Simple Rennie Mackintosh End Table Plans
IntroductionPrized by collectors, Charles Rennie Mackintosh furniture is notable for its clean, elegant lines. This end table is a good example. Here's how to build it.
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Biscuit joiner
- Combination square
- Cordless drill
- Forstner drill bits
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander
- Safety glasses
- Table saw
- Wood glue
This simple, well-designed end table is a perfect furniture project for a novice carpenter or a more experienced builder who appreciates a project that’s quick and easy. This end table design was originally designed in 1904 by the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh for a home in Glasgow. Like so many other things Scottish, it’s economical in terms of time, materials and tools.
You can build the table from paint-grade yellow poplar. It’s widely available at home centers in 1x3s, 1x4s and other standard sizes. You’ll also need 1/2-in.-thick and 1/4-in.-thick material for the drawer. The total cost for the wood will be well under $100. Aside from a drill, all you’ll need to build the table are two power tools: a table saw and a plate joiner. A drill press is helpful but not necessary.
Project step-by-step (18)
Cut the Table Legs
- Cut the legs (A) from your 1×3 material.
- Note: You won’t have to rip the wood; just cut the pieces to final length.
- Mark the top end of each leg to indicate which sides face out.
- Pro tip: I always mark each piece of a project like this. If you make your marks anywhere else, sanding will erase them. Ends usually don’t get sanded.
Make the Biscuit Slots
- Cut a pair of No. 20 biscuit slots in the top end of each leg.
- Place a 3/4-in. scrap under the plate joiner to space the slots.
Glue Sides and Guides
- Glue together the table’s sides and drawer guides, cut 1 in. extra long.
- After the glue dries, trim them to final length.
Make Slots in the Guides
- Cut biscuit slots in the side/guides, using the spacer again.
- Note: This puts the drawer guides flush with the inside edge of the legs.
Cut Slots in Stretchers
- Make vertical slots in the stretchers that go between the legs.
- Pro tip: Butt the plate joiner against a spacer to locate each slot.
Glue Table Sides
- Glue the sides of the table.
- Pro tip: Use a combination square to make sure the stretcher is in the correct position.
- Shape arches from small pieces glued to the table’s apron.
- Pro tip: With so little wood to remove, just use a rasp and sandpaper.
Glue the Base
- Clamp spacers between the legs to make sure they’re parallel.
- Glue the table’s base.
Cut Slots in Stretchers
- Cut open-ended slots in the short stretchers.
- Slide them in place, making sure their top edges are flush.
Saw Bevel Edges
- Saw bevels around the table’s top.
- Pro tip: Use a tall sliding fence to support the top.
Fasten Top to Base
- Screw the top to the base using desktop fasteners.
- Note: Positioned on the outside, they won’t interfere with the drawer.
- Begin making the drawer by using a dado set to cut rabbets in the drawer’s front.
Drill Holes in Sides
- Drill 1/4-in. holes through the drawer’s sides.
- Cut grooves in the front and sides to receive the drawer’s bottom.
Glue the Drawer
- Position the back of the drawer so it sits just above the groove for the drawer’s bottom.
- Glue the drawer together.
Glue in Pegs
- Drill through the 1/4-in. holes to make them deeper, then glue in short pegs.
Glue Up Bottom
- Use opposing wedges to squeeze the pieces between two clamped boards.
- Glue up the drawer’s bottom from 1/4-in. poplar.
Fit Drawer Bottom
- Slide the bottom into the drawer.
- Note: Don’t use glue, because the bottom must be free to expand and contract.
Stain and Seal
- Seal the wood with two coats of poly, then use thin coats of gel stain.