Prairie Style inspired Coffee Table

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Project by Will Stokes posted 04-09-2010 02:36 AM 7326 views 11 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just completed this cherry coffee table for our living room. My wife and I enjoy Mission, Prairie and Frank Lloyd Wright style furniture and design, hence the pattern on either end, the wide overhanging top, etc. Lots of mortise and tennon joints, even on the pattern on the ends. A few half lap joints there as well. I didn’t have the guts to make real thru tennons, so those are faked, as are the pins. I finished it off with 4 coats of Tried and True Varnish Oil, first warmed to 120 F using a slow cooker water bath, then burnished after 1 hr, followed by two coats of paste wax. I’m quite happy with how this turned out. This was supposed to be the “easy” project. The next one, an entertainment center, is quite a bit more involved. Stay tuned…. :-)

Update: here’s a link to the Sketchup model

Update 2: I’ve fixed the link above.

12 comments so far

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4704 days

#1 posted 04-09-2010 03:28 AM

nice! i like the use of cherry for these styles… its a nice change from white oak.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5325 days

#2 posted 04-09-2010 03:36 AM

This is really lovely. IMO, if you can do those angled mortises and tenons on the end design pieces, you can certainly do real through tenons! They are easier than you think, and very classy. How is the lower shelf tenoned in? All across, or in tabbed pieces? And will the upcoming entertainment center match this design? You did a great job on this. It did turn out really well. Nice work.


View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 4390 days

#3 posted 04-09-2010 03:43 AM

Its not fake if it looks right!!! Seriously though, great work.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View sras's profile


6345 posts in 4369 days

#4 posted 04-09-2010 03:56 AM

Very nice design! Impressive!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View TroutGuy's profile


224 posts in 4951 days

#5 posted 04-09-2010 05:52 AM

A stunning coffee table, well designed and executed.

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12837 posts in 4397 days

#6 posted 04-09-2010 06:20 AM

very impressive design… well done…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4830 days

#7 posted 04-09-2010 06:23 AM

Coooooool design & details – very beutifully built!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View a1Jim's profile


118252 posts in 4817 days

#8 posted 04-09-2010 06:25 AM

way neat. super design and great build


View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 4286 days

#9 posted 04-09-2010 02:07 PM

Very nice looking table. Excellent job on that.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4314 days

#10 posted 04-09-2010 02:49 PM

Great design and great workmanship.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4798 days

#11 posted 04-09-2010 03:34 PM

Wow, for some reason we don’t see Prairie stuff on LJ’s very much. I really like your table and the design. I’m looking forward to the entertainment center. Will there be an accompanying blog?

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 4594 days

#12 posted 04-09-2010 04:25 PM

@everyone: thanks for all the kind words. :-)

@barbs: I’ve already cut the aprons and their tennons for the entertainment center so I don’t be doing real thru tennons there, but perhaps I’ll get up the courage for the following project (end tables?). The reason I opted to fake it for now is that the shoulder of the caps covers any gap that might exist. That said, it’s real tricky to make those little pieces and in the end probably takes more time (but if you screw up you can just toss the little piece in the burn pile and make another).

The bottom shelf is mortise and tennoned all the way across into the side aprons. I left a little wiggle room on both sides so the shelf can expand and contract over the years as necessary.

@barbs & captainSkully: the upcoming entertainment center will try to match the style of this piece as well. I’m going for a theme here for all the furniture in our living room. So it’ll be entirely cherry with the same finish. Three glass doors will have a pattern that is similar but different than this one.

As for a blog? I dunno, I’ve never done that before, although I’ve certainly thought about it. It would allow me to post more than 6 photos, and share more of the process, although most of you would probably be frustrated by how long it takes me to complete projects. :-)

Here is a rendering up the upcoming entertainment center:

And in case anyone is curious, here is what I thought the coffee table would turn out like. I think I may have adjusted a few dimensions ever so slightly during the design.

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