Making Bedside Tables / Nightstands

In this video I make two bedside tables / nightstands with a retro/mid century feel.
Vlog 6 where I talk about the shop:
Varnish I use in this video: (UK) 
Jay Bates video I mentioned: 
In this video I'm going to be making two matching bedside tables inspired by a piece of furniture that I saw in an amazing shop that we found while we were away recently for a weekend in a seaside town called Margate in Kent in the UK. I talk about that shop in more detail in my latest vlog which I'll link to in the description box if you're interested  But now, on with the project:
For this project I had a long offcut of blockboard, which is laminated strips of what I think is poplar, with a hardwood veneer on both faces. I'm not sure what wood this veneer is perhaps someone can tell me in the comments.  It was 2440mm long by 320mm wide, 18mm thick, and using those dimensions I did a drawing on sketchup to come up with a design and I had just enough of the blockboard to make the tops of the bedside tables - providing ofcourse that I didn't make any howling mistakes or bad cuts.
First I measured up and cut the piece in half using my circular saw and a speed square to guide the cut, first making a scoring cut and then cutting all the way through on the second pass.  I made this cut mainly to make the pieces easier to manouvre in to my small workshop,  but also as I'm making two identical tables, it made sense to have two workpieces to work with.
I'd use the tablesaw with my panel sled to make 45 degree mitre cuts for each panel.
And the digital bevel guage to make sure the joints would be accurate
After making my first 45 degree cut, I measured and marked up the length I wanted the top and bottom panels to be. Then I flipped the workpiece and lined up the mark I'd just made with the blade and then I made a mark level with the end of the panel on the panel sled's fence, so that I could make repeatable consistent cuts for the next panels that I'd cut. 
Then I measured and marked up for the side panels, and used the same trick again making a mark on the fence.
Once all the panels were cut to size for both tables, 
I could glue up the mitre joints.  I added wood glue and then I could assemble the panels.
For the first assembly I used my ratchet straps to pull the panels together nice and tight.
And then I used some light clamping pressure using my F clamps just to force the joints to where I wanted them until the corners looked perfect.
For the second assembly, as I didn't have any more ratchet straps to use, I used masking tape to position the panels end to end.
And after adding glue I could kind of fold the shape together, and I added elastic bands to pull the joints tight, and again added a few F clamps to get everything positioned nicely.
While I was waiting for the glue to dry I could start working on the legs, and for those I'd use some mahogany which I salvaged quite a while ago from a local church refurbishment which I covered in my first ever vlog video on my channel.  
After finding a couple of pieces that were roughly the right length, I used the tablesaw to cut the mahogany to the thickness and width I wanted the legs to be.  And I kept these thin offcuts to one side to use later in the project.
The wood looked really nice.
I used my combination square to mark up some tapers for the legs.
And by the way the legs I'm making here are the back legs, the straight ones.
And then I cut those tapers at the bandsaw
With a few passes with a plane the legs were nice and smooth
Next I could start working on the front legs which would need to be cut at an angle. So I adjusted my mitresaw to I think it was 22 degrees based on my drawing, and cut off one end from 4 lengths of the mahogany.
Then I could mark up for a joint where the front legs would be joined to the back legs.  I used my small square to reference 90 degrees from the angled cut.
And then I made those cuts at the bandsaw, and cleaned them up with the handplane.
And they went together well so then I added wood glue
I then used the offcuts from cutting the 22 degree angle earlier to help with the glue up, so first I applied some super glue and stuck it to the front to give me two parrallel clamping surfaces, and then I could clamp them up.  And I'd work on shaping and tapering the front legs later, but now I could get back to the mitred tops because the glue had had a few hours to set.
The mitre joints wouldn't have been particularly strong at this point, so to re-enforce them I'd use my splining jig to cut some splines.  This jig wasn't really designed for such large workpieces, I originally made it for mitred picture frames and things like that.  I set the blade height and then I could carefully hold the box against the jig and make the passes through the blade to create a kerf cut which would later hold the splines. 
By flipping the workpiece I could get consistently spaced cuts from what would be the front and back of the mitred tops, and then I measured and marked up a centre point so that I could offer that up to the blade and make more kerf cuts there too.
I used my calipers to measure the kerf cuts and that was just over 3mm.
Then I could scribe a line on to a scrap piece of mahogany, set the fence so that the blade would cut pieces the right thickness, and set up a sacrificial fence at the tablesaw using a block of wood and some hot glue to safely cut consistently sized thin splines.
I added glue and fitted the splines.  Some of them needed a few taps from a mallet to seat them properly. And then I used my japanse pull saw to cut them off flush
Then I could sand everything smooth, and clean up those splines, and I had to be careful here not to sand through the veneer.  I actually did sand through the veneer slightly in one place but it was a pretty small area so I wasn't too worried about it.
Back to the legs again and now the glue had set I could remove the clamping blocks, and here's where I regretted using super glue because it tore out the grain a little, but I later cleaned that up with a few passes on a handplane.
I also needed to flush up the faces the leg joint.
The joints came out really nice.
I could then cut the front legs to length and to mark them up I used a speed square placed against the straight edge of the back legs. And I cut those at the bandsaw.
And then I could mark up the taper I wanted for the front legs, and used the bandsaw again for that, before cleaning up those cuts with a handsaw again.
I used my block plane to flush up the edges of the mitred top.
Then I sanded the legs at 120 grit. I also softened the corners of them to make them nicer to touch.
The next job was to cut a recess in the sides of the box to accommodate the legs. 
I marked up where I wanted them to be positioned and used a speed square to make sure they were straight, and then I could trace around them.
I also added some labels with a piece of tape so I could remember which legs went with which joint as all the legs would be very slightly different.
Using a straight bit in my router I cut the shape freehand.  I thought about making a template here with a template following bit but, again, all the legs would be very slightly different sizes so I didn't bother - I was just careful to stay within the lines.
After the first pass I wanted to go deeper so I added a sacrificial support piece with a couple of clamps for the base of the router to run on and then by raising the fence on the router I took two more passes to get the joint to the depth I wanted.
Now the bulk of the material had been removed by the router I could refine the joints using chisels, and I kept offering up the legs so that I could see where I needed to do more chiseling until I had a good fit for all the legs.
Next I did a quick dry fit to see how they would look and at this point I decided it'd be good to add a bevel to the top of the legs so after marking up the exposed end grain with a pencil I used a block plane to add the bevel.  I worked inwards from both sides to avoid tearing out the grain.
And then I sanded it smooth and it looked good.
I applied glue to the joints, added the legs, and then I added a clamp just loosely initially, and then used the malllet to hit the top and force the joints nice and tight.  Then I could fully tighten the clamps.  How about that for the easiest glue up ever?
I scraped and wiped away the glue squeeze out with a damp cloth
Remember those mahogany offcuts from earlier?  I could use those to trim the front edges of the tables. I just needed to cut them to width to match the thickness of the blockboard.
And then I glued them in place and held them with some masking tape.
Once the glue had set I could cut them to length with my japanese pull saw.
And then I used my block plane to get the edges flush and add a slight bevel.
I used a knife blade to scrape away the old finish from the trim pieces.
And then sanded them
I also sanded the bottom of the legs just to prevent grain tear out if they get dragged around the floor.
I added my makers mark to the bottom of the tables.
I blew away the dust with my air blower, and then I was ready to apply finish, and for that I'd use some of this clear water based varnish.
I brushed it on being careful to take care of any drips.   
I often use spray varnish but I knew I wouldn't be able to spray the inside of the tables, maybe I should have sprayed them before I assembled.
After a couple of hours it was dry and ready for a second coat, but first I sprayed on a little water and wet sanded gently with some 400 grit wet and dry paper to de-nib the finish.
And then I brushed on a second coat.
I later wet sanded again in the same way as before and added a third coat, and I was really happy with the finish.
The final job was to level the legs, using my tablesaw as a reference for flat, and after checking that with a spirit level I could level the legs using my electric file to remove any wobble.
This project took 2 days in total to complete, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  It's the first time in a while that I've used a brush on finish, and it came out nice, I'll definitely be using it again.  These bedside tables are now available for sale via my Etsy page.  I hope you enjoyed the video, please subscribe if you haven't already for more weekly woodworking videos and thank you for watching