Bistro Table & Chairs
This bistro table-and-chair set is the perfect size for a breakfast nook or eat-in kitchen.
Building a table and set of chairs provides a challenging project, even for experienced woodworkers. But in this case, templates and a few jigs make creating the parts easier. Loose tenons and knockdown hardware speed up the assembly, so you’ll be sitting down to your morning cup of joe in no time.
Get a leg up on the chairs
1 From 11⁄8"-thick stock, cut blanks for the back and front legs (A, B) [Chair Exploded View, Materials List]. (We built both the chairs and the table out of cherry.) Make full-size templates for the legs out of 1⁄4" hardboard [Drawings 1, 2]. Using the templates, trace the outline of the legs onto the blanks.
2 Bandsaw the legs to shape, staying just outside the layout lines, then flush-trim them at the router table [Photo A]. Determine which will be right legs and which will be left and label them on the inside face.
3 To align the mortising jigs used on the faces of the legs, mark the centerlines of these mortises. Start by butting a back leg
(A) against a straight-edged piece of stock to mark the center height location of the back rail mortise [Photo B, Drawing 1]. At this mark, draw a centerline parallel with the bottom of the leg [Photo C].
4 Make a mark 17⁄8" from the front of the leg and draw a second centerline at this mark [Drawing 1, Photo D]. Repeat this process to lay out the mortise centerlines on the inside faces of the remaining back legs.
5 Lay out the mortise centerlines on the inside edges of the back legs for the side rails [Drawing 1]. Using a similar procedure, lay out the centerlines for the mortises on the front legs (B) [Drawing 2].
6 Make a pair of mortising jigs to rout the mortises on the inside faces of the legs [Jigs make mortising a snap].
7 Clamp one of the face-mortising jigs to the inside face of a corresponding leg and rout the back rail mortise [Photo E]. Repeat for the remaining face mortises.
8 [Drawings 1, 2]. Clamp the edge/end-mortising jig on one of the legs, aligned with the centerlines, and rout the side rail mortise [Photo F]. Repeat for the remaining legs.