Maple Coffee Table with Walnut/Cherry/PH inserts

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Project by Zenert posted 04-14-2014 08:45 PM 4664 views 12 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was a piece I designed and built for my ‘machining practical’ during the second year of my ‘cabinetry and woodworking technology’ diploma at Red River College.

The case and top are made of soft maple. Panels are machined out of solid wood. Top is made from face glued maple strips. Once it was complete it was cut in half along the first curve using a CNC router. Thin cherry and walnut strips (thickness exactly equal to the CNC bit) were steam bent using the table top pieces as a form. After steam bending they were glued in place and the table top was once again one piece. The strips were wider than the tops thickness to ease alignment issues. Once glue up was finished the strips were trimmed down to be flush with the top. Process was repeated but with cherry and purple heart. Process was repeated a third time with urpleheart And walnut.

Top was then cleaned up and sanded down. At this point I cut two dovetail slots in the underside and inserted two French dovetails made from maple. Walnut plugs were put in place to increase visual interest from the sides.

Entire table was sanded to 220grit and I he. Sprayed with nitrocellulose lacquer. Sealer and two coats to the base. Sealer and three coats to the table top.

Everything turned out quite good. I was hoping to put drawer boxes in, but due to time constraints had to omit them.

10 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4558 days

#1 posted 04-14-2014 09:54 PM

Cool. Good to see a Red River grad here! I used to teach over in the Civil Tech dept.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View ty204's profile


8 posts in 2349 days

#2 posted 04-14-2014 10:24 PM

wow, that is beautiful. Just fantastic.

-- Winnipeg, Manitoba

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4754 days

#3 posted 04-14-2014 10:29 PM

Beautiful work Zenert.
The strips work really well against the maple back ground, and they fit perfectly, well done!

But, I dont understand the “steam bent” part though. I just insert the bendable strips with glue and clamp it all up. I get excellent results and its fast. I dont mean to offend, just curious why the steam bending is needed and how you did it. All of us woodworkers love learning new things :-)

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View Todd Sauer's profile

Todd Sauer

28 posts in 2371 days

#4 posted 04-14-2014 10:51 PM

This looks fantastic. My guess would be that steam bending the strips would allow for tighter curves and somewhat less difficulty bending.

Really impressive. Nice job.

-- --Sauerkins; Duluth, MN

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2456 days

#5 posted 04-14-2014 11:06 PM

very cool, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View Zenert's profile


19 posts in 2889 days

#6 posted 04-14-2014 11:14 PM

Andy – it’s quite possible that steaming them wasn’t actually necessary. I had the equipment to steam them available, and figured to be sure. The PH is not especially pliable and may not have made it without breaking with the severity of some of my curves.

Thanks for the kind works folks.

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3729 days

#7 posted 04-15-2014 02:19 AM

awesome coffee table! Love the design and inlay.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 04-15-2014 06:17 AM

wow real nice

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3871 days

#9 posted 04-15-2014 07:50 AM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4754 days

#10 posted 04-15-2014 04:27 PM

Zenert, thanks for the insight, a great looking project and one you should be proud of.
Thanks again.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

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