Southwest Cocktail table #4: Another Dry Fit Test

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 06-22-2013 02:38 AM 1550 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: My vision has returned. Part 4 of Southwest Cocktail table series Part 5: More of the table top. »


Wouldn’t you know. I cut part of the border from paduak. I was real careful to get it just perfect. It Ain’t. I’ll get if fixed up because I once again have a nervous tendency to err on the side of “Too Big”. You know – shaving 86 of these suckers will once again – suck.

Grandpa Len sent me a very kindly note telling me I need to put this creation on a backer. Well – he’s right of course. I was already courting disaster by going as far as I did. I had to straighten the thing out once. Len even gave me a compelling reason to add the backer. People make a bad habit of sitting on tables. Even though this project shares a lot of similarities with cutting boards. It’s free standing without a solid counter top to rest on. Heck, plain old gravity can warp this thing.

I have to go buy some plywood now. I don’t think I need to buy the best stuff. I imagine that an underfloor grade should do fine. Let me know if I need to shell out for the good stuff if you would. I’ll just get 3/4 inch and be done with it. No more glue ups until I mount what I have on the backer.

Thank you Len!

I did a little mockup to show what I plan to do at the corners.

Thanks for looking!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

7 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10117 posts in 4075 days

#1 posted 06-22-2013 03:17 AM

Looks like you’re making progress…

Sounds good too…

Although, I’d go with the Baltic Birch ply... You won’t use it all… the left-overs will be FUN to work with and you’ll know a VOID or other imperfection will NOT make it’s presence known… Play it Safe & be happy… 1/2” should work fine… IMHO.

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2211 days

#2 posted 06-22-2013 04:06 AM

Wouldn’t you know it? I was afraid I would hear I needed cabinet grade ply. But Baltic birch! Lol. I’ll shell out the bucks then. I always wanted to get some and as you say Joe, great fun with the left overs.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View KOVA's profile


1363 posts in 2401 days

#3 posted 06-22-2013 05:06 AM



View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20589 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 06-22-2013 08:44 AM

Nice progress, Mark. After all that work, I’d get good plywood. The underlayment stuff is C&D grade and has voids all over- they come out and surprise you in the worst places. Plus the good stuff will be less apt to warp for a table.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 06-24-2013 07:09 AM

On the “people sit on coffee tables” note, when you mentioned that, I thought “torsion box.” You could layer two pieces of ply, with a frame structure glued between them. You’ve probably seen workbench tops made that way, or hollow-core doors (which aren’t really hollow!). You’d have something really rigid to support your top when all’s said and done, and you could hide the substructure with a skirt around the edge. I always overbuild everything :).

If you are going to do the torsion box, I’d suggest the cheaper ply, and maybe 1/2” thickness. I don’t think the downsides would haunt you much in that type of construction, and you’ll save cash, even allowing for the double thickness. Just my thoughts.

-- Robb

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2211 days

#6 posted 06-26-2013 12:39 PM

Thank you my friends. I haven’t touched the table this week. I’ve got to tell you though. I feel really confident that this table will stand up for ages. Robb, your Idea really appeals to me because I have a lot of working room. The table will drop over 5 inches. The legs will be 5 inches thick.

All said, that’s plenty of room to make this table sturdy enough to support a full grown man standing on it. It will be heavy to say the least. It doesn’t really mater. I really like the idea of making a table that might survive being dropped off a truck.

I really appreciate all the valuable input. You guys rock!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3957 days

#7 posted 06-27-2013 03:49 AM

Good deal; I hope it works out well for you. I used that kind of construction to make some garage doors, and was amazed at how rigid they were when all was said and done.

-- Robb

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