Walnut coffee table

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Project by PeteMoss posted 03-23-2009 07:44 PM 1807 views 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, my wife wanted a coffe table and after completing several smaller projects but never an actual piece of furniture I thought why not. She wanted a very plain table, which was good for me. I actually considered trying some breadboard ends, but she didn’t want them. So, what we have is a very simple table made of walnut with regular tapered legs. The aprons are attached with haunched mortise and tenons. The top is simply butt jointed together and attached to the base with wooden buttons set into small mortises in the aprons. The finish is umpteen thousand coats of garnet shellac topped with a coat of wax.

I learned a lot by working on this project. I learned to always get the flattest stock you can find and then buy extra. I had to make two extra trips to the hardwood dealer to finally have enough wood. Although I do have a nice pile of exta walnut in the basement now. I also learned to match the color of the wood as closely as possible while at the lumber dealer. I had to stain the apron material to make it match the legs as close as possible. I built a jig for my plunge router to cut the mortises in the legs. I learned that my plunge router stinks and doesn’t plunge straight up and down but has a slight rock in the plunge actions which can hurt your mortises. I learned that you can’t see a pencil mark on walnut, completely cutting the end off of one of my mortises requiring me to glue a piece back into the leg when the haunch should go.

The one smart thing that I did was to build the taper jig off of, which worked wonderfully for tapering the legs.

All in all it was a very educational experience and it turned out okay.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

10 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11781 posts in 2775 days

#1 posted 03-23-2009 10:49 PM

Gorgeous table indeed : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Peik Löf's profile

Peik Löf

115 posts in 2460 days

#2 posted 03-23-2009 11:33 PM

Beautiful table

-- My signature is awesome.

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 2533 days

#3 posted 03-24-2009 02:40 AM

Great looking table and very good craftsmanship. I’ve also learned it doesn’t hurt to own a moisture meter. Thanks for sharing

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3306 days

#4 posted 03-24-2009 02:51 AM

Excellent job…..beautiful table!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bureaucrat's profile


18336 posts in 2739 days

#5 posted 03-24-2009 02:55 AM

Congratulations on making your wife happy, life is so much better that way. The table looks very similar to one that my wife bought from an Amish furniture store (she doesn’t have the patience to deal with my work habits). This is a good build, you learned some things, you should be proud.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View ryno101's profile


380 posts in 2752 days

#6 posted 03-25-2009 02:37 AM

The day I make something that my wife actually wants to have front and center in the living room is the day I know I’ve arrived as a woodworker… nice job, looks great!

-- Ryno

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2760 days

#7 posted 03-25-2009 12:30 PM

Beautiful coffee table.

View exodus's profile


18 posts in 2476 days

#8 posted 03-26-2009 12:18 AM

Nice table, I love the finish!!

View steiner's profile


281 posts in 2438 days

#9 posted 04-21-2009 02:37 PM

That’s your first piece of furniture? It looks great! I appreciate you sharing what you learned. thanks.

-- Scott - Houston, Texas

View Dean J's profile

Dean J

19 posts in 2131 days

#10 posted 01-28-2010 02:30 AM

Man, that looks right; good job!

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