Advice on making coffee table

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Forum topic by StinkyPete posted 09-03-2011 04:26 AM 4623 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2832 days

09-03-2011 04:26 AM

My wife wants me to build something similar to the coffee table below

I’m hoping to avoid a bunch of rookie mistakes. How would you guys go about approaching this? It doesn’t look too intimidating, but I’m pretty green still. Any nuggets of wisdom would help me lots!

Also, how much do you think 3/4 in glass for the top should cost?

7 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


7072 posts in 2897 days

#1 posted 09-03-2011 05:07 AM

Not sure what type of tools you are working with but a bandsaw or jig saw would allow you to cut out the basic shapes after you have glued up the blanks. A flush trim or pattern bit on a router to make the blanks identical. Round over bit to ease the edges. Then probably drill and dowell for the joining pieces. not sure on the glass cost, but you may need to take some sort of template to the glass cutter. Good luck

View woodworm's profile


14471 posts in 3890 days

#2 posted 09-03-2011 05:48 AM

I’m not in the position to give advice, but am interested too to know how the twisted part is to be done. I think it is safer & easier to ask the glass shop to cut it for you. You shouldn’t do everything yourself, even furniture shops do out-source some jobs.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View StinkyPete's profile


7 posts in 2832 days

#3 posted 09-03-2011 06:31 AM

Shane, thanks so much for the input. I wish I had a bandsaw, but I think I can survive with my jigsaw. How thick does that wood look? Think it’s a full 2”?

woodworm, I found the instructions for assembling the table online, and the two pieces are connected by a dowel just as Shane suggested. I have no interest in cutting the glass myself. Just wondering what a reasonable price would be to get a custom piece cut. It’s supposed to be 3/4”, and I definitely like the look of the thicker glass.

View ShaneA's profile


7072 posts in 2897 days

#4 posted 09-03-2011 04:48 PM

2” thick hardwood would be pushing the limits of a jigsaw. Not impossible, just tough and slow going. I would imagine you could get by with 5/4 or 6/4 stock. Maybe soft maple if you want the lighter colored wood. When it comes time for the glass you may get a quote on 1/2 or 5/8 glass if there is such a thing. Could be cheaper.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3374 days

#5 posted 09-03-2011 07:21 PM

Another option to consider for cutting out the shapes is a router, straight bit and bushing. You would first create a template with plywood, MDF or particle board. Note that your jig saw will handle cutting the plywood just fine.

I would attach the template to the stock with double stick tape. You’ll be surprised how well that tape will hold and you do not need to bother working around clamps. FYI – You might want to experiment to get a feel for how much tape to use. Too much and it will be very difficult to remove the template. Too little and it might slip.

I would advise making multiple passes lowering the router bit about a 1/4” with each pass.

FYI – If you look at my projects, you will see that I recently made 72 pew end panels using this technique. I learned something from that project. I made my template out of OSB and I learned that OSB does not hold up well when used in this way. I think MDF is the better option.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4427 days

#6 posted 09-03-2011 07:42 PM

That’s the iconic Isamu Noguchi Coffee table from the late 1940’s.
I made a boatload of those back in the 1970’s.
I used a 1/4” steel pin for the swivel connection.

Here’s a source for modern plans, Noguchi Coffee Table.

Search “Noguchi Coffee Table” for a plethora of plans and how-to’s.

Bro. Tenzin

-- 温故知新

View StinkyPete's profile


7 posts in 2832 days

#7 posted 09-05-2011 08:41 AM

Thanks for all the tips, guys!

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