My first coffe table.

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Project by Jake posted 12-09-2013 03:08 PM 2149 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey all. This is my first coffee table build. I have a very modest workshop that I am slowly expanding for my own use. I am not a very experienced woodworker yet, but you guys have given me a ton of inspiration to do better so I am learning a lot and it is tons of fun. Sorry about the pic quality, my workshop doesn’t have the best lights for a photoshoot, I will try to improve on that.

About the project:
The coffee table measures roughly 20” x 32” x 16” I used 4” x 4” legs, 2”x 4” for the table top, I am fairly sure it was spruce, but might have been pine also. Hand planed and sanded to 320. Table top is fastened with pocket screws and glued (I don’t have large enough clamps to do a glue-up without screws) and after glue up, hand planed again, since I did not do such a great job with the glue up. :) I didn’t focus a whole lot on making it perfect, because firstly, I don’t have enough experience and secondly I like the rustic look.

Table top is burnt, coated with linseed oil and 4 coats of urethane lacqure, wet sanded to 1500 grit and polished with beeswax. Table top is fastened to the legs with 5×4” screws straight through the table top into each leg, the screws were then covered with a dowel.

Unfortunately I did not reach the level of gloss that I was hoping for in the end, but this was my very first time sanding after finishing…so I am new to it. So all suggestions how to get to that glossy mirror like finish would be highly appreciated.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

9 comments so far

View Bobsboxes's profile


1674 posts in 4126 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 03:25 PM

Looks great, nice and useful project. Soon you will be hooked.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30678 posts in 3800 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 05:29 PM

I really like the burnt look. Nice job.

As you go you will find your favorite finish for different projects. One thing that you could do is poured on epoxy for high gloss. But more coats of your present finish and buffing would accomplish the same result. Finishing is an art form all of its own.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30678 posts in 3800 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 05:30 PM

Forgot, Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 3213 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 06:10 PM

Well done! I’m stoked that you actually undertook a large project like this even though you are new to woodworking. It’s taken me a while to get the nerve to jump into things like this, but thats the fastest and really only way to learn, to just dive into something you know you can’t do yet, and just see how it goes.

For sanding to a mirror finish, you need several to many coats. And pine/spruce isnt gonna shine as much with just oil, as a walnut or cherry would, due to its grain structure. You said you wet sanded it to 1500, but repeat that every day for a week, if you can manage, and then it should glisten.

FABULOUS> I love this chunky style furniture. Really speaks to me. You nailed it bro.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 09:06 PM

Thanks a lot for the support!

Bugz: It might be too late for the beeing hooked part… passed that like 3 months ago. :) But you guys here in LJ really gave me the inspiration to try something that actually looks like real furniture and I only got to set up my shop a week ago or so. But now as the wife and I got out first home I got a lot of furniture to make, including a full kitchen cabinetry, will start that dicussion in a blog because I am a bit stumped currently.

Woodworking gives me such an energy boost, I just love it. My great-grandfather was a woodworker, my grandfather did some wood, but he is mainly a metal worker (works on the lathe with great precision, I don’t know the english term) for the last 65 years (he’s 80 and still going strong) so he has taught me a few things.

Monte/palaswood: thank you, for the tips, I will try that on my next small builds, currently I wil keep the table as-is to remind me that I can do better. :)

Bugz: If you are really from the great state of MT then I am very very envious of you, I spent two great summers in MT and I loved it, especially the northern parts.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View GeneR's profile


152 posts in 3400 days

#6 posted 12-10-2013 06:02 AM

great start to a long road of what will become an obsession. Remember woodworking is the art of hiding your mistakes.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4423 days

#7 posted 12-11-2013 11:01 AM

Welcome to the forum. That is nice for your first project. Keep going and keep in touch with the forum- lots of great folks and info here.

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 3602 days

#8 posted 01-08-2014 03:00 AM

Nice job. I’ve never done a burnt finish (on purpose!). Welcome to LJ by the way, looking forward to seeing some great projects. Be sure to post lots of pics including your shop. No need to apologize for picture quality, you’ll get better over time.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View MyGrowthRings's profile


185 posts in 5136 days

#9 posted 03-25-2015 08:53 PM

Very cool. Yeah, you are right about my project being torched just a bit more than yours! I really like the look of the charred wood and after this project is finished I’m going to have to plan a new one that takes better advantage of the effect. Also, thanks for the comment on my blog post. I believe it was the first and it’s good to know I’m not talking to myself. Scott

-- and

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