End table from Wood Magazine plan

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Project by rwyoung posted 11-25-2008 05:32 PM 10760 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Being as I’m working my way back from Jr. High woodshop (about 30 years ago) and I’ve never gotten around to purchasing any “nice” furniture I’ve been looking around for a set of plans for end-table/coffee-table/sofa-table or combinations there-of.

Turns out the last issue of Wood Magazine has a decent looking set of tables. With a little modification to dimensions and construction details I’ve completed the end-table and I’m working on the finish. Worst case is I learn some about mortise-and-tennon joinery and biscuit joinery and get more practice with staining and finishing. And I do have a fireplace if worst comes to worst!

And yes, I realize that if you want something to look like brand-X wood then you should start with brand-X wood and not rely on the stain. But I’m a bit resource limited right now so I’m willing to experiment. :)

Next up are a sofa table and coffee table.

Protective coat will be 4 coats of wiping varnish (should be equivalent to 2 of full strength) followed up by wax. I like the protection I get from the poly but I really like the look of wax after buffing it out. The pictures show the first coat of wiping varnish after drying but BEFORE knocking it back with some steel wool. I’ll try to replace the images after I get the wax on.

And I’m just tickled that I got the assembly level!

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

11 comments so far

View SawdustMill's profile


58 posts in 4970 days

#1 posted 11-25-2008 05:42 PM

I like the color, what wood did you use and what wood-look were you going for ?

Nice miters, wish mine were as tight :)

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4710 days

#2 posted 11-25-2008 06:00 PM

The wood is poplar of all things. But I spent a fair amount of time picking through the selection at the HD to find ones that were straight, nice grain (there’s a subjective statement) and mostly sapwood so I wouldn’t have to deal much with the green heartwood. The top and shelf are birch plywood. Again, I searched through the pile for a sheet with large areas that had a reasonable grain match to the poplar I’d already pulled from the bin.

The over-all effect is going to be something close to mahogony but perhaps a bit more to the brown side (camera made it look too red, but I’ve noticed that problem in other pictures).

As to the miters, I build a miter sled for my table saw and that works great. Spend the time to tune the sled and its fences so they are 90 degrees to each other (and their angle to the blade is NOT critical, only to each other). Each project I start seems to end with one finished project plus 2 or 3 new “jigs”...

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4829 days

#3 posted 11-25-2008 06:47 PM

Very nice table. How did you attach the top to the base?
Great work !

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4710 days

#4 posted 11-25-2008 07:01 PM

Their plan called for the top to be glued down to the top of the legs and aprons. The top is 1/2” plywood edged with the mitered frame of solid wood. The attachment is to the plywood. The molding below the table edge is also helping a little bit by being glued to the four legs and the bottom side of the table edge frame.

Since it is plywood I felt OK gluing to the legs and apron (expansion should be a minimal issue). But I didn’t feel it would be strong enough without some mechanical fasteners. So I made four angled corner blocks to tie it all together. For the corner blocks, the screw holes are a bit over sized so the wood can move a bit and it is the screw head doing the holding.

Obviously I don’t expect to be able to lift by the edges of the mitered frame while loading down the table with 300lbs of stuff but I do want it to remain attached for normal lifting. The best way to lift any table is by the apron or the legs anyway.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 4901 days

#5 posted 11-25-2008 08:07 PM

Nice job

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4710 days

#6 posted 11-25-2008 08:42 PM

Yep, I agree on the SealCoat. Problem is I couldn’t find that here in town, only the regular stuff with the wax still in it! And you can’t put poly over that, it won’t stick right.

I’ll probably buy a few pounds of de-waxed flakes next time I’m ordering stuff. I’ve been quite disappointed with the selection of materials here in town. You would think that in a town of 80,000 there would have been one can of de-waxed shellac to be found. IPA and denatured alcohol are no problem to find.

But lacking the shellac, I allowed the stain 48 hours to dry and there was very minimal lift-off.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Handi75's profile


377 posts in 4712 days

#7 posted 11-25-2008 11:22 PM

Very nice in color.

Very nice constructed also.


-- Jimmy "Handi" Warner,,, Twitter: @Handisworkshop, @HandisCreations

View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 4890 days

#8 posted 11-26-2008 04:07 AM

Darn you’re quick I just gone done reading that article last weekend! Nice looking project. Did you assembly line cut the pieces for the other tables as suggested in the article or did you want to see how one turned out first? I looked pretty close at the article and am contemplating building but using slightly larger plywood top with edge banding instead of the frame.
Like I said, nice project, good luck with the next 2.

-- Gary D.

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4710 days

#9 posted 11-26-2008 04:14 PM

I just cut for the end-table. But I’ve since started on the sofa table. After that I’ll do the coffee table.

Picking the end-table first and just working on it was an experiment to see if I liked the finished design and if I could make the poplar look nice. Decided it was going to work out and so I bought enough (I hope) for the remaining two tables.

I don’t cut everything at once on anything. Instead I start with some critical measurements, in this case leg height (modified slightly from magazine) and apron sizes (again, modified to suit my space). Then after those are cut and assembled I start measuring for exact fit of other components. And if I know I’ll need a lot of material ripped down to 1 7/8” or something, I’ll obviously do that in one setup on the saw. But not so much for cross-cutting to length, I’d rather cut to fit.

As to the edge banding on the top, it seems plenty wide enough for the scale of these pieces. In fact, I’d be a little worried about its strength if it was much wider. Too easy to pop it loose if it has a long lever-arm.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View JimJ's profile


16 posts in 4836 days

#10 posted 01-05-2009 06:47 PM

Hey RW, I buy Seal Coat at the local Lowes, and at Woodcraft… if you have either. It’s good stuff.

Good luck,

-- JimJ - Oakton, VA

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4710 days

#11 posted 01-05-2009 07:22 PM

No Lowes in town, closest is 45 minute drive. No Woodcraft in town, closest is 30 minute drive.

Home Depot and Ace Hardware don’t have Seal-Coat or plain shellac. HD had the other kind from Zinser that isn’t recommended for use under poly. Local paint stores had zip for non-paint finishing supplies.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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