First Project - Sofa Table

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Project by klinkman posted 10-15-2018 08:12 PM 967 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to share my first furniture project, a Paul Sellers Sofa Table. Finished size is 30”T x 15”W x 54”L, material is walnut.

My objective was learning hand tool skills. For powered tools, I used a band saw, surface planer, cordless drill and an orbital sander, everything else was done the old fashioned way, hand planes, chisels, saws etc.

All the material was 5/4, rough on all faces, so I really could not see the quality of the wood at purchase. I asked this question elsewhere but didn’t get an answer, do you guys bring a saw or hand plane into the lumber yard with you to have a peek under the rough grain?

What I learned:

- Material – Not sure the conclusion yet, there is a lesson here about sap to heart wood ratio. I was disappointed in how much sap wood there was in my selections, some were half the board, but I really couldn’t tell at the time of purchase due to rough sawn surface and uniform color. More material would have given more options on grain selection and show faces, but it’s hard for me to spend money just to throw it out.

- Another mistake I made was just laminating 2 1” boards to make the legs. I probably should have cut them on 45 degree angles to get better faces (but don’t have a table saw).

- Grain – wow, it’s all over the place. Even on 1/32” passes it was hard to control—two places of 1/8”+ chip-outs. Don’t look too closely on the back side. ;) They sanded and look OK, but well, I guess it’s just more character!

- Jigs – make sure they’re square and seated, crooked tenons caused a little drama.

- I was super slow and patient on my cuts, $250 worth of material and I didn’t want to screw it up. It was relatively easy to reset your saw kerf if you’re patient, but I was flipping sides on a lot of cuts to make sure things stayed straight.

- Ease into dimensions rather than go right there.

- The design was a little simple, but that gives confidence for a bit more of a challenge in the next project.

I love the 7/8” finished thicknesses and the board end grains—it screams: not production. The rays in the top were a pleasant surprise, I hope they come through in the photo. The color and texture were just what I was looking for, super warm. Overall pretty happy with this piece. And bonus, the boss approves.

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

10 comments so far

View Ocelot's profile


2412 posts in 3320 days

#1 posted 10-15-2018 08:24 PM

When the boss approves, it’s all good!

I think it’s nice too.

View recycle1943's profile


3923 posts in 2304 days

#2 posted 10-15-2018 08:45 PM

the top is dynamite, lottsa character, real close to curly walnut
bottom shelf is also great

Nice build – bravo

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View klinkman's profile


49 posts in 557 days

#3 posted 10-15-2018 09:56 PM

thanks gents, appreciate the supportive community here

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


5212 posts in 1256 days

#4 posted 10-15-2018 10:52 PM

Nice piece, looks like you were able to grain match really well for the top, and the bottom shelf, those are what will draw people’s eye to the piece.

That sourcing rough stock sometimes has some mysteries. On all rough stock I like a Block plane to let me see underneath. You won’t need larger as you aren’t trying to work the piece flat, just get a peek. The downside is that I’m sure you have seen a spectacular piece of wood, that was all on 1/2 of an 8’ length.

Sneaking up on anything, depth of a planer, hand plane, or cut of length are all smart to do. Those TV guys get the set up just right, then zip, make the cut to make you think they are mystical. If they showed what they really did 30 minutes would often be gone with a single set up, two at most. It’s why the dado blade is already in the saw when they show how easy all that is, absolutely dead on for width, and depth of cut….mysticallll.

“Overall pretty happy with this piece. And bonus, the boss approves.”

Thats a win win right there..

Thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Terry O's profile

Terry O

159 posts in 1946 days

#5 posted 10-15-2018 11:16 PM

Very nice work!

-- Terry O, Stonewall, MB, Canada

View klinkman's profile


49 posts in 557 days

#6 posted 10-15-2018 11:34 PM

Nice piece, looks like you were able to grain match really well for the top, and the bottom shelf, those are what will draw people s eye to the piece. . .

Thanks Steve. But, he he, I cheated. Those were both a shade over 9 foot boards, cut em in half and wa-la, hey they look pretty good together! Appreciate the block plane tip, thanks!

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View swirt's profile


4939 posts in 3654 days

#7 posted 10-16-2018 01:31 AM

That is a great looking table with great wood top and bottom. You finished it well too.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Lalen's profile


176 posts in 1293 days

#8 posted 10-16-2018 10:42 AM


-- Lalen, Texas. "If it looks straight, it is straight" Jimmy Diresta

View sparticvs's profile


10 posts in 1588 days

#9 posted 10-16-2018 11:28 AM

Looks great! This reminds me that I made one in walnut too that I never uploaded!

View klinkman's profile


49 posts in 557 days

#10 posted 10-16-2018 01:50 PM

thanks all, appreciate the encouragement

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

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