Urban Cherry Slab Coffee Table

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Project by jetnum posted 10-31-2011 12:15 AM 3171 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here you can see the urban (i.e., salvaged from the city chipper) cherry slab coffee table I just completed. The sofa in the background is the previous project I completed before this one. The cherry slab is heavy enough to stay in place on the frame (shown in the fourth photograph) using just gravity—it is not pinned or tied down in anyway. The cherry legs are mortised all the way through and they too are not fixed in place in any way but can actually slide on the solid aluminum cross-bar. Here again the weight of the top keeps everything solidly in place. Mortising all the way through the thick cherry stock using hand chisels was a challenge. But that challenge was nothing like the challenge of working with the solid aluminum bar. Working with the aluminum was very time consuming, but I’m satisfied with the nice contrast between the silvery metal and the rich dark color of the cherry.

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

10 comments so far

View DaveGlx's profile


367 posts in 3896 days

#1 posted 10-31-2011 02:05 AM

Interesting design. What do you use for slabbing?

-- Dave -

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4549 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 10-31-2011 02:19 AM

Well Done my friend, Well Done

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Shannan's profile


28 posts in 4120 days

#3 posted 10-31-2011 03:34 AM

I love the design and execution. What a fabulous piece!

View B13's profile


463 posts in 4145 days

#4 posted 10-31-2011 05:55 AM

Very artistic design.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3860 days

#5 posted 10-31-2011 11:28 AM

That is excellent design and craftsmanship. Love how you used the “chunk” of aluminum in the bottom of the front leg. A superb job. Very nice work!!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View jetnum's profile


50 posts in 4144 days

#6 posted 10-31-2011 12:45 PM

Well, I learned—mostly the hard way—that aluminum is not wood. For example:

(1) Don’t try to use your good wood chisel on aluminum. It doesn’t work at all. It would be nice if it did work, but it doesn’t! I wrecked the edge on my chisel in 20 seconds. In the end I had to use a metal file to trim the slot to size – so much slower than a chisel in wood … oh well!

(2) Don’t use wood screws in aluminum. I thought the aluminum would be soft enough for a steel wood screw to thread into a pre-drilled hole. Nope. Doesn’t work at all. Just snapped the wood screws in half. In the end I had to buy a tap and cut threads into predrilled holes for machine screws. Again so much slower than wood!

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

View dakotawood's profile


211 posts in 4235 days

#7 posted 11-02-2011 04:25 AM

Very nice! I love slab furniture.

-- Travis, South Dakota

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6883 posts in 5431 days

#8 posted 11-14-2011 05:46 AM

Very unique design. It looks good.

And yes, wood is much easier to work with!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5139 days

#9 posted 01-03-2012 02:19 AM

Such a great use of that slab , and a very unique frame to say the least : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View jetnum's profile


50 posts in 4144 days

#10 posted 01-03-2012 04:57 AM

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments!

This coffee table has turned out to be one of the most useful things I ever built. One thing I didn’t mention—but you may have noticed anyway—is that I carefully worked out the height of this table so that it would be perfectly comfortable for reading a book or eating a big bowl of ramen noodles when sitting cross-legged directly on the floor. So the height is closer to what you might see in coffeee tables over in Japan or Thailand or in other parts of Asia where people often sit on the floor. Most American and European coffee tables are designed for the comfort of guests sitting on a sofa or on chairs.

As you can see, I do have a sofa there – but I’d say probably 3/4ths of the time we end up sitting on the floor at this coffee table. I’m sure one could do a study on how different furniture styles influence our behaviors …

-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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