Coffee and conversations: A new table

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Blog entry by Gary posted 09-16-2009 04:49 AM 2247 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A coffee table, we need a coffee table. Hmmm?

This project, which is nearing completion, is a coffee table.
No big thing typically. A set of legs, a few rips on the table saw, a little glue,
some mortise and tenons and Bob’s your uncle.

Not quite this time. I didn’t want to make “another table.”

More than that, I wanted to build something where the timbers I wanted to use dictated the design.
Well, partially—there was a height constraint which needed to be filled: we require that the table be
of a height that we can comfortably rest our feet on it while watching movies or the game.

So, given I had a nice slab of Florida camphor about 5/4 thick with a natural edge and some slabs of
highly spalted quartersawn sycamore—these were growing white mold on ‘em—what could I produce?

The result is the table seen here:

The table is unfinished as it lacks a finish. Moreover, the base is complete to a point.
The shelf is joined to the legs with a stub mortise and tenon. Period. Glued M&T and nothing else.

As is, it’s stable but there’s no racking strength in this design and I’m trying to decide how I want to do
the aprons such that I eliminate the table base blowing out over time (through use) while minimizing the
apron’s impact on the visual clean lines of the table.

So, there’s the question: how would you make the apron?
My idea is to cut two aprons, one for each long side of the table, with an arched lower edge and an angled
dado on the inside of each apron for each of the table legs. The two dados in each apron would stabilize the legs and would, hopefully, be enough support to prevent racking.
And, of course, the ends of each apron would be cut at the same angle as the table top, which is opposing the angled splayed legs.

What do you think?


-- Gary, Florida

4 comments so far

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Air Tool Review

9 posts in 4302 days

#1 posted 09-16-2009 05:33 AM

Very nice. Simple but elegant. You really made good use of the natural wood texture.

-- - More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Air Tools

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118162 posts in 4700 days

#2 posted 09-16-2009 05:35 AM

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#3 posted 09-16-2009 04:06 PM

An interesting table. As for the aprons, I’m not sure I’d put aprons on it. Instead, I might put a single support piece (trestle?) right under the top and the shelf. As long as the supports are not too wide (more than 2 inches), they should not distract from the visual interest, and I think they should give you what you’re looking for structurally.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Gary's profile


1486 posts in 5447 days

#4 posted 09-20-2009 06:09 AM

Well, except for the finish the table is complete.
I decided to run two narrow aprons along the long side of the table.
The aprons have dadoes which form a half-lap joint with rebates cut into the top of each leg
such that the leg and apron are in one plane, maintaining the clean line of the preliminary base.
I uploaded new photos to the Picasa album. Here are the key shots:

Rebate for aprons


Legs and aprons


-- Gary, Florida

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