Simple Pleasures
A Shaker console table for any room in the house.
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.
Key No. Size and description (use)
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A 1 1 x 20 x 56" maple (top)
B 1 1 x 6 x 48-1/2" maple (apron)
C 2 1 x 6 x 16-1/2" maple (apron)
D1 2 1 x 1-1/4 x 48-1/2" maple (apron)
D2 2 1 x 3-1/2 x 4-1/4" maple (apron)
D3 1 1 x 3-1/2 x 4" maple (apron)
D4 2 1 x 3-7/16 x 17-15/16" maple (drawer face)
E 4 2 x 2 x 30" maple (leg)
F 4 3/4 x 3 x 16" maple (stretcher)
G 1 3/4 x 7 x 16" maple (stretcher)
H 4 3/4 x 3/4 x 16" maple (guide)
I 4 1/2 x 3-7/16 x 16-5/8" maple (drawer side)
J 2 1/2 x 2-5/16 x 17-7/16" maple (drawer back)
K 2 1/4 x 15-5/8 x 17-7/16" birch plywood (drawer bottom)
L as reqd. No. 20 plate
M 24 3/4" No. 8 fh woodscrew
N 12 1-1/4" No. 8 fh woodscrew
O 4 3/4" No. 6 rh woodscrew
P as reqd. 4d finishing nail
Q* 12 tabletop fasteners
R* 2 1-1/2"-dia. drawer knobs
Misc.: 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 finished length.

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 tabletop.
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 slots.

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 slots.

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 chisel.
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 clamps.

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 the surface.

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 their length.

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 clamps.
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 proceeding.

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 drawer parts.
Bore pilot holes through the drawer sides, then use glue and nails to assemble the drawer box.
Cut the plywood drawer bottom to size, then slide it into its groove. Screw the bottom to the drawer back.