Arts & Crafts End Table

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Based on the dozens of times that I’ve taught my table-building class, it seems that Arts and Crafts furniture may never fall out of fashion. The clean lines complement almost any décor, but I think woodworkers, especially beginners, are particularly delighted to show off newly mastered joinery skills. The fact that the base can be disassembled, allowing the table to fold flat for easy transport, is a major plus for students driving compact cars. Like the originals, my table utilizes simple joinery (the rails and stretchers are joined at their mid-points with half-lap joints) with a few subtle curves and chamfers. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that I adopted a few modern tricks to ensure a speedy and successful build for even beginning-level woodworkers. For example, rather than relying on traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery, I employed loose tenons and designed a mortising jig that works with any plunge router. To reduce the time spent sawing and sanding parts, I created templates so that the legs and top can be quickly routed to shape. Authentic Arts and Crafts tables like this one sell for hundreds of dollars, but you can build an honest reproduction in a weekend or two for little more than the cost of a few board feet of lumber. For those interested in making Christmas gifts, the jigs facilitate a last-minute production run. Note: I used quartersawn red oak. Purists prefer white oak, but cherry or mahogany would also make a nice-looking table. Whichever wood you choose, stick with quartersawn stock. The cathedral grain patterns of plain-sawn stock would be too distracting.


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