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Montreat Side Table Part 5

I have been doing a little research. As I finalized the design of the web frame I’ll be using in the Montreat Side Table, I wasn’t sure what to call the joinery. The web frame will support the drawer and provide much needed structure to the table. The joinery connecting the two rails and two stiles will be simple, by way of biscuits. But the joinery which will attach the completed web frame to the table will be unusual.

The research happened while working on the SketchUp model; adding the the web frame to table joinery. These joints are formed by creating a rabbet on three sides of the web frame and then making a corresponding dado in the side and back aprons. I wondered how these two joint names came to be. For rabbet, my Google search took me to Wikipedia which said the rabbet name comes from the Old French term “rabbat” meaning recess in a wall. Dado’s origin is less clear. Again from Wikipedia (the source of all good information right?), the definition of dado is given, but no clear origin of the term and dado is such an odd name. There was reference to dado as an architectural term, but the origin of “dado” and how it became used in woodworking isn’t given. For me, this is still a woodworking mystery.

But, one thing I did learn: The joint I’ll be making in the side and back aprons is correctly called a groove (source) as in tongue and groove. A dado runs across the grain as in a bookcase with shelves let into the sides. And a groove is the same as a dado except it runs with the grain. I never knew that.

Montreat Side Table Final Web Frame F

The proposed web frame with biscuit joinery shown.

As shown above, I chose biscuits for the web frame joinery. I have successfully used biscuit joinery for many years and while some see it as inappropriate for structural joinery, when combined with other types of joinery, biscuits can be a very good choice. In my table for example, The biscuits will join the stiles and rails of the web frame, then the web frame sub-assembly will be glued into the aprons making the even larger assembly sufficiently strong.

I did run into some alignment problems. In two instances the biscuit slot in the back rail did not align with the stiles raising the back rail. I simply glued a biscuit in each slot and remade the joint. But, I think next time I’ll use stub tenons for this operation.


Biscuit slots cut.


Groove in aprons formed.

Web Frame to Apron Graphic

Web frame to apron joinery.


Web frame rabbet inserted into apron groove.


Cutting notches at each corner for leg clearance.


Nice fit.


Web frame in place.


I sourced some beautiful walnut for the slats.

I wonder if the tongue and groove joinery for the web frame to apron joint is a little over the top. I thought about simply driving screws through the web frame components into their mating aprons, add some glue and be done with it. But I really don’t want many screws in this project.

The side and back slats are next which will be pretty exciting to add. These parts will give the table a lot of visual pop and the walnut I sourced is beautiful. All of the slats will be mortised and tenoned in place which will be a lot of work. I am planning on making a template and creating the mortises with my plunge router. I’ll have another update in a couple of weeks.

The Montreat Side Table Begins Taking Shape

Firstly, the wife and I have been travelling. We have fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and were there a couple of weeks ago for a full week (this, I believe is our fifth trip to the area). We accomplished some bucket list things like stay at the Pisgah Inn which is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville, NC. Then we drove southwest from there and covered parts of the parkway which we have never been on. We made it to Richland Balsam Overlook which is the highest point on the parkway (Mount Mitchell is higher, but I guess it is technically not on the parkway). We were close enough to the Great Smoky Mountains that we thought about just driving all the way to the beginning of the parkway, but were running out of time. So that is a bucket list item for me: to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from the beginning up to Asheville. We have gone as far north on the parkway as Blowing Rock, NC, so there is still much to explore.

Asheville is a fantastic place for a woodworker to visit. It is home to the Grovewood Gallery, one of the finest galleries in the USA for viewing fine handcrafted furniture (see an earlier blog post about Grovewood here). We found a new gallery: Foundation Woodworks, a gallery with an attached woodworking shop where craftsmen and women can rent space to work wood. We always visit the Folk Art Center of the Southern Highland Craft Guild which is on the parkway near Asheville. Lots of finely crafted furniture there (and many other types of hand crafts). And I have been to the workshops of Brian Boggs and Scott Meek and I always try to buy something at Asheville Hardware. There is much more to see and do related to woodworking and I highly recommend multiple trips to the area.

This is my best video from the trip and a note: I get tongue tied on the word “elevation” and this is Cullowhee Mountain Overlook. Be sure to click the lower right of the video to take it full screen…


As our vacation came to a close, I finished the initial design of a dining table for a family friend and then completed the woodworking plan for Jay Bates. With these two side projects taken care of, I could turn to the next step for my Montreat Side Table.

Montreat Mortise and Tenon Joinery

Having already created mortises for the legs in this blog post and cutting the aprons and stretchers to their final size (see this post), it’s time to form tenons. To me, tenons are the easier part of a mortise and tenon joint and are more fun because I get to use some hand tools.

An overview of what I need to accomplish.

I need to form tenons on the ends of the side and back aprons as well as the side, front and back stretchers. This is a simple process of making cuts at the table saw, but I’ll do them in a specific order…

Defining the boundary of the tenons.

Giving the tenons their thickness.

Trimming the tenons with my block plane.

The critical dimension for the aprons and stretchers are shown in the SketchUp image above. I mark the boundary of the tenons on these parts. The side aprons and stretchers have a length of 16 3/4″ between the legs. The front and back stretchers along with the back apron are 22 3/4″ between the legs. I carefully mark the tenon locations and using my miter gauge equipped with a stop, I first cut all the tenon locations and then nibble away material to form the thickness of the tenon. The thickness is fine tuned with a rabbet block plane, frequently checking the fit with the legs.

BY THE WAY: I have heard some super skilled and very respected furniture makers talk how a rabbet block plane like mine above is a poor choice for trimming fat tenons. To which I would say why? I’ll acknowledge that the even more specialized shoulder plane is a better choice. I suspect there is nothing more helpful than the weight of a good, heavy shoulder plane for moving a plane blade across the cross-grain surface of a tenon. But, for me such planes are very specialized. I have an old wooden shoulder plane I am restoring, but I like my Lie Nielsen #60-1/2. One day I suspect I’ll add a quality shoulder plane to my tool kit, but I’ll need to be making a lot more furniture before I buy one. My #60-1/2 works just fine for now.

Then, I began trimming the length of all the tenons.

I then trimmed the tenons to fit the round ends of the leg mortises.

Fabrication complete for the aprons and stretchers.

The test fit.

Still a little rough at this point.

If you look closely at the last two photos, you can see that I still have not removed mill marks on the surfaces of the table so far. I have already dropped one leg resulting in a dent. That is just going to happen I guess. But, I am going to research a repair. A couple of the tenons are too loose for my taste, so I’ll add some shims to those. But overall, I am very pleased at this point.

Next for the Montreat Side Table

Right now, the table is loose fit (no glue). Before I begin glue-up, I’ll need to add the walnut slats to the sides and back; plus I need to add the angular shape to the stretchers. I’ll also need to make a web frame for the drawer area. All of which will be fun because at this point, everything I do will have a big impact on the look of the table.

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Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

Woodworking Plan – Jay Bates’ Krenovian Coffee Table

About a year ago, I was travelling through Starkville, Mississippi for work and met with Jay Bates and Shawn Stone over lunch. My goal was to talk about the world of YouTube videos. Jay had just published the third video documenting the assembly of his Krenov inspired coffee table. During my consumption of buffalo chicken fingers and sweet tea, Jay asks if I would be interested in creating the woodworking plan for his new coffee table. Talks continued by phone and email and now all this time later his woodworking plan is finished (Jay took a long break from his coffee table and only recently finished it). The plan is now live on his website and I am linking to it below.

A unique opportunity
My woodworking plans almost never feature photos. The lighting in my shop is poor and until just recently, I have not had a good quality camera. I rely almost 100% on SketchUp models for the images in my plans. Jay’s shop is well lit and his video equipment is top notch, so this was an opportunity to add a new element (photos) to the page design of his woodworking plan. Also, I had to adapt to Jay’s way of explaining construction steps which wasn’t hard at all, but I got to view making a plan from a different person’s perspective. Made me think outside the box a little. Jay was easy to work with and it was an fun project.

Oh, and also new (to me) was the ability to work alongside a video tutorial. Jay has developed four YouTube videos capturing his thoughts as he built the coffee table and a fifth video covering the table’s design. As construction progressed through the woodworking plan, I was able to add hyperlinks for his videos where the reader can also see Jay actually building the table. I can’t imagine a construction guide being more complete.

A super big image for the cover page.

Page three showing one of two main exploded views. I sourced good materials to use in the SketchUp model Jay provided.

Another big photo for page 17.

Page 18, an exploded view showing drawer construction.

Plan details
The Krenov Inspired Coffee Table is 21 pages in length and includes a cutting diagram, part descriptions and is a construction guide for building the table. The table measures 19-1/8″ high, 36-7/8″ long and 19-1/2″ deep.

The table uses dovetail joinery for the case and drawers. Through mortise and tenon joinery are also used in the case as well as the base structure. This is an advanced level project.

Remember there is a five part video series which this plan is a companion.

YOU CAN PURCHASE THE PLAN by going to the link below. This is an affiliate link and I will earn a small commission from the sale of this plan.

Jay’s Custom Creations Krenov Inspired Coffee Table

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Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).