Parsons Coffee Table #1: Milling and Laminations

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Blog entry by paxorion posted 12-30-2016 10:45 PM 1101 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Parsons Coffee Table series Part 2: Joinery »

My first woodworking project was a pine coffee table with lumber from Lowes. The entire project was screwed together long before I even knew what a pocket hole was. Thankfully, that coffee table end up being commandeered by my daughter to be her craft table, and is filling it’s role well as a beater table. The vacuum of space in front of my couch needed an appropriate successor piece of furniture. I decided that I decided the next coffee table would be a piece of furniture built with proper furniture making techniques, and hopefully last a lifetime.

After 3 years of scheming, I finally got started on the project. The table design is inspired by the Parsons style tables at Restoration Hardware. My wife added a caveat that it should have drawers to increase the utility of the project. After mucking around on Sketchup, I came up with a plan to build in a concealed carcass to house the drawers and attach drawer fronts as a faux apron.

For the material, I decided to make the majority of the coffee table with cherry, but accent it with ambrosia maple aprons. I had a good amount of ambrosia maple left over and managed to score a large quantity of cherry from a local sawmill for an amazing price. I managed to talk them down in price even further with my wishy washy attiitude on “how much the wife approved me to buy”. In the end I think I got ~40bdft of mixed 6/4 and 8/4 for $3.50/bdft.

My cherry haul

I left the material to acclimate in my “shop” for about 2 months before I finally got started milling the material. That was enough time for me to agonize and plan my parts. I settled on:
  • Using a single single 12” wide by 9’ board for all of my legs 2.5” x 2.5” square legs. I made an extra one in case something goes wrong
  • Two more 2 boards became the table top
  • I used a few 5.5” wide ambrosia maple for what will be the aprons and drawer fronts.

Finally got started after Christmas milling the material (see pictures below). I took a break today to do some sorely needed sharpening, especially for my new Veritas router plane (which this project justified the purchase of). I look forward to getting to the mortise and tenon joinery soon.

Leg lamination

Table top lamination

Ambrosia maple

Cherry legs

-- paxorion

1 comment so far

View robscastle's profile


8231 posts in 3419 days

#1 posted 12-30-2016 11:22 PM

OMG they are the most scary pictures I have seen in LJ in quite some time

I am not sure how long you plan to stay married but as your exact wifes words were “Stop watching cartoons, get off the couch and get a hobby. Why don’t you try woodworking?”

I am sure you wife did not mean use the lounge room as a workshop?

Engineering may be an exact science but wifes as beautiful as the are are not! Beware.

Nice timber but get it the hell outta the lounge room it does not need to a climatise in its final location!

Otherwise if your basement has nice curtains and mantle piece, continue on regardless.

-- Regards Rob

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