Montreat Side Table
Comments 4

Hot Summer Days in the Workshop

The pastor at my church once said Alabama seasons run like this: Winter, Early Summer, Summer and then Late Summer. The implication here is Alabama is hot most of the time. This is an exaggeration; it is really hot now, but I would call June (getting hot), July, August, September and October (cooling off) as the hot months of the year.

This summer has not been a scorcher; I think we have been at or over 100 degrees only a day or two at the most, but when adding the effects of humidity, there have been some tough days. And it’s the humidity that affects me the most.

One evening this past week, I thought about getting in a little woodworking after dinner. I opened the door to my basement workshop and the heat and humidity coming from my non air conditioned workshop made it feel worse than what was actually going on outside. So, no woodworking that evening. And that is the way it has been since my last post. I have had to be very motivated to do any woodworking at all. And when I do, I have a box fan blowing on me all the time. But the box fan then blows sawdust all over my workshop.

Other than adding air conditioning to my basement workshop, I don’t know what else to do. And, I am mainly just a weekend woodworker so I can’t justify the cost of adding air conditioning. A box fan will simply have to do the job. Is this an ideal woodworking environment? No, but most of us use workshops which are less than ideal. We just have to make the best of it and enjoy what we are doing. I am very much enjoying building my new side table.

Using a backwoods jig

From the Merriam-Webster website defining “backwoods” – “especially culturally backward or unsophisticated.”


My super simple circular saw cutting jig

I have been using a jig which is very much backwoods. Or you could say it is unsophisticated or rudimentary. I slapped this jig together in a matter of minutes. Made from scrap material (1/4″ beaded pine plywood and 1/4″ MDF), it is extremely crude. When I realized a photo of it should be included in this blog post, I sort of wished it was more presentable. But this basic jig or cutting guide for my circular saw helped me make accurate cuts that were almost effortless. It helped that I had a new circular saw with a sharp blade. The cuts were all crisp and clean.


Jig in use cutting the bottom shelf to length.

I used this jig to cut the unique angular profile for the top as well as precision cuts to fit the lower shelf and middle shelf in place. It isn’t pretty, but it cost no additional money to make and it did the job well.

I also had to add cleats which the lower shelf will mount to. I used a cut-off of the lower shelf as a spacer helping me properly position the cleat.


Adding a mounting cleat for the bottom shelf.


Cleats in place. Note pre-drilled holes in each cleat.


Lower shelf in place.

The pre-drilled holes in each cleat are sized to allow the lower shelf to expand or contract. The goal is to have the lower shelf fixed at the front tight against the front stretcher. The lower shelf will then be allowed to move at the back of the table. Also note the lower shelf is notched to fit around the legs. I did this for the lower shelf and the middle shelf as well.

A special profile for the top

The top of the Montreat Side Table has a very unique profile – an angular shape which helps add a little modern look to the top. See the profile below…

Top with yellow

The highlighted yellow area needs to be cut away.

Using my crude jig, I was able to draw the needed lines and simply position my jig at each line and cut the waste away with my circular saw.


If you look carefully, you can see the slight angular profile at each end.

With all of this completed, I temporarily positioned the top and middle shelf in place and snapped a couple of photos…




A little better view of the side.

The table is still not glued together. Two items not completed: no recesses drilled in four of the slats for adjustable shelf supports and I still don’t have the angular profile on the four lower stretchers. The recesses for the shelf supports will be easy to add and for the stretchers, I’ll need to drive over to the woodworking guild to use one of their band saws to rough cut the angular profile. Then clean the cut with some template routing. Those two steps will be next. I’ll then sand everything, pre-finish and glue the table together. Finally, I’ll add the drawer. Maybe I’ll finish this by Christmas. 🙂

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During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


      • You reminded me of a entry hall table I did some years ago, ended up calling the Elliptical Table! Here’s a screen shot of the top from an old blog post of mine — like you, I feel that subtle is a cool aspect to designs!!


  1. Georgia girl here with an equally HOT workspace. You’re right about the box fan + sawdust – no bueno!

    Do you like that Makita circular saw? I’m in the market for one, and the Makita is on my list. I heard there are issues with the guard getting stuck when cutting at an angle. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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