Build an Oak and Walnut Nightstand
By Monte Burch
Putting your woodworking skills to work by building an Oak and Walnut Nightstand.
Quarter-sawn oak and figured walnut combine to make this nightstand unique and elegant. The design of the stand takes some from both Craftsman and Green and Green styles, along with a touch of “Shaker” in the clean, crisp lines. A shelf holds books for those night-readers and a drawer provides hidden storage for numerous night-time items. The drawer front features a crotch oak center with walnut cockbeading around the edges. Although the nightstand is assembled mostly with glue and biscuits, screws covered with walnut plugs add to the strength, as well as design.
The construction is fairly straight-forward, but at the same time a bit challenging. Both the quarter-sawn red oak and the walnut were from trees cut from our timberlands. We used a TimberKing Bandsaw mill to mill the woods, which were air-dried for about five years. They were acclimated in my shop for about 6 months. These woods, however, are also available at specialty hardwood stores, or from numerous mail-order firms. The woods were planed to thickness using a Woodmaster planer. When planing highly figured woods, it’s extremely important to plane with the grain of the wood not against it to prevent tearing out.
Once the stock was planed to thickness, the sides, back, shelf and top were glued up from several widths of stock, because the quarter-sawn oak pieces were not very wide. Biscuit joinery and TiteBond glue were used to join the pieces together to create the widths needed. Actually, the boards were glued up overwide and then ripped, their ends cut to length and their edges planed to create the final widths needed. The glued-up stock is then belt-sanded to smooth up joints and remove any dried glue runs. After belt-sanding, the stock is then sanded with an orbital sander, followed by a quarter-sheet finish sander. It’s easier to sand the flat stock before assembly, although some sanding will be required after assembly.
The insides of the legs are cut on an angle. Mark the cuts with a straight edge, or metal ruler, and then cut using a bandsaw or handsaw, and sand smooth. Position a side piece between two legs; mark the locations for the biscuits on both the legs and the matching locations on the side piece. Cut the biscuit slots with a biscuit cutter, and then glue and clamp the side assembly. Assemble the opposite side in the same manner.