Coffee Table

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Project by Kyle posted 07-08-2011 05:51 AM 3168 views 9 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first coffee table I’ve ever built and for some reason I chose to make it out of African mahogany. The grain caught my eye when I was at the store so I decided to fork out the dough and went for it. It’s all mortise and tenon in the legs and aprons which are held together with corner braces and glue and the table top is also mortise and tenon locked with dowels in slotted holes in the outer part of the tenon for movement (which you can faintly see in picture two). The legs and aprons were all mortised by hand and when I made the table top I ended up buying a bench top mortiser which made the whole process exponentially easier. I’m not too sure about the blocks (picture three) I made to hold the table top to the aprons because of wood movement but I’m praying they’ll hold up through time. The finish is two coats of transfast dye brown mahogany full strength (picture four has one coat of just dye), one coat of boiled linseed oil, two coats of 1/2 lbs cut dewaxed garnet shellac to seal it, and on the top there’s three coats of minwax clear satin polyurethane. I bought some custom made beveled glass to throw in the center and now I’m done. I’ve got some wood left over which I’ll probably make some coasters to match but also to help preserve the table. Picture one is the table freshly finished but without glass in the center, picture six is a good look at the grain, and picture five is the table complete and ready for some feet. Thanks for looking!

-- Kyle

11 comments so far

View klassenl's profile


222 posts in 4113 days

#1 posted 07-08-2011 06:52 AM

Can you post some dimesions?

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View superstretch's profile


1532 posts in 4147 days

#2 posted 07-08-2011 07:12 AM

Your finishing technique really made this project stand out. The grain looks great, as well as the table as a whole

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 4514 days

#3 posted 07-08-2011 07:18 AM

I assume you sprayed the shellac?

View Kyle's profile


112 posts in 4097 days

#4 posted 07-08-2011 07:39 AM

Thanks, Dan… Klassenl, off hand all I can think of is that the table is 19”H x 2’W x 4’L. I didn’t spray the shellac, Steven, I just painted it on with a brush.

-- Kyle

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 4063 days

#5 posted 07-08-2011 08:28 AM

Nice design, and the finish looks great!

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4642 days

#6 posted 07-08-2011 10:56 AM

Nice lookig table, Well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4504 days

#7 posted 07-08-2011 04:47 PM

Thanks for taking the time to give us the construction details and process you went through.

I’d agree with Dan that the time and steps you took to finish this really paid off.

What sort of feet are you going to use? Just the little furniture bumpers, or are you actually adding something on to the bottom of the legs?

It’s quite attractive. Nicely done!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 4514 days

#8 posted 07-08-2011 08:16 PM

Usually the second time of brushing shellac ,it will be dragging when brushing, because it is the burning in.

View Kyle's profile


112 posts in 4097 days

#9 posted 07-08-2011 09:47 PM

Steven, you’re right about brushing the shellac… Originally I padded the shellac and I made a rookie mistake of not finishing with the grain so there were swirl marks all over. So to fix it I brushed on another coat with the grain and voila, those pad marks were gone. Hence the two coats. It was an easy fix.

-- Kyle

View andydachippy's profile


114 posts in 4017 days

#10 posted 07-09-2011 07:27 PM

Nice job on the coffee tabe I like the has given me an idea for a 48” x 12” fish tank stand i have to make but I will have to include a central leg, ps did you polish the edge of the glass yourself…if not then next time you can do it youself using an old oil stone, cut a v groove it the oil stone then keeping it well oiled carefully polish the edges of the glass, this method we use to employ to polish the edges of post office glass counter screens

-- Plans and books available at:

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4627 days

#11 posted 07-09-2011 08:44 PM

Beautifully constructed.
Great choice of wood, with great grain patterns.
Tastefully finished.

Yeah. I love it.

-- -- Neil

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