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Jeff Greef Woodworking
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Nesting Tables

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REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS PROJECT- I made the tables as they are shown using a table saw, router, scroll saw, drill press, jointer and biscuit joiner. The jointer is only a convenient way to taper the legs, the alternative is the simple table saw taper jig shown in a photo. You can use a dowel jig instead of a biscuit joiner, or cut mortise and tenon joints if you like. The scroll saw (or band or saber saw) and drill press are only for the curves. Make all the edges straight and you don't need these tools. The router is used only for edge details and veneering, these can be eliminated too, if you like. So, you can make these tables with only a table saw, hand drill and dowel jig if you choose. I used cherry and bird's eye maple veneer for the tables shown.

NOW WHAT DO YOU DO when all the relatives show up, plunck themselves down in the living room, and start putting their drinks down anywhere in sight? Sometimes you want to tell them to bring their own tables and chairs, not to mention their own drinks. This set of nesting tables will go a long way to alleviate the first part of the problem, the rest is up to you.

These nesting tables are relatively simple to make, requiring a minimum of tools. If you choose, you can add a beautiful touch by veneering the rails of the tables, as I did, though it isn't necessary. Veneering may seem like a very difficult process, but there are degrees of difficulty in veneering as with other woodworking skills. The veneer work here is some of the simplest and is a good way to cut your teeth with thin wood (so to speak!).

Drawing 2- Making The Curve Rail Template.  Use this diagram to draw your own template for front rail. Use a similar procedure for other rails if you choose to make them curved too. First draw the rectangular rail with the 4 x 9 inch dimensions. Then put a center line through it as shown. Next locate the center point of the middle arc at 2-1/8 inches above the bottom line and along the center line. With a compass, strike this middle arc as shown. Finally, locate the radius centers of the other two arcs as shown and strike them with the compass. A second way to do this procedure is to replace your compass with a tin can or any other round object with approximately the same radius. First use this cylinder to mark the center arc, then locate it appropriately for the other arcs and scribe them.

Cut Out List, Nesting Tables

4- 1 x 1 x 18 legs
4- 1 x 1 x 19-1/8 legs
4- 1 x 1 x 20-1/4 legs
All the above can be gotten by gluing together
3- 3/4 x 3-1/2 x 41 blank for legs

Remaining parts:
1- 3/4 x 4 x 9 front rail bot table
1- 3/4 x 3 x 15 rear rail top table
1- 3/4 x 3 x 12 rear rail mid table
1- 3/4 x 3 x 9 rear rail bot table
2- 3/4 x 3 x 12 side rails top table
2- 3/4 x 3 x 11 side rails mid table
2- 3/4 x 3 x 10 side rails bot table
1- 3/4 x 14-3/4 x 20 top, top table
1- 3/4 x 13-1/2 x 14-1/2 top, mid table
1- 3/4 x 12-1/2 x 11-1/2 top, bot table

Resources For Building Nesting Tables

Band Saws |  Biscuit Joiners |  Clamps |  Dado Sets |  Drill Bits |  Drill Presses and Drum Sanders |  Dowl-It Jig. |  Glue |  Handplanes |  Jointers |  Routers |  Router Bits |  Router Tables |  Scroll Saws |  Table Saws |  Taper Jig.

Pipe Clamps
One of the most versatile clamps, because you can use them with pipe of any length.

Porter Cable Deluxe Biscuit Joiner
Biscuit joiners are useful for many joinery tasks.

Self-Centering Dowel Jig Kit

Jorgensen Hand Screws

Photo 1- Edge glue your stock to get the widths involved. If you use biscuits or dowels to align the edge joints, be sure you locate them where they won't be exposed after you cut up the piece. Put thin rippings between the clamps and the wood so the clamp doesn't dent the wood. Clean the wet glue off with hot water and a rag. It's harder to clean off after it's hard.

Click to see the following tools:
Biscuit Cutters

Begin with two glue ups to get the necessary dimensions for tops and legs. Edge glue stock to make a single wide piece at least 15 x 48" from which the three tops can be cut (photo 1). The thickness and width of the legs is 1", which you could easily get from stock thicker than the common 3/4", but if you don't have thicker stock you can get all the legs by gluing up a blank from three pieces of 3/4" stock (photo 2). This means that each leg will have a glue line in it, but if your stock color is consistent these will not be readily visible, and such a glue up is a more efficient use of stock than cutting 1" thick legs out of 1-3/4" stock.

Photo 2- This is the glue blank for the legs. Cleaning the wet glue off this is less important because you can remove dried clumps with the table saw. But, these clumps against the table saw fence make the first cut a pain, so at least smear the wet glue flat if you don't bother to clean it all off. Use a lot of clamps with light pressure rather than a few with a lot of pressure. The number of clamps shown is a minimum for such a glue up.

Let the glue up for the legs dry overnight, even if you use yellow glue which, in most situations, can be taken out of clamps after an hour. Here, however, if the boards you glue up are not straight, the stress of the boards trying to straighten out may be enough to break a one hour bond. When out of clamps rip the blank into 6 pieces at approx. 1-1/16" square, cut into 12 legs, and bring to 1" square.

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