Building A Modern Oak Side Table with an Inset Drawer Pull

John Malecki

Building A Modern Oak Side Table with an Inset Drawer Pull

How to Build a Side Table with an Inset Drawer Pull

min read
Oct 26, 2018

I’ve recently been on a mission to improve my home’s equity. Not only is Pittsburgh a rapidly-growing real estate market, but I no longer live alone -- so it’s definitely time to make some upgrades around the house. Luckily, I have the skills to do most of these project around the house. I complement all of these home improvements with some homemade furniture like this concrete coffee table, but I figured it was time to add some more furniture to the living room. My solution? A beautiful DIY side table with an inset drawer pull.

I decided to build this thing out with some oak I had in my workshop and pull out all the stops: continuous mitered edges, hand-cut dovetails, a handmade metal inset drawer pull. You’ve got to check this thing out.

This page contains affiliate links, but all ideas are my own. For more information, check out my disclosure page.

Oak Side Table with a Metal Inset Drawer Pull: Project Overview

Steps for Building a Side Table with an Inset Drawer Pull

  1. Break Down & Glue Up Panels
  2. Flatten & Miter Panels
  3. Cut the Joinery & Glue Up Carcass
  4. Create Drawer Front
  5. Hand-Cut the Drawer
  6. Cut & Assemble the Base
  7. Sand, Finish, & Assemble

What You’ll Need:


  • Oak
  • Metal for the Inset Drawer Pull
  • Minwax Finish


Special thanks to Mixwax for sponsoring this build!

Building a Side Table with a Metal Inset Drawer Pull: The Step-By-Step

Break Down & Glue Up Panels

Breaking down the lumber is the same as any basic standard process. Rough cut, joint, and plane the material to thickness. From there glue up all 4 panels for the carcass.

Flatten & Miter Panels

When the panels are glued up, flatten and prep the panels for final glue up into the carcass. Using a hand plane, flatten each panel, sanding and scraping them until they reach the desired texture. Cut one side miter to 45 degrees on your table saw and then cut the opposite side to make sure all panels are the same size.

Cut Joinery & Glue Up Carcass

Before glue-up of the carcass, use a domino XL to reinforce the miters. I do recommend reinforcing them with some sort of joinery, whether its a biscuit, domino, or spline. As the wood moves it will expand and push apart due to its sheer size, so using additional joinery will make sure that your side table holds up well. I glue it up using a ratchet strap to get uniform clamping pressure.

Create the Drawer Front

Once the carcass is glued up and drying, begin cutting the drawer front to size. Make these cuts based on the internal measurements of your carcass. Next, cut the joinery for the inset pull. I used my Axiom CNC for this, but this can easily be done with a router. Then shape your metal handle using basic metalworking tools.

Hand-Cut the Drawer Box

Cut a drawer box to fit the chosen slides and sizing specifications you look for. I chose to cut mine by hand. I only screwed up three times throughout the process, so let’s hope you do better than I did.

Cut & Assemble the Base

Using a flat bar, or cutting strips from plate (like I did), weld the base together and grind it flat and smooth. Prep it with your favorite primer and finish combo.

Sand, Finish, and Assemble!

Once your base is complete, it’s time to finish her up. Final sand the piece down to 220 Grit. I chose a simple and beautiful finish with Minwax Wipe On Poly. I love this finish for projects like this because it’s highly durable and super easy to apply. Add on your base and drawer and voila -- one sweet side table with a metal inset drawer pull.

Check out some other home projects!

Download the Plan

Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.

min read
Oct 26, 2018
Sponsored by
John Malecki

I used to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, Now I run my own furniture business and am completely self taught. In my videos and posts you'll see a variety of wood and metal work as well as some tips and tricks. Enjoy!