How to make one drawer nightstands
We are back with a new project: a set of two one-drawer nightstands.
The tabletops, the routed finger pull drawer fronts and the angled tapered legs were built out of oak wood, while the nightstands’ boxes were made out of 18 mm thick MDF.
We wanted to build them with round corners, just like the last project (white mid-century nightstands), and with an open shelf for decorations and books. We changed the design a lot during the entire process, and in the end, we got a set of two white nightstands without any other open shelves.
You can also watch the making video on our YouTube channel and don’t forget to subscribe:
Making the boxes
We started by building the boxes. As we said the design of the boxes at the beginning was more complex than the final one.
We took the bases and glued some MDF strips near their edges so that we could round the inner and outer corners (the first design). We talked about our method to round inner corners and outer corners in previous tutorials. We won’t insist.
Then we realized that we really wanted to design and build something new. So we cut the strips.
We decided to make them with hexagonal corners (the second design). So, after redesigning them in FreeCAD, and after calculating the dimensions of the MDF boards, we cut the pieces to the needed sizes and angles. We matched the pieces by using screws and glue: the simplest and the safest way to join MDF boards.
After the glue dried we filled the holes with two-parts putty and sanded the excess. We beveled the edges with a 45 degrees chamfer router bit. We decided from the beginning to chamfer the inside edges. I think that was the only thing we didn’t change from the initial design.
But we realized that there was something we didn’t like at all. The nightstand boxes were too huge and nothing seemed to look good. That was the moment when we decided to cut them. Yes, we cut them next under the shelf that covered the drawer’s bottom (the third design).
Making the oak wood top
The next step was to build the oak wood top. We had some difficulties in choosing the right joint between the tops and the sides of the nightstands. After some discussions, we decided to choose the one you can see at the end of the project. So that, we agreed to bevel the edges of the top, too.
We chose 2 wide beautiful pieces of oak to have only one joint, and long enough to glue only one panel for both of them. Then:
- we straightened one face of each piece
- we planed the planks until we get the needed thickness
- we squared the edges
- we glued them together with polyurethane glue and waited until the glue dried
- we sanded the panel on the two faces using the belt sander with 40 grit sandpaper, then with 80 grit and in the end with 120 grit
Then, we cut the panel into two pieces, one for each nightstand.
After we cut the tops and the boxes, but before routing the ends, the nightstands looked like this:
To make a beautiful joint between the tabletop and the sides of the box, we made some cutouts. We routed the inner bottom corners of the tops using two router bits:
For the other edges and for the inner edges of the MDF sides, we used a 45 degrees angle chamfer cutter router bit.
In the end, the sides of the nightstands and the oak tops joined like in the picture below:
For installing the back (made out of 4 mm thick plywood), we routed the back with a T-type bearing router bit.
Making the nightstands’ fronts
We made the drawer fronts out of only one piece of oak wood. When we cut them to their final size we took into account the space between the sides of the nightstands and the space between the bottom and the tabletop, keeping a margin of 1 – 2 mm to each side.
We decided to cut out the handle, near the bottom side of the front, so that the top and the front have a continuous appearance.
We used two different router bits to route the handles into the edge:
- the same router bit for routing the shape of the handles
- and one router bit for routing the handles into the edge
These are our routed finger pull drawer fronts.
All we had to do, was to sand them with 120 and 150 grit sandpaper.
Making the MDF drawers
For the drawers, we used 12 mm MDF. We believe that MDF is the best material that can be used for drawers because the painted surface is very smooth.
We usually build them by using glue and screws;
- we match the pieces for a drawer
- we drill holes
- we countersink the holes (to hide the screws heads)
- we apply the glue on the edges
- we screw all the pieces together
- we fill the holes with two parts putty
- we sand the excess of putty
- we paint everything, usually with white paint
This is a simple way to get beautiful drawers.
Making the oak wood tapered legs
We decided to make some simple tapered and angled legs out of oak wood for our nightstands, to match our design. First, we made the plan to easily calculate the dimensions of the legs and the cutting angles.
Then, we took 4 planed planks, long enough to cut two legs out of each one.
We cut the boards, using the sliding miter saw into smaller pieces at the angle needed for our project.
To be able to get the designed shape of the legs, we first cut one face along a line drawn on it. Then we set the bandsaw table to the correct angle and we cut the other two faces.
We got these 8 nice oak legs:
We beveled the sharp edges with a 45-degree bearing router bit after sanding them with 80 grit sandpaper. Then we sanded all the sides with 120 grit sandpaper to get a smoother surface.
In the end, we sealed the MDF pieces and painted them with water-based satin white paint.
We applied 3 layers of paint, sanding them with 320 grit sandpaper before each layer to get a smoother and more beautiful surface. For the tops, the fronts and the tapered legs, we used water-based primer and varnish.