As seventh graders we were required to make these two tables. I think they were called a night stand and plant stand at that time. That was about 55 years ago.
But before we could, we had to prove we could square a board with a hand saw and a jack plane. I'll never forget the steps in squaring a board. They were working face, (must be flat) working edge, working end, length, width, and thickness (must be parallel to working face). Some that originated 3/4 thick were only 1/2 or less when the lesson was finally learned. That old man Brown was kind of picky and he could see light under that steel ruler like a hawk.
But on these assignments we learned how to make rabbit and dado joints by hand using a back saw, chisel and mallet. Learned to bore holes the correct size for pilot and anchor holes to insert screws and how to lay out an octagon.
And in the finish department we were allowed to make white pine appear to be mahogany with a Deft finish applied with a brush of coarse. And you better clean your brush good too followed by proper finish rag disposal.