SoZo Coffee Shop Table Top Series #1: Coffee Shop Table Top Project

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Doug McPherson posted 01-11-2012 04:55 PM 4136 reads 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of SoZo Coffee Shop Table Top Series series Part 2: Coffee Shop Table Top Project »

Some friends of mine run a local Coffee Roasting and Espresso Bar here in my area (Michigan), and they contacted me about building six new table tops for their coffee shop. For the design, we decided to inlay their company logo in each table.

I’m using Maple, Walnut and Cherry.

I decided to start with making the star.

To save some work, I made just two variations, but made them thick enough so that after the glue up, I could slice them in to multiple stars. I did this carefully on the table saw, using my fence with multiple passes as I rotated the star.

Then the table top blanks.

Now, I’m an amateur, and perhaps there is a better way to do this, but to inlay the stars, I centered them over the table top, traced them with a knife, and routed out the shape to prepare for the star. I cleaned up the corners with chisels and the knife.

It’s important that you take your time here to make sure your joint lines are tight, but allow the star to fit inside the recessed area. I got better at this as I went along.

Then some passes through my homemade drum sander.

Next is the lettering.

On the first one,I ran it through drum sander after each letter to level off that which sat proud of the surface. On the rest of the table tops I fit all the letters first, then glued them in all at once, before going to the sander.

And here are a few with the finished logo.

The final dimensions will be 24” x 24”. I plan on wrapping each with a 1 1/2 inch frame/edge in the contrasting color. So, for example, the two that use maple as the table top species will be framed with walnut (1) and Cherry (2).

I’m looking for your suggestions on the best finish choice. Bearing in mind they are restaurant table tops, so they need to withstand some abuse.

-- DullChiselDoug,

26 comments so far

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 2900 days

#1 posted 01-11-2012 05:27 PM

I have no suggestions for finish type, but i think your work on this is beautiful. Great job!

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View Tyler's profile


174 posts in 3204 days

#2 posted 01-11-2012 05:43 PM

Damn. Nice job.

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4318 days

#3 posted 01-11-2012 06:00 PM

Nice! Your other projects are also fantastic but, the one object in your post that caught my eye was your home made drum sander. What I could see of your design is very interesting. Perhaps you might post that project as there has been a great deal of LJ interest in drum sanders of late. Look forward to it!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3747 days

#4 posted 01-11-2012 06:11 PM

Great looking table top and I would also like to see more photos of your sander. Especially how you attach the paper. Thanks in advance.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Doug McPherson's profile

Doug McPherson

114 posts in 3666 days

#5 posted 01-11-2012 06:40 PM

I don’t have any good pictures of the drum sander quickly available, but there are lots of online resources if you google it. These are some pictures that I used when designing mine. I have a 1 hp motor wired at 220v and that is adequate for the task. The bed allows stock up to 21 inches wide. A wide sandpaper belt rolls around pvc pipe rollers centered on steel round stock with bearings. There is a hand crank on one side. I would highly recommend the upgrade to electric drive for the belt so that you have both hands free to manage your stock!

As far as how the sandpaper is attached to the drum, I cut out a small pocket on both ends and glued in a threaded T-nut. I pinch each end down with a bolt that runs through an wooden block cut to the size of the pocket. I also use a bit of spray adhesive on the back of the paper for added insurance. Occassionally you have to clean that up off the drum when you change paper, but it’s not hard to do. See the last picture.

-- DullChiselDoug,

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4087 days

#6 posted 01-11-2012 06:54 PM

A fantastic job it looks terrific.

View Dabcan's profile


255 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 01-11-2012 07:54 PM

Great table! If I were you I’d go for an epoxy finish. It’d be waterproof, very durable, and long lasting. Your design would still show through. Not sure what epoxy to go with, likely a slow setting one so that you could spread it thin and even before it dries.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3742 days

#8 posted 01-11-2012 08:10 PM

I’m no expert in this, but I would say that inlay looks fantastic. I hope they are either very good friends, or paying you gobs of cash and / or coffee…

Finish them however you’d like color wise, accounting for my next suggestion is going to add a tinge of yellow to it, but use that clear heavy epoxy coating to protect it. Find one you like that levels to a thickness you can live with. It varies from brand to brand, and I think you can apply the stuff in layers. I have seen this stuff heaped on 1/4” thick in some places, and others it is barely perceptible. It offers a fantastic barrier against abuse and moisture. It’s what I see used in bar tops and tables around here, as well as the local coffee shops…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2995 days

#9 posted 01-11-2012 09:10 PM

That is some really fantastic inlay work. Major respect.

-- Brian Timmons -

View pintodeluxe's profile


5987 posts in 3324 days

#10 posted 01-11-2012 09:17 PM

Amazing work! This is about as detailed as woodworking gets. I love doing inlays, but this was an ambitious project!
I would use a bar top finish for long life and the highest level of protection.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Czechwoodboy's profile


37 posts in 2843 days

#11 posted 01-11-2012 09:40 PM

That is absolutey gorgeous

-- Vladimir, Atlanga, GA

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2905 days

#12 posted 01-11-2012 10:10 PM

First, outstanding work, just thinking about the angles on the star made me dizzy and super kudos on the shop built drum sander!! I would use a pour on epoxy finish meant for bar tops – don’t forget to do the underside or the table will warp.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View degoose's profile


7258 posts in 3865 days

#13 posted 01-11-2012 10:28 PM

Gives me all sorts of Ideas…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Doug McPherson's profile

Doug McPherson

114 posts in 3666 days

#14 posted 01-11-2012 10:48 PM

@degoose- oh boy, I can just imagine!

Sounds like I’m hearing that the marine/bar top style epoxy is getting multiple recommendations. The pricing is a bit scary for this product. Looks like I could buy it in 1.5 gallon amount for about $100 with shipping, or 1.5 quarts for about $50 with shipping. Do you think 1.5 quarts would be enough for 6- 24” x 24” table tops (top and bottom)?

-- DullChiselDoug,

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2905 days

#15 posted 01-12-2012 04:24 AM

I dont think 1.5 qts will be enough to do it Doug. You might want to give one of the manufacturers a call and find out what their recommended coating mils are or expected coverage rate. The bottom of course will be way thinner than the top, but you are still talking about over 48 sq ft of area to cover, 1/2 of which will need the thicker coating. For what its worth you really don’t need that much thickness to the top unless you envision having to buff out deep gouges. These folks talk about getting roughly 30 sq ft to a gallon. Is this a paying gig? If the numbers are set in stone you could do a lower grade finish and just let your friends know that it will probably have to be redone in the near future.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

showing 1 through 15 of 26 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics