by tim johnson
Small, single-drawer tables have been a favorite of furniture makers and their patrons for generations. They range in style from prairie primitives to city sophisticates. It's this broad capacity for variation that attracts many of us to these tables in the first place, not to mention that their compact size fits into virtually every home. This is also the type of project that makes a great gift, because it doesn't take weeks of time to complete, yet it reflects sincerity of purpose. If you have basic lathe skills, you can tackle it in a weekend.
Our table requires only seven board feet of 3/4"-thick cherry and four 30''-long leg blanks. When choosing your material, look for 6"- to 7"-wide boards so the aprons and drawer front will be single planks and the top is a three-piece lamination. Look for color and grain similarities in all your wood. For the leg stock we recommend cutting your pieces from one continuous length of solid lumber.
You'll also need three board feet of secondary wood for the hidden drawer parts. Traditionally pine, poplar or basswood were used because they're easily worked by hand. Unfortunately, these woods wear quickly. We used oak for the drawer sides and back instead, and pine for the bottom.
Begin by gluing up three pieces of cherry for the top (piece 1)
and cutting stock for the carcass, which includes the front rails (pieces 3), the side and back aprons (pieces 4), the drawer runners (pieces 5), filler strips (pieces 6) and drawer stops (pieces 7). Label each piece and set them aside.
Cut your legs (pieces 2) to size and lay out the square shoulders on each piece. Press masking tape along the shoulder lines at
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