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Blog entry by kiefer posted 01-15-2013 05:26 AM 4035 reads 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a blog of a build of a coffee table that I have been mulling over for about a year and finally started building it as my wife likes the idea so far, I build a some what crude model to give her a better picture then I could draw.!

OK this is the basic concept but the final design will be done in the shop and be different then what you see .
To start I build a form for the two base arches and I did not take pics of the build but it is simply five identical curved 1/2” plywood ribs on a sheet of 3/8” MDF and a top sheet of 5mm plywood reinforced with 2×4 along the top and bottom ends .
All is glued with yellow glue and stapled .
The form has to be very precise in shape ,to accomplish this I made a pattern rib and copied four more from it with the band saw and final cut the curve on the table saw . The clamp holes (1 1/2” ) I forgot to drill before assembly and drilled them after with a cordless drill ,oh well it works .

I also made a simple set of cowls from 2×4 which I simply jointed to a slight taper from both ends ,this is to apply pressure at the center of the lamination as I can only clamp at the outside edge of the form.

Now to the laminating process .
Four layers of spruce 3/8” construction plywood cut cross grain with yellow carpenters glue ,two sheets at first .
Everything marked for centre before placing on the form and aligned with the centre marks of the form .
I clamped the top centre cowl first and then pulled down both ends and screwed the end cowls on to the top player and clamped in place .The end cowl has shallow drilled pockets for the clamp pads to keep them from slipping .
Now the I put on the remaining cowls and let it set for two hours .
Then I glued up the second set of two sheets again using a paint roller and tray ,this works fast and gives a nice even coat of glue .
After letting everything set up for 24 hours I removed the clamps and repeated the process for the second arch .

Here are the two arches and the curves turned out well ,nice and even and good in thickness all over .

This is it for this installment .
The next part will be the layout of the cut lines .
Any comments and questions welcome .

-- Kiefer

10 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2963 days

#1 posted 01-15-2013 06:21 AM

Great work Kifer.

What is the radius of the arch?
Is the plywood bendable ply?
How difficult was it bend?
Any breakage during the bending?
Did you get lot of spring back from using yellow glue?

I wanted to build a similar coffee table but gave up because I could not find bendy ply at a reasonable cost.
It looks like I could do the same thing you are doing.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2643 days

#2 posted 01-15-2013 08:41 AM

Kifer looking good ,looking forward to this my friend, looks like a little work out with those clamps once you get going

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#3 posted 01-15-2013 11:53 AM

I like your wife’s basic design Kiefer and the thoughtful and methodical way you are tackling the laminating bending process. Looking forward to the next installment!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2437 days

#4 posted 01-15-2013 12:29 PM

Looks good so far and can hardly wait to see the finished piece.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5980 posts in 3382 days

#5 posted 01-15-2013 01:37 PM

This is very interesting Kiefer. Looks like most of the questions were ask before I got here so I’ll just sit back and enjoy this post. I’ll be looking forward to the next installment aslo.

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View shipwright's profile


7996 posts in 2827 days

#6 posted 01-15-2013 02:27 PM

Very good lamination and the design is excellent.
This will be a fun blog to follow.
Thanks for posting.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View ruddy's profile


543 posts in 2968 days

#7 posted 01-15-2013 09:39 PM

Keifer…a great blog.
I do like the design and look forward to the next instalment.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2696 days

#8 posted 01-16-2013 12:54 AM

Thanks to all of you for the comments ,much appreciated and gives me encouragement .
The design will evolve as I build this table with input from my wife and should be fun to build as it is for ourselves ,be patient with me it’s going to take a while but will keep you posted and bored with the details .
Take a look at this simple jig I posted some time ago.
I drew the arch by simply using the length of the base and high taking into consideration the thickness of the lamination .
A calculation could probably determine the radius .
The cross cut spruce ply bends quite well and I have used this process for some time with success .
There is some crackling going on during the bending process but no breaking . As to the use of yellow glue there seems to be no issue with creeping and very little spring back and some of that can be eliminated by sightly over bending ( using a slightly smaller radius for the form ) and placing dowels through the thickness of the lamination ,I have used this method in curved handrails and other applications .
The cost of this table will be minimal as all materials are inexpensive and also some recycled .

-- Kiefer

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2963 days

#9 posted 01-16-2013 04:15 AM

Thanks Kiefer, much appreciated!

I will be following with great interest.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#10 posted 01-16-2013 01:15 PM

One heck-of-a build. Nice process, and how-to

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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