This old sofa table

June 25, 2015

Coincidentally, the next project on my list to revisit and share from back in the beginning of my woodworking adventures is this old sofa table (I’ll explain the coincidence at the end of the post.)

It was originally a different green color

It was originally a different green color

Similar to previous projects from this time, I built it entirely out of dimensional lumber from my local home center. Nothing but simple No. 2 Common pine boards right off the shelf.

So there were a few issues to deal with, but after spending some time sorting through the stacks I found some pieces I could work with.

This build included a couple of “firsts” for me. It was the first time I used pocket hole joinery (hint hint at the coincidence) and it was also my first time gluing boards together to make thicker pieces for the legs, versus searching for thicker material (which I wasn’t going to find at my local home center no matter how hard I looked.)

Unfortunately the current coat of paint doesn’t do the table justice. Originally the top was stained the same color as the drawer front and featured this thumbnail profile all around the perimeter.

Apparently I loved this router bit's profile?

Apparently I loved this router bit’s profile?

Apparently that profile was a new router bit I picked up and felt had to be used on everything? Pretty much all of my projects from this time period feature it.

At this point I wasn’t new to building things with drawers, but on this project I decided to skip building a traditional drawer box in the apron frame and instead attempted to build a set of drawers guides.

The drawer is completely exposed underneath the table top and as you can see in the picture above. I routed a set of grooves on the sides of the drawer box in which the drawer would glide effortlessly open and close.

For the record, it opens and closes, just not without a little extra effort and some downward force on the top to hold the table in place while pulling on the handle.

So what was exactly is coincidental about this project being shared? At the time I’m writing this post, I released a video featuring a new table Samantha and I built together. In that build we used pocket hole joinery to attach the top.

The fact alone we used pocket holes was enough to anger some woodworkers, but the bigger question repeatedly raised was in regards to the pocket holes hindering wood movement (my attempt to answer those questions are here.)

So when I flipped this old sofa table over to take a look at the drawer slides I chortled to myself when I saw exactly how I had attached the top to the base.

Well lookie there...pocketholes!

Well lookie there…pocketholes!

That’s right, I used pocket hole joinery! The key to it’s success is that they’re strategically placed. One on each of the side aprons and one at each end of the front and back aprons.

Considering it was about 12+ years ago when I built the table and it’s resided in a few different locations around two different houses, in an office or two (only once actually behind a sofa) AND it was built from home center pine I’d say the argument that pocket hole joinery can never be used to attach table tops has one more piece of evidence to prove that notion is wrong.

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