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Custom Coffee Table (wedding present) #1: Intro + First side frame joinery complete

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Blog entry by JasonD posted 03-28-2011 03:22 AM 1381 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Custom Coffee Table (wedding present) series Part 2: Side frames almost complete »

For my first furniture project, I’m building a coffee table for some friends’ wedding present. The wedding is May 14th. So, while I’ll only be able to work on it on weekends, I have quite a bit of time to get it done. I was hoping to start about a week ago, but I injured my shoulder (pulled my acromioclavicular ligament – at least I think I spelled it right..lol). Since most of my woodworking involves hand tools, this meant I had to pretty much take the week off.

I spent some time this week finishing up the last bit of the design. This is the first project that I designed from scratch. It’s also my first “real” furniture project; my only experience before this is some plywood cabinets and my Roubo workbench. Here’s a picture of my design sketch.

My shoulder is still sore. So, I had to take it easy this weekend, but I’m extremely happy with the progress that I was able to make. I got all the lumber for the to side frames sawed out. On a whim, I bought a cheap $10 Stanley rip panel saw the other day. It’s as long as my current Putsch rip saw, but the kerf is much smaller.

I tried the cheap Stanley to resaw the lumber for the side frames and it was amazing. I can’t believe how easy and smooth it cut; especially at only $10.

I’m building the table in this order:
- both side frames (with floating raised panels with relief carving)
- stretchers to join both side frames (with panels dividing the width into thirds)
- lower shelf on the two outside sections of the width
- dovetailed drawer to fit into the middle section of the width
- top

Today, I was able to get the finished milling done on the legs, bottom stretcher, and top stretcher for the first side frame. After taking a break to ice my shoulder and eat lunch, I got the mortises chopped out and cut their mating tenons for the lower stretcher. I finished up the day with cutting the half lap dovetails that slide into dovetailed mortises in the top of the legs.

Here is a picture of the first side frame dry-fit. It’s not the greatest pic, but you can see the dovetail in the top of the leg.

Ordinarily, I’d have been able to get both frames done, plus the grooves and raised panels and probably more. But considering my injury, I’m quite content with what I got done.



7 comments so far

View JasonD's profile

JasonD

180 posts in 2324 days


#1 posted 03-28-2011 04:06 PM

Here’s another picture of the frame taken apart to show the joinery:

View wseand's profile

wseand

2754 posts in 2505 days


#2 posted 03-29-2011 06:33 AM

Looking like a great project, I enjoying making tables the most.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2117 days


#3 posted 04-03-2011 03:42 AM

Nice work, put that awesome bench to work.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JasonD's profile

JasonD

180 posts in 2324 days


#4 posted 04-04-2011 06:08 PM

This project has been SO much easier than anything I’ve done before and I credit this bench 100% for that for 2 reasons:

- having a bench suited for hand tool work obviously makes everything easier
- the tasks I had to tackle to build the bench made me a much better woodworker

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2117 days


#5 posted 04-05-2011 03:22 AM

Very true. I noticed I work much faster and better now that I have a proper bench as well (though I must admit, yours is prettier than mine)

I did want to ask you a question. How far are your dog holes from the front of your bench and how did you sneak them around the sliding deadman? Have you had a chance to use joinery planes?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JasonD's profile

JasonD

180 posts in 2324 days


#6 posted 04-05-2011 04:43 AM

The center of the dog holes is about 2-1/4” from the edge of my bench. I’d like to have put them an inch or so closer, but I had to make room for the sliding board jack track.

Here’s the breakdown:
- the trench for the board jack track is 5/8” from the edge
- the trench is 3/4” wide
- this leaves 1/2” space between the board jack track and the outside diameter of the dog holes

I have used a joinery plane (Stanley rabbet plane) to cut rabbets on the raised panels for this coffee table. The panels were 4-1/2” x 13-1/4”. So, it was no problem to clamp it between a bench dog and LV wonder pup to use the rabbet plane.

If I was going to plane something like a rabbet on the back of a cabinet door stile / rail, I’d have to make a sticking board, I guess.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2117 days


#7 posted 04-05-2011 02:53 PM

Thanks, that clears things up for me. The other option if pressed for time is to elevate your workpiece with squared blocks, and dog it down to those. Not the prettiest solution but it has worked for me, at least until I drill a new set of holes closer to my bench front.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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