A simple Writing Table

A school teacher friend asked me to build her a simple writing table for her to use at home. I made it out of Cherry. The legs are mortise and tendons on the rails. It was 32" hi to top from floor,for the special stool she used.
The pencil drawer was mounted with slides. First picture was when I set it out on the patio to stain it. the drawer pull had a wooden center so it could be stained to match.


Looks very nice, Herb! So the wood in the pull is not cherry? Looks like you got a very good color match.

It looked like a white oak button, but stained out well to add a nice touch to the drawer front.

I forgot to add the tip of how I make the hole for the drawer to slide into the rail.
I mark out the size of the opening in the rail before it is installed into the legs.
Then rip the rail on both top and bottom full length, the size of the opening.
Then crosscut the center piece for both ends, and glue the 4 pieces back together the way they were before.
This will match the grain and the cuts will disappear. It will make a perfect opening for the drawer sides and appear as one piece.


Nice work as always Herb, you certainly are productive!

Nice and simple, Herb !!!
A view from underneath would make me happy, if you have one. The point for me here is how to make it with as few pieces and techniques as possible.
For my material (cypress) it is hard to find pieces that will produce straight long legs, so I prefer to add transverse bits about 15 - 21 cm from the floor, but the scaffolding for the drawer underneath is a challenge to construct it as simple as possible.

Dimitri, sorry I can’t give you a picture from underneath. But it is just a 1"X3" vertical board from the front rail to the back on each side to support the drawer guides. You can also mount a small drawer like this one with the metal guides that fasten front and back with no rail support.
I used 2 rails similar to the picture below and mounted the guides to each side. They also have metal ones that attach front and back that mount on the bottom of the drawer.
Before Metal rails we used an “L” shaped wooden drawer guides and sliding mortises.
Drawer slides on a table

Sliding mortise

1 Like

Thank you Herb for showing all the detailed plans. What is very difficult for me, is joining the very delicate front frame rails to the front legs without disturbing at all either the right angles of every joint, or stability of the legs toward the seat, It must be a very reliable and high quality hardwood, otherwise it will be the laughing stock of the year. also, the drawer rails are each made of four different pieces of wood, to provide (a) reliable plane of movement, (b) the L shaped path for tthe drawer, and a facade for tyhemselves. This is all very beautiful, but too complicated for me. I made my wooden desk with tw odrawers and as simplified drawer guides as possible - I wil ltry to find some pics at home and send you. The result is nothing like smooth and quiet drawer gliding, but it is very effective and functional, although there is diagonal jig when closing the drawers.
Thank you, the reason I asked for this was in case there is a wise shortcut without too much calculated and accurate woodwork.

Best wishes


Dimitri, I apologize for not explaining it better.
I cut it out like a table w/o the drawer, 4 legs, 4 tenoned rails,long front and back,short ends, and a top.

Then I ripped the front rail top 1", and bottom 1" full length.
I cut the drawer width out of the center piece,and had 2 shot pieces that I glued back in between the bottom and top rips. Set aside the center piece. By gluing them back in where they were before, the grain follows the original and the face looks like one piece with a drawer hole in it.
The tenons can be cut on the 2 short pieces before it is ripped or after, the whole length just has to be adjusted accordingly.
As for the drawer runners, they are just “L” shaped the length of the distance between the front and back rails, they can be with or without roller guides.
Here is a crude diagram.


You definitely have WW down to a science Herb…
I really enjoy your articles…

1 Like