Shaker Side Table–Design

shaker side table

Elegant in its simplicity, this Shaker side table is perfect for the side of a bed or sofa. Image from the Autumn 2004 issue of Woodworking Magazine, available on

I first encountered Thos. Moser’s interpretation of a Shaker side table in the second edition of his How to Build Shaker Furniture in 1999. At the time I wasn’t equipped to build it (I had just started building simple pieces with jigsaw, circular saw, and drill, working on a flat roof or kitchen that could be easily swept out after building), but could still admire the graceful taper of the legs and and the beveled top. The table’s design makes it perfect for the side of a bed or couch, the embodiment of Shaker simplicity captured in the compact package.

After we’d moved west and I had space to set up a shop, it was the one of the first pieces I built, rendering it in cherry and ash. It still stand at my bedside, the perfect example of (and argument for) inspired minimalism.

More Information

  • Thomas Moser’s How to Build Shaker Furniture includes measured drawings for the side table. Christian Becksvoort’s drawings give the second edition a particular charm, but the revised third edition includes some additional designs and better photography.
  • The late, great Woodworking Magazine featured an article on building the table in the Autumn 2004 issue. The article has been posted to free of charge.
  • If you prefer biscuit joinery to mortise-and-tenon, American Woodworker’s take is worth a look. It’s also available for free on

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