A tabourette in mahogany and beech

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Project by Zach Dillinger posted 10-06-2009 02:50 AM 1160 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

All of my posts lately have been focused on my acquisition of hand tools. I figured it was time to show off some of what I do with those tools.

My wife had been after me to build her a new end table for some time. Most of my work ends up being sold to clients or given away to friends, so I figured it was time to make her happy. I saw this table in Popular Woodworking and decided to go with it. However, I’m not a totally “to plan” kind of guy, so I played with the materials.

Rather than the traditional quarter sawn white oak, I decided to branch out. I visited Johnson’s Workbench and decided to let the material speak to me. I found a very nice plank of wormy mahogany, which sounds like an odd choice, but for some reason it called to me. I used this for the legs after carefully sawing to ensure proper grain orientation for the square legs.

With such a simple design, I knew that the top had to really pop to provide a very strong focal point. After wandering around Johnson’s, I found a small piece of curly beech. It was only 3/4” of an inch thick and provided just enough material to glue into my top. I, of course, jumped. The top was rough cut with a bowsaw and smoothed to final shape with a spokeshave. I also used the spokeshave to bevel the bottom edge of the top. Beech was also used for the stretchers.

Once assembled, I ragged on two coats of boiled linseed oil, then three coats of amber shellac. After the shellac, I rubbed out the finish with some Bri-Wax to soften it. The wood of the top has a silky, tactile feel to it that really makes this table a pleasure to use, with a coaster of course. It has a soft sheen that looks very nice in the light. My wife was delighted with the table and I was quite happy with my choice of materials. I hope this inspires some of you to try non-traditional wood combinations in your next project.

-- Author of "With Saw, Plane and Chisel" and "On Woodworking"

4 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3668 days

#1 posted 10-06-2009 02:55 AM

Nice looking table.

View Zach Dillinger's profile

Zach Dillinger

26 posts in 3154 days

#2 posted 10-06-2009 02:58 AM

Thanks! I really enjoyed the way it went together.

-- Author of "With Saw, Plane and Chisel" and "On Woodworking"

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3360 days

#3 posted 10-06-2009 12:20 PM

Nice spin on a traditional table. Well done!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4242 days

#4 posted 10-06-2009 05:43 PM

Beautiful table Zach. Nice mix of woods.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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