Just for Fun #3: Checker Board Coffee Table

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Blog entry by ScottShaeffer posted 05-16-2013 02:11 AM 2183 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Colorado State Forest Service Land Management Program Part 3 of Just for Fun series Part 4: The Blog Which Shall Remain Nameless »

I’m working on this coffee table as a wedding gift for my cousin and his wife-to-be. I’m a log furniture maker so there are a lot of techniques I haven’t been introduced to until I started working with fellow Lumber Jock, Kris Williams. Kris makes fine rustic furniture so I’ve been quite fascinated by some of the ways he does things and decided to start playing around with some of it. Of course, I don’t have all the machines Kris has so I require his help for a few things but most of this I’m able to do with minor tool purchases.

Table legs and frame completed.

I started out just wanting to play around with the radius cutter on the router. I happened to have a couple of 4×4 aspen posts that I cut with our mill so I decided to make a kitchen table using the posts as legs. Once I had the legs made with nice 3/8” radius edges, I decided they were too boring so I tapered them using my joiner then re-edged them. Then I realized I didn’t have enough material ready to use to build a kitchen table so I cut the legs short and changed the project to a coffee table. I proceeded to build the rest of the frame using pocket-hole joinery – something I do a little bit of for specific things but never to this extent.

Checker Board section in glue-up.

I had tried once (and sort of failed) to do a butcher-block style glue up so I decided to give that another try since I had learned a few lessons the first time around. While I was running my little strips of wood through the planer I got the idea to add a checkerboard into the table. Perhaps this was another challenge I didn’t need to add to my already challenging project but then I remembered that the whole point of making this table was to learn new things. So I moved forward with the checker board idea.

4 sections of the table top in glue-up.

I glued up the table top in 7 different parts. The reason for this was so that I could run each part through my 12” planer to even out the strips. Then I took the parts to Kris to use his nice big table saw to cut them all square and to the appropriate size. Then I took the pieces home and glued them all together.

Entire table top now in final glue-up.

It’s still a work in progress so I’ll add more pictures as the project reaches completion. As I built the table I started wondering what I would do with it when I was done. I don’t like to sell my “learning experiences” as the quality doesn’t usually represent my high standards. Plus, it doesn’t really fit in with my portfolio. So I decided to give it to my cousin as a wedding gift. I hope they like it!

If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them! Thanks!

-- Scott Shaeffer, Owner - San Juan Carpentry

2 comments so far

View ScottShaeffer's profile


36 posts in 2425 days

#1 posted 05-16-2013 02:19 AM

I know, I’m sloppy with the glue. I need to work on that :) Clamps came off just fine. I’m shocked sometimes at how they snap right off every time without taking any of my project with them!

-- Scott Shaeffer, Owner - San Juan Carpentry

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3816 days

#2 posted 05-16-2013 06:32 PM

Looks good so far. Waxing those clamps might help the glue problem.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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