Floating Top Coffee Table

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Project by John posted 07-15-2014 08:26 PM 3291 views 13 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a floating top coffee table I made for my wife. Our current coffee table is very old, and very, very beat up. It has been passed down several times, and while its actually pretty nice, its age is showing. It also doesn’t fit in with the decor of the house. So it was decided that my next project would be a coffee table.

The base is made of walnut, and the top is tiger maple. Following the Wood Whisperers lead, I dyed the top before re sanding and finishing with Arm R Seal satin. The base is also finished with Arm R Seal satin.

This is my first attempt at mortise and tenon joinery completely cut by hand. Its a little trickier than the experts make it look. :) I also attempted at smoothing the top with hand planes, but the tiger maple proved to be too difficult due to my lack of experience. I defaulted to the random orbital sander to get a smooth top. I am happy to say most of walnut is smoothed by plane, and it turned out pretty nice. I have been switching my focus to using more hand tools, and while I’ll never completely abandon my power tools, I enjoy the calming effect of working wood by hand rather than electric motor.

I seem to bite off a little more than I can chew with each project I undertake, but I feel it motivates me to keep learning and stretching my capabilities. Thanks for looking, and be safe out there.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

11 comments so far

View Ottacat's profile


421 posts in 1276 days

#1 posted 07-15-2014 08:43 PM

Great looking table. I always love maple and walnut together. Thanks for sharing.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 973 days

#2 posted 07-15-2014 09:26 PM

Really nice looking table!

View LeTurbo's profile


217 posts in 1010 days

#3 posted 07-15-2014 09:29 PM

Very nice. I always like floating tops. And well done on the foray into hand tools. Somehow, there’s a richer soul reward, I think, in being able to say “I cut that joint” rather than “The router made that joint.” You didn’t bite off more than you could chew … you chewed it rather well.

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 1037 days

#4 posted 07-16-2014 12:03 AM

i like the super simple design of the base. straight legs, straight and plain aprons and then the floating top made of tiger maple! Nice!

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

View skeys's profile


14 posts in 953 days

#5 posted 07-16-2014 10:30 AM

I like the clean look. Well done. It’s always good to stretch out of your comfort zone, it’s how you make your comfort zone bigger.

-- Scott K., Virginia

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21593 posts in 1762 days

#6 posted 07-16-2014 10:37 AM

Very nice looking piece

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Picklehead's profile


993 posts in 1354 days

#7 posted 07-16-2014 10:56 AM

It actually looks very “floaty”. Sometimes they don’t. Nice job. Did you design it yourself?

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View sepeck's profile


314 posts in 1565 days

#8 posted 07-16-2014 04:35 PM

Evidently I have to make a coffee table myself. I like the look of yours.

-- -Steven Peck,

View gfadvm's profile


14932 posts in 2114 days

#9 posted 07-17-2014 12:07 AM

That turned out really well! The wood combo is a winner and the floating top is extra nice.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View gsimon's profile


1153 posts in 1538 days

#10 posted 07-17-2014 01:04 AM

keep biting – looks great

-- Greg Simon

View Joe Brumley's profile

Joe Brumley

70 posts in 3206 days

#11 posted 02-16-2015 04:21 PM

This is great! I love the simple clean lines and of course the floating effect. A year and a half ago we got two puppies. The only thing they chewed was the coffee table that I made 10 years ago. Now that they are done with that business it is time to build a new one and this may be it.

-- Joe, Indiana,

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