Walnut and Steel Coffee Table

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Project by JamesVavra posted 10-19-2012 09:00 PM 4194 views 8 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve finally finished my new coffee table.

It’s made from 6/4 book matched slabs of walnut. The base is steel: 2” angle, 2” square tube, and 3/4” square tube. The table is approximately 54” long, 23” wide, and 18” tall. The slabs are mounted on 1/2” ply that was painted black.

I had to fill one crack and one knot with epoxy. I left it clear, and I think it’s looks kind of cool that way – you can see down through it if you get close enough (the crack is only about 1/4” at its widest).

The steel was patinaed dark and then clear coated with a semi-gloss lacquer. The wood was oiled, then I hit it with a few coats of waterborne poly. After I knocked the shine down with steel wool, I waxed it.

I plan to fill the void with a loose aggregate. Some small, polished stones – or maybe I’ve finally found a use for all of those little wooden beads that everyone has been making (myself included, although I never posted my version of the wooden bead making machine).

19 comments so far

View DTB's profile


2 posts in 3201 days

#1 posted 10-19-2012 09:09 PM

Really like it! I’m a fan of “industrial” type of look with the steel and wood. Great work!

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3346 days

#2 posted 10-20-2012 12:55 AM

very nice.thats a beautiful table!!!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 10-20-2012 01:15 AM

That’s a unique design with the black ply backing. Filling the center space with epoxy and your stones/beads would be interesting but too late for this one. But I like it just as it is. The loose aggregate will probably lokk neat. I’d have to worry about my granddaughters eating it though!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bvdon's profile


503 posts in 4170 days

#4 posted 10-20-2012 03:49 AM

i like it!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4206 days

#5 posted 10-20-2012 04:13 AM

Solid and sturdy, for sure, yet beautiful and graceful at the same time…an intriguing combinations of materials. Keep us posted on any additions to the void, bei it aggregate, wooden beads, or something else.

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

View indianwoodchipper's profile


12 posts in 3202 days

#6 posted 10-20-2012 04:57 AM

Wow!! really nice looking. Did you leave any gaps at the edges to allow for movement? Any specific surface preparation for the steel especially at the weld locations

-- With ambitions always far exceeding my skill

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5135 days

#7 posted 10-20-2012 01:16 PM

This is really beautiful. Great job on the design and execution.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3499 days

#8 posted 10-20-2012 01:53 PM

nice looking table

View vakman's profile


301 posts in 3559 days

#9 posted 10-20-2012 06:44 PM

Excellent work, this is a very attractive piece. I’d be inclined to fill the center void with mixed nuts to snack on.

If you’re looking for something more permanent, loose ball bearings would make for a neat finish when epoxied. Relatively inexpensive, and consistent in terms of materials.

-- - Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true. -

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4206 days

#10 posted 10-20-2012 07:12 PM


I like your ball bearing idea, and will have to keep that in-mind for the future!

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

View JamesVavra's profile


305 posts in 4471 days

#11 posted 10-21-2012 08:53 PM

Thanks for the comments, all.

@indianwoodchipper – I left about a 16th all the way around. I didn’t do anything special to the corners; the wooden insert is rounded over on the inside edges to make it easier to drop in and to account for the very small radius on the inside corners of the steel.

Re: the loose aggregate – I originally wanted to use some crushed sea shell that I have that loose like a really coarse sand, and then add some small stones in keeping with the dry riverbed theme. However, I’m concerned that one of my wife’s cats might use it as a litterbox if I go that route. So I’m still going to use small stones or maybe tumbled chunks of sea glass, but I’ll keep it a bit larger then the litter they are used to.

View StephenSchaad's profile


201 posts in 3334 days

#12 posted 10-22-2012 01:48 AM

Use whatever loose aggregate you want and fill over it with epoxy resin. A bar here has sand and shells under epoxy on the bar top. No worries about cats! haha

View JamesVavra's profile


305 posts in 4471 days

#13 posted 10-22-2012 05:13 PM

I missed the questing about surface prep. I used a darkening patina from Sculpt Nouveau ( before I lacquered it. The nice thing about that product is that you really don’t need to do any prep. It colors the welds, miscolorings, etc. to be exactly the same.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7928 posts in 4069 days

#14 posted 12-03-2012 02:12 AM

Wow! Nice combination of materials. This looks like a natural match. Well done!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 3637 days

#15 posted 01-01-2013 06:28 AM

Wow, Great table. I like the look.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

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