Coffee Table #1: Sketchup drawings, need some input

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sparky977 posted 07-15-2008 05:37 AM 9200 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Coffee Table series no next part

So I am going to try to build some furniture to sell when I don’t have cabinets to build. This is my first attempt at designing furniture. I would like to get some input on a couple aspects of this coffee table, if you guys don’t mind.
I will be making matching end tables too, but I haven’t drawn them yet. I drew this on Google Sketchup. The plan is to make them out of Oak, and finish with black lacquer. I want the Oak grain to really stand out, and I think the lacquer will really keep the texture I want.
I feel like the design is a mix of modern and arts and crafts.

My question has to do with the lower shelf/stretcher. This is my first design:Design1

My wife wasn’t thrilled with the lack of thru tenons on both sides of the corner posts for the bottom shelf. I kind of like the minimal look of the first design but after I worked up these other options, I’m not sure anymore.
The first is just to remove the thru tenons from the end of the table so they are only on the long sides:Design2

This is the other option, to add stretchers to the length with thru tenons:

One other thing I wanted to get some opinion on is the top:Top
As you can see, the legs and the boards that run from leg to leg are all chamfered. The rest of the top is therefore lower then the perimeter by about 1/8”. I know this will come down to opinion mostly, but does this design element work, or will it just be too much of a dust catcher?

Thanks for any input you guys might have!


8 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4056 days

#1 posted 07-15-2008 06:47 AM

This is good work and proves the value of Sketchup. It is personal choice and so all of my observations are personal (my own).

I like the idea of leaving the through tenons only on the long side and leaving the ends proud of the top because it makes the ends remeniscent of breadboard ends. The lower stretcher offers a structural component for connecting the legs both visually and mechanically. The only other opinion I can offer is that you might do something with the legs. They look rather thick to me.

Have fun with it.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3961 days

#2 posted 07-15-2008 06:53 AM

Yeah, I may change the leg thickness. I had originally planned the table to be 5’ long, so the legs looked more proportionate. But I shrunk it down to 4’ long. The legs are currently drawn at 3 1/2”. I will probably change them to 3”.


View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4081 days

#3 posted 07-15-2008 07:58 AM

How did you come up with your sizes?

It doesn’t look like you used the golden rule?

I think this maybe why it looks a little out of preportion (sp) it’s been a long day and my spelling is going down the tubes.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4330 days

#4 posted 07-15-2008 07:58 AM

I don’t see how you can have through-tenons go through each other and still come out their respective sides. Can you?

I also vote for changing the leg thickness. You might also want to play with pulling the legs up even higher above the other surfaces. That would give it the look of a mission ottoman.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3961 days

#5 posted 07-15-2008 08:21 AM

Giz, you are right about the through-tenons. I was going to have one be through, and the other would essentially be a plug.
I wasn’t sure what is “normal” for through-tenons.

EdC, to be honest, I’m not fully sure on how to use the golden rule. I know that sketchup will let you know when your dimensions are at the golden rule, but for this table, at 48” long, the width would be something like 31”, which just seems too wide for a coffee table. Am I figuring that right? Or am I missing something?

Thanks for the input so far. I’ve never designed anything like this before, so I am still learning.


View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3958 days

#6 posted 07-15-2008 01:57 PM

Sparky, you might want to steal some design ideas from my coffee table. It came out pretty well. You can see it here.

-- Have a blessed day!

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4231 days

#7 posted 07-15-2008 08:06 PM


I might just put four plugs on each leg, not add the stretchers, and tell my wife to go cook something or darn my socks or something. ;-O

Just kidding. You have a good design started, trust the forstner.

-- Jim

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3957 days

#8 posted 07-25-2008 06:40 PM

the project is kool. do not see too L utility to reveal the tenons

-- jeanmarc manosque france

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics