Mid-century modern is my favorite style that I want to incorporate into my home, but with some furniture pieces that I’ll build myself. The first mid-century modern furniture piece that I’ll build is a side table with three legs.
This is a pretty simple project that looks a lot more complicated than it really is to build.
If you’re interested in building this exact table you can find the free plan with all the details included in my written article, so be sure to check that out.
Also, watch the video to see how I built it.
- Here are the materials I used:
- Plywood (your local hardware store)
- Pine strip (your local hardware store)
- Wood glue http://amzn.to/2fshgMw
- Masking tape http://amzn.to/2B8TXEP
- Dowels http://amzn.to/2BDr4Qn
- Wood filler http://amzn.to/2B8kJ0b
- Palisander (rosewood) stain http://amzn.to/2CTP2oq
- Oil based paint http://amzn.to/2zkWdGC
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2fRs8nD
- Random orbit sander http://amzn.to/2zk6sel
- Cordless drill http://amzn.to/2frP8MD
- Doweling jig http://amzn.to/2zjOqZl
- F-Clamps http://amzn.to/2B9hiGA
- Rubber mallet http://amzn.to/2B7L1PY
- Sanding block http://amzn.to/2CVPnqR
- Paint roller kit http://amzn.to/2CXbJrG
Step 1: Cutting the Pieces to Size on a Table Saw.
First, I cut all the pieces to size on my homemade table saw using the fence and the crosscut sled. These accessories (especially the crosscut sled) are very useful for safety and precision, so I use them all the time in my workshop. You can check the videos on how I built the crosscut sled and the fence on my website.
All the cuts that I made were repeated, and a stop block is a must-have for that purpose.
For the pieces that were around 50 cm long I couldn’t use the original stop block, so I attached the fence at the left edge of the table and clamped a scrap wood on it which I’ll use as a stop block. I used the original stop block as well for the shorter pieces.
For the legs I used a pine strip. I cut it into three pieces approximately 66 cm long, and fastened all those pieces together with a measuring tape in order to cut them all to the same length.
Step 2: Sanding
Now that I’m done cutting, I can sand all the pieces with my random orbit sander using 220 grit sandpaper to make them smooth.
Now everything is ready for assembly.
Step 3: Making Dowel Holes With a Doweling Jig for the Frame.
To join the pieces together I'm using wood glue and dowels. It is very clean and fast way to put everything together and I think these joints are going to be plenty strong.
The frame is the first part that I’m going to assemble. I’m using a doweling jig to make all the holes in this project. It is an extremely useful jig that will help you drill straight holes for dowels without a drill press.
I marked the points where I’ll insert the dowels and drilled all the holes into the sides of the frame.
Then I inserted dowels into the holes that I made on the sides. The dowels along with the doweling jig will help me drill holes into the top and the bottom of the frame exactly on the same position which will later help me achieve perfect 90 degree joint.
I needed to make 4 holes on one side of the frame because there I’ll have a dado for one of the legs, so I wanted to make a stronger connection here.
Step 4: Assembling the Frame of the Table
I applied a large amount of wood glue, inserted the dowels tapping them with a mallet, attached the other parts of the frame and tapped with a rubber mallet until they touch each other making a strong connection.
I used a scrap of wood to tap with the mallet so that I don’t damage the plywood.
Everything is square, so I can clamp the frame down and leave it to dry out.
Step 5: Creating Dadoes on the Table Saw That Will Fit the Legs
The most confusing part of this build is creating dadoes for the legs as I need to make three dadoes at the same time for each leg.
I don’t have a dado blade on my table saw or an appropriate bit for my router, and I was thinking a lot before making those dadoes. Finally, I decided to go with a simple, but time consuming solution at the same time: to cut them on my table saw with the regular blade.
On the top of the table I marked the points for the dadoes, clamped it along with the frame on the sled, set the blade at 25 mm height and started cutting.
It was a slow process, after each cut I moved the frame just a little and clamped it back on the sled until I get 3 cm wide dadoes. I moved the frame and clamped it back to the sled around 50 times in total.
However, it was definitely worth the time and effort.
Step 6: Making Dowel Holes for the Legs.
Now I can move on to the legs. I clamped them together and marked all the points on the three legs at the same time, making sure they’re all at the same distance.
Then I drilled the holes with the doweling jig.
I did the same thing with the plywood pieces.
Step 7: Attaching the Legs to the Table.
To finish with the assembly I attached the legs to the table with a wood glue and dowels and clamped everything together.
Step 8: Applying a Wood Filler to Fill in the Gaps Into the Plywood Edges.
Once the table is dry, I can fill the gaps into the plywood edges with a wood filler. I really wanted to avoid any gaps into the table when I apply paint.
Step 9: Staining and Painting the Table.
The last thing I need to do is to add some finish to the table. I started with staining the legs with a palisander (or rosewood) stain. Before staining I covered the parts of the table that touch the legs with a masking tape, to protect them from the stain.
Then, I sanded the plywood because previously I applied the wood filler and I wanted to make it nice and smooth before painting.
This time I covered every part of the legs with a masking tape to avoid making a mess with the paint. Then, I applied white oil based primer on the table, using a brush for the corners, and a roller for the flat surfaces. I left it to dry overnight.
Once it’s completely dry, I can do a quick sand with a 120 grit sandpaper. Then I can move on to the paint. I chose white oil based paint because it perfectly matches the stain and gives a nice contrast.
With this final step done my mid-century modern side table is complete. I’m very happy with how it turned out. This table has a beautiful design and color, so it would be a perfect addition to my room.
I hope you like this side table. If you do, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to never miss a project like this.