Every kid had one. It was a place to put that trophy. Or maybe it held that special stuffed animal. Of course, it was where mom or dad put the midnight glass of water to cure that late nite thirst.. Yes, I’m talking about the nightstand. And now you can make one together with your child to call their very own.
This nightstand is a simple build using plywood and pocket screws. It has a drawer with glides and beautifully turned legs. Don’t have a lathe? Fear not, because these legs don’t require one. Okay let’s start buidin’ !
Begin by ripping the plywood to width to form the sides and the back. For the front piece, make it a ¼” wider in width. The purpose for this is to make room for the drawer.
At the miter saw, crosscut the pieces to the correct length.
Back at the table saw the front has to be ripped cut again to make the opening for the drawer. The front will actually form 4 pieces. The order is important, so put a series of reference marks on the piece. I like to use triangles. Rip about 1”- 1 ¼” off the top and bottom. Remember the front was ¼” wider than the sides and back. That is because the saw blade is about ⅛” . By making both cuts it is now the same size as the other.
Take the middle and crosscut a section out on the miter saw. Pocket screw and assemble the front. Even though pocket screws are strong it’s still a good idea to use glue. Set the front side to dry and move to making the legs.
The legs are really balusters for a staircase. They are cheap and work just wonderfully. But they have to be cut down. The size of the nightstand depends on the size of your child’s bed. Generally, a nightstand is around 28” tall. The first thing to be cut off is the dowel pin on the bottom of the baluster. Now the length can be cut down. The baluster base is square, yet the rest of the baluster is tapered. To get a true square cut, clamp a board to the fence of the miter saw. Then clamp a stop block to the board. The stop block assures you that all the legs will be the same length. Holding the base tight against the fence board, make your cut. Repeat for the other legs.
Now it’s time for some assembly. The front and side pieces shouldn’t be flush with the legs. To give it an offset, place some ¼” scrap plywood down and place the sides on it. Now screw it to the legs. Repeat for the others.
Attach the glides from the directions included in the package. Measure the distance between the two glides. This will be the width of the drawer. As a rule of thumb; most glides are ½” thick. Making the drawer 1” smaller than the opening.
The drawer is nothing more than some ½” plywood glued, nailed and butt jointed together. And the bottom is ¼” again glued and face nailed on.
Attach the glides to the drawer and test the fit. If the moves smoothly, glue and nail the drawer front on.
The top was cut out on the table saw. But because it is plywood the ends have an unfinished look. If this table was going to be stained, edge-band should be applied. However this will be painted. A good tip to get smooth edges is to apply glue to the edges. Let it dry and lightly sand. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times. Once done, it leaves a rock hard, smooth surface ready for paint.
Turn the lower assembly over and place it on the top. Make sure it is centered and screw it down. The final cherry on top, is the knob or handle for the drawer.