If there is one particular spot (perhaps among many) that tends to get a little messy in my house – it’s my nightstand. Various things just tend to build up there – watches, earrings, rings, cell phones, loose change, random charging cords, last night’s midnight snack remnants (oops). It can all quickly add up to unnecessary mess, and, since one of the recommendations for improving your sleep is to maintain a comfortable, peaceful environment in your bedroom, I know I needed to fix this! That’s why I started to think of a way to organise the area right next to my bed into an efficient storage spot for the random items that tend to pile up there. And thus, my homemade wooden valet charging station was born!
There are so many examples out there – many with very similar designs – so much so that I’m not entirely sure who originally came up with this type of design, and can’t, in turn, give them credit for it.
In the end, I chose a design and modified it to fit exactly the things that most often are scattered across my nightstand: Watches, spare change, earings, glasses and my phone/charger.
Unfortunately, I was a bit lax with photos of the build this time around, but I think you’ll get the jist! This build doesn’t require many tools and is endlessly modifyable to fit what you want!
Tools You’ll Need
Jigsaw or Coping saw
Router (if you want a tray)
Mitre, Table, or Hand Saw
After nailing down my design and acquiring everything I would need to begin, I cut my 19mm pine boards down to size on my mitre station. (I already had 19mm pine on hand, but I actually wanted thinner boards so I ended up running them through my thicknesser after to end with abour a 12mm board for the front face and a 15mm for the back.)
This was my first time building them, and because I was just testing out a few pine stations for myself and my partner, I measured and drew the template directly onto the boards. If I were to make future versions, I would definitely create a printable template that I could fix to the boards in order to make production much faster.
I made the watch storage slot by drilling a hole 3 inches in from the edge and 2 inches down from the top. I then popped out my trusty jig saw and cut straight lines in from the side of the board to remove the material up to the hole, creating a nice clean slot with a rounded end.
I’m not sure why, after the success of the watch slot, I decided to make this part significantly more difficult by trying to use my dado jig to cut this slot to size. My idea was that I wanted to cut an exact size slot to fit the width of the back tenon, and I thought it would be much more accurate and quick to do it this way. However, because my dado jig is made for boards much longer, and this slot was only going to be teensy weensy compared to regular cabinetry, it took a lot of time to rig a set up that allowed me to clamp the piece and jig in place. In hind sight, if I was intent on using the router rather than a jig saw to cut these slots, I should have just clamped some straight edges and had at it. Lesson learned!
The position of this slot in relation to the bottom of the face board is important because it determines what amount of tilt the front face will sit at when the two pieces are connected. I simply eyeballed the tilt to come up with what I thought was a god compromise between ensuring things sitting on the shelf don’t fall forward, and not having a giant tilt on the back piece.
The premise of this valet station is that the shelf the phone sits on is something of a through tenon, which allows for the back of the shelf to prop up the station on an angle. Since I had cut the front slot first, I was able to measure the exact length of the slot to ensure that I got a good fit.
I marked out two equal portions on either side of the shelf and quickly cut out the small, rectangular chunks with my jigsaw to allow the tenon to slide through the slot in the front face and protrude a couple of inches in order to create the shelf. I then test fitted to see how it would sit, and was pretty happy with the result!
With the above lesson learned, I moved back to ye’ old drill and jigsaw method to cut the wallet/notebook slot into the back of the vallet station. It was so much more time efficient and really didn’t look that much less accurate than the router had – or at least, certainly not enough to make up for the cost in time to set up the router and dado jig on such a small board.
Back to the router for this section, and it made me realize just how much I need to build a square template for routering inlays. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for this project, so I simply hot glued straight pieces of wood to my table to use as a template guide in order to route out a shallow tray for coins and loose knick knacks.
The notch for glasses or necklace storage was cut with a 22mm mortising bit on the router. I simply clamped the piece down and slowly moved the bit into the wood about halfway.
At the front of the phone shelf I wanted a small groove, both as an extra stop for anything sliding off the shelf, and also to hold a pen or pencil. I used the router with a straight edge to make a shallow groove, but a few shallow passes over the table saw followed by some sanding would probably work just as well.
Moving back to the front piece, I drilled two holes the size of my particular dowels in the front face of my valet station, making sure to use a stop collar on the bit to ensure the same depth of drilling and then cut my dowels to size and leaving them unattached at the moment in order to make sanding easier later.
For the groove and hole for the cable, I put the station together by inserting the back piece into the slot on the face piece, and quickly marked a location a few cm out from where the shelf connected with the face, and a spot directly blow this on the bottom of the front face.
I then separated the pieces and used a 19mm forstner bit to drill a hole into the shelf piece at the mark I had previously placed. This hole would serve to allow the head of the charging cable to access the phone. At the bottom of the face piece I used the router to quickly cut a small groove to allow the cable itself to pass behind the station.
For the second valet charging station, I upped my forstner bit size to 22mm to allow myself a bit more wiggle room, and was more happy with this result.
Sanding and Finishing
After all the cutting was done if was time to clean everything up with some sanding. I went over each board with 120 grit sandpaper at first, rounding out sharp corners and any rough edges from the jig saw.
Moving up through the grits, I stopped at 180 and used wood glue and my mallet to fasten the dowels into the predrilled holes on the front faces, and then followed up with my last sanding at 220 grit.
To finish the valet stations, I simply sprayed on a few coats of polyurethane spray – sanding between coats. And with that, I was finished!
What would I change?
All in all, they turned out better than I had expected.
However, if I were to make them again there are a few things that I would change.
I’ve found that the depth of the tray isn’t quite deep enough for me, it works great for coins, etc, but the angle of the board is a bit high to allow for any large knick-knacks not to roll out.
I mentioned that I made the hole for the charging end of the cord larger on the second valet charging station, but I would also make the groove for the cord itself a bit larger in order to allow for a little more wiggle room and easier pull through. And, again, as previously mentioned, I would definitely just cut all the through slots using a drill and jigsaw, as it was significantly faster in terms of setup.
Other than that, they serve their purpose and have definitely helped maintain some semblance of organisation in my otherwise messy life!
Do you have a wooden valet charging station? If so, what items do you store on it, and would you change any of its features? Let me know in the comments!