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Project Information

Hey everybody. I just finished this table yesterday (still needs wax actually). It's basically the same as my other two-drawer coffee table posted here with some improvements in a few places that have bothered me about the first one.

Most are just subtle detail changes on the outside that make it consistent with my hall table and end table that I also offer in this style; 3 dowels on the BB ends instead of 5, dowels in the legs for the mortise/tenons now run through the rails of the face frame instead of stiles (The placement matches the other two tables mentioned now). The ornate side aprons on the first table are gone, replaced with straight ones. It has my clear Douglas Fir drawer interiors which I plan to use consistently from now on. And the drawer dovetail layout matches those other two tables now.

I think I did a better job here of grain/color matching than on that first table which has a lot of sapwood in bad places (I just didn't know to pay attention to that then). Also, I was careful this time to cut the drawer fronts a face frame parts from the same board and orient them so the grain runs through the entire front continuously, with the exception of the stiles.

Top was planed by hand to 3/4". Finish is 3 coats of Watco Natural Danish oil and I'll put a few coats of paste wax on tomorrow.

This build went very smooth and was quite enjoyable - very happy with it. I think it's partly due to me having to do carpenter remodel work presently, to make ends meet. It's allowed me some distance from the project with only a few solid, long days on it. The rest has been a couple hours here and there.

I love the DF drawer interiors but it's a continual challenge to dovetail or plane it cleanly. Gotta keep everything real sharp and still get a lot of tearout. My BB ends are getting better I think but still very labor intensive for me. Gonna offer them as optional on all my tables. Some folks don't like them anyway and it provides an economical option, leaving them off.

Thanks for looking!

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Comments

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Beautiful coffee table. It will be hard to improve on this. Well done.
 

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Thanks very much 489tad. Can't wait for it to turn dark.
 

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I really appreciate the ideas on the wood layout etc. Beautiful table. I built a couple of glass top coffee tables a while back and really enjoyed the projects. I am new to this hobby so I try to learn from each of you more experienced woodworkers. Thanks for the build ideas.
 

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Glad I could provide some insight bubbaw. I learn a ton from this forum. It's really been a great place for advice, ideas, etc.
 

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BEAUTIFUL piece. Fine work.
 

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Scott, nice work man! I have a couple Q's for you:

Maybe I missed it, but what is the primary wood being used here? I know you mentioned the DF for the drawer interiors, but I wasnt sure what the outside was made of.

Secondly, I am curious about how you finished it. I would not have thought to simply put danish oil and wax on a surface as heavily used as a coffee table. Admittedly, I have never tried it, so I don't know, but my thought would be to finish a coffee tables with a satin poly for the protection.

but I have to say it looks beautiful and simple, which is the way I like it!
 

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Thanks Matt. The primary wood is Cherry.

This is the first time I've finished a table with Danish Oil. Up until now, I've used GF wipe on poly. This has 3 coats of Danish Oil and 3 coats of paste wax. I know it's not the most resilient finish but I've grown to dislike the GF poly. It appears "plastic-y" to me. This table was built for my own apartment and should not see any abuse or heavy use.

I've seen tables that have just been finished with layer after layer of pure tung oil decades ago. They still look beautiful - a few scratches but I'd rather see that - some use and some life in the table, than a finish that looks synthetic.
 

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Beautiful job.
Drawers are extremely useful in a coffee table.
 

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I use the GF Arm-R-Seal. The term I use is that it looks "tough". I have 2 small kids, so tough is what I am after.

However there is a certain wisdom in the approach to using oil in a situation where low usage is expected and that is, you can very easily refinish the table when it gets scratched up. Just throw on some more oil and you are good to go. With poly, you cant do that.
 

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Matt, those are all good points. "tough" LOL!

I wish I could figure out how to use that GF poly well because I know it's more durrable. It always seems to look great up until the third coat for me. Then the "friction streaks" start showing up and I don't care for the appearance. And believe me, I've tried lots of different methods of applying it.

I like a really natural look of oils but I guess that's just the tradeoff - lack of durability.
 

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So, as I type, I'm looking at this table and that top is starting to warp like a big dog! I don't think it's enough to draw the eye of a normal civilian. But I sure see it from across the room. Just moved it from my shop to my apartment yesterday and the sun came out and hit it. Amazing how fast that happens. Hope it straightens out.
 

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Wow this is a nice, no actually a very nice table. I love it. Alistair
 

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Scott, I may have a solution for you to try…. I learned it from watching Marc Spagnuolo (the Wood Whisperer).

You can mix one third oil (tung or BLO or whatever), one third full strength poly, and one third mineral spirits.

If you are starting out with a wipe-on poly like arm-r-seal or minwax wipe-on, you can mix equal parts of that with the oil of your choice.

This is supposed to give the best of both worlds. You get the protection from the poly, the rich natural look from the oil and best of all, the oil gives you a really long "open" time and you can apply it the same as you would regular oil (flood it on the surface with a rag or brush).

anyway, not sure if you ever heard of or tried this method, but I thought it sounded perfect for your usage.
 

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Matt, thanks for the tip. That sounds like a good idea.

My understanding, as crude as it is, of all these products is that they're all basically the same thing - the same basic ingredients; mixtures of various natural oils and synthetic resins. It's just that different products have more or less of a given ingredient.

If I'm not mistaken, Watco "Danish Oil" has a high level of natural oils, but some polyurethane in it as well, just not as much as Arm-r-Seal. So, theoretically you could pile on layer after layer and it will eventually begin to build a surface coat similar to the Arm-r-Seal.

The hall table I built has 2 coats of Arm-r-Seal satin followed by 3 coats of paste wax and it looks to me like a natural oil finish. Not sure if it's just the paste wax I'm seeing that I like, or if it's because only 2 coats hasn't built a thick enough film to attain that "plastic-y" look (It's always the third coat where I begin not to like it).

I'm rambling on but as far as mixing Arm-r-Seal with pure oil and mineral spirits, it seams to me I would basically be achieving the same thing as Watco Danish Oil - basically a higher ratio of oils to polyurethane.
 

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Matt, I'll try it though - nothing to lose. I'll let you know hat happens.
 

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Scott, I didnt realize until just now that the Watco Danish oil is an oil/poly mix already. I was thinking it was just straight oil. You have to love the marketing jargon! Just like Arm-r-seal is called an oil and poly mix, but it actually has no oil in it.

Anyway, you get what I mean. Have a good day!
 
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