Arts and Crafts Coffee Table

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Project by revanson11 posted 12-24-2017 05:27 PM 2826 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project is meant to replace the coffee table that I made as one of my first furniture making endeavors 25 years ago. Back then I knew very little about wood movement and why you needed to consider it when making wood projects. Breadboard ends, huh, what are those and why should I care. This is actually my first project using breadboard ends and I hope that the top survives the wide swings in humidity here in MN. This table is made from air dried QSWO. Cut and milled from a large white oak tree a year ago and stickered in my shop to dry. In May the moisture content was around 25% but by the first of November my moisture meter was showing a reading of 8-9% which I figured was low enough to proceed.

A while back there was discussion here on expansion and contraction of wood and I was concerned about the large through tenon on the lower shelf that goes through the stretcher. Should I have left some space for the shelf tenon to expand or since the tenon is going in the long grain of the stretchers am I okay?

The finished piece was ammonia fumed overnight (maybe a little bit too long), scrubbed with garnet shellac and then 3 coats of wipe on poly.

-- Randy, Central MN

11 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

7648 posts in 1695 days

#1 posted 12-24-2017 05:36 PM

I might worry a little about that large tenon on the lower shelf, but I’m not sure if it’ll cause a problem or not. I haven’t built anything that big yet. It’s a nice looking table, though. Fingers crossed for you.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View AandCstyle's profile


3296 posts in 3370 days

#2 posted 12-24-2017 10:03 PM

Randy, that is a nice looking table. You can use the Shrinkulator to get an estimate of possible movement. However, the finish you applied will slow the movement because it takes time for moisture to penetrate the finish so it will be less likely to reach the extremes. Also, if your house is air conditioned, that will help keep the humidity lower in the summer than outdoors also reducing movement. FWIW

-- Art

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1929 days

#3 posted 12-24-2017 11:13 PM

Here is one thing to think about. I live in the Deep South where temperature and humidity swing wildly at times. I have a weather station that measures temperature and relative humidity from both inside and outside. The inside temperature and humidity vary only a little no matter what is going on outside. The humidity is always between 45% and 55%.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4146 days

#4 posted 12-24-2017 11:48 PM

Very Nice Project and Very Well Done! I wouldn’t worry about the Contraction Or Expansion. I have 3 Tables in my Home, all 3 are over 5 Years Old. Nothing has happened to them and no special Methods have been used to deal with movement.

My Opinion only but I think this whole “Expansion/Contraction” thing is overdone. Just make sure the wood is properly dried when you fabricate it.

I also use 3 or 4 coats of Water Based Poly as the Finish. That will help prevent any Moisture from getting in.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View SuperCubber's profile


1191 posts in 3397 days

#5 posted 12-25-2017 11:54 AM

Beautiful table!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3980 days

#6 posted 12-25-2017 02:22 PM

This is a beautiful table and done so nicely. It shows a lot of nice craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5264 posts in 2335 days

#7 posted 12-25-2017 02:55 PM

My house is cooled with a swamp cooler. The humidity will peak at about 75% during the summer and the lowest indoors is about 15%.

A white oak table I have (finished with poly) will expand about 3/16” over 10”.

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4690 days

#8 posted 12-25-2017 04:19 PM

That’s a real beauty,I like QSWO and A&C nice work.


View SOG's profile


22 posts in 2490 days

#9 posted 12-25-2017 06:42 PM

Great work, Randy, as usual. The dark plugs accent your craftsmanship.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4260 days

#10 posted 12-26-2017 11:31 PM

Great looking A&C coffee table—the fuming turned out well, and you’ve got some nice ray fleck in the oak!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 2376 days

#11 posted 12-27-2017 03:26 PM

Beautifully done. Enjoy it, don’t worry about it.

Long term if a problem develops, we can fix it. We’re woodworkers.

But I wouldn’t expect any with your design, looks great.

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