Why not make up this handy dual-purpose side table that not only provides you with space for your glass, but also a magazine storage bin space below for a host of magazines you haven’t quite got round to reading yet. It has space for quite a few, plus the odd book or two as well.

Materials:

  • One length of laminated SA pine – 2.4m x 305mm x 18mm
  • Screws: three dozen 40mm chipboard screws
  • One packet of screw-head caps
  • Finish: of your choice; we chose clear gloss varnish

Cutting list:*

  • Top and base – two pieces each 305x350mm
  • Pedestals – two pieces each 90 x 364mm
  • Pedestal/table top attachment battens – two pieces each 190 x approx 28mm, ends mitre cut at 45°
  • Magazine rests – two pieces each 264x200mm. Top and bottom edges cut parallel at an angle of 10°
  • Magazine rest side pieces – two pieces each 90×292/262mm (ends cut at an angle of 10° so top edge is 292mm long and bottom edge is 262mm long.
  • Magazine storage divider – one piece 170x224mm long.

*Note that timber, even manufactured timber as used here can vary very slightly from the stated dimensions as it is sold in nominal sizes, so the cutting list reflects the exact measurements used in this unit. When you make it, even if you follow these measurements exactly, there can be small variations of a millimetre or so. So always follow the golden rule… measure twice (even better, three times), cut once.

Method:

  1. First of all, cut the top and base as per the cutting list. We also cut each corner at an angle of 45° to remove sharp corners, but they could also be rounded off if so desired. The advantage of having a broad, flat base is that the weight of the unit and all those magazines you are going to store in it will be spread over a large area – in this case 1050cm²… which will mean no dents or depressions in your carpets. Having cut the base and top, set your circular cut-off saw at an angle of 10° and cut the two magazine rests – two pieces each 264mm long x 200mm high with their top and bottom edges cut parallel at 10° (refer to the illustration). The ends are not bevelled, but are rather at 90°, as one would do for a standard cut.
  1. Setting the saw to an angle of 10° ensures that the contents of the storage area are angled towards the outside where they can be easily accessed, but not so extreme an angle that the rests extend beyond the edges of the top and base.
  1. This shows more clearly the bevelled top and bottom cuts on the magazine rests.
  1. The ends of the magazine rest side pieces come from ripping a 600mm length of the laminated wood into three strips, each 90mm wide. The remaining strip will be approximately 28mm wide – and will be used for the pedestal/table top attachment battens.
  1. This is how the magazine storage comes together. The rests appear to be angled at far more than 10° but that is just due to perspective.
  1. Having cut the two pedestal/table top attachment battens, we marked the positions for the two attachment screws on the centreline and 15mm from the start of the 45° bevel.
  1. Then we attached them flush with the edge of the top, using two screws to secure them.
  1. Each 90mm x 364mm pedestal leg (from the 90mm ripped cuts made – refer to Caption 4) was clamped to the inner edge of its batten, taking care to ensure it was a perfect 90°.
  1. We then secured each pedestal to its batten with three screws.
  1. Now to assemble the magazine storage bin… make sure each magazine rest side piece is exactly flush with the magazine rest along both edges.
  1. Then use three screws per side to secure the pieces. Note that it is important that these screws be driven in until their heads are flush with the surface, but no deeper. This is because caps will be fitted over them as a decorative finish. Use your drill’s torque setting to take the guesswork out of driving the screws in to the correct depth. Practice on some of the offcuts from this project to set the drill correctly.
  1. Dry fit the pedestal legs between the inner surfaces of the magazine bin and measure the distance between the inner surfaces of the pedestal legs. Then cut the magazine storage divider – in our case it was170mm high x 224mm long. This piece must be cut very precisely so that there is a snug fit between the magazine bin sides, the pedestal legs and the divider.
  1. Centre the divider with its bottom edge flush with the bottom edge of each pedestal leg and secure it with screws. Note that the top one should be no more than 80mm from bottom of the pedestal so that it will be hidden by the bin side.
  1. Centre the divider with its bottom edge flush with the bottom edge of each pedestal leg and secure it with screws. Note that the top one should be no more than 80mm from bottom of the pedestal so that it will be hidden by the bin side.
  1. Both these screws will be hidden when the unit is assembled, but ensure that they are countersunk a little so that the pedestal and inner surface of the bin fit without any gap between them.
  1. A single screw on each side then attaches the pedestal to the side but this again is sunk in only to when its head is flush with the surface as it will be capped.
  1. The base was then attached to the unit with three screws per side and a further five into the divider. This ensures that the base is very securely attached to the unit. Note that all these screw heads are countersunk at least a couple of millimetres below the surface of the wood so that there is no chance of any head snagging on a carpet thread.
  1. Sand all surfaces to a smooth finish.
  1. Finally, each exposed screw head was capped – with the exception of those in the base and the three on each side fixing the pedestals to the battens as they are out of sight anyway.

This unit has been left with a natural finish for the moment so that you can see the detail, but can hereafter be painted or varnished as required.

Now you have space to keep your magazines and books while keeping the tabletop clear for the cup of coffee you have been craving.

Panel:

These materials are available at Selected Mica Stores. To find out which is your closest Mica and whether or not they stock the items required, please go to www.mica.co.za, find your store and call them. If your local Mica does not stock exactly what you need they will be able to order it for you or suggest an alternative product or a reputable source.

Project guide

  • TIME: 3 days
  • COST: R400
  • Skill: 4
  • Assistant: No 

Tools required:

  • Circular cut-off saw
  • Orbital sander
  • Cordless or mains drill/driver.