Coffee Table: Finished

dsc02264_smThe table is finally finished.  The finishing process dragged on for an eternity, with lots of glitches and complications.   I filled the pores on the table top using Crystalac Wood Grain Filler.  I found this product to be extremely difficult to use.  Sanding with anything coarser than P600 would pull it out of the pores, but the P600 would clog in 10 seconds.  I ended up finding that a gentle sanding with abranet would work well, but I went through the abranet at a distressing rate.  In the end, I have some areas where the pores aren’t entirely filled, and the filler created some blotching.


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I guess you’d call this the front view. Normally this side faces the couch for ready access to the little drawers.

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Each end of the table has a drawer under the tabletop, which overhangs nine inches. Some of my mahogany was lighter and some was darker: I used a lighter colored mahogany board for the drawer front and framed it with the darker material.

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The drawer on the end holds the small card games. I added a divider insert to keep things organized. Note how the curve of the handle echoes the curve of the tabletop.

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The table top is book matched “marbled” claro walnut. Look up at the previous picture to see the end grain, which also has an interesting swirling pattern.

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This view shows how I curved the end of the table and the edge. I started cutting the profiles with a flat spokeshave, but found it tricky to get an even curve, so I switched to a roundover plane.

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The little drawers below the shelf have small claro walnut handles that echo the shape of the tabletop.

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The top drawer has a divider to create the pen and paper storage areas.

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Here you can see the top drawer loaded up. We haven’t figured out what to put in the bottom one yet.

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In this side view you can see how the handle is flat on top but cut at an angle underneath. This works very well and definitely makes the drawers easier to open and close. You can see the joinery here with the half-tail at the bottom to capture the drawer bottom.

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The large drawer also uses the sloped underside on the handle, but here the center mount slide requires a large space below the drawer bottom, so the dovetails have a half-pin at the bottom.

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From the side you can see the curve of the handle and the marbling of the claro walnut.

I’ve been calling this a “coffee table” but at 24 inches tall it’s not designed like a conventional coffee table. The prototype plywood on boxes was really starting to sag with a pronounced tilt to one side, so the family was jubilant when we could finally use the new table. Happily the design appears sound and it has been working well for game playing.

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Here is the table with Ticket to Ride Team Asia underway. I used Ticket to Ride to determine the required width of the table.

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3 thoughts on “Coffee Table: Finished

  1. Pingback: Design Critique, finished results to share | Design Matters

  2. Wow, what a beautiful top! The mahogany and walnut go together well. To my eye the handles are too thick. I would’ve made them thinner than the top thickness to give more overall variety. I like the unexpected small drawers. The legs look a bit undersized. Did you consider increasing the leg interest perhaps with a scratch bead corner?

    • I’m pretty used to the piece now the way it looks, so it’s hard to see other possibilities. When I designed the handles I was trying to mirror the table top, so I made them the same thickness as the top for that reason. It’s interesting that you feel the legs look undersized: I was worried about them looking too blocky and “heavy” and made them as small as I thought I could get away with while keeping the joinery adequately strong. Regarding a corner bead, that’s something I haven’t ever tried. I was pondering doing some beading on my next piece, but I don’t know, yet, if I’ll do that.

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