"Milk, Two Sugars" A Reclaimed Lumber Coffee Table

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Project by chrisstef posted 12-30-2010 02:41 AM 3067 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project started out as a promise i made to the old man when i started woodworking. I’d make him a coffee table i told him … 2 years ago. This past Christmas i wanted to make good on the promise so i turned out, what i feel, the best piece i have buit to date.

The table top is a reclaimed piece of black oak from a demo job just down the road from my house. It measured 22” wide, 6 foot long, 6/4 thick. Much to wide for the old Delta planer. So i broke out the hand planes and went to work. Using a #5 Groz as a scrub, a #5 SB jack, a #7 SB jointer, and a #4 SB smoother i took the rough sawn down to rough finish. (photo #6)

Then i took my first leap into router inlays. With some help from some fellow LJ’s i figured out how to set up the router and bushing making the recesses and the keys. The keys too are reclaimed from another demo job, this time an old bowling alley being used as a warehouse, a 12/4 piece of mahagony. (photo #2)

On to the legs and apron … Pulling another board from the reclaimed pile i was able to make the legs and apron all from the same board. A 22” wide piece of pine. I ripped down the pine and planed it clean finding some wonderfully straight grained heart material. Using the left over mahagony i sandwiched 2 pieces of heart pine around a 1” piece of mahagony for the legs and used the rest for the apron. My first attempt at mortise and tenon joints went a well as could be expected fitting together snuggly with a minimal gap. (photo #3)

I finished it off with 2 coats of natural danish oil, 5 coats of Miniwax wipe-on gloss poly, and 2 coats of paste wax rubbed out. (Thanks for all the finishing tips everyone). Look at that bad boy shine!

The name of the table came from how the old man likes his coffee “Milk. Two Sugars”

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

13 comments so far

View missingdigitworkshop's profile


148 posts in 3125 days

#1 posted 12-30-2010 04:09 AM

Very nice job and very cool that the materials were salvaged.
Very nice.

-- Do not be discouraged by those who don't. Be inspired by those who do.

View Condor1's profile


64 posts in 2974 days

#2 posted 12-30-2010 04:28 AM

The coffee table turned out great. There is a lot to be said for a man keeping his word. I also like the fact that you salvaged the lumber and made something to be proud of out of it. That takes a lot more effort than just going to your local supplier and buying stock. I know that all your effort is appreciated by the seasoned citizen you gave it to.

-- There are times when a mistake is remembered as your best work.

View ringosmills's profile


22 posts in 2964 days

#3 posted 12-30-2010 05:39 AM

Great job! Really like the butterfly dovetail inlays. Keeps the piece very natural.

-- Nate- Bryan, Ohio

View kcrandy's profile


285 posts in 3429 days

#4 posted 12-30-2010 07:07 AM

Wonderful. Beautiful. To fulfill a promise is more important to the promise giver. But the recipient in this promise must have had much joy, indeed.

-- Caulk and paint are a poor carpenter's best friends

View DragonLady's profile


298 posts in 3004 days

#5 posted 12-30-2010 07:13 AM

I like the legs!

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17382 posts in 3003 days

#6 posted 12-30-2010 03:24 PM

Thanks for the kind words folks.

Condor: It does seem to take forever to prep the stock but for me its half of the fun. Taking that old dirty piece of rough sawn lumber that you know is over a 100 years old and running it through the planer just dying to see what comes out the other side. In this case it was some sweet heart pine, ya cant beat it!

Kcrandy: It is indeed a good feeling to fulfill a promise and to have my old man tell me that it was the best gift he’s ever gotten made my Christmas that much more special.

Dragonlady: Thanks! I was skeptical on them after glue up but once i planed them down square i was happy with my choice, i felt like i tied in the butterflies pretty well.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View razor524's profile


69 posts in 3004 days

#7 posted 12-31-2010 07:53 AM

Very nice!

View 489tad's profile


3365 posts in 3009 days

#8 posted 12-31-2010 04:18 PM

Chris the table looks great. The keys turned out nice. I remember you writing about them. Nice wood selection and finish. A great gift.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View TheBarrister's profile


13 posts in 3064 days

#9 posted 12-31-2010 08:14 PM

Nothing better than salvaged lumber for making a project to be proud of. You also did a great job on the keys.

-- Mangling good wood since 2005.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17382 posts in 3003 days

#10 posted 01-01-2011 01:16 AM

Thanks razor, thanks Barrister. Love the tag line barrister .. thats why i used reclaimed, becuase when its ugly and mangaled i can say its a reclaimed piece its supposed to be that way.

If anyone is in the Connecticut area or will be, and would like some of this reclaimed lumber let me know! Ive got half a garage full and the wife’s starting to get impatient. We’ve got a lonely Jeep sitting in the driveway and has been staring at the garage for months.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Randy_ATX's profile


878 posts in 2439 days

#11 posted 04-05-2012 08:33 PM

I like everything about this table. Nice job.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17382 posts in 3003 days

#12 posted 04-06-2012 12:06 PM

well thanks Randy … certainly appreciated.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 2996 days

#13 posted 05-14-2013 08:49 PM

Ok..I see …wow…great table

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