Small Table - American Walnut - five years in the making

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Project by Don posted 04-30-2008 07:13 AM 5597 views 2 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this table some five years ago when I took a furniture design class. The purpose of the class was to teach furniture making from start to finish. We had to research the design idea by viewing classic designs and adapt our design to incorporate some of the things we liked in these designs. Then we had to draw the plans, and construct and finish the table.

One of my unfortunate characteristics is that I tend towards the impatient. I want to see progress. So, between the snail pace the course forced me to progress, and the high hourly cost of instruction and shop time, I quite.

I had milled all the components of the table and took them home. That was before I had my own shop, so the box of table parts got shuffled to the back of a storage area. I knew that they were there, but the completion of the table was something I simply put off.

Last week I came across the box and decided to finish the table. It’s my version of an Arts & Crafts inspired table with a Greene & Green influence. The joiner is traditional Mortise and Tenon and features squared pegs on the breadboard end, and split wedged through tenons at the leg stringers. The finish has a few more coats of Wipe-On Poly before it’s finished, but being the impatient type, thought you might like to see it now.

The black accent wood is African Ebony.

So much for impatience – this table took me just over five years to complete. LOL!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

28 comments so far

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4244 days

#1 posted 04-30-2008 07:47 AM

Very nice. It’s never too late to finish a job pending. I’ve got several myself. A file cabinet, 3 boxes, and just about every project I’ve seen so far today. It looks good.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View Lip's profile


158 posts in 4471 days

#2 posted 04-30-2008 07:48 AM

Looks beautiful … is that a drawer on the front?

-- Lip's Dysfuncational Firewood Farm, South Bend, IN

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4599 days

#3 posted 04-30-2008 07:52 AM

I failed to mention the drawer. It’s my favorite way to make drawers; have them fit flush with the front of the apron thus continuing the grain pattern.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View furnitologist's profile


198 posts in 4435 days

#4 posted 04-30-2008 09:05 AM

Hey Don…............looks good…......pretty wood…....after 5 years did you remeber for whom the piece was for???? :) I bet if you open the drawer, there’s a little box in there.


View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 4167 days

#5 posted 04-30-2008 09:24 AM

Beautiful wood and nice design. But at the risk of being ostracized yet again I would like to gently and politely point out that the wedged tenons appear to be wrong. They should be rotated 90 degrees. As they are now they will only serve to act as a wedge to split the leg apart. I would have used two in each and oriented them so that the wedging force was tangential to the leg grain or vertical in the table. This is not a knock on your work but if people keep seeing this sort of thing then people will keep doing this sort of thing and I had to say it.
Wedged tenons should have a mortise that flares slightly to the outside and tangential to the grain direction. Otherwise as the piece racks the wedge just serves as a splitting wedge and levers the member apart.

I have nothing further to offer other than my thanks to you for sharing this beautiful piece. I hope all will accept my comments in the spirit that they are offered and feel free to tell me that I’m all wet.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4599 days

#6 posted 04-30-2008 09:42 AM

Yes Neil, I failed to mention the drawer. It’s my favorite way to make drawers; have them fit flush with the front of the apron thus continuing the grain pattern.

Grumpy, no offense taken, Mate, thanks for the lesson – makes sense to me.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4244 days

#7 posted 04-30-2008 12:32 PM


This is a beautiful table. If there is one tenet to woodworking it is that you cannot rush good craftmanship. five years may be a little long but, in this case, the end product is definately worth the wait. I like the ebony accents. They add nice details to the table.

Thanks for the post and the story behind it as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4640 days

#8 posted 04-30-2008 02:34 PM

Don, beautiful work as always. The attention to small details really sets it apart.

Of course, if it takes you five years to build a small table, I can understand why you haven’t been posting many project. <g>

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mjlauro's profile


244 posts in 4183 days

#9 posted 04-30-2008 02:54 PM

This is an incredible piece. I’m sure it was well worth the wait.

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4262 days

#10 posted 04-30-2008 02:57 PM

You didn’t need that class Don. You had it in you the whole time on your own. Beautiful work !!!

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4545 days

#11 posted 04-30-2008 04:24 PM

Very beautiful, I love the black accent wood, the African Ebony.


View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4046 posts in 4485 days

#12 posted 04-30-2008 06:05 PM

Beautiful work as always, Don. This table is a detail-fest. Pleased to see your posting.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4410 days

#13 posted 04-30-2008 09:20 PM

That’s half the time it took me to finish my harpsichord! Pretty good in my book.

Looks like you did a great job. (Finally :-) )

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4668 days

#14 posted 04-30-2008 09:52 PM

Sure does’nt look like a small wooden box to me, but it is a nice piece of furniture. Good to see you Don. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4582 days

#15 posted 05-01-2008 12:27 AM

and you said that you don’t have patience…
Everything happens at the right moment. This was the time for the table

A beautiful piece!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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