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Before you assemble the frames and panels that make up the sides of the table, you have some decisions to make. With the four sides glued up and clamped, run a bead of glue along the entire bottom edge of all four bottom rails.
While the carcass is drying, make the flippable lid that will function as both the tabletop and the cushion holder. By this time, the glue holding the frame on the top of the carcass should be dry, so you can put some trim under the edge of the frame to ease the visual transition between the top frame and the carcass. Regardless of what size your drawer ends up being, what is important is that it is installed so that the front of your drawer box is even with the back side of the stiles and rails. Mount your drawer front to your drawer box by positioning it perfectly in the opening using small spacers around the outside. As much as I like hard maple, it’s not the most visually interesting wood in the world, so I decided to go with a medium-brown stain.
Insert your top so it rests on the cleats and that’s it: a great-looking table, extra seating and new storage all in one.
Rough-cut your pieces to approximate size so you can joint and plane them all with the same machine settings.
Finally, add a groove in the side top rails to accept the metal clips that will hold the tabletop in place. Once you’re satisfied that your mortise-and-tenon joints fit, sand all parts up through the grits from 120 to 220. There are three web frames to build-one to support the lower drawer, one to support the upper drawer, and the third to act as a stop, preventing the upper drawer from tipping down as you pull it out. Before bringing the web frame parts together, set up and cut a groove in all upper frame pieces to accept metal tabletop clips. As you assemble each frame, take the time to ensure it’s square- successful drawer fit depends on it.
Glue and trim the top to size, sand it completely, including the edges and at least the first inch of the perimeter of the underside. Remove the drawer hardware, then sand down the drawer fronts through the various grits to 220.
I finished the table with two coats of Minwax Early American stain, followed by five light coats of wipe-on satin poly.
Build the sides by screwing or nailing from the insides into the back sides of the 1?2 trim, as shown above. What I would start with is screwing the drawer slides in place, flush with the bottom of the sides.
Attach the front trim to the legs as shown above, leaving an even gap on the underside of the drawer.
You can lay the bottom shelf on the side stretchers, or you can screw to the legs as shown above. Now attach the shims to the wings to keep from pulling all the way out and for a secure fit. Measure, cut, mark, predrill and place your next row of tabletop boards on the top of the table. I began by milling my lumber for the stiles and rails for the main carcass’s frame-and-panel sides. Select the best upper and lower rail, the two best wide stiles and the best panel, then set them aside. Next, bring the first three frames and panels and the front frame together, upside down, on your bench or the floor.
As before, cut these pieces slightly long and sneak up on the final measurement to get a perfect fit. Drive four 1″-long pan-head screws from the inside, through the drawer box and into the raised panel. Now, maple is famous for going blotchy when stained, so if you want a nice, even finish, make sure you use a pre-stain conditioner before applying your colour. You can cut the top shoulders of the lower rails and kickplate as well, but leave the top edges of the top rails for now.
Sanding your project parts before assembly is much easier than if you wait until after they have been joined, screwed and glued; with an assembled project, you have corners and cross-grain to contend with.


The tenon-and-mortise surfaces should all be coated with glue, but panels must be allowed to float in their grooves glue-free.
They need to be sanded through all the same grits as the rest of the project for even staining and colour. The top frame should be flush with the top of the cabinet, and the lower piece should fit behind the kickplate. Set the top upside down on your bench, centre the table upside down on it, then position your tabletop clips.
When the drawers slide to your satisfaction, rub paste wax on the runners, guides and drawer bottoms for even smoother travel.
Many knobs and drawer pulls come with 1″-long bolts for use on drawers with separate faces. To keep the drawers from sliding too far into the cabinet, glue small stop blocks to the back rails. Before you put the sandpaper away for good, check all surfaces for clamp marks or other blemishes caused during handling and assembly. I rubbed down the project lightly between coats with #0000 steel wool, wiping afterward with a tack cloth. Fasten the outer side aprons to the sides, as shown above, keeping top and bottom edges flush. Try asking at your hardware store for a scrap piece of plywood or a damaged sheet to save extra money. If you have a pocket hole system, build your top, then screw the base to the top through the supports. Then fit the drawer in and unscrew the drawer slide and adjust until the gap around the top and sides is even and the drawer slides in and out nicely.
Sand and stain, followed with wood filler that matches the stain, followed with a light sanding, a second coat of stain, and a clear top coat. To get the best fit, you will measure and precisely cut out each of the boards H to fit the table.
Screw into the legs and also screw from the inside of B, the leg joiner, into the end edge of D. Now place the board in the center of the table, as shown in step 8, and screw inplace from the top.
Otherwise, cut the truss boards to 20″ length and set in place and mark angles by hand.
When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. If your table’s sides don’t line up exactly with the outside edges of the base, loosen the clamps and shift the carcass. As with carcass frames, you could also use biscuits or pocket-hole screws (driven in through the bottom surfaces only).
Start by cutting your plywood just a hair too long in every direction, then trim it until you have a perfect fit between the plywood and your lid frame.
Like the bevels, this arrangement adds visual interest and helps hide the gap we need to leave.
Once you are satisfied with your fit, attach the base trim flush with the bottom face of the base using glue. I really wanted an old, antique look for this table, so I skipped the conditioner step and applied the stain directly. File and sand a small bevel on the bottom edges of the legs to prevent splintering if the table is dragged across the floor. After each frame is assembled, use a portable belt sander to smooth over any raised edges or protruding biscuits. I used hand-cut, half-blind dovetails to attach the sides to the fronts, with the backs and bottoms held in dado slots. This way, when the drawer is assembled, the bottom won’t peek out at the corner-the tail will cover it. Be sure not to get wax on any surfaces that will be finished, though-it will affect the finish. It is wise to mark all the joints on the undersides of the tabletop boards before fastening.


Otherwise, screw the supports to the top, starting with the middle top board, and minimizing gaps between the boards as you screw the outer boards to the supports. Flip the table over and screw through the supports, F, into the bottom of the tabletop pieces, H. If they are not, you will need to cut ends flush with a circular saw before attaching breadboard ends. If the measurements from each set of corners are exactly the same (41″), you know that your base is square.
Once the base and carcass mate flawlessly, the assembly is square and you can drive a few brads or countersunk screws through the plywood and into the rails to lock everything together while the glue dries.
Once this frame is built, attach it to the table using a bead of glue along the top edges of the carcass frame.
If you are cutting your plywood on the tablesaw, cut it with the best face up so any tearout will be on the face that the cushion will cover later. The result is a table front that looks exactly like the panels around the rest of the table, until you give it a pull.
For the protective topcoat, I sent the piece out to a shop with a spray booth to apply a satin-sheen clear lacquer.
This process cuts a stepped ridge into your bevel cut, allowing the panel to seat properly into the stiles and rails. Find the best final size for the panels later, by dry-fitting them after you’ve completed the frame assembly. Regardless of the mortising method you choose, it’s important to test your machine set-ups with scrap before moving on to your chosen lumber. Mark the screw hole locations and predrill, but be careful not to bore right through the top. Turn them in or out until the drawer faces sit perfectly flush with the surrounding face frame. I always do a final hand-sanding with 220-grit paper, just to be sure everything looks its best. Check to make sure the spacing is even all around, then clamp and allow the assembly to dry. The finished length must be exactly 27″, so cut the pieces slightly longer and sneak up on the correct measurement with multiple cuts. Directly under this trim, I applied a rope-motif trim bought from a home-improvement centre. The sides are glued and dowelled together, and then installed according to the directions included with the slide assembly. If you want to get creative, you could use hardware that would make this a secret push-to-open drawer and omit the pulls completely. The whole thing sits in the lid frame, where it is held by a heavy bead of hot glue applied to the plywood lid before insertion. Note that the kickplate stands alone in its mortise and doesn’t sit in a panel groove. Take some time with this, as an out-of-square drawer won’t slide well and it will look crooked on the face of the cabinet. I cut this trim to fit and secured it with yet more glue and a few brads driven in between the “strands” of the rope, so the nails wouldn’t be seen. Because spacing requirements vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even from model to model, build your drawer once you have the instruction sheet for the metal slides. I usually clamp a shopmade wooden square into each corner before finally tightening the clamps to make sure the drawers are true.
It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. These bevels add visual interest to the top, help to camouflage the required gap around the edge and, on the cushion side, lessen the chances of getting slivers.
As one reader mentioned, examining your boards and facing the board so the bark side is up will help prevent cupping in the future, and also create better water drainage.



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