Frenchman's Cove Table

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Project by brentmore posted 08-14-2013 11:46 PM 2864 views 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As some of you may remember, my wife and I visited Japan earlier this year ( One of the best parts of the visit was learning about the Japanese style of woodworking and furniture design. During a visit to one of Tokyo’s amazing department stores, Takashimaya, we saw a beautiful dining room table built in the style of famous woodworker George Nakashima. This table, called the Frenchman’s Cove, has been on my to-do list ever since and I finally completed it this week. I used cypress wood in the construction of the table, which is popular with Japanese lumberjocks. Working only from a picture, I drew up measurements and went to work. This table was a great exercise in joinery techniques since I used edge joints for the table top, mortises and tenons for the stretchers, and bridle joints for the legs and feet. There are no mechanical fasteners for the table except to secure the table top to the stretchers – something I’m very proud of.

I also learned a very important lesson on table saw safety. If it feels uncomfortable, then it’s probably unsafe. Fortunately, I only lost a fingernail instead of two fingertips.

For build photos, check out the project page:

-- Brent,

10 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2833 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 12:49 AM

Striking! Outstanding work and looks great!

P.S. You’r right:: always listen to that little voice, and when it says not to do something—don’t.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View CL810's profile


3968 posts in 3529 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 01:31 AM

Elegant! Fine craftsmanship.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2731 days

#3 posted 08-15-2013 02:21 AM

Great looking table. I like the way the wood grain shows in the dark finish. What did you use for the coloring, dye or stain? It sure came out great.
Is there a top stretcher?, where the cross members are mortised in the center?
Great looking table, great craftsmanship.

PS: lucky on the fingers.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10784 posts in 4593 days

#4 posted 08-15-2013 03:40 AM

Hey Guy!

You did a Fantastic Wonderful job on that table!

You made the chairs too? (something I missed?)

Great wood… Looks just Awesome!!

Very Nice & COOL project!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View JemFox's profile


8 posts in 2289 days

#5 posted 08-15-2013 12:38 PM

Great job!
How did you get the finish on the top? It looks like the grain is slightly raised.


View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4364 days

#6 posted 08-15-2013 01:23 PM

Have to agree with the crew above this table came out wonderfully. The balance and design just sing a refine tune. Table saw safety is no joking matter for year now I’ve use Grip Tite Magnets on my saw fence which makes the cutting process bullet proof. Please give this a look when time permits. I sure their a video on these great feather boards, best wish Blackcherry

View brentmore's profile


95 posts in 2742 days

#7 posted 08-15-2013 02:33 PM

Thanks for the comments guys!

Oldtool, I used minwax dark walnut and semigloss poly. There’s a stretcher spanning the length of the table joined to the two legs, directly above the bottom stretcher.

Joe, I only made the table this time. Chairs are currently above my skillset. Maybe I’ll try making a full set the next time around. I picked up these chairs at… IKEA -ducks-

Jemfox, the finish was the wife’s choice. She didnt want anything too shiny or smooth. The finish is semigloss although it looks very shiny.

Blackcherry, I definitely lucked out. I’m always concerned with my safety (eyes, lungs) so I was very embarrassed that I messed up and didn’t listen to the little voice.

-- Brent,

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2434 days

#8 posted 08-15-2013 06:04 PM

That’s a quality table, my friend. The finish really is outstanding.

View RogerM's profile


801 posts in 2940 days

#9 posted 08-21-2013 10:56 PM

Really nice work Brent. I have never used Cypress for such applications but maybe I should. I really like the design and the finish. Nice job. Be sure and to sign and date it as I believe it will be with your family for a long time.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

30461 posts in 2879 days

#10 posted 10-12-2013 11:21 PM

Exceptional work. Nakashima is my personal favorite.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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