Quarter Sawn Red Oak Coffee Table with Pass-Through Drawers and Ball-Bearing Catch

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Project by Live4Brew posted 02-18-2011 10:06 PM 4180 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Quarter Sawn Red Oak Coffee Table with Pass-Through Drawers and  Ball-Bearing Catch
Quarter Sawn Red Oak Coffee Table with Pass-Through Drawers and  Ball-Bearing Catch No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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This was my first foray into ‘fine’ woodworking in many years (and I’ve only done a few ‘fine’ projects period). A friend of mine was looking for a nice oak coffee table with a lower shelf and asked me to build one.

After brainstorming design for many hours – including perusing this site for ideas, this is what I came up with. I didn’t like the idea of four separate drawers because I felt it limited the space too much, so I decided to make pass through drawers – which ended up being a huge pain. It’s nearly impossible to build a drawer that fits flush on both sides since you can’t make any adjustment for one side that doesn’t affect the other – it’s also impossible when the wood isn’t perfectly straight and square (which, of course, is nearly impossible to find
). The other issue with the pass through design is trying to get the drawers to stop in the right spot. I came up with the spring-loaded ball-bearing design thinking it to be the perfect solution. It wasn’t – quite. I think if I had a few more bearings and/or large bearings catching on larger holes, the design would have worked much better. As it stands, the ‘catch’ is barely perceptible but, if you are careful, it does help align the drawers to middle.

I had a difficult time deciding between Hardware pulls and wood, but ended up going with wood because I like to make things from wood (duh) and I thought the final look was pretty good.

The finish is Minwax Golden Pecan stain topped with Minwax Semi-gloss Polyurethane. I normally finish things with tung oil, but as this was for someone else (and I wouldn’t be taking care of it), I felt the added durability and longevity of Polyurethane made the most sense.

Top: 23.5”x50”
Height: 19.5”
Overhang: 1 11/16” – Slightly more than the look I was going for, but after a few issues cutting good shoulders for the tenons, this is what the final dimension came to be (I finished the top before completing the tenons).

Time to build: you don’t want to know (and I’m not sure I want to think about it!).

5 comments so far

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

686 posts in 2804 days

#1 posted 02-18-2011 11:39 PM

Excellent job, with lots of problems solved.
If you get paid for it, perhaps you can afford some shoes!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Ryan's profile


238 posts in 2953 days

#2 posted 02-19-2011 01:44 AM

Nice grains.
and pretty toes.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 2970 days

#3 posted 02-19-2011 02:08 AM

Lovely table. Stain, wooden pulls and overall finish just perfect. Bet the ball drawer detents were a bear. Thanks for the idea!

-- Smitty

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3091 days

#4 posted 02-19-2011 04:34 PM

Beautiful, great job!!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View slimt's profile


111 posts in 2961 days

#5 posted 02-20-2011 04:28 AM

Really nice job you matched the grain really well.

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