Our Shaker console table is a very versatile piece of furniture. Its simple lines make it appropriate in any décor and in any room. You can use it in the dining room as a serving table, in the living room behind a sofa, or place it in the entry to serve as a console table. Its two drawers can accommodate anything from scarves to silverware.
We built our table of hard maple, a traditional wood for this type of furniture. An antique maple stain and tung oil finish complete the piece. You could substitute another wood species or finish for equally fine results.
The table legs were cut from 10/4 stock planed to 2 in., and the top and aprons were cut from 5/4 stock planed to 1 in. Drawer stretchers and guides are 3/4-in. material, and the drawer sides and back are 1/2 in. If you cannot find 10/4 stock, glue up 5/4 lumber for the legs.
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1 x 20 x 56" maple
1 x 6 x 48-1/2"
1 x 6 x 16-1/2"
1 x 1-1/4 x
48-1/2" maple (apron)
1 x 3-1/2 x 4-1/4"
1 x 3-1/2 x 4"
1 x 3-7/16 x
17-15/16" maple (drawer face)
2 x 2 x 30" maple
3/4 x 3 x 16"
3/4 x 7 x 16"
3/4 x 3/4 x 16"
1/2 x 3-7/16 x
16-5/8" maple (drawer side)
1/2 x 2-5/16 x
17-7/16" maple (drawer back)
1/4 x 15-5/8 x
17-7/16" birch plywood (drawer bottom)
No. 20 plate
3/4" No. 8 fh
1-1/4" No. 8 fh
3/4" No. 6 rh
4d finishing nail
Sandpaper, wood glue, finish.
Making The Top Begin construction with the
top. Rip and crosscut three pieces of stock, and select
each piece for matching grain to give the top a uniform
appearance. Use a plane or jointer to make the stock
edges straight and square. This will ensure good glue
joints. Mark the locations of joining plate slots along
the mating edges, 6 to 8 in. on center. Use the plate
joiner to cut the slots (Photo 1). Hold the joiner and
workpiece tight to the top of the workbench to ensure
that the slots are located properly in the stock edges.
Spread glue in the plate slots and on the mating
joint edges, then apply glue to the joining plates and
place them in their slots (Photo 2). Assemble the panel
and use clamps every 4 to 6 in. to pull the joints tight
(Photo 3). After about 20 minutes, scrape off any excess
glue from the panel surfaces. Then, let the glue set for
at least 1 hour before removing the clamps. Plane,
scrape and sand the top to level any uneven joints, then
set it aside while you work on the base.
Apron And Leg Construction Rip and crosscut
the stock for the side and rear aprons. Since the front
apron includes openings for two drawers, the material
that you cut for it must be treated differently. In
order to maintain a continuous grain pattern across the
apron, start with a slightly oversize blank--7 in. wide
x 50 in. long--and rip it in three pieces. The first
piece should be 1-1/4 in. wide, the second 3-1/2 in.
wide and the last 1-1/4 in. wide. Mark these strips so
you can keep them in sequence for reassembly. Crosscut
the center strip to yield both apron and drawer front
pieces, again making the cuts in sequence to keep the
grain continuous. Then, cut the top and bottom strips to
Put the drawer faces aside for now, but mark them for
proper alignment in the apron. Mark the remaining pieces
for joining plate slots, then use the plate joiner to
cut the slots. When cutting the joints in these small
pieces, be sure to clamp the workpiece to the table so
your hands are far from the cutting blade (Photo 4).
Use a plate joiner to cut the plate
slots in each of the three boards that make up the
Spread glue in the plate slots, on the
plates themselves and on the edges of the boards
that make up the top.
Clamp the top together until the glue
has set. Use an old chisel to pare away excess glue
while it is rubbery.
Clamp small apron blocks to the
workbench in order to safely cut the joining plate
Spread glue on the joints and joining plates, and
assemble the front apron (Photo 5). Use clamps to hold
the joints tight while the glue sets.
Rip blanks for the table legs to 2 in. square, then
crosscut them to finished length. Clamp the legs
together with ends held flush and mark across the legs
to lay out the apron mortises.
Next, use a router with an edge guide and a spiral
up-cutting bit to cut the mortises (Photo 6). You should
make two or three passes with the router for each
mortise, to avoid overloading the motor or breaking the
bit. Chop the ends of the mortise square using a sharp
chisel (Photo 7).
Mount a leg blank between centers on the lathe, then
use a parting tool to divide the square, top portion of
the leg from the round, bottom section. Next, use a
gouge to turn the leg into a rough cylinder. Use a skew
chisel to form the bead (Photo 8) and relieve the bottom
corners of the square section. Finish turning the leg by
shaping its tapered lower portion.
Install dado blades in the table saw to cut tenons on
the aprons. Use the rip fence as a stop to ensure that
all tenons are the same length. First cut the tenon
cheeks, then readjust the blade height and hold the
aprons on edge to cut the shoulders at the top and
bottom of each tenon (Photo 9).
Rip and crosscut 3/4-in.-thick stock to finished
dimension for the drawer stretchers. Then, mark the
locations of joining plate slots in the ends of the
stretchers and on the inside surfaces of the front and
rear aprons. Use the plate joiner to cut the required
Apply glue to all the pieces in the
apron assembly, including joining plate slots and
the plates themselves.
Clamp two legs together to provide
additional support for the plunge router, and cut
the apron mortises.
With a leg clamped firmly to the bench,
chop the ends of the apron mortise square using a
Shape the leg taper with a gouge, and
then cut the bead at the leg top with a parting tool
and a skew chisel.
Cut the apron tenons using a dado blade
in the table saw. Stand the apron on edge to cut the
tenon to width.
Assemble the stretchers and front apron with glue and
joining plates (Photo 10). Next, join the rear apron to
the assembly with glue and joining plates. Now clamp the
assembly together and compare opposite diagonal
measurements to be sure that it is square (Photo 11).
Let the glue set for at least 1 hour before removing the
Next, join the side aprons to the legs. A small brush
is perfect for spreading glue on the mortise walls and
on the tenons. Clamp the joints to pull them tight, then
let the glue set.
Join the side assemblies to the front and rear aprons
(Photo 12). Be sure to perform this final assembly on a
flat tabletop to ensure that the legs all sit evenly on
Mark the locations of the tabletop fasteners (see
Materials List) on the aprons, then use a 3/4-in.-dia.
multispur bit to bore the recess for each fastener. Test
the fit of a fastener in each recess, then drill pilot
holes for the screws and install them.
Place the tabletop upside down on a work surface,
then invert the base over it. Adjust the position of the
base, then mark the location of the screwholes for each
fastener. Remove the base and drill pilot holes in the
tabletop--but do not attach the top until after the
finish is applied.
Rip and crosscut the drawer-side guides, then drill
and countersink pilot holes for the screws. Install the
guides to the lower drawer stretchers (Photo 13). Note
that the guides must be flush with the drawer opening in
the front apron and they must also stay parallel along
Place the front apron facedown, then use
joining plates and glue to attach the top and bottom
stretchers to it.
With the stretchers in place, join the
rear apron to the assembly and clamp it together
until the glue has set.
Join the legs to the apron-stretcher
subassembly, then provide pressure with long pipe
Bore three pilot holes in each drawer
guide and attach it to the stretcher below.
Drawers And Finishing Rip and crosscut
1/2-in.-thick stock to size for the drawer sides and
backs. Also cut the drawer faces to specified dimension.
Install dado blades in the table saw, then use them to
cut the rabbets at the ends of the drawer faces and to
cut the dadoes in the drawer sides (Photo 14). Re-adjust
the dado blades to cut the grooves for the drawer
bottoms in the drawer sides and faces.
Assemble the drawer boxes using glue and 4d finishing
nails (Photo 15). Drill pilot holes in the drawer sides
to reduce the risk of bending the nails or splitting the
sides or the front. Set the nailheads and fill the holes
with matching filler.
Cut the drawer bottoms from 1/4-in. plywood, then
slide them into place (Photo 16). Fasten each panel by
screwing it to the bottom edge of the drawer back. Bore
and counterbore pilot holes for the knob screws, then
temporarily mount the knobs.
Test the fit of the drawers in their openings. The
fit should be snug, but the drawers should slide
smoothly. If a drawer is too tight, carefully sand the
sides to adjust it.
Remove the drawer knobs and leave the tabletop off
for finishing. Begin the finishing process by sanding
all table surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper, followed by
150-, 180- and 220-grit sandpaper. Use a tack cloth to
remove sanding dust from surfaces when switching to the
next finer grit.
We stained our table with a water-soluble aniline dye
(W1460--Pilgrim Maple from Woodworker's Supply, 1108 N.
Glenn Rd., Casper, WY 82601; 800-645-9292). Since
water-soluble dyes tend to raise the grain of the wood,
you should prepare the table by first wiping all
surfaces with a damp rag or sponge. Use warm, clean
water to dampen the surface, then let it dry thoroughly.
You will notice that the wood feels quite rough as tiny
fibers stand up. Take a piece of 220-grit sandpaper and
lightly wipe the wood surfaces to remove the raised
grain. Do not be too aggressive with this process. You
are supposed to remove only the raised grain.
Apply the stain following the manufacturer's
directions, and allow it to dry overnight before
We finished our table with Waterlox Original
Sealer/Finish (Waterlox Coatings Corp., 9808 Meech Ave.,
Cleveland, OH 44105). Apply the first coat liberally and
let it soak into the wood. After overnight drying,
lightly sand the surface with 320-grit paper and remove
the dust. Apply the next coat of finish and wipe off the
excess, leaving only a damp surface. After overnight
drying, repeat the process. When the last coat is dry,
you can burnish the surface with 4/0 steel wool. For
additional protection and to add a bit more gloss to the
finish, you can apply a light coat of paste wax.
Install the tabletop on the base and reinstall the
drawer knobs. Apply a bit of wax to the outside of the
drawer sides and also to the stretchers and guides, then
install the drawers.
Install a dado blade in the table saw
and cut the rabbets, dadoes and grooves in the
Bore pilot holes through the drawer
sides, then use glue and nails to assemble the
Cut the plywood drawer bottom to size,
then slide it into its groove. Screw the bottom to
the drawer back.