Cedar Waterfall Coffee Table

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Project by Ben posted 03-27-2017 04:27 PM 1667 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First attempt at a waterfall design. I had the joints fitting nicely, but when I went to glue them up I could not get the same fit. Oh well, it was a learning experience. I started out with a 8’x22”x2.5” slab. I planned the slab down to 2” with a router, than sanded it smooth. I cut the 45 mitres with a skill saw and guide. However, I do not have a large enough skill saw, so I finished the cut with a hand saw. I then cut a grove in each piece with a 1/2” router bit and placed a 1/2” x 3//4” strip of wood in the joint to act as biscuit joint (i’m sure there is a better name for that).

I highly recomend getting a larger saw for this. Hopefully I can sell this table and buy the proper saw before i build another. I put a couple coats of shellac on it to seal it, but I haven’t decided how I should finish it. I can always sand off the shellac (i think). Any recomendations on a finish.

-- Woodworking minus patience equals firewood

7 comments so far

View loupitou06's profile


170 posts in 4382 days

#1 posted 03-28-2017 02:57 AM

Technically you have done a loose mortise and tenon join with the 2 router groves and the 1/2” strip of wood.

Some German engineers might even call it a Domino but they haven’t been around long enough :)

For the finish, assuming you have used dewaxed shellac then you can use some wipe on varnish (polyurethane diluted 50% with mineral spirit) or even plain poly. It depends what kind of look you are going for – shinny or more natural.

Hope this helps


-- 100 fois sur le metier remettez votre ouvrage

View voodverker62's profile


49 posts in 1484 days

#2 posted 03-28-2017 04:59 AM

I call it a spline, but , that may have been why you couldnt get the fit originally had ,and with a miter glue up a little space must be left for glue,. when cut on a sliding table saw i always use 45.2 or so thenI lay the piece flat , good sie up , tape it up with green 3m tape , pull it tight across the joint, ever few inches , then one the length of the joint , carfully flip project then gllue the 45.2 deg miter, and then flold it up to 90 clamping ith a 90 deg brace or framing square , let dry for a full day if you can, you will not need any other fastners it will be stong as wood , but if u choose , then you can add some dowels like you did for extra strength , and i have added biscuits in the joint too , but prolly not necessary . Ive done hundreds of miterfolds in my life , but hard to do with a skill saw , , good job

-- only take credit where credit is due

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3399 days

#3 posted 03-28-2017 03:05 PM

looks great

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 1897 days

#4 posted 03-29-2017 03:28 AM

865, I’m a big fan of Watco oils. I use it on my boxes and it really deepens the color. I mostly use the Medium Walnut because I don’t like plain maple. The stain is quite nice on any walnut I’ve used (black, white, and claro) and it really makes padauk look very rich.

Then I use spray shellac and have very good results with the self-leveling and very little work with 0000 steel wool before another coat.

Good job on the waterfall. You sure can’t see from the photos that you had some challenges with the miters.

-- Dale

View dannmarks's profile


1025 posts in 1638 days

#5 posted 03-30-2017 02:59 AM

For the the tools you used this is a fantastic job. It looks great guy. I personally love it. Yes buy a nice table saw. I just looked on Craigs list and only saw contractor’s saws for sale. But there are often lots of them for really reasonable prices. Just checked Ebay too and they have almost nothing for sale today.

But I would keep my eye out for a while.

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 1897 days

#6 posted 04-03-2017 11:48 PM


-- Dale

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2925 days

#7 posted 04-04-2017 12:24 AM

I saw cedar and did not expect to be impressed. This is a beautiful job. Gorgeous slab. Nailed it.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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