Build a Side Table

Joinery Essentials Series



Building a side table is rite of passage for a beginning furniture maker. This is the first piece that can be constructed with joinery and glue.

In this course you'll focus on the joinery and design techniques to create a simple but elegant side table. We provide you with a kit of parts to build a side table no larger than 40"x20" by up to 30" tall. Add hand-tooled embellishments to create a unique piece. 

This class is designed to introduce the new hand tool woodworker to basic furniture making techniques and explore design and ornamentation within a structured project.

This is also a class where a more experienced woodworker can work on a design for a side table before class and then refine that design with comments and review by Abel and build it in the class. Please let us know if you are bringing a design.

Class Description

Topics covered in class include:

  • Refine the basic design
  • Join the legs and aprons with hand cut mortise and tenons reinforced with draw-bored pins
  • Create elegantly tapered legs
  • Put a silky smooth surface on the top with the smoothing plane
  • Profile the table top lighten the edges or add some gentle detail
  • Use traditional forms of detailing to lighten and refine the legs and aprons
  • Develop a look for the table with traditional finishes. Start the finishing of the top. You'll need to complete the finishing at home.


If you have started to build your own set of hand tools we encourage you to bring them along to the class so that you can deepen your experience with them and work with the instructors to tune and fully understand them. Please see our What to Expect page if you plan to ship your tools to the school. Otherwise you are welcome to use the high quality hand tools at our fully equipped workbenches.


This is a fully kitted course. We will be working to a standardized design from prepared stock. Each kit will be milled from Alder or Cherry. These woods balance visual appeal, strength and ease of working. Both woods hold fine detail and finish well. 


This course is designed for woodworkers who have hand tool experience. The course is  ideal for graduates of our Handtool Heaven course or graduates of our Basics of Woodworking weekend series. If you have not attended the School but you have the skills equivalent to those in Jim Tolpin's The New Traditional Woodworker then this course is an ideal next step for you

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $ 850
Materials Deposit: $150
Register By: May 16, 2016

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.