Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Table (first LJ project!)

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Project by ErrantDabbler posted 06-09-2018 04:55 AM 1759 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I’ve been a reader for some time, but this is my first project post.

This is the table I built for our kitchen. My aim was for a mid-century modern look. The edges are tapered on the underside and I used a pair of cleats instead of an apron to give it a thin and clean look.

This was not a scratch build. I was not prepared, in terms of skill or tools, to glue up a slab for the top. Instead, I picked up an inexpensive table on Kijiji and used that as a starting point. I disassembled everything and kept just the top and 2 pieces of the apron, the latter of which became the cleats onto which the legs are mounted.

I cut the table top down to a smaller size and sanded off the old finish. I set up a simple router jig for getting the tapered profile on the edges. It was the same type of jig that one would use to flatten the top of a large slab. I just positioned the table beneath it at the correct angle (about 4:1) and ‘flattened’ off the underside corner. My jig, which used electrical conduit as the cross pieces, wasn’t anywhere near rigid enough. I ended up supporting the conduit at the mid-point by bracing on the table top. It wasn’t very elegant, but it worked well enough.

I needed a double angled surface on each end of the cleats for legs to mount to. I used the router and another jig to cut a face oriented 45 degrees from the end of the cleats and inclined at 10 degrees from the horizontal. That gave me (I think) a rake and splay of about 7 degrees each.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the cleat jig. I’ll try to describe it anyway. Noted dimensions are from memory – take with salt. It was essentially three pieces of 3/4” thick MDF glued standing on their edges to a piece of plywood 12” by 18”. The MDF pieces were 12” long and wedge shaped. The pieces were 1/2” high on one end and 2-1/2” high on the other, giving me a wedge inclined at 10 degrees to the plywood base. The wedges were glued parallel to each other, one at each end and one in the middle. The middle wedge had notch cut out of the bottom, which let me insert and clamp a cleat at 45 degrees. With the router plate spanning the left and middle wedges I could cut the angled face into the corner of the cleat. Then I could flip the cleat around and insert it through the notch from the other direction and use the right and middle wedges to cut the face on the other end. Yikes… definitely should have taken a picture.

The cleats were bolted into brass inserts in the top. Elongated holes in the cleats will hopefully allow for seasonal shrinkage and expansion of the top without cracking.

The legs are ash and were made using another router jig. I made a version of SgtSnafu’s awesome tapered dowel jig for this purpose (

I went with an oil based stain (after a pre-stain conditioner) and a few coats of polyurethane to finish. Fortunately, the ash legs and whatever type of wood the top is took the stain pretty consistantly.

The table was a little wobbly at first, so corner supports were in order. The supports were made from a 3/8 cold rolled steel rod. I bent them into the same shape (more or less) and used a grinding bit in the drill to flatten the ends into which I drilled mounting holes.

The table was a fun project and visitors always comment on it (after prompting, if needed). I am super-pleased with how it turned out. There are, however, a few adjustments to make before it’s completely finished. It has been use for almost 9 months now, so these final tasks are solidly in the “one of these days” category. It turns out that people seem used to tables being a certain height. And that height is… about 2 inches shorter than this table! I also plan to re-paint the supports to match the brass colour of the chair legs when I eventually get around to trimming down the legs. One of these days…


3 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


7194 posts in 2975 days

#1 posted 06-09-2018 08:18 AM

Looks good errant! (Dave)

Dont be too concerned about first up results I can make some interesting “stuff” from pallet wood and no workshop.

Now that router jig could do with a separate blog, (even if it dosent differ from SGT snafu’s) ... and while your at it a bit of work on the home page would be in order.

Apart from that a warm welcome and keep up the first post standard!

-- Regards Rob

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3637 days

#2 posted 06-09-2018 03:47 PM

You did a nice job on this table. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View swirt's profile


5225 posts in 3743 days

#3 posted 06-10-2018 01:58 AM

Nice looking re-work. I appreciate the great photos and description.

-- Galootish log blog,

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