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Bathroom How-To

How to Build a Small Side Table (page 2 of 5)

We built this small table for extra bathroom storage, but it can be made to go almost anywhere.

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Design the Top and Stain

Cut the top slats slightly longer (1/2" or so) than the length shown in the cut list.

Look at the end grain of each of the boards. You'll notice the grain pattern may have a curve, either up (looks like a smile) or down (looks like a frown). Position these so that the end grain patterns alternate between the smile (up curve) and a frown (down curve). Don't position two frowns or two smiles adjacent. This helps limit any buckling or curvature when gluing up the top. So will another step mentioned later.

Mark the faces of the boards you will be positioning up, then apply stain to that face only. Be sure to place painter's tape on the edges and ends to help prevent the stain from leaking onto those areas of the boards.

Clamp Top Pieces Together

Apply painter's tape to one face of each of the 2x2 oak squares. You will use these oak squares as cauls when clamping the top slats.

Position three or more bar clamps open on a level work surface and position the top slats on the clamps in the pattern you determined and with an inch or so between the parts. Apply glue to the joining edges, butt the parts together with the ends flush and clamp lightly in place.

Position the cauls, tape side against the top slats and butted against the bar clamps, and clamp lightly in place.

Continue to tighten the clamps on the top slats and cauls, making any adjustments as needed. Allow the glue to set.

Remove the clamps, then scrape and/or sand off the glue from the joints. Cut the final top assembly to length using a table saw.