Natural Edge Coffee Table

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Project by tkh posted 09-18-2010 08:29 PM 3454 views 7 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For a wedding present for my daughter, I decided to make her a coffee table that would be one of a kind. It is made from 2 inch thick Walnut Burl (crotch) wood. The whole table is made from the same saw log. The top is actually 2 pieces joined in the middle, using a tongue and groove joinery method. Even though that this is a very strong joint I decided to mortise in 3”x 20” x 1/4” steel plates (2), underneath the top, going across the center joint equally. The Legs are mortised through the top, and splined. The top has Box Elder Bowties, to control checking, and to give visual appeal. The shelf underneath (for her cats) is moritised through the legs, acting like a stretcher, and old railroad spikes act as pins to lock strecher to legs.

The finish is Teak Oil, after sanding, and sanding, and sanding to 400 grit finish. The Teak Oil really brings out the Walnut grain and the Burl effect. I cut these pieces from one log that had a 3 limbs growing from 1 main trunk. I cut them on my portable bandsaw, and they airdried for over 2 years. As you can see from the last 2 pictures that I have more table material leftover. Currently workiing on my son’s wedding present, which is a Box Elder Slab, will have pictures soon. Thanks for showing this, Tim Heming.

18 comments so far

View terrilynne's profile


833 posts in 1984 days

#1 posted 09-18-2010 09:29 PM


-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3338 days

#2 posted 09-18-2010 09:53 PM

Gorgeous piece, I love the sap wood you left on the walnut, many people don’t, to me it’s a natural part of the wood and gives it a good contrast. Great use of the railroad spikes and nice bowties. Overall a beautiful project that will last for generations, I hope you wrote something nice on the bottom for your daughter. It was recommended to me by a wonderful artist on LJ’s when I made my daughter’s hope chest. She loved it and her children will know where it came from and the love with which it was made. I envy your talent and the grace with which this was made. Amazing. Nakashima would have liked this very much.

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

View bobasaurus's profile


2033 posts in 2275 days

#3 posted 09-18-2010 11:00 PM

Amazing table. I need to try using those bowtie / dutchman joints someday… did you use a router template with a small radius bit, or hand cut, or some other method? The wedged through mortise and tenon attachments are quite impressive.

-- Allen, Colorado

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2328 days

#4 posted 09-18-2010 11:04 PM

Beautiful bench! I’m sure your daughter will treasure it. The color and grain of the walnut is fantastic. Looking at your project makes me want to saw some walnut…

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Dale 's profile


412 posts in 2271 days

#5 posted 09-19-2010 03:11 AM

My favorite wood, and you did a beautiful job displaying it. Thank you.

-- Dale West Central Pa. Do it all, before last call.

View tinnman65's profile


1245 posts in 2505 days

#6 posted 09-19-2010 04:10 AM

Great looking table,the finish really looks great!!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Woodenworld's profile


11 posts in 1906 days

#7 posted 09-19-2010 06:17 AM

That is really nice. Its projects like yours that get me thinking…........

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 3115 days

#8 posted 09-19-2010 01:58 PM

Good form and balance, with a few echoes of Nakashima thrown in. Beautiful piece.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View workerinwood's profile


2716 posts in 2158 days

#9 posted 09-19-2010 04:52 PM

Awesome job!! This a beautiful piece of furniture, nice design, nice finish and nice build.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View NormG's profile


5097 posts in 2095 days

#10 posted 09-19-2010 05:00 PM

What a great gift idea, I am sure she will pass it on. I hope you have large tools.

-- Norman

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2555 days

#11 posted 09-19-2010 05:17 PM

The above authors said it all but I must add my compliments. This is a classy table. My favorite part is leaving the natural curve of the trunk in the finished project.
Thanks for posting,

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Chris's profile


49 posts in 2111 days

#12 posted 09-20-2010 02:19 AM

Absolutly beautiful. How did you aquire all those slabs, did you purchase a log or have it cut down on your property.

-- One Time Tree Man

View DaddyZ's profile


2474 posts in 2131 days

#13 posted 09-20-2010 04:38 PM

Very Nice !!!! Gotta Love the Walnut

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1947 days

#14 posted 09-20-2010 04:49 PM

Really Nice, timber and design.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 1929 days

#15 posted 09-20-2010 04:57 PM

Love the through tenons and butterflies! Lovely piece. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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