Mission Coffee Table

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Project by rcs47 posted 08-18-2010 12:57 AM 4142 views 18 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a two drawer mission coffee table I modeled after a Stickley three drawer with a narrow lower shelf. I matched the slat size and spacing to my TV console door (1/2” square slats with 3/4” spacing).

I wanted the drawers to open both ways, but didn’t like the mechanical slides that are available (what I normally use). I got the idea for the exposed drawer runners (in black) from an article on the work of Mark Love in the December/January 2010 issue of American Woodworker.

The legs are 4/4, mitered and glued to give quarter sawn grain on all sides.

Note – I picked up a lock miter router bit for the legs and followed the Fine Woodworking process using a sled to cut the joints. I cut perfect full length test joints using red oak and went on to cut the first leg. After wrapping it tight in bungee cord and beating it with a dead blow (their instructions), I added clamps, and still could not pull the corners tight. I changed to the mitered legs, using tape on the outside, adding glue, and folding the leg closed (just like a box). I added clamps where needed, and I had tight corners.

4/4 quarter sawn white oak for the drawer faces
5/4 quarter sawn white oak for everything else
Lowes Cabot Early American stain
General Finishes ebony dye on the drawer runners
General Finishes Arm-R-Seal satin top coat

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

19 comments so far

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3414 days

#1 posted 08-18-2010 01:27 AM

This is very nice work.

I love the exposed drawer slides. I never would have thought to do the legs like that.

I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it.

How long did it take to build?

Oh and where did you get the ebony dye?


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View MattMcC's profile


27 posts in 3248 days

#2 posted 08-18-2010 01:27 AM

Awesome table. I like the exposed runners. Cool looking. What are your tolerances on the drawer fronts? Looks like little more than 1/16 all around.

View rcs47's profile


199 posts in 3367 days

#3 posted 08-18-2010 01:47 AM

Thanks for the comments.

Jerry – I got the dye from Woodcraft. I can’t really tell you how many hours it took to build because I would work on it a little here and a little there. Calendar time was 4 months. I just started the two end tables. Since I worked out a lot of the issues with the coffee table, these should go a lot faster.

Matt – I started with 1/32” on all sides. But as I built the drawers, I increased that to just <1 />. But the side runner clearance is a litte more. Vertical clearance is the runner plus three playing cards.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View rimfire7891's profile


123 posts in 3141 days

#4 posted 08-18-2010 02:32 AM

Hi rcs47,

Very nice job. Like the exposed draw sliders, it’s something a person usually wants to hid and goes the great pains to do it, out in the open they have that unexpected look. I’m sure you will get questions.
Love Mission furniture, great example.

Thanks for posting jb

-- Playing with wood and metal for the last 50 years, driving and building Land Cruisers for the last 40. Experience is what you get when you don't know what you are doing.

View Seeharlez's profile


83 posts in 3231 days

#5 posted 08-18-2010 02:32 AM

Love the Drawers, Love the grain, Love the design! Very nice! It looks very heavy, which I like too. I have a real piece of junk coffee table that I can’t wait to replace with something hand crafted like this. Something that doesn’t wobble back and forth under the weight of my feet resting on it…

-- Greg - Vancouver, BC

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 3384 days

#6 posted 08-18-2010 03:08 AM

Nice design, beautiful wood, great job! Exposed drawer slides in ebony are a very nice touch too!

-- 4thumbs in MO

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3724 days

#7 posted 08-18-2010 03:12 AM

Very nice, all the way around.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View GregP's profile


154 posts in 3115 days

#8 posted 08-18-2010 03:57 AM

Very nice table, and I love the grain in the top. I’ve done a couple of these myself minus the drawers and I have to say I think I definitely prefer the look of the drawer version.

-- Greg P, Washington State,

View jim1953's profile


2736 posts in 4080 days

#9 posted 08-18-2010 05:28 AM

Great Lookin Table

-- Jim, Kentucky

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#10 posted 08-18-2010 06:43 AM

super work very nice table

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 4020 days

#11 posted 08-18-2010 11:40 AM

The ebonized slides are a great solution to a design wanting the drawers to open both ways.
I feel your frustration with the lock miter bit, I’ve just about given up using the joint to build legs with matching grain on all sides. When done right it can be an incredibly strong joint, but it is darn tough to get consistently tight corners.
Nice deign and it looks like great execution. Thanks for sharing it,


View nuzzo's profile


64 posts in 3354 days

#12 posted 08-18-2010 02:03 PM

Very nice work.

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3592 days

#13 posted 08-18-2010 03:08 PM

Really nice, especially the exposed drawer runners. That’s something different and I really like it!

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3512 days

#14 posted 08-18-2010 03:54 PM

I really love the whole thing. Its amazing how hard it is to pull off “simple” designs well, your work is so cleanly executed, and the way you did the legs is a method i might try myself.

-- Ollie, UK.

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3680 days

#15 posted 08-18-2010 04:19 PM

Good job. Pretty.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

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