A few years ago we repainted our bedroom. This prompted my wife to want a new headboard for our bed. The old headboard was dark cherry and just didn’t fit with the room anymore, so I made a new one. Once that was done she observed that now the nightstands didn’t really work (also dark cherry), so I set to work on a new pair. As it happened, I had just inherited a healthy stock of maple from my father and was looking for a suitable project. Given the overall aesthetic of our home, I thought that a shaker/19th century vernacular style would be a good place to start with the design. I’ve learned the hard way to always draw plans before the first cut to give one a a sense of size and proportion.
I started dimensioning the stock and gluing up the sides last winter–then spring hit and the carcasses sat in my shop while I went to work prepping the garden.
I thought that being on sabbatical last Spring would afford me all the time in the world to get these done–such was not the case! As summer gave way to fall my wife became a little more impatient and openly speculated that perhaps it was time to start looking at furniture stores for a pair of nightstands. OK, I got the message. After Christmas I finally got back to it.
With the carcasses largely complete to this point it was a matter of assembling the face frames and building the drawers and inset panel doors.
After drawer construction was complete (all hand cut dovetails) and the doors glued up I assembled both nightstands for a final fitting. Originally I had intended to use Shaker style hardware–wooden knobs and latches. My wife requested modern hardware in something like a brushed nickel finish. Our compromise was antique salvage hardware from the 1920s or so: glass pulls for the drawers and steel Hoosier cabinet latches. I like the look. After fitting I removed all of the hardware, gave everything a final sanding to #220, and applied three coats of Tried & True Danish Oil burnishing with #0000 steel wool between coats.
I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out.
While I was at it I thought a “new” clock was a good idea as well. I have and old Telechron given to me by a colleague that I love, but the alarm was always pretty temperamental. So, I found another Telechron (circa 1940s) in need of a little TLC–it needed a new cord, some lubrication, and the case looked like it had been dropped down the stairs.
Done and done. Next project (after resharpening all of my chisels and plane irons that got beat up on the hard maple) is a reproduction of an 18th century sea chest.