CNC, Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Mid-Century Modern Nightstand

When I was tasked with making a  31″ tall nightstand for my mother-in-law that would fit in a 9″ wide space next to her bed and provide drawers and a shelf. I decided to use the opportunity to try a furniture style I haven’t tried before: mid-century modern.

From what I can tell, “mid-century modern” basically means it can look however you want, but the legs MUST be tapered and they MUST be splayed at about a 7º angle, so I opened SketchUp and designed a nightstand with tapered legs splayed at about a 7º angle.

The sides of the box are mitered and joined with glue and dowel pins, and the front edges are angled inwards at about 30º, similar to how the cabinet in this video is constructed.  The divider underneath the drawers is also held in place with dowel pins. Here’s an exploded view of the box and legs:

Exploded SketchUp Model of the cabinet of a Midcentury Modern Side Table with two drawers and a shelf

The drawer boxes are made of 1/2″ stock, joined with locking rabbets. Here’s an exploded view of one of the drawers:

Exploded SketchUp Model of a drawer from a Midcentury Modern Side Table with two drawers and a shelf

The body of the nightstand and the drawer faces are made of solid 3/4″ red oak.

The back edges of the sides of the body are inset to accept a hardboard panel.

I carved a 1950s atomic starburst detail in the panel using the Halftone app I wrote for my CNC router.

Isn’t that fun?

The drawers are solid maple with hardboard bottoms.

I already had a set of legs saved from an old stool that we threw out, so I polished the brass ends and repainted them to match.

The drawer knobs came out of my Big Box of Leftover Knobs, and they luckily already matched the legs.

I used Varathane’s Kona stain on the body and Krylon’s ColorMaster Oil Rubbed Bronze (satin) on the legs. For the drawer bodies, I used Watco Danish oil.

If you’d like to make one yourself, you can download my SketchUp file for this mid-century modern site table right here. It includes both the assembled and exploded views.


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