Modern Sofa Table

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Project by Todd A. Clippinger posted 01-19-2009 01:06 AM 9575 views 56 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Modern Sofa Table

This table was built to be auctioned off at a local charity fundraiser to benefit the mentally and physically handicapped.

It is built to the same dimensions as the Eco Sofa Table but I made some design element changes. The most obvious difference is that I dyed the bamboo red. Second, I made solid panels instead of slats and I really like this look.

I used red dye on the bamboo and the frame is poplar. I used black dye on the poplar and then sprayed black lacquer on it. This builds the color fast with minimal fill of the wood pores because I want to keep the texture of the wood, I did not want it to look like plastic.

On a black surface the texture is subtle but visible. This is important to me because I am mindful of the color and textural contrasts when making a piece. This element increases the visual interest that many projects lack and it is one of the keys to creating what I would consider a sophisticated design.

The dyes are from Sherwin Williams and they are universal just like the Transtint Dyes or any other dyes that woodworkers tend to buy. At Sherwin I pay $90 for a quart (32 oz.) which is a lot more cost effective than $17.50 for a 2 oz. bottle from a woodworking supply store.

I used MLCampbell Magna Max pre-catalyzed lacquer as the finish. It is rated for kitchen and bath cabinets but it is catalyzed at the store and so I do not have to mess with mixing it myself. I have not used it enough to determine if it is really better for wear than Sherwin Williams pre-cat lacquers but it is a comparable and competitive product as far as application goes. It has a 3 month pot life and no more, you will start getting the crystallization particles in it at that point.

I used the Festool Domino for the joinery and it is perfectly suitable for a table of this size and intended use. It provided me with a rapid and accurate means of joinery. I could not have cut M&T as fast as I punched holes with the Domino.


I used templates for the arches. This allows me to create the pieces repeatedly with accuracy and speed. I use the template to draw a line and then I cut close to it using the bandsaw. Then I place the piece in the template and use a bearing guided bit in the shaper.


The top and bottom shelf have bamboo veneer on plywood with a solid poplar frame. The side panels are bamboo veneer on 1/4” MDF because it remains flat compared to 1/4” plywood. I did not get any progress photos of the veneer work because of my schedule. I did have fun working with veneer again. It is a medium that I enjoy and the vacuum press is fascinating because of the projects that it allows me to create.

I did not get photos of the entire process because of my schedule, but you may see the full set at my Flickr account. There is still quite a bit of visual information there and I hope it may help with your ideas.

Peace, Love, & Woodworking

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

47 comments so far

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 4915 days

#1 posted 01-19-2009 01:19 AM

Tod this is very cool , I like the slight sweep to the legs they look great with the approns .

Job well done!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5347 days

#2 posted 01-19-2009 01:22 AM

Beautiful start to finish.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 4991 days

#3 posted 01-19-2009 01:25 AM

Very very nice. Is there an inlay on the inside edge of the top frame pieces? Or maybe just a shadow line from an edge detail reflecting light? From the first 2 pics I thought you had an inlay strip in there but then the 3rd pic which shows it closer doesn’t seem to show one. Nice shop too BTW.

-- Use the fence Luke

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5684 days

#4 posted 01-19-2009 01:31 AM

Todd I saw them on Flicker last night. A great looking table.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5082 days

#5 posted 01-19-2009 01:32 AM

truly nice. beautiful work

-- making sawdust....

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5246 days

#6 posted 01-19-2009 01:39 AM

Todd, this is really great stuff. I see some Modern, some Krenov, some oriental and lot of good ol’ Todd. Great color as well. Love those gams!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

798 posts in 5116 days

#7 posted 01-19-2009 01:59 AM

Nice work as always. Oh, and I want your drum sander! :)

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5383 days

#8 posted 01-19-2009 02:05 AM

“Good ol’ Todd” – Thanks Thos. that has to be one of my favorite compliments.

Doug S – I created an accent V groove between the solid wood and the veneered panel. As things come together and age a bit, the joints tend to get fractures because the wood comes together at right angles. This is a method that hides it but the drawback is that it is a dust collector.

The panel had a slight crown in it and any elevation difference is not seen. It is VERY minor but during glue up I could not achieve perfection. The real problem is that veneer does not allow me to sand it all down even. As of now any elevation difference is not perceived.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14192 posts in 5266 days

#9 posted 01-19-2009 02:08 AM

beautiful work … black and red looks great together. a real piece of eye candy.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4874 days

#10 posted 01-19-2009 02:37 AM

Really beautiful piece. Great work Todd!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Richard's profile


123 posts in 4699 days

#11 posted 01-19-2009 02:39 AM

Great work. I love your choice of finishes.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1306 posts in 5057 days

#12 posted 01-19-2009 03:44 AM

Great little table Todd. Nice Finish!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2859 posts in 4875 days

#13 posted 01-19-2009 03:46 AM

Sweet looking Sofa Table Todd!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

View mtnwild's profile


4581 posts in 4811 days

#14 posted 01-19-2009 03:52 AM

Sophisticated is an excellent description. Beautiful!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5610 days

#15 posted 01-19-2009 03:59 AM

Fantastic! great design and execution. Love it.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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