Matt's Table

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Project by Charlie2 posted 11-06-2009 01:54 AM 1428 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my son, Matt, arrived for his first weekend home from UC Santa Barbara, he announced that he needed some sort of a table for his dorm room. His specs were that it needed to be higher than a traditional coffee table, and bigger than a traditional side table. The kicker was that he wanted to help make it. He wanted to learn woodworking. I was elated.

I have every issue of Woodsmith so we looked at all the tables the index listed. He picked out the table he wanted, and we modified the design to his specs. He picked his Oak (As the pics show, he obviously likes wild grain.), and we began dimensioning the stock and joining pieces for the legs. We worked on it for a few of his infrequent trips home, but the project eventually got sidetracked… for about seven years.

He is now at the University of Delaware, working on a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He’s got his hands full, so I decided to finish it up. Delaware is a long way from California, and I don’t see him woodworking with the old man any time soon. He’ll get it Christmas morning, so then we’ll just have to figure out an affordable way to get it to Delaware.

Construction notes: The top is made from Oak ply with dimensioned stock for the rest. It was joined with biscuits and way too much glue. Glue-up was a nightmare to close all the joints, and I’m sure boats have been built using fewer clamps than I used on this top.

Plans called for the legs and aprons to be half-lapped, but I don’t like half-lap for decent furniture, so I used mortise and loose tenons.

The finish is an embellishment of the five-step finish I’ve seen around for some time. Mine wound up with nine. The photos don’t do the finish justice. It has a depth and richness I have never before achieved with Oak.

I used a penny for the date because my dime-sized Forstner bit is MIA.

-- Many things in this life can be taken from you. Your integrity is not one of them. It's yours until you give it up... Steve, Bakersfield, CA

14 comments so far

View griff's profile


1207 posts in 4838 days

#1 posted 11-06-2009 02:41 AM

Beautiful table, He will enjoy it. Very good build.

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4749 days

#2 posted 11-06-2009 04:04 AM

Beautiful table.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1930 posts in 4748 days

#3 posted 11-06-2009 04:26 AM

That’s a beauty!! Great job!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4667 days

#4 posted 11-06-2009 02:46 PM

Nice table and a good learning process for him too!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View ohwoodeye's profile


2617 posts in 4230 days

#5 posted 11-06-2009 03:25 PM

Very nice table. Nice story behind it.
By the way, I have your forstner bit. You borrowed it to me about 6 months ago. I still need it so you can’t have it back just yet.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4764 days

#6 posted 11-06-2009 04:28 PM

Nice table and finish !
My question is , where did you find the 2009 penny ? I’ve been to the banks and always ask store cashiers if they have seen any yet….So far , no luck : ( I haven’t even seen one yet this year until now. I always date my projects with the year penny that it was made in .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4510 days

#7 posted 11-06-2009 04:42 PM

Very nice table. I bet your son will be surprised to see it finished.

I love the penny idea. Never seen it before, but a great addition of personalization. Think of it this way, you were able to shave $.09 off your project budget. There’s always a positive.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Charlie2's profile


8 posts in 4469 days

#8 posted 11-06-2009 07:01 PM

Dusty56 – Finding a current coin is always an issue to me. It was easier for this project because it’s November. I’ve had projects that I finished in January that I just signed and drilled the shallow hole for the coin, adding it when I find one. If the project is a gift, the drilled hole is an ugly incentive for the recipient to bug me to plug in the coin.

It hasn’t happened to me yet, but if the gift winds up a long way from me, I can mail the coin to the recipient, and they should be able to handle epoxying in the coin.

-- Many things in this life can be taken from you. Your integrity is not one of them. It's yours until you give it up... Steve, Bakersfield, CA

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4653 days

#9 posted 11-06-2009 07:04 PM

View wayned's profile


30 posts in 4286 days

#10 posted 11-08-2009 03:21 PM

For the coins, you might try I enjoy collecting coins and stamps, as well as woodworking, and I’m better at that than woodworking.

-- WayneD

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4764 days

#11 posted 11-08-2009 07:49 PM

That’s a great site …it will only cost me $7.95 plus S&H for four pennies ! Such a bargain ! LOL Thanks for the link : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View shopmania's profile


702 posts in 4259 days

#12 posted 11-09-2009 07:47 PM

Awesome looking table. Hadn’t seen the coin dating method before!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, [email protected] Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4361 days

#13 posted 11-11-2009 04:40 AM

Great table. The grain in the top is awesome. I love your idea about the penny.

-- John @

View hasbeen99's profile


183 posts in 4615 days

#14 posted 11-12-2009 01:42 AM

“Great table. The grain in the top is awesome. I love your idea about the penny.”

My thoughts exactly. Great job!

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

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