Simple Side Table | Build It | Ask This Old House

Simple Side Table | Build It | Ask This Old House

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to construct a simple yet beautiful side table. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for a Simple Side Table:
– 2×2 fir balusters, to make the table legs
– 1×4 fir decking, for fabricating the table aprons
– 5/4-by-6-inch fir decking, to make the tabletop
РCarpenter’s glue, for gluing together wood parts
– Narrow stick, to spread glue
– Cloth, for wiping away excess glue
– _-inch plywood and toggle clamp, to make tapering jig
– 120-grit abrasive disks, for random-orbit sander
– 1_-inch pocket screws, to screw together wood parts
– _-inch-thick spacer blocks, for creating a reveal between the aprons and legs
– Double washers and 5/8-inch screws, for securing the tabletop
– Furniture glides, to fasten to the bottom of each leg
– Primer and paint, wood stain, or clear polyurethane varnish, to finish the table

Tools for a Simple Side Table:
– Miter saw, to crosscut lumber to size
– Table saw, for ripping lumber to size
– Bar clamps, for clamping together the tabletop
– Random-orbit sander, to sand smoother wood parts
– Router and 1/8-inch-radius rounding-over bit, to shape the edges of the table legs
– Pocket-hole jig, for making pocket-hole joints
– Cordless drill, to drill holes and drive screws
– _-inch spade bit, to drill recesses for double washers
– Hammer

To build this table, Tom used stock fir that is normally used for building decks, including:
½” x 6″ decking for the top
1″ x 4″ decking for the spreaders or rails to which the legs attach
2″ x 2″ balusters for the legs

To attach the rails to the legs, Tom used a pocket hole jig and pocket screws, all manufactured by Kreg Tool Company [] and available at home centers and woodworking supply stores.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Anderson & McQuaid Co, Inc. []

Build It:
This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, and special guests including Jimmy DiResta, take you through step-by-step DIY projects in this popular video series. From end-tables to cutting boards to wine racks to chicken coops and more, learn how to build from the best pros in the game. Segments include mention of all tools and materials needed to get the job done.

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Simple Side Table | Build It | Ask This Old House


  1. Nicholas Talbot on June 1, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    I miss the new yankee workshawp

  2. Kosta Georgiou on June 1, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    THIS guy loves his wood glue

  3. Microphonix Virtual Studio on June 1, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Your advertiser is a woman who yells, could give someone a hart attack! Get rid of her!!!!!!!

  4. Jeremy on June 1, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    haha you only see the finished product for a split second!

  5. David Molloy on June 1, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    at 3mins he shows how to mark out the blank for a jig. He doesn’t then show you how he cuts this out. Annoyingly, he doesn’t even use this in his jig!!

  6. Kristin Collins on June 1, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    I’m almost 38 yrs old and just found out about double washers! Thank you! I groaned as a kid having to watch these shows with my Mom but now enjoy them immensely.. I’ve built most of the furniture in my home and it feels so good to walk around and use what you’ve built with your own hands. I feel like these younger generations need to be forced to watch these shows as kids so building and fixing things that are broken doesn’t become extinct with them.

  7. benritchsmith on June 1, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Do you flip after wiping away the glue and wipe the bottom?

  8. IIIZiPIII on June 1, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Double washers if only i could find them here in the UK ,Nothing comes up with a search on google here in UK using the words Double washers .

  9. G Zhou on June 1, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Animal Crossing in Real Life

  10. Mike Fas on June 1, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Can’t squeeze all the glue out. That’s a common myth in wood working. Wood absorbs it. Better to get it tight so no air bubbles…

  11. Bruce Welty on June 1, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    OK. BFD. That Biesemeyer fence costs more than my entire shop set-up. How about some projects that target real people on a strict budget?

  12. Rick T on June 1, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    M, m, mmm! Nice!

  13. Brian Marcum on June 1, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    I wish I worked for Tom,he is so good at teaching his expertise.

  14. svt on June 1, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    Once they got rid of Norm, Tommy has to do double duty – woodworker and carpenter.

  15. Quagmire88 on June 1, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Why build it "simple" when you can build it right. Mortise and tenon for the leg/rails would be much stronger, and a few strokes from a hand plane would have given you the taper without having to sand after. Nothing wrong with power tools but in many cases, they make things a lot more complicated.

  16. nick4leader on June 1, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    You want simple? Give me a few 2x2s and a sheet of plywood

  17. Mo Poppins on June 1, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    It’s too bad this segment didn’t present alternatives to the (power) tools used to make this table (e.g., using a small hand plane to chamfer the edges of the legs, instead of using a router). For those who watch a lot of woodworking tutorials, it wouldn’t matter so much, but for those who watch this and assume that there’s only one way to do things, it’s unfortunate.

  18. Richard Kaz on June 1, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Crums, I wish i could get nice timber like that in Australia. It seems like all we can get is warped and knotted rubbish from the large hardware outlets or anything that approaches reasonable is anything but when it comes to price.

  19. Tech giant on June 1, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    Tommy needs to clip those nails 0:47

  20. Curtis Densmore on June 1, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    You really should show more of the finished product. That’s the payoff! You’re cutting away from the Superbowl to show Heidi.

  21. Chris Nova on June 1, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    5:54 cracked the wood on the leg

  22. Angie Williams on June 1, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    Sure would like to know how to make that taper jig. I like it

  23. Kaelin Morrison on June 1, 2023 at 12:39 pm

    Thats the idear

  24. Da34Box on June 1, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    tommy has a jig for everything

  25. Alaric 376ad on June 1, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    I wish they would give a shout out to Norm Abrams when they do furniture..I miss him on the show he created

  26. Larry Bloom on June 1, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    I don’t pretend to be an expert, but some of the things he did really annoyed me as not right. His glue up method for the top was terrible; I have NEVER seen anyone attempt to get a true flat result by just laying the boards on a table and squeezing them without a "call" board or similar. Likewise, just wiping the squeeze out glue off with a damp cloth is generally considered poor unless you plan to plane off all the glue you have now put on the surface. Even his sanding technique for that table top was poor, as he has no idea of if he sanded it all, as most experts put pencil marks on the surface to track where they have or have not sanded. If someone was going to stain the resulting table, there is a good chance the glue would keep it from taking stain evenly.
    He does the round-over without regard to grain direction, so if he gets tearout on the end grain he has already rounded over the edge grain so he no longer can automatically fix that tear out.
    All in all, very disappointing techniques.

  27. Niva80 on June 1, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    Mr Silva is a sweetie and my favorite 🙂

  28. Rohnan on June 1, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    lol.. buy used for cheaper or just from Ikea for a few dollars. cool project if you have the wood already

  29. Warren LaFever on June 1, 2023 at 12:49 pm


  30. l7o6s5c4 on June 1, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    They gave us like 7/16ths of a second to see the finished product 😂

  31. san379 on June 1, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    hand made.. not made in china.. junk ..

  32. The Lowmein on June 1, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Okay so, if I don’t have a table saw, how can a cut off the rounded over edges accurately?

  33. Alex T on June 1, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    I wonder if Kevin took off both sides of the end planks instead of leaving them eased over. Stay tuned… Yup. He did. And Tommy used a round-over bit that he still won’t tell us the size. The smallest I have is a 1/4" That looks much smaller. Cagey bastard.

  34. daryl fitz on June 1, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    That’s the idear.

  35. Brandy Hawking on June 1, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    Woodglut has very good and accurate plans.

  36. daryl fitz on June 1, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    There’s a reason Tommy chose 8 inches.

  37. Diederich Abels on June 1, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I started with Woodglut plans.

  38. John Wick on June 1, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    If you really want to do WOODWORKING, GET RID OF THE POCKET HOLES, do some real woodWORKING.

  39. Martin Green on June 1, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Awesome!! I love your channel man!!

  40. Luis Alberto Pérez on June 1, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Beautiful table!…..One question….what is the best suggestion you have to protect the wood if the table were to be outdoors?

  41. 2pacnasgame on June 1, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Dam I wanted to see some kick back action

  42. niflag on June 1, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I wish you would do a video where you show how to make all the jigs and the theory behind designing them!

  43. Colton Slivka on June 1, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    Is he going to show a tutorial how to make that jig thats probably 5 times harder to make then the whole table itself? I want to know how the hell this guy makes everything look so freaking easy. I’m having a hard enough to maaking perfectly straight cuts on the table saw.

  44. Jeff Holland on June 1, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    I’m surprised that I have never seen Tommy use a Radi-plane.

  45. Davy on June 1, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    That’s the idear!

  46. rabak omaba on June 1, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Woodglut is full of amazing tips. It helped me a lot.

  47. Still34u on June 1, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    the only problem here is – if somebody owns a table saw, router and industrial sander.. chances are, they already know how to build a simple table…

  48. S B on June 1, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    5 quarter? Cmon..

  49. jason27swg on June 1, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    2022 ….500.00 in materials

  50. Harry Paul Garcia on June 1, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    The man loves his jigs.