My maple coffee table #1: Sketchup model, ideas welcome please.

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Blog entry by DrewM posted 06-24-2010 05:06 AM 3722 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My maple coffee table series Part 2: Design change, Thanks for the help! »

My wife asked me if I could make a coffee table for the living room and after she bought me the planer for my birthday I can’t say no. So I spent some time on Sketchup and showed her a view models and this is the one she likes. She likes simple grain patterns and a darker finish. I think maple with a nice darker cherry stain would be a good choice. I don’t have much experience with finishing wood but that will have to be the focus of another blog entry. Well anyway here is a picture of the model I created.

The dimensions of the table are 16” high 44” long and 27” deep. The legs taper from 1 3/4” to 1 1/8” on the apron sides only. The aprons are 4” at the legs and curve to a width of 2 1/2” at the centers. The legs and aprons will be joined by mortise and tenon. The top will be solid wood and most likely will be attached with buttons to allow for grain movement. Not having any real experience with table making do you see any problems in my design such as strength or stability? Thanks a lot in advance for your opinions and help.

-- Drew, Delaware

6 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 06-24-2010 05:43 AM

That is exactly how I make my Tables. I do not glue the top to the bottom. I use corner braces to ensure it stays square and adds strength. I am not exactly sure what you are calling a button though, I use what I call a cleat to attach the top. Please let me know if I am using the wrong terminology.


View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#2 posted 06-24-2010 06:27 AM

Interesting table

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View alexsutula's profile


96 posts in 3050 days

#3 posted 06-24-2010 07:27 AM

You have arches on the aprons and straight tapered legs. I would try to incorporate a curve on the legs so you have a more cohesive design. Or, if you want to keep the tapered legs, you could not cut curves on the aprons and make them square. But I would do one or the other.

I cant see if there is a measurement on the over hang of the top and base, but I wouldn’t go much more than 1.5”, tops.

I am not sure what your skill set is (you don’t have any posted projects) but drawers are always a good idea, especially on a coffee table. It may take longer but it is worth it, adding storage is always a good idea. I usually end up regretting not including at least one drawer on a piece. If you don’t feel like making drawers you can easily add a shelf.

And make sure you cut your mortise and tennons while the stock is square. I makes life so much easier.

-- You can't stand apart unless you're prepared to stand alone. Alex, Cleveland

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3038 days

#4 posted 06-24-2010 07:40 AM

I would have to agree Alex, straight and no wider than 3 inches for the aprons.

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 2995 days

#5 posted 06-24-2010 01:21 PM

wseand, I’m probably using the wrong terminology. What I plan to do is similar to what you describe. Alex, I don’t feel confident enough in my skill level to construct drawers in the table. Plus my wife asked for a simple design, just a top and legs basically. I like the idea of the curved leg and I will model a few options in Sketchup and see how they look. Not really sure how I will construct them if I decide to go that route. The table overhangs are 1 1/2” on the front and back and 3” on the sides. And I went with 4” aprons to allow for the arch to not take away a lot of the aprons strength. Thanks for all the comments, I find this very helpful.

-- Drew, Delaware

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3038 days

#6 posted 06-24-2010 09:47 PM

When it comes down to it Drew it is what ever you like the look of. The table looks fine the way it is, it was just a suggestion.

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