 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer back)
H2 1 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer back)
H3 1 1/2 x 5 3/4 x 15 1/2" maple (drawer back)
I 3 1/4 x 14 1/4 x 15 1/2" plywood (drawer bottom)
J1 1 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 16 7/8" mahogany (drawer face)
J2 1 3/4 x 5 x 16 7/8" mahogany (drawer face)
J3 1 3/4 x 7 3/8 x 16 7/8" mahogany (drawer face)
K* 3 pair 14" drawer slides (Accuride 3832)
L* 3 knob
M 3 1/2" No. 6 rh screw
N 9 1" No. 6 fh screw
O 36 1 1/2" 4d finishing nail
P 30 No. 20 plate
*Drawer slides (No. 32474) and knobs (No. 36608) available from Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, 4365 Willow Dr., Medina, MN 55348; 800-279-4441.
Note: All plywood to be veneer- or MDF-core with mahogany face veneers.

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